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The Geek Shall Inherit the Fests

Austin becomes ground zero for the new cool

By Richard Whittaker, 12:50PM, Sun. Jul. 4, 2010

From top: World Horror Con, Rachel Cain, James Marsters, Jeffrey Combs and Ikkicon 5
From top: World Horror Con, Rachel Cain, James Marsters, Jeffrey Combs and Ikkicon 5

Who needs to go to San Diego for ComicCon? Between the home-grown genre film and literary festivals (Armadillocon, Fantastic Fest, and Ikkicon) and the out-of-towners (Wizard World and World Horror Con) heading into Austin in the next year, you can have the same experience and still sleep in your own bed.

ArmadilloCon 32
August 27-29, Renaissance Hotel Austin

The longest running sci-fi literary convention in the South-West keeps the emphasis on the printed word with a weekend long writer's workshop. Guests of honor include novelist Rachel Caine (author of the Morganville Vampires and Weather Warden series and Anne Sowards, executive editor at Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Space is also available at the dealers' room.

Admission available now, $25-$50. More info at armadilloncon.org.

Fantastic Fest
Sept 23-30, various locations

There are still two weeks left to submit your film to the best horror/fantasy/whatever-the-hell-Hausu-is festival, but this year the mantra is already, "Go Poe or go home." Jeffrey Combs will be presenting his one man show Nevermore … An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe. Anyone that caught him do Poe in the Masters of Horror episode "The Black Cat" can testify to his eerie summoning of the grandfather of gruesome. Combs' long-time collaborator, director Stuart Gordon, will also be in town to present two of his classic Combs-starring H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, Re-Animator and From Beyond. We also already know about Fantastic Arcade for gamers but, as always, wait for the torrent of world premiers, American firsts and general insane booking. Plus there'll be heavy contingent of Norwegian films this year (are Euforia Films the new Toho? Maybe so?) The festival is also looking for volunteers.

Passes available now: Film passes $40-$285, arcade passes $15-$60. More info at fantasticfest.com.

Wizard World
Nov. 12 -14, Austin Convention Center

The Austin leg of the touring nerd culture magnet is already loaded up with heavy hitters. It's already confirmed that Texas will be come the land o' Lando with the arrival of Star Wars star (and massive jazz enthusiast) Bill Dee Williams, but there will also be a solid array of genre regulars (including James Marsters [Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Torchwood, Caprica], Kristanna Loken [Terminator 3], Bill Johnson [Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2]); Comic artists (Gary Friedrich [Ghost Rider, Greg Horn [Blackest Night], Joe Madureira [Uncanny X-Men]); Pro-wrestlers (Bushwacker Luke, The Honky-Tonk Man, Christy Hemme); And cultural oddities (Adrianne Curry, anyone?) The convention is also looking for artists, dealers and volunteers (details here.)

Tickets available now: One day passes $30 ($25 early bird price), three-day passes $45-$200, or get free passes with a subscription to Toyfare or Wizard magazines (details here.) More info at wizardworld.com.

Ikkicon 5
Dec. 31-Jan 2, Austin Hilton

Austin's homegrown and fan-run anime and manga convention proved itself last year to be the New Year's Eve destination of choice for the CenTex Otaku population. It's as much about cosplay and the chance to watch obscure Japanimation as it is the guests, but two-time Austin Music Award winners One-Eyed Doll and Eyeshine, featuring Power Rangers star Johhny Bosch, will be providing the soundtrack.

Pre-registration open now ($30-$95 until Sept. 25). More details at ikkicon.com.

World Horror Convention
April 28-May 1, 2011, Doubtletree Hotel

After a massively successful WHC 2010 in Brighton, England, the top dog (well, hell-hound) literary gathering for all things gruesome picked the ATX for its 2011 resurrection. Already confirmed are the modern king of the zombies Steve Niles [Wake The Dead, 30 Days of Night], novelist Sarah Langan [The Keeper] whose new tome Empty Houses has been optioned by the Weinstein Company, and long-time friend of the Chronicle, the King of Nacogdoches Gothic, Joe R. Lansdale. There will also be an art show and dealer room.

Registration open now. Daily passes ($40-$75) and four-day registrations ($90-$150) available now. Details at whc2011.org.

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