The Amazing Arizona Comic Con is nearly upon us, bringing all manner of comic legends and exhibitors to hundreds of attendees this weekend in downtown Phoenix. One of the conventions’ founders, Jimmy Jay of JayCompanyComics, sat down with Examiner.com to discuss the upcoming event and its success over the years.
The Amazing Arizona Comic Con initially began in 2010 in Mesa at its old roost of the Mesa Convention Center. The event largely focused on solely comic book exhibitors and artists, before growing dramatically over the course of two years. In prior years the event hosted unique comic related guests such as Rob Liefeld (creator of the character Deadpool), cast members of popular AMC television show The Walking Dead, and more.
Their upcoming 2013 event will mark their growth not only with a new venue space, but with two of the biggest names in comics today as guests: Stan Lee and Jim Lee. Both creators are heavy hitters in their own regard. Stan Lee is a former Marvel Comics writer and editor responsible for creating a slew of popular characters such as Spider-man, the X-Men, Iron Man, and the Avengers. Jim Lee is the current head of DC Comics and his artwork featured in comics such as Batman Hush and Justice League have made him one of the best-selling comic book artists of all time.
“I think the good word of mouth about our event enabled us to bring in creators Stan Lee and Jim Lee,” said Jimmy Jay, one of the founders of Amazing Arizona Comic Con, in a Wednesday interview. “When you combine those two factors, both companies [DC and Marvel] and almost every iconic character—Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, Superman –is well represented for everyone who attends.”
Jay commented that the increased demand from artists and exhibitors to be featured in the con, as well as ticket pre-sales rising an estimated three to four times more than last year, led to him and event staff commissioning 15,000 square feet of more convention space about two weeks prior to Amazing Arizona Con’s start date to accommodate the influx.
Aside from the guests and artists, attendees will also have the opportunity to see art demonstrations from Jim Lee, Mat Nastos (artist and writer on Phineas & Ferb), Nicole Chilelli (winner of Syfy's reality show Face Off) and many more. Programming has also extended beyond the exhibitor booths to include family-friendly events on Sunday (the conventions' Kid's Day) which include a kids costume contest, Phineas & Ferb sketch event, and a Quick Draw! interactive fan panel. Jay commented that the amount of interaction between attendees and creators in such events is one of the main things that has contributed to conventions' success over the past two years.
"People come to Amazing Arizona Con not to just collect back issues but to collect experiences," said Jay. "It’s a very up close and personal event where you can interact with the artists and creators, as opposed to going to these con 'factories' where you stand in these long lines and you know, 'don’t talk to the artist, just keep moving.' And that’s why people mark this con on their calendars and make sure they come to our event, because of the level of interaction."
The Amazing Arizona Comic Con will take place on January 25-27 at the South Building of the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. Tickets are currently on sale on their website with single Friday and Sunday passes costing $25 each, single Saturday passes $35 each, and full weekend passes are $50 each. Kids under the age of 10 can get in free with a paid adult admission.