With attendance estimates for June 5-8, 2014 approaching 70,000 or more, the Phoenix Comicon has become one of the City’s major annual events. While the majority of attendees still come from Arizona, workshops shout-outs were heard for states throughout the US (e.g., Alaska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Florida), and the world (e.g., Europe, Australia). Comicon fans provide an economic and morale boost to Phoenix, especially during a hot, slow time in the desert.
This is the 14th Phoenix Comicon. Its growth reflects the booming interest in science fiction-related genres (e.g., anime, zombies) and technology (e.g., video gaming, animation). Non-attendees, who may visualize such an event as only attracting single, anti-social adolescent male geeks would be surprised at the upbeat, jovial atmosphere provided by a very diverse audience.
There are those, who express their preferences in dress. Athena Sowers showed off her Batman dress to the crowd gathered to see Adam West, Bert Ward and Julie Newmar from the television series. Then there are those who came to watch others. Nathan Langlois and Alecia Mander, from Phoenix, were enjoying the workshops (they were excited about seeing fan perennial favorite Stan Lee) and seeing all the costumes. They stopped to take a photo of Gandalf at the next table.
Phoenix Comicon is also very multi-generational. Stan and Carol Rasmussen came from El Paso, and stood in line with their son, Josh, for him to get a photo-opp with Predator 2’s Danny Glover. Jimmy Sullivan promised to take his teenage daughter Star Briggs and her friend Lindsay Ramirez to a Japanese Street fashion show. Morgan Rose was shopping with “Grandma Debbie” Morgaina. Rebecca Hayes, who, herself, has been active in organizing these types of events since the 1970’s, came with her son, Eric, to take advantage of the opportunity to get autographs from and photos with celebrities, like the Batman television series actors.
Fans come from all walks of life. Mayme Kohler is a law firm office manager, who got a babysitter so she could get her photo with Danny Glover. Dr. Elizabeth Sonnenburg, from the University of Michigan, enjoyed the Batman workshop, and helped conduct the Comicon’s FameLab.
People come to learn, shop, gawk or be seen, dance or even get married. They spend a lot of money on food, hotels, and souvenirs. Most of all, they have fun and leave with a great impression of Phoenix Comicon.