When a storm trooper can be seen flirting with Ariel in Networks, one can tell Phoenix Comicon is back. Thursday was the 14th opening for the annual convention, which will be June 5-8, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center.
A diverse cross-section of attendees kicked off the convention. Of course, there were the fans. Three Arizona friends, like Curtis Jon Martin, Michael Detwiler and Gregory Brooks, are representative of the young men, who comprise most of the sci fi fans at such conventions. They were excited about this rare opportunity to see television idols, like Mark Sheppard, Richard Dean Anderson, and Bruce Campbell—in person.
Others, like Jessica Higgins and Jessa Deaubl, ventured from Tucson, not to see, but to be their favorite characters—Dusty Lion and Jeldi, respectively. “Cosplay” is the act of “dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character (usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character).” Events, like Phoenix Comicon, become red carpet events for cosplay fans.
Phoenix Comicon vendors were as excited as the fans. The hundreds of exhibitor booths and tables were sold out this year. Samurai Comics, a local comic book store, which has two stores in Phoenix and one in Mesa, is a popular exhibit at Phoenix Comicon. “It is jammed already,” said owner Mike Banks, ”And it is only Thursday night. I can’t imagine what Saturday will be like.”
Artists from all over the country display and sell their works at Comicon. Artist/Designer/Writer Rob Ozborne has also been at Phoenix Comicon almost every year. His Jackzilla art print is one of this year’s exclusive limited editions, available in the trade show.
Terry Huddleston, famous for his colorful headshot prints of superheroes and villains. “This is one of my favorite shows,” said Huddleston, “I have a loyal fan base here in Phoenix.”
Phoenix Comicon is also a showcase for authors, actors, filmmakers and even comics, seeking to be discovered or expand their current audiences. Clarity, “a dark, apocalyptic, romantic dramedy of the near future,” is an example of a film that was promoting its Kickstarter campaign to raise $7500 at Phoenix Comicon.
The attendance at Phoenix Comicon has been growing exponentially, from a few hundred to 40,000 last year. This year, 70,000 are expected. Fans, exhibitors, performers, and the hospitality industry will all benefit from this popular cultural event.