When someone mentions Comic Con the automatic response is to think “Oh San Diego Comic Con.” No doubt San Diego Comic Con is the biggest nerd event of the year but with this largeness lies the biggest problem. In my opinion it has gotten so big that even the most non-nerdy person will attend because it’s the “cool thing to do.” Somewhere along the way SDCC has lost its intimacy which is why my local con, Phoenix Comic Con, has the perfect mixture of intimacy and popularity.
Now I had never been to a Phoenix Comic Con before, my first real con was, ironically, the Mecca that is San Diego Comic Con which I went to last year. So, being a guest at essentially the “best” con the world has to offer, I was a little skeptical on how the con in my very backyard would fair. With that in mind this past weekend I was able to attend Arizona’s annual Phoenix Comic Con with the power of The Nerdwork allowing me to snag a media pass, thus my journey into finding something to write about began.
I was determined to find any little idea that stuck out to me or a theme throughout the weekend and amongst all the amazing artists, vendors, cosplayers, and celebs The biggest message that stuck with me through the whole con was unity. The feeling that everyone attending the con was there for the same reasons, and that was – to nerd out.
The convention took place in downtown Phoenix at the Phoenix convention center. The con’s layout is genius, it spans from the west building and the north building of the convention center and utilizes 3 and sometimes 4 stories of the buildings. Each floor designated for specific events. The main first floor of both buildings were used as mainly a hang out spot where everyone showed off their best cosplays while getting the chance to let the likes of me take as many pictures as humanly possible while at the same time blocking the way of everyone trying to pass. Sounds frustrating but it was honestly a great time specially when the cosplayers were dressed in their best costumes possible. There was everything from the highly popular Attack on Titan Recon Corps members to even my favorite, Mr. Happy Trees Bob Ross. Despite it being 100 degrees each day outside, it didn’t stop these amazing people from going all out!
The second floors were used mainly for panels of all sorts. There were panels ranging from anime to comics and even movies. The first panel I was able to attend was a sketch off with local comic Ocho creator Eric Mengel. During his panel he was drawing his famed Ocho character while simultaneously giving out important advice to up and coming artists. The most important advice that he left us with was “Just do it everyday.” Simple yet effective advice that can be taken by all creatives, just practice your craft everyday.
The next panel I had attended was a DC animation panel with Jason Spisak, voice actor known mainly for his portrayal of Wally West in Young Justice and Heath Corson, writer for most of DCs animated films. This was, of course, an exciting panel since I was most familiar with their work. The two answered questions during the whole panel and at one point I was able to get up there and ask a question. I asked Heath Corson a question pertaining to the upcoming Suicide Squad film since he was the head writer on DC’s animated film Assault on Arkham. When I got up to the mic I asked him “Do you know how much, if any, David Ayer has pulled from Assault on Arkham and used for his Suicide Squad script?” To which Heath kind of stayed quiet a bit then answered with “I don’t know if he has, I would be flattered if he did. I did read a first draft though and the original script had no Joker or Harley Quinn.” So with that I’m thinking the first version of the script might not have been that good and David Ayer must have seen Assault on Arkham and been a little influenced by the story. Of course there were the celeb panels like Christopher Lloyd and Jason Mamoa but the crowd was too hectic for me to attend.
The final floor was, of course, the exhibitor hall. The hall was filled with hundreds of vendors, artists, and professionals. It seemed as though everyone there was pulling out all the stops. There was artwork and comic books galore. My favorite artists such as Arist Abe, Chris Lee, and local artist Erin Lee were there and I was able to support by buying some prints. There were also major artists like Jae Lee, Todd Nauck, and Brett Booth all there doing commissions and selling prints, as well as numerous other artists who all had really great work. The hall itself wasn’t so big that it felt overwhelming and it wasn’t so small that you felt crowded– it was just the right size. The size of it made it feel the old way comic book conventions were ran, the ones where people would meet up and look at long boxes of everyone’s collections hoping to find some gems, this was one of the main reasons I loved this con so much.
So comparing my local Phoenix Comic Con to San Diego Comic Con I feel as though where my con lacks in star power, it makes up for in community and togetherness. I also hope that anyone who has read this and experienced my adventure would be willing to give their local cons and smaller cons a chance. I’m positive that they will not disappoint and will provide just as an amazing time as the bigger ones can give.
Thank you all for reading and I would love to hear all your thoughts so jump on in them comments and let me know!