For the first time in its proud history, the Phoenix Comicon was held in Phoenix this year. Previously, our local con had been held at venues in surrounding cities like Glendale and Mesa. Well, we’ve finally arrived. No disrespect to past locations but holding Phoenix Con at the beautiful and impressive Phoenix Convention Center was a big deal. Everybody said the same thing: it actually felt like a convention this year! I was only able to attend Thursday’s "Preview Night" and Friday’s session. But even that abbreviated attendance provided a good geek fix!
For being a smaller scale local show I’m always impressed by the level of Cosplay represented. I apologize to all those that I missed Saturday and Sunday. Here are a few that I particularly enjoyed. The wizarding family was great.
And then there is all the cool stuff. Cool stuff to look at. Cool stuff to be tempted to buy. Cool stuff just there to entertain. Just so you know, I was not allowed to take the General Lee for a test drive. I did ask, though.
Here was a unique happening. Throughout the day a couple artists were set up towards the back of the exhibit hall and they were working from a live model. It was a blast to pass by at various points and see the progress. Maybe someone else who attended Saturday and Sunday can tell me if this was still going on those days.
I was pretty excited when I found out John Schneider was going to attend this year. Who of us doesn’t love Dukes of Hazzard? But more than that, I’m a real fan of his work on Smallville. I never really know what to say when I encounter a celebrity like this but what came out was: "You brought a lot of heart and soul to Smallville and it just hasn’t been the same since you left." He seemed to really appreciate that and went on to tell me that Smallville was the best television experience he’s had.
He had a bunch of different photos you could buy for him to sign and I was having trouble deciding, so I just asked him which he liked best and that’s what I went with. Then I pulled a little baggie out of my shirt pocket that contained my vintage MEGO Bo and Luke Duke figures. He laughed. I asked if he’d sign his initials on the back of the Bo. He signed JRS on his upper back and "BO" on his ass. Awesome!
I attended a panel Friday morning called "Dex Knows Ink!" hosted by the amazing comic book inker, Dexter Vines. I’m a big fan of his work, particularly when he teams up with Ed McGuinness (who attended Phoenix Con two years ago and was the subject of my very first blog!) Dex is a great guy and his panel was nothing if not informative. He recounted his first collaboration with McGuinness who had just landed the Superman / Batman gig. Speaking of the special synergy that exists between them, Dexter told us how, after the first issue, he called Ed to ask how he liked the inks. Ed replied: "make the feathering fatter." Dexter concluded: "After that it was golden."
Dexter gave us all lots of insights into the specifics of being an inker. What brushes and pens to use. What paper he prefers (2-ply Bristol Rough), what to do when you make a mistake, how to clean up a page when you’re done, tips on how to ink a starry sky, etc, etc.
One of the funniest moments came when Dexter was telling us about the early days working on McGuinness pencils. Ed would draw squiggly lines and write the letters "KK" next to them. Not knowing what the heck that meant, Dexter called him and said: "What is that? You’re one "K" away from scaring me!" Ed replied: "Oh, that means Kirby Krackle!"
Dexter was good enough to autograph the same Superman / Batman book that Ed McGuinness signed for me just a couple years previous. Would have been fun to have them there at the same time!
All in all, it was an exciting con for us Phoenicians. In that regard, fellow AZ AFi compatriots, please feel free to expand on this blog by posting your thoughts and experiences. Hey, maybe next year there will be an Action Figure Collecting panel. Ahem.