Last weekend I had a chance to hit Phoenix Comicon 09. I’m telling you, this event gets bigger and better each year. When I first started attending this con it was held at the the Glendale Civic Center. They moved to the Mesa Convention Center for the last few shows. Finally for 2010 the con is moving to the Phoenix Convention Center. That means for the very first time the Phoenix Comicon will actually be held in Phoenix!
This year the con was 3 days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a preview night Thursday. I didn’t make it out until Saturday and when I got there this endless line was staring me in the face. All I can say is – give us Arizona geeks our own event once a year and we’re gonna show up.
The exhibit floor is a good size. Not too large so as to be overwhelming, but big enough and diverse enough to keep you well occupied for the day. There was your customary comics vendors and action figure dealers. How fun is it to spend some time checking these tables out? Week after week we action figure aficionados haunt Targets and Walmarts and TRUs and can predict exactly what we’ll see on the pegs. You come to a con and there is booth after booth lined top to bottom with plastic treasure.
I was surprised how much serious cosplay was happening at such a local event. Of course, Arizona’s chapter of the 501st Legion, "The Dune Sea Garrison," was in full force. For the first time I saw someone donning a fantastic Dengar costume (complete with facial scars!) Mr. and Mrs. Snake Eyes were also in attendance representing local ninja commandos. And low and behold, the Arizona sector has its own Green Lantern!
Amongst many others, Gotham’s hero and villians were also in attendance.
Well, the highlight of this year’s Phoenix Con for me was meeting Richard LeParmentier, aka Admiral Motti from Star Wars. High five to our local Action Figure haven, Toy Anxiety for sponsoring Mr. LeParmentier’s appearance and for still having a couple Death Star Briefing figure sets for slackers like me who hadn’t gotten it yet. More about Toy Anxiety in a future blog. Having my favorite imperial admiral sign this awesome set was a priority and I took care of business first thing. Our exchange went something like this:
CantinaDan: Its a real pleasure to meet you. I’ve always felt that you had some of the best lines in the entire Star Wars trilogy.
LeParmentier: All of the other officers were just kind of babbling, weren’t they? At least what I had to say had substance.
CantinaDan: I agree. And you delivered them flawlessly.
LeParmentier: Thank you!
CantinaDan: In addition to autographing this package would you mind writing just a snippet from one of your lines? "Your sad devotion to that ancient religion…"
LeParmentier: I’d be happy to. Now where would you like me to write it? (He shows concern not to cover any of the other characters in the set in case I wanted to have those actors autograph it as well.) Oh, most of these chaps are probably dead!
CantinaDan: LOL. (He begins writing the line and then gets stuck.) "…hasn’t given you clairvoyence…"
LeParmentier: Ah, yes. Now make sure you spray some fixative on this.
CantinaDan: Thanks so much! Good luck with the rest of the con.
The real Admiral Motti was a great guy and it was great fun meeting him. Too bad he bit it with the first Death Star.
And then there is our local talent. You can’t help but be drawn into Daniel and Dawna Davis’s Steam Crow booth. I’m blown away by the level of care taken in the design of all the Davis’s handiwork. Super friendly and down-to-earth, they describe their operation as
"a Phoenix, Arizona company that creates quirky, imaginative characters and strange stories for people with a monster imagination."
They’ve published 3 books so far and their latest project is a webcomic called Monster Commute. Check it!
Being a fan of good graphic design I did a double take as I passed Eric Torres’s table. Eric was surrounded by books, prints, and cards that featured beautiful, iconic characters from the imaginary world he’s created: Rynaga. Eric describes his endeavor this way:
"The World of Rynaga features an iconic design aesthetic, drawing inspiration from Scandinavian folk art and wood cuts, ancient Greek art, Japanese pop culture, Mayan stone carvings and the art and architecture of the European Renaissance. By taking inspiration from art history, my goal is to create a fictional world that people of many cultures can identify with."
He created a trading card game called Iconica which I couldn’t help picking up. I’ll give it a shot with my little brother, Johnny, this weekend.
And then there was Frank Beddor. Although not a local he has been a regular at the Phoenix Con. The first time I stopped his table a couple years ago I picked up a few issues of the Hatter M comic. Didn’t quite get it until I read the first book in his "Looking Glass Wars" series which is, as Beddor describes, a "What if."
"What if Alice were actually from Wonderland and what if Wonderland were the source of our imagination?"
At the 2007 San Diego con I happened by his booth and mentioned I had read "The Looking Glass Wars" and liked it. He was kind enough to give me an advance reading copy of the second book in the series: "Seeing Redd." Enjoyed that, too. So I him I asked him when we could expect the 3rd book. He said "this fall."
Any geek fest worth its salt has to have a Jedi Training Academy. Some cute new Padawans got their start learning the ways of the force.
All in all, Phoenix Comicon 09 was a great time. Its obvious the organizers are working hard to make it a signature event for the Southwest.
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