I have mostly recovered from this years Phoenix Comicon, so it is time to present my thoughts and observations on the event. As I said before, from the first time I attended this show, I was hooked. It is a big convention, bringing big names and a large variety of attendees and groups. My first year was as a general attendee, last year I showed up in some costumes and had a great time doing that. This year I arrived as an exhibitor in Artist Alley.
The road trip from El Paso to Phoenix went mostly without incident. That is, except for the rollover that happened right in front of us on the way. A trucker and myself were the only ones who stopped. It seems the driver fell asleep, from the information I had. The State Trooper that arrived was greatly appreciative that we stopped and gave him the information about what happened prior to the accident. Apparently, the majority of the time, no one will stop.
We drove to Tombstone on the first day, with an overnight stop in Benson, AZ. Everyone should go to Tombstone at least once. We drove up to Tucson that evening for some In-N-Out and to visit some game stores. The next morning we headed out for the trip into Phoenix. Why split the trip into two days? First, I wasn’t going to pay to add another day to our hotel in Phoenix. Second, I was not going to drive to the convention on Thursday, set up the booth, and then sell for the rest of the day until 9pm. I would not have survived. We arrived at the hotel a little after 8am and they were nice enough to let us check in. We moved the luggage into the room and went to the Phoenix Convention Center to get started on the table setup. I also went and said hey to the folks at Geek Asylum.
Setup went smoothly. No major problems occurred. Our neighbors, Tee No Evil, did not show up on Thursday. We were next to them for Phoenix Fan Fest, so this did not surprise us. The show started at 4pm and went until 9pm. I kept the tradition alive by wearing my unicorn shirt on the first day. This turned out to be the day most people roam around and start looking at what they would like to purchase during the weekend. I took a quick break to say hey to Jeremy at Flex Comics. Everyone was surprised at how busy the show was that day. It was probably about the same size crowd as Friday ended up being.
Friday started and I wore my Jayne Cobb costume from Firefly, not Serenity. Christening the day “Firefly Friday”. I got several compliments, especially for Vera. The guys from Tee No Evil arrived to set up their table. They are a couple of great guys. The crowds were fairly steady. The business cards started flying off the table. I also picked up a Jayne Pop Vinyl that day. It was very difficult balancing playing in costume with running the table. More on that later. Toward the end of the show, I ran up to sit in on the premiere of the fourth episode of Star Trek Continues. The cast was there also. I recommend this great fan series to anyone who likes Star Trek.
Saturday was true to form, being the biggest day of the weekend. That day I went for my “Steampunk Saturday” outfit by dressing up as the Desperate Mercenary from Malifaux. Several people came by the booth and marveled at what was on the table. A small group came to the table, one of them with a contraption on her back. They had come by the day before and asked if I gave discounts to people in Steampunk outfits. She then activated her costume, so I said “How’s five dollars off, that’s a ten percent discount”? She wasn’t too thrilled at that, so I asked who made the wings. She replied that she did, so I made it twenty percent.
Sunday arrived and the crowds were, once again, bigger than expected. This day I dressed up as a member of SG25 from Stargate SG1. I went by the 19XX booth and picked up the latest volume, it is something I have done at each Phoenix Comicon. I also got an autographed photo from Lou Ferrigno. The real highlight of the day was getting my well read copy of World War Z signed by Max Brooks. The show eventually wound down and closed at 6pm. We packed up and loaded the car up with what we didn’t need in the morning. We left early the next day and made it home a bit after noon.
Now, time for my thoughts and observations. I still think Phoenix Comicon is a great show, especially for attendees. There are several panels, guests, vendors and events that you can find and enjoy. Everything is conveniently located and the staff can help you find your way around. I will admit that the streets in the area are a bit tricky to navigate at times, and the parking gets to be a pain. There are several people to meet, it doesn’t even take much effort to make friends.
The layout for the show was new to this year. The media guests, cosplay groups and big names were put up on the third floor, along with the main conference room. The registration area was moved into the main building, making it easier to find. The panel rooms remained on the second floor, while the exhibitor hall was the entire first floor. I had never been an exhibitor at Phoenix before, so I can’t say this made things worse, or better. In my opinion, there wasn’t a lot of traffic through the exhibitor area. I say this because there were several groups and costumes I never saw the whole weekend. The Arizona Judges, a large Dredd costume group, had a big presence at the show, but I never saw them. I saw maybe 6 people dressed as Cecil from Nigh Vale, and I know there were far more than that. I have seen pictures of costumes that I never saw, so they never made it to where I was. This may be because many people just skip the Artist Alley area entirely, or it could be that many people didn’t even enter the exhibitor area, so they didn’t look around. I know the Space Wolf was there, but I didn’t see him downstairs. So, to those people who did come through the Artist Alley tables, Thank You.
I tried to mix work and play at this show, and it didn’t really work. I couldn’t be away from the table for too long, so that kept me from waiting in a few lines, or sitting in on some panels. When I was at the table, I would have to stand up the whole time, or what was the point of dressing up? I will admit, the weekend wiped me out. I will have to choose one or the other from now on. Either I go to a show to work, or to play, not both.
I learned quite a bit from this show. One of them being that if I want to make money, I would need to ease my moral ground on copyright violation. I could think of a hundred things that people would have bought. Unfortunately, I don’t have permission to use the images. I probably would have paid for the weekend if I just broke the law for a while. I’ve come up with some ideas for new products, so keep an eye out. Right now it’s time to get working for products for Nerdtacular at the end of July. The list is already a bit daunting.