Friday, I visited Phoenix Comicon 2012 for just the one day. It was so exciting, so worth the time, that I wish I could have stayed the entire four days. Maybe next year. Each year, 25,000 visitors flow thorugh the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix, many dressed as their favorite characters from movies, comics and video games. I saw Pradators, Imperial Stormtroopers. Browncoats, Ninjas, Assassins, superheros and my favorite, scanitily clad superheroines. Scores of zombies in various degrees of fleshy dissolution lumbered through the corridors. Hundreds of exhibitor booths and artist and author tables filled the massive hall, including a Ghost Busters car with crew and a medieval weapons display. I saw amazing displays of artwork from drawings to metal crafts. Television and movie personalities were on hand for photo sessions – William Shatner, Jean Luc Picard, Brent Spiner, Lavar Burton, Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis of Star Trek fame, Tony Amedola of Star Gate, Erin Gray and Gil Gerard of Buck Rogers, Casper Van Dien of Starship Troopers and, for some strange reason, Ed Asner of Mary Tyler Moore. Maybe there was a hidden supernatural element to the show I missed growing up.
Arizona authors Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse and Jeff Marriotte were a few of the dozens signing books, as well as horror authors Joe R. Landsdale and his son Keith, Joel Nassise and Peter S. Beagle. Dozens of artists displayed their wares from horror and fantasy to anime.
Over a hundred original and fan movies and documentaries ran conintuously in several different venues, and a litany of panels from Adapting Licensed Properties to Comics to Zombies in the Classroom – literally more than a hundred different panels over the four-day period – assured any interest could be appeased. There were gaming rooms galore for those whose hand-eye and spatial coordination exceeds mine.
However, my favorite passtime was simply standing back and watching the participants. Children gawked (As well as a few adults) at their favorite comicbook or movie superheroes, book lovers burrowed feverishly through stacks of books for that magic jewel, graphic comic connosieurs picked through the panalopy of latest editions or rare finds, and art lovers measured pieces for their walls. The parade of costumed characters took on the personna of their chosen heroes, sauntering proudly through the hall, mobile exhibits to pop culture.
Ultimately, Phoenix Comicon is a way for writers and artists to connect with their customers and fan base, but inherent to any such endevor, I witnessed people having fun, casting off the petty problems of reality to revel in a make-believe world of their own creation, for truly, each one of us is a child at heart.