Two Reviews on Phoenix Comicon 2013


She Said/She Said: Phoenix Comicon 2013
By Genevieve McBride

This was Skewed & Reviewed’s third year at Phoenix Comicon and once again the annual convention surpassed expectations. Every year I look forward to seeing how inventive the convention cosplayers get and they never disappoint. Of course there’s the opportunity to meet and pick the fascinating brains of the artists and authors and getting up close and personal with some of the actors who’ve played some of our favorite characters on TV and the big screen.
The convention is a great place to be a fan. What I really love about the community found at these fan conventions is the natural acceptance of every attendee’s fanaticism; whether they are respectfully restrained in their passion or exuberantly giddy, there’s an understanding. No raised eyebrows here. Go on with your fanboy or fangirl self.

While some cosplayers push the boundaries in risqué costumes, the con is still very much a family-friendly event. I really enjoyed seeing younger generations in the spirit, and why not? It’s like a pre-function for Halloween. They’re either testing out their costumes for this year or getting one more use out of last year’s garbs. I appreciate the parents who are raising the future convention-goers, especially the parents who put zombie make up on a toddler with guts spilling out of his onesie.
One of the more difficult aspects of the convention is deciding which panels to attend. For the more popular panels, you have to line up early or risk being turned away when the room surpasses standing room only capacity. As he’s done in the previous two years, Skewed & Reviewed’s editor-in-chief, Gareth von Kallenbach drew an SRO crowd for both his movie and video game panels. My friend and I were turned away from the Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi’s panel because we waited until 10 minutes before the panel to look for the room. But we were able to catch Amanda Tapping’s fun panel. She’s incredibly entertaining and shared some great answers to fan questions, especially a young boy who asked “How was the stargate built?” to which she replied, “That’s classified, son.”

Supernatural fans played along in a Q&A session with other fans pretending to be Supernatural characters. The laughter coming from their panel actually drew us from another panel of Josh Whedon’s Tropes. I found the schedule surprisingly devoid of Game of Thrones panels when I was free from manning the Skewed & Reviewed swag table. I hope is remedied next year. I enjoyed last year’s passionate discourse on the book series and television show.

The exhibition hall with vendors, fan clubs, authors and celebrity guest is a great place for photo ops, autographs and personalized sketches from talented artists. I spent a lot of my time studying an impressive Lego exhibit by the Cactus Brick Arizona Lego User Group comprised of Americana scenes, movie scenes and of course comic book heroes.

The convention is a 4 day experience that Arizona fans of all ages should experience at least once. One convention-goer explained why he preferred PCC to the much larger madhouse that’s now San Diego Comic-Con saying, “This is what SDCC used to be. It’s still more about the comic books and fans than the celebrities and pushing TV shows and movies.” PCC continues to get bigger and better every year, and maybe one day someone will say the same thing about PCC, but I hope not. There is something special about PCC that’s homegrown and more personal, more of an annual reunion of like-minded friends than an actual convention.

By Rebecca Fox

So I didn’t get to see nearly any of the Phoenix Comicon this year. Mostly my fault, I left a little later than anticipated and I also decided to go on Sunday thinking it would be less crowded. Wrong! Not only was it still packed until the very end (even after the fire alarm went off) there were six packed halls containing almost everything this geeks heart could want. When I got there I had to make a beeline for Terry Brooks table to get his autograph (don’t fret, I got it and for free!) and only had a few moments to enjoy some of the sights. I enjoyed the Lego table, amazing as always. A few vendor tables; I’m a fan of Antickquities now, they had really fun Steam punk inspired jewelry and hair pieces. All too quickly it was time for the panel Worldbuilding in Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Terry Brooks participated, as well as Brandon Sanderson, Timothy Zahn, Peter Orullian and Michael A Stackpole. It was a Q&A on where they came up with ideas for the worlds in their books and how new writers can best tackle that monumental challenge of not only creating it but conveying it to readers. They all had excellent tidbits and tips to pass along that I feel writers would be able to use themselves. Either to create a world slightly different from ours or one that would be totally unrecognizable to us. They were engaging, particularly Terry Brooks, Michael A Stackpole and Brandon Sanderson. I hope they’ll be back next year.

Right as the panel was ending and I was gearing up to excitedly walk through as many halls as I could manage, the fire alarm went off. Everyone, I mean everyone in the entire convention center filed out in a very calm and orderly manner and we waited on the sidewalks for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes. By the time they let us back in I figured it was close to being over so I decided to leave less than satisfied with how much I was able to experience. I later learned they extended the con until 6:30PM. I wish they had announced that over the speakers.

The costumes were creative this year and ran the usual gambit from video games, anime, movies and of course comic books. I tip my hat to the man and woman who dressed up as Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas; spot on. Next year I will get pictures to share. I also plan to be much more prepared and to leave on time because it seems this is getting bigger every year and that is fine with me!