Phoenix Comicon 2016

For the last three years I have gone to Phoenix Comicon and for three straight years I am amazed at how much it has grown year by year. Thanks to the giant success of comic book movies and TV over the last decade, never have so many people been interested in not just comic book characters and stories, but all types of science fiction, steampunk and other strange but intriguing stories, characters and visuals art styles. Comicon is not just about comics anymore. It has become a place where anyone can go and be surrounded by thousands of people who are interested in similar things without judgement. From a social standpoint, it truly is fascinating to witness.

The growth from Phoenix Comicon each year has made it a destination from higher profile celebrities to come to phoenix and interact with their fans. This year is no different. In previous years, the higher profile celebrities were authors and maybe a TV celebrity here or there. But this year, in addition to authors, we have had several voice actors and film stars. For instance, during the Sean Austin spotlight, fans got to ask the actor questions to discuss his time staring in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Goonies and Rudy. Personally, I was impressed about how packed out the Karate Kid spotlight was. Fans were treated to stories from actors Ralph Macchio, Martian Kove and William Zabka as they discussed their time filming The Karate Kid and told endearing stories of the late great Pat Morita. Not bad for a panel about a movie from 32 years ago. It is truly timeless.

For me, I made it a point to check out the panels for voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker, who are most known for their voice work in videogames and anime. The two would answer questions and tell stories in various voices which made for an entertaining time. Later the two joined several other prominent voice actors to read various scenes from the original Ghostbusters script in all kinds of different character voices and impressions. They had the several hundred people laughing up a storm at their performance which was a joy. I hope they return and do it again next year.

In addition to the panels, Phoenix Comicon has had a fantastic exhibit hall where you can buy things you never knew you needed. Such as a t-shirt with your favorite character on it, a sword, lightsaber, book, comic and many more things you can take home in person without having to wait and pay shipping. Additionally, for a small fee, you can meet your favorite stars and take pictures with them and get their autographs. Phoenix Comicon has something for everyone.

Lastly, I am impressed with the scale and impressive amount of cosplay this year. It seems to get bigger and better each year. Not just by individuals who do a fantastic job with the detail of their costumes, but also by groups who all come together to dress as every character from their favorite comic, show or anime. They really do a remarkable job. Even though not everyone has fantastic costumes, it is also great to see the amount of people who just embrace their inner geek and dress up as their favorite characters. It makes the whole event have a positive vibe as everyone is happy to enjoy themselves with others.

Overall, Phoenix Comicon continues to grow and become a fantastic venue for anyone looking to have a good time exploring the culture they enjoy. It has become a great opportunity to expose yourself to new and exciting things that you never knew would interest you. I look forward to what new and exciting things will come to the expo next year.