“Well, at least it’s a dry heat…” – Anonymous
Phoenix Comicon! Hi! It’s my first time experiencing all your craziness. I mean, it’d be physically impossible to experience everything, I did my best scurrying through four epic levels of convention floor, and crossing multiple bridges to grab a seat in a spotlight panel for some talent appreciation.
The vendors were plentiful, the artists well-equipped, and the programming was definitely abundant.So of course, I had to save my appetite during this pop culture feast, and pacing for the perfect media moments, I tell ya, was not easy being new to the flow of this convention.
But here’s what I personally loved most from this past weekend at Phoenix Comicon (PHXCC):
- The Karate Kid Panel: Nostalgic much? Yes. I honestly wasn’t expecting to see this many people attend the panel of such an oldie. Normally, when I see TBT type stuff in the local cons, there’s little response, but this was in the biggest hall at the convention. The Q&A was inspiring too. People were talking about how The Karate Kid has literally shaped their lives from bullying to martial arts training. For me The Karate Kid was around during a crucial part of my adolescents, when being a fish out of water and fitting in meant a lot. I was hooked ever since. Also, I know the movie by memory.
- Animaniacs – The main reason I decided to even fly into 117F weather was to attend an Animaniacs cast panel and singalong. Who knew that three out of the five pronounced guests would not make it and the panels would be cancelled? Super bummer. Welp. There was a consolation prize. One was meeting the coolest Animaniacs cosplayers. They were totally into character, had a deep love for the show and even gave me a kazoo as a gift! Totally made my day. Oh yeah, I also met Keith Tucker. He storyboarded the Animaniacs and every cartoon in the 90s.
- Twisted Toonz: I had no idea that the Twisted Toonz panel was going to be what it was, a voice actor’s improv-slash-comedy-slash-script-read-slash-hilarious show. Voice actors Jess Harnell (Animaniacs), Nolan North (Uncharted), Troy Baker (The Last of Us), DC Douglas (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Maurice LaMarche (Futurama) all read the entire script of Ghostbusters as different actors, characters, improv’ing lines while still playing the role. It was hilarious. It was also incredible to see the wide range and method put into their craft. If you ever get a chance to see a Twisted Toonz panel at a convention, don’t miss out.
- Troy Baker’s Acoustic Performance: While most people know Troy for his voice-acting, little do they know that he’s an artist at heart and originally a musician. Troy performed an acoustic set of music from his album Sitting In The Fire while covering classic grunge songs. With an emphasis on Radiohead’s Creep, he emphasized that we are all misfits who belong in this world. No doubt, the people in the room felt a bit more at home during his performance. It was in a small intimate setting with no frills. Just a mic, a guitar, a cajon, and some honest chords.
- Con Friends Old and New: It’s always good to meet with old friends at a convention. Brandon and Nessa have been in our con circle for almost a year now. My friends and I used to run a podcast, and we were able to interview them last year in Long Beach for their kickass cosplays. But the cool thing is that, throughout the con life, we’ve kept in touch. Now, we’re in Phoenix, their neck of the woods experiencing their world, as opposed to the Cali con life. I’m so glad we were able to catch up and nerd out as a con friends.
But I guess this is why I love coming to cons the most even more than meeting celebs or buying stuff that will be replaced by more stuff. It’s the people. While waiting in lines, I met cool people and cosplayers who were excited about being at the convention and being a part of it all.Phoenix Comicon, you’re huge, massive, kind of like a mini SDCC. I can honestly see you going in that direction. You still have some kinks to work out, but I’d assume you’re doing the best with the staff and volunteers given.
And holy smokes, if all the locals say you’re getting bigger, you need more people, both celebrity guests and volunteers.You’ve put together programs, panels, celebrity moments, artists, and an overall ebb and flow of a fast-growing con experience. Also, you keep people sheltered from that infernal heat blazing outside.
And for that, I thank you.
Should travel plans allow next year, I shall return.
What’s what your first pop culture convention that you’ve ever attended? How was your experience?
Sound off in the comments below!