We're diverting to Phoenix

The last time I went to San Diego Comicon, I was one of about 250,000 people – some in very strange dress – squirming my way through the crowds and standing in seemingly interminable lines.  It reminded me a lot of high school.  What was even more irritating than having to spend most of my time standing in line waiting to get a signature or trying to get into even the lamest panel was that I paid a lot of money for the privilege.  And every few years the cost of standing in line went up.  So, after serious reflection, I decided that, even though there were some really good guests I’d be missing out on, I wouldn’t be going back.

My decision made me a little sad.  I enjoy pop culture conventions.  I like getting books signed by authors.  It’s fun to catch previews for the next blockbuster movie or tv series.  It’s entertaining to see some of the clever and detailed costumes fans come up with.  Every once in a while I find something – a book, a t-shirt, a poster – that I or someone I know will appreciate.  I would miss that part of the con-going experience.

So I was really happy to find out that other cities and places are having Comicons, too, like Phoenix and Denver and Las Vegas.  I went to Phoenix Comicon this year.  I chose it partly because of who the author guests were and partly because I have a friend who lives near there and I didn’t need to stay in a hotel.
Smaller is definitely the way to go.  Phoenix didn’t have the big publishers or studios there with the latest arcs and trailers of upcoming programs, but there were plenty of celebrities and authors and all stuff like that there worth attending for.  The venue was big enough to support a vast dealer room; the food choices were better than anything I ever found at the San Diego con; and I was free, with occasional exceptions, to walk through the halls and down the aisles without having to slow my pace to a snail’s crawl as I collided with hordes of storm troopers and superheroes.  The crowds in Phoenix on Thursday and Friday reminded me of Disneyland on a rainy Wednesday in February, which is not bad at all.  The weekend was a little worse, and I did have to stand in line a couple of times for more popular authors, but it was still never as bad as San Diego.

As usual, it was amusing to see who was dressed as whom.  Here’s a partial list of what I saw:
  • Lots of Dr Whos, male and female
  • Assorted superheroes and villains, male and female, including Loki (male and female) and Bane, whom I have not previously seen at cons.
  • A couple of nuns, male and female
  • Many steampunk and neo-Victorian ensembles
  • A few guys without shirts, not even painted green like Hulk.  I don’t know who they were supposed to be but it’s a fashion choice they ought to rethink for aesthetic reasons.  Same with the handful of people who thought underwear = costume.
  • Storm troopers, bounty hunters, and Jedi knights
  • Zombies and zombie killers
  • Furries
  • Much Starfleet crew
  • Lots of “Carry On” shirts with variations
The highlight for me, naturally, was getting books signed, followed closely by attending panels to hear authors speak.  I did pretty well acting normal when getting books signed.  I think I might be getting used to it!  I even had a bit of a conversation about steampunk tropes with Cherie Priest.

So, normally I would recommend Phoenix Comicon and other small versions of same, but maybe I won't.  I don’t want them to become so popular that they get overcrowded.

Not too crowded . . .

. . . but still a little weird.

Brandon Sanderson

 Cherie Priest

Terry Brooks

Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole

 Frank Beddor

Invader Zim and Grr

Indiana Jones



No clue

This isn't the princess you're looking for.

 Two of my favorites:  Ming the Merciless and Prince Vultan

A plethora of Doctors




It got a little more crowded on the weekend.

The dealer room had everything from light sabers . . .

. . . to fezes.  What more could you want?