Much More Than The Floor
At Phoenix Comicon 2016
By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine
May 9, 2016 — Although the increasing temperatures that are already turning your car into a sauna may make you dread the upcoming summer months, the season isn’t all bad for Phoenicians. In fact, summer will usher in some great events for Phoenix residents and one of those things is, of course, Phoenix Comicon. The comic book-centric event will once again take over the Phoenix Convention Center this year from June 2 to 5 at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., Phoenix.
For more information, a full list of guests and programming or to purchase passes visit www.PhoenixComicon.com
The annual pop-culture circus has become one of the largest in the country in recent years, with attendance topping 75,000 people for two years in a row. It is clear that Phoenix Comicon is far more than the humble comic book trade show it started out as in 2002. Now, programming ranges vastly from movie and TV stars to filmmakers and some of the biggest names in the comic book industry.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran of the convention scene or if this is your very first time going to an event such as this, there are a lot of things to know about Phoenix Comicon 2016 and there some things that you would be a fool to miss out on. Here is your guide on what to know and what not to miss this year.
Many people, even people who have been to Phoenix Comicon or other such events, assume it is just an exhibitor hall, sweaty cosplayers and food trucks. However, there is way more to it than that. Even outside of the huge, recognizable names at the event there are literally hundreds of different panels, Q&A’s and all sorts of different programming throughout the entire convention. Researching the schedule ahead of time and planning out what to do each day can really help people get the most out of their experience. You can even make a ConQuest through the site, which will map out everything you want to do and if there are any scheduling conflicts. Check out the full programming guide at www.phoenixcomicon.com/programming_guide.
Prepare to Sweat
Even though much of the con takes place indoors, there is enough walking around outside that the summer heat can become an issue, especially for those in full body cosplay. Just be prepared for the heat, because this is Arizona and it will be a factor.
Though there is a lot going on for adults, parents should not be shy about taking their kids to Phoenix Comicon. There is a ton of youth programing throughout the entire convention. Also, taking a young kid won’t break the bank, because kids 2 and under are free and a Sidekick Badge can be purchased for kids aged 3 to 12 for just $5.
Become A Volunteer
An event the size of Phoenix Comicon takes a whole lot of people to make it run smoothly, and volunteers are a huge part of that. As an added bonus, anyone who volunteers at the event gets to attend a day for free. However, anyone looking to get a free badge in exchange for a little bit of work may be out of luck, at least for this year. Though Phoenix Comicon is almost always in need of volunteers, currently the event has no open volunteer positions. Those interested in volunteering at a later event can still submit their candidacy through the website though. All of the volunteer info is available at www.phoenixcomicon.com/volunteer.
Buy Passes Before You Arrive
Passes, or “memberships” as they’re called, are available now for Phoenix Comicon. Individual day passes can be purchased, but the price of a full event membership is significantly less than it would be if all of the days were purchased individually. This year there is a fast pass available as well which would allow for such special individuals to get ahead in photo op or autograph lines, but they are a fairly steep investment at $249. Specific photo ops or autograph passes can be purchased in advance as well. To buy a membership, photo op or autograph, visit phoenixcomicon.com/transactions#/transactions.
Cell phone coverage, or lack thereof?
One particular frustration in past years at Phoenix Comicon is the very spotty cellphone coverage at the Phoenix Convention Center during the event. Even sending a text can be problematic at times. However, according to the organizers of Phoenix Comicon, the convention center recently upgraded their tech to be able to handle 100,000 simultaneous signals. So the cell coverage and wireless internet should be much better this year. So don’t worry, you should be able to live tweet panels and Vine the whole thing with ease.
Night Life Means Party
Lastly, as we mentioned before, there is a lot more to the con than just the exhibitor hall. Even once the exhibitor hall closes, there are tons of things going on at and around the convention center. There are always parties at the various hotels, events hosted at nearby establishments and panels that take place into the wee hours of the morning. So be sure to see what is going on and don’t miss out on the fun just because the part of the day that involves buying stuff is over.
Things Not to Miss
Cobra Arcade Lounge - Cobra Arcade Bar has been keeping gamers and drinkers happy in Phoenix this year, and they will be bringing that vibe to Phoenix Comicon this year at the Cobra Arcade Lounge. All of the classic arcade games in the lounge will be set to free play all weekend plus there will be special guests dropping by and gaming tournaments throughout the weekend.
Lightsaber Combat Tournament - Have you ever thought you might have some mad Jedi skills to show off? Well, the first ever Phoenix Lightsaber Tournament during Phoenix Comicon is just the place to do so. Contestants will face off in a one-on-one, point based tournament, with lightsabers and safety gear provided. Even as a spectator, this has a lot of entertainment potential. Saturday, 3 p.m., outside on Third Street.
Character Meetups - Throughout the weekend there will be various character meetups for fans and cosplayers who are enthusiastic about a particular character or theme. Everything from Captain America to Suicide Squad will be taking place, so be sure to check the schedule to see what meetup suits your fancy, because what's better than one Deadpool? A whole room full of Deadpools, of course. This year, meetups are localized to North Building, room 126C, although some will surely bristle against organization.
Animaniacs - one of the biggest gets the Phoenix Comicon team has arranged is an Animaniacs reunion, which will feature the original voice actors Maurice LaMarche, Jess Harnell, Rob Paulsen, and Tress MacNeille. Emmy/Peabody/Annie Award-winning script and songwriter Randy Rogel, who wrote many scripts and much of the music for the show, will be joining in on the fun as well. No doubt, this will be a truly special moment for this year's con. Saturday, 6 p.m., West Building, 301A.
Game Central — Dungeons and Dragons. Marvel. If you can think of a game in any way associated with Geek and comic book culture, there is a kindred spirit — or group of spirits — waiting to play with you over the four days of Phoenix Comicon. The list is too long to mention, but if you have a favorite, click the link and see if it's there.
Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown, or P.U.G.S. — This trivia contest of all things Geek is back for a sixth tournament. Qualifiers are Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in room 232ABC and the same time and location Friday night for the finals. For questions, comments, or ideas email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phoenix Comicon Film Festival — The comic book world has taken over mainstream cinema and now cinema is fighting back — a bit at least. Phoenix Comicon is having its eighth annual film festival during the convention and in-between panels and shopping on the sales floor, it is always nice to take a trip to a dark room for a film. And most of them are good, too.
Cosplay Fashion Show — Everyone who has been in the vicinity of a comic convention knows that many attendees like to dress as their favorite characters. Of course, Phoenix is no different, but perhaps for the best view of some of the best costumes, go to one place: 2:30 p.m., West building, room 212ABC Friday, June 3.
Deadpool Beauty and Talent Pageant — He's the fairest of them all, after all. Right? Well, all of the Deadpool wannabes need to get their shit together for a real take on a light hearted subject. There will be swimsuit, question and answer and other skills to be shown before one lucky person is named "Most Deadpool Deadpool." Thursday, June 2 at 8 p.m., West Building, room 212ABC.
Steampunk Fashion Show — Steampunk has gone mainstream, which is likely why this event has been packed the past couple of years and promises to be the same way this year. Saturday, 2:30 p.m., West Building, room 212ABC. To participate contact Dee Astell at email@example.com.
Masquerade Costume Contest — You’ve done all of the work, you’ve spent the time and everyone says your costume is awesome. So, get up on stage and get judged! Saturday, June 4 at 8 p.m.,
West Building, room 301BCD. Oh yea, this will be hosted by TD-0013.
Phoenix Comicon is taking place from June 2 to 5 at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., Phoenix. For more information, a full list of guests and programming or to purchase passes visit www.PhoenixComicon.com
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