A Cosplay Disaster
Strikes Phoenix Comicon
On The Opening Day of The 2017 Convention, A Lone Idiot Brings Real Guns, Scares The Crap Out Of A Whole Bunch Of People And Adds To Long-time Attendee Frustrations
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By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine
May 26, 2017 — For as much as Matt Solberg and the other “executives” at Phoenix Comicon might not want to hear it, opening day 2017 was THE WORST opening day ever for the annual culture fest.
A not very bright 30-year-old guy brought several, very real guns while wearing body armor — not as a cosplayer mind you — but in some sort of weird vendetta with police officers, according to Phoenix police. They arrested the violator and all props were summarily banned.
I repeat, all props are banned for everyone for the remainder of the con.
No more Harley Quinn hammers.
No more staffs for Gandalfs.
No more Clint Eastwoods with the most powerful (fake) handguns in the world.
No more Phoenix Comicon?
Anyone who volunteered at the con, or attended the con over the past several years know that 2017 is year one in the rebirth of Phoenix Comicon. Gone are the hordes of unpaid volunteers. In are the smattering of paid staff.
Pre-Prop Ban Slide Show
The last thing Solberg, director and founder of Phoenix Comicon and its business entity Square Egg Entertainment needed was for this con to look like it suffered from a lack of good security.
But it did. Early and often.
As the publisher of this magazine that has covered Phoenix Comicon for more than 6 years, I took day one of Modern Times Magazine coverage. Ryan Scott, Mike Sallusito, Stephanie Sparer and maybe more will take the rest of the weekend. I got there about 1:30 p.m. just after the melee unaware of what had just transpired. There was a weird vibe entering the facility. A convention-hired security guard was trying to restrict entrance at a wall full of unlocked doors.
She was frantic about not getting “into trouble.”
Little did I know, but at the same time, Phoenix Police were holding a press conference announcing a decision had been made to ban all “costume props,” for the remainder of the con.
At about 7 p.m. an email from Solberg laid bare the the mind-blowing impact.
“Costume props will no longer be allowed on-site. All costume props should be left at home, in your car, or in your hotel room. This includes costume props for staff, crew, costuming groups, panelists, and participants in the masquerade ball. Any panels or activities impacted by this change will be updated on the website soon,” Solberg wrote. “All costume props are no longer allowed, including foam and cardboard props, shields and sabers. Purchased props will be wrapped by the vendors and must remain so while they are on-site. We encourage you to take your purchases to your car or hotel as soon as possible after purchase.”
While safety is paramount, what the hell is a Phoenix Comicon without props?
It’s a Superman without the ability to fly, Batman without the bats.
Dude, might as well cancel the con.
Or maybe you should have cancelled yourself.
If you would have just sold the convention to the community (mainly the volunteers who busted their asses year after year) instead of trying to keep this former community as your own “precious” in the words of Gollum, you likely wouldn’t have failed to have a weapon’s check station like there was in the past at all entrances.
Who knows, maybe police stopped a mass shooting that even the best security would have been unable to avert.
But right now, no one knows the potential shooter’s motivation.
Heck, this guy could have been a former disgruntled volunteer and police and Solberg realize there might be many more.
Either way, things could only get better.
Because beyond a mass shooting, they couldn’t get any worse.
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