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Phoenix Comicon Delivers

Fun, Expression Yet Again

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Regina Rodriguez shows off some of her Jedi maneuvers in her Ahsoka costume. Photo by Jeff Moses.
The Southwest’s Premier Comics and Pop-Culture Event Brings Out The Best In Cosplay, Exhibits And Guests Along With After Parties That Got Beats Thumping

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

May 29, 2013 — Memorial Day weekend has just passed, and here in the Phoenix Metro that means Phoenix Comicon has come and gone and once again “the signature pop culture experience of the southwest,” delivered with great cosplays, interesting exhibits and all the pop culture memorabilia one can handle.

As usual with Phoenix Comicon the do it yourself costumes were the best part. Phoenix has never been able to stack up to San Diego — and quite honestly I doubt that ever was the goal — as far as guests and programing. But Phoenix is second to none for innovative cosplays, gender bending crossplays and imaginative crossover plays.

For straight up cosplays Eddie Wouters, DIY Doctor Octopus was one of the best creating Doc Oc’s signature tentacles out of cardboard and wire hangers as well as the DIY avengers who came out in full force with every character represented. Not only did the Avengers look awesome, but they also took on a mission.

See Modern Times Magazine photo slideshow of Phoenix Comicon 2013

While doing a photo op for a civilian they encountered a missing purse and dispersed to do their superhero duties and track down the owner of the purse. They also defeated their crossplaying friend Loki in the process.

As for the crossplays, one of the best I have ever seen was the all-female Sonic the Hedgehog characters along with villain Doctor Robotnik. Sisters Kylee and Brecklyn Grimes were Sonic and Tails while friend Erika Castaldo was Shadow and brother Jeremy Grimes was the evil Robotnik. The glammed up gals looked great portraying the speedy hedgehog and his consorts.

Another truly innovative cosplay was hipster versions of Disney Princesses Belle and Ariel. The nerd glasses oversized belts and sweater dresses were some of the simplest, yet most creative cosplays in the place.

The caliber of guest had a significant drop off from last year, but it has to be hard to follow up after having William Shatner as the main draw and Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, and Lou Ferrigno backing him up in 2012. But this year’s cast including John Barrowman, Michael Rooker, Dean Cain and Wil Wheaton was nothing to scoff at for comic book and pop culture fans.

Another great feature of this year’s convention was the 501st Legion’s Dune Sea Garrison Chapter’s Star Wars photo ops. The International Star Wars costuming club went all out this year and brought in sets for people to take photos in front of the bar at the Mos Eisley Cantina, taking the Han Solo shot at Gweedo, and in front of the Millennium Falcon in the hangar of the Death Star. As well as some of the most true form character costumes to go along with their always entertaining set up including a remote controlled life size R2D2.

See Modern Times Magazine photo slideshow of Phoenix Comicon 2013

Another exhibitor that went above and beyond the call of duty was 13th Floor Entertainment. The haunted house entrepreneurs pulled out all the stops with their creature creations with their horrifying demon complete with a 15 foot wingspan.

Also new to this year’s con was the pop-culture car show directly in front of the convention center’s Third Street entrance. The car show featured among others the Delorean from Back to the Future, the Arizona Ghostbusters’ Ecto 1, and two of the Department of Zombie Defense’s armed vehicles.

Coupled with the excellent deals provided by downtown businesses for patrons with comicon passes, and the infamous Comicon hotel parties and raves and it all adds up to an exciting experience.

But Ash Avenue Comics took the after parties one step further with a comic book inspired hip-hop show at the downtown Monarch Theater. The Tempe independent comic shop had Phoenix metro hip-hop legends The Insects headline a show along with Random AKA Mega Ran and rap activists Shining Soul that was all hosted by Los Angeles rapper Murs, who also took the time to hang around the Ash Ave Comics booth and sign copies of his new comic/musical release Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl.

One of the most notable experiences of the weekend however had to be the late Sunday afternoon evacuation of the convention center. At just about 4 p.m. the convention center’s emergency alarm was tripped and all of the emergency lights began flashing. It being Comicon, many visitors assumed the alarm may have been a part of the show. But after a few minutes everyone realized it was no show for the masses, but a legitimate emergency. However the line for John Barrowman autographs remained unconcerned.

See Modern Times Magazine photo slideshow of Phoenix Comicon 2013

One of the first rumors to sweep through the crowds was that there was a bomb threat made against the convention center, a rumor that was made stronger once the security guards at the event asked the participants to move across the street from the building.

Once across the street for a few minutes all of the patrons were allowed back in. the official story now is that there was a kitchen fire within the convention center.

Unfortunately, Comicon was forced to cancel all of the workshops and programming following the disturbance but the hours for the exhibit hall was extended until 6:30 p.m.

Jeff Moses is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at jmoses@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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