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Phoenix Comicon Dominates

Pop Culture In The Metro

Background image by Sam Howzit and used under a Creative Commons license. Logo retrieved from the Phoenix Comicon website.

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Arizona’s Premier Pop Culture Event Is Exactly What It Claims To Be: The Largest, Most Attractive And Hip (For The Allegedly Not Very Hip) Event That Happens In The Southwest

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

March 13, 2013 — Phoenix Comicon may be the only event in the Phoenix metro that literally has something for everyone. It is an all encompassing sensory overload of media and pop culture. To those who have never been, or for the “cool guys” who aren’t into that sort of thing, it might look like a little nerd convention in the desert.

Well, that little nerd convention attracted 40,000 people last year, and it is only getting bigger.

The most common detraction from any comicon — even the ultra chic San Diego con — is that “comics are kid stuff.” Now while most people in defense of the medium would take this opportunity to say something about the value of some obscure comic that sold for a bagillion dollars last year. I think that it sold for a bagillion dollars to some rich guy who wants to relive his childhood — to have that comic collection he always saw on TV.

Guess what comics are for kids, get over it! 40,000 people, many of whom are full grown adults, get to come to the con and bring out the inner child for the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many comics with adult themes and content. But they are still colorfully drawn picture books, just because its mature content doesnt mean its not a childish medium. Childish in the whimsical sense, not the sloppy or silly sense.

But there's so much more than comics going on, as the event boasts, it is “Arizona’s Premier Pop Culture Event,” and it really does bring together all forms of media under one roof to create a really cool event. There is movie stuff, video game stuff, television stuff, roleplaying, table gaming, there is even music based events. The convention really does have it all.

Of course I realize, that the showroom floor, which is usually the highlight of the convention, is for the most part a collection of overpriced stuff nobody on earth needs. It is, one, still really cool, and, two, the best place to see all the cosplay. For me that is absolutely the best part. I’m actually a huge fan of Bruce Campbell based on his work in Burn Notice, and I am still more excited to see the costumes.

While the Phoenix Comicon is obviously growing and taking a strong foothold in the Phoenix Metro it still lacks the overall luster of its sister in San Diego, and some of the other pop culture events in the nation like Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. So since there usually is not any A-list talent, or over the top scenery, the patrons become the stars here.

The local Star Wars fans had some cool scene set ups, and the Steam Punks had their airship lounge, but otherwise the showroom floor was pretty devoid of the extras, just a lot of booths and stuff. So that void enables Phoenix’s many cosplayers to really show out. One in particular, and keep an eye out for him in his huge set of armor, is Jay Zarecki. I’m sure there’s a ton more great one’s out there, but I don’t know them by name and I’ve never seen a cosplay really match up to his.

If cosplay is not your thing check out some of the panel discussions. In my two years covering I’ve gone to some pretty good ones, and missed quite a few more great ones. There are discussions pertaining to comics, video games, film, zine productions, this year will even have a sketch comedy panel. Even a sports fan can have fun at the con with all the cool sports memorabilia in the exhibit hall.

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