Amazing Arizona Comicon: Small Yet Strong

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Amazing Arizona Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center South in Phoenix, Arizona. Although this convention was relegated to only a single building (one large convention floor, a small gaming space and two small panel rooms) it was very organized. Before entering the convention hall, convention center staff greeted customers and directed them to either the purchasing line or will call. Individuals who purchased their tickets online or exhibitors/media/professionals were guided inside and greeted with large displays that coordinated which line was associated with each role. It was a pleasantly fast registration process (I was surprised they did not ask for ID) and the staff were extremely friendly. With registration complete my companion and I rushed to a local prop maker’s booth who had, a few days before, invited me to participate in an advanced cosplay panel as a guest. Were it not for his guidance I may have been late to the panel. This was one of the few frustrating aspects of this convention. The panel rooms were not well marked and took some guidance from guests, exhibitors or personnel to locate. I was pleased that, once I found someone to ask, I was always given correct directions. It was just upsetting that I had to ask (y’know, because I am a stubborn adult who likes to think she can read a map when needed…).

The panel was in a small room located at the back of a large gaming space…

Unmarked Panel Room @ AACC

Unmarked Panel Room @ AACC

Once inside the room it was of a decent size. The panel only had one microphone so we had to share and repeat answers/questions/tips often. There was a terrific turn out and I couldn’t be happier with the interaction of the crowd (all too often con attendees are too scared, embarrassed or nervous to ask questions so it was a breath of fresh air to have curious onlookers eager to ask questions). Allen Amis (of Allen Amis Creations) provided great insight on mold making and casting techniques while Jackie and Garrick Backer (of KnowOne’s Designs) touched upon foam and vacuum forming processes. I spoke about patterning, getting familiar with plastics and the effectiveness of Worbla.

As our panel wrapped up my cosplay companion (1/3 of Thermo Cosplay) had a chance to sneak off and take some great pictures of our GoGo Tomago and Yokai costumes from Big Hero 6…

Yokai by Thermo Cosplay

Yokai by Thermo Cosplay

GoGo Tomago by Thermo Cosplay

GoGo Tomago by Thermo Cosplay

The rest of day one was spent wandering the convention exhibitor hall and admiring the vendors. Here a few I would like to credit for their customer service and bright personalities…

  1. Kightingail: Wayne Gardiner is an incredible artist and a very friendly individual. Check out his Facebook page here.
  2. Allen Amis Creations / Anabel Martinez : There is nothing that this power couple can’t do! Together they make an awesome team and they are a popular booth at many Arizona conventions.
  3. Reynolds Advanced Materials: Reynolds offers everything you could need to cast & mold.

Sunday was my cosplay day. The day where I hunted down interesting cosplayers and asked them questions. One just cosplayer was Amber Hunt of Firelight Cosplay. Firelight cosplay is comprised of two people: Amber Hunt and her husband, Matthew Hunt. Amber is an experienced cosplayer and Matthew is her very talented photographer. They shared with me their panel time for Cosplay Photography. That panel blew me away! It discussed composition, lighting, posing, camera angles, camera types and artistry. Sam Mort Productions partnered with Firelight for this panel and selected attendees from the panel to come on stage and have their photos taken. The experience was enlightening. I would highly recommend either Sam or Matthew for your cosplay photography needs. Shortly after this panel the convention began to wrap up and I felt a sort of disappointment I often feel at conventions I enjoyed. The type of disappointment where you wish the show could go on for just one more day so you can explore every nook and cranny of the event. Alas, this convention may have been small but it was most certainly mighty! I am looking forward to next year with much fervor.

But what is a convention without photos?!!! Here are a few shots I was able to capture (lighting was a little tricky at this convention so I apologize in advance)…

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