Phoenix Comicon…how does one summarize an event such as this? There were costumes, musicians, parties, exhibitors, artists, actors, actresses, car shows, food trucks, gaming, masquerades, heroes, heroines, Jawas…seriously, JAWAS and SO much more! Allow me to provide you with a little glimpse into the madness, insanity and joy that was Phoenix Comicon 2016…
Also known as hour zero for Phoenix Comicon volunteers, this day began at noon with amazing panels. I strolled into the registration area around 2:30 wearing a cooler version of my Jedi Nagai custom costume (see image to the left) and discovered a very organized area. Ok…so I did not DISCOVER it really. In fact, I helped setup the registration area on Tuesday which was an eye opening experience (have you ever had to negotiate where a network drop will go? It’s very…interesting…). I volunteer for PCC regularly and somewhere along the way I forgot just how much work its volunteers are asked to complete the days leading up to the convention. These folks are hardy and they deserve a round of applause for their laborious endeavors.
Volunteer puffing aside, registration was rather orderly. Panelists, Media, Pros and Press were on one side of the registration hall while Members and Mobility were on the other. Everyone flowed through the center and exited out of the sides. There were moments of congestion (aka the hub bub that was Friday morning) however; it seemed as though the Line and Access personnel were striving for order amidst the excitement. Once I exited registration I wandered the halls a bit. It was a blistering 108 degrees that day so I did my best to stay inside (I had a panel at 7 and did not want to lose ALL of my makeup) but there were SO many interesting things outside that I did end up sweating off my neck…yep, I had a white face and a weird crying neck. It was worth it. There were cars from Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and Batman that I simply could not ignore.
With my energy spent I meandered over to Room North 125AB (where I would spend my weekend as ALL FOUR PANELS I and my friends were hosting somehow ended up in this room). This room had over 250 seats and was packed for most of the weekend (woohoo!). My first panel was shared with the lovely StevieSpade Cosplay. We presented our knowledge on writing contracts for everything from illustrating, to animating, to costumery. The panel was very modest and proved to create a great deal of debate around derivative works and their legality. Knowing full well that Friday was going to be busy, I bid my friend adieu and rushed home to prepare.
Lina (my cosplay parnter) and I woke early, geared up and drove to the convention bright eyed and bushy tailed. We had TWO panels that afternoon and we were PSYCHED to get to them. The first panel discussed creating Cosplay Weapons on a Budget. We were assisted by StevieSpade Cosplay and the incredible Greg Beesch in presenting this panel. Our panel room was filled for the entirety of the discussion and we had weapons from all genres on display. After the panel I had the opportunity to try on Greg’s amazing Fem Thor helmet and wield the ever might Mjolnir as ThorMore: Defender of the Clay! Y’know…because I was dressed as a Claymore (awesome anime by the way) and wielding Thor’s hammer. Ok, I’ll tone down the geek.
After our weapons panel we hosted a Cosplay Armor 101 panel. Stevie, Lina and I had the chance to poll the audience for what they expected from the panel and it was a wild success. If you EVER do a panel ALWAYS ask your audience what they want to get out of it. It REALLY helps drive the conversation. We did run into our favorite pop tab costumer: Koyote Khains. This time she donned the guise of pop tab Captain America. It is truly inspiring the way in which she turns simple pop tabs into something so complex; be sure to check her page out and give her some love! We wrapped up Friday with a sprint around the Exhibitor hall and plans for Saturday aka Masquerade day!
DIRTY PAIR FLASH. Say what???? Lina and I wore our Dirty Pair Flash cosplays (I was Yuri and she was Kei) ALL day. We arrived at the convention by 11:15 AM, attended Masquerade Pre-Judging, learned that were are now Journeyman/Veteran level cosplayers (woohoo) and discovered that when you lift your leg onto a table with a thigh high boot to show off your zipper skills you MAY rip something. Yeah…hoorah for the Cosplay Medic station that Phoenix Comicon had. It was easily accessible, photography was prohibited, they had a changing area for people who needed to be indecent to change and there were repair supplies galore! I made the quick repair to my boot (and learned my lesson about flexibility along the way) all without having to fend off curious onlookers or creeps who want a “sexy” leg shot. Honestly, Phoenix Comicon is dedicated to protecting their cosplayers and I TRULY appreciate it.
Saturday was spent roaming the halls, panels and taking photos. We ran into our friend StevieSpade and caught some great photos of her Erza cosplay (check out the gallery below). We all had a chance to capture these fun moments…
Once we had our fill of posing awkwardly in hallways we nourished ourselves and reported to the Masquerde Green Room. That Green Room was a party! Everyone was in GREAT spirits and we all shared our costume constructs freely. By show time we were lined up, paraded down a secret hallway to a secret elevator to the back stage of the performance platform and (eventually) each of us was led on stage. Here is a quick video of our skit…
The Masquerade lasted THREE HOURS and the performances/costumes were spectacular! Though we did not place we had a wonderful day at the convention and after twelve hours of excitement it was time to rest our eyes as we still had one more panel to run on Sunday!
Sunday morning was our last panel: The Stigma of Bought vs Made Cosplay. Again this was a smaller turn out but the discussion it generated was fantastic. Everyone offered their own perspective on cosplay and we each shared ways of dealing with “trolls” who harassed and/or negatively remarked on our costumes. After the panel we had a brief video shoot with the wonderful Victoria Rincon; then we explored the Exhibitor hall and FINALLY had enough time to make some purchases. With the weekend at its end we were left feeling satisfied, exhausted and a little sad because let’s be honest here: conventions may be insanely busy but the amount of enthusiasm and positive energy they generate is intoxicating. I would encourage you all to visit Phoenix next year during the Memorial weekend and try your hand at becoming a member of Phoenix Comicon.
Here are a few more photos that were captured of us and our friends over the weekend…
Photos provided by: ThermoCosplay, Greg Beesch, John Paul Ried, Trish Connelly, Jaime Ballesteros, Koyote Khains and StevieSpade Cosplay.
Video supplied by: BLAo9.