The 2012 Phoenix Comicon kicked-off Thursday evening with amazing artists, creative costumes, a plethora of pop culture commodities, pleasurable panels and zombie zaniness. Many con vendors felt that the Thursday attendance was much larger than expected; and that could be a harbinger of humongous crowds over the upcoming holiday weekend.
Many attendees were busy buying costume accessories for the weekend events like the Geek Prom and the Steampunk Ball, while others were grabbing hard-to-get con exclusives before they are all gone. Everything appeared to be going off without a hitch, which is a testament to the organizers’ ten years of experience with the event that first happened in 2002.
Con veterans will attest that there is so much to see and do at a pop culture event like the Phoenix Comicon that you have to budget your time wisely and selectively pick and choose the things you want to see. While others are content just to wander aimlessly and take it in as it comes. Here are a few of the highlights I experienced in my meanderings on opening night.
The Department of Zombie Defense (DOZD) – This is a great group of guys that are having a blast, blasting zombies and keeping us all safe from a potential uprising. I had a lot of fun talking to this team at booth #1063 and you can read the DOZD interview HERE.
The Sights – There is so much to look at, but some of the cool things that caught my eye Thursday evening were the giant Statue of Liberty balloon at the Arizona Ghostbusters area. They have some great costumes and props, including the Ghostbuster-Mobile. Nearby the Ghostbusters is a huge elaborate display of a city built entirely of Legos, constructed by the Cactus Brick Lego User Group.
Among the great art available, I saw a very cool Simpsons as The Avengers art print at the BIGCHRIS’ table #827 and he also has some incredible raffle opportunities going on. There were a couple remote control robots running around the floor, making for some great photo ops, and there were plenty of costumed characters taking pictures with friends and fans. I ran into a couple of adorable tykes, Benjamin and Franky, that were decked out in their Spidey and Woody (Toy Story) gear and hamming it up for the cameras.
Sketch-off – I attended the first of four Sketch-off events where a group of artists create sketches of crazy ideas thrown out by the audience. The artist and assignments in round one were: Al Sparrow, drawing Goku versus Batman, Jeff Pina, sketching Darth Vader versus Voldemort , Whilce Portacio, drawing Edward Scissorhands giving Wolverine a haircut, Ryan Kincaid, sketching Ghost Rider versus Spawn and my favorite of the event, Stuart Sayger, drawing Flash Gordon versus the Flash.
There will be two more rounds of the Sketch-offs on Friday and one on Saturday before all the art will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity.
Phoenix Ultimate Geek Showdown (PUGS) – PUGS was hosted by Ignite Phoenix’s Jeff Moriarty and facilitated by Andrea Brown (the Midnite Movie Mamacita) and Jonathan Simon (Lightning Octopus). The PUGS is eight rounds of geek debate on wacky nerdcentric topics. The contestants have 5 minutes to win over the crowd with their knowledge or blustery passion for their given topic, unknown to the debaters until the clock starts.
Thursday’s PUGS covered the following topics:
Which would you rather have, Harry Potter’s wand or the power if the Force?
Winner: The Force (Zarah) – “With the force you can do anything you want!”
Which kills children more efficiently, Battle Royale or Hunger Games?
Winner: Battle Royale (Audrey) – “In Battle Royale, you are guaranteed to die!”
Which is the better spaceship, the Millennium Falcon or Serenity?
Winner: Serenity (Robert) – “Serenity has the better crew.”
Who was the most brilliant mind of the 1980’s, Doc Brown or Dr. Egon Spengler?
Winner – Doc Brown (Ben) – “Found the best use ever for a Delorean!”
Who has the better sword, He-Man or Lion-O?
Winner: He-Man (Art) – “Sword is bigger, firmer and more unique.”
Who is the tougher dwarf, Gimli or Lannister?
Winner: Lannister (Brad) – “Doesn’t have to hide behind a beard.”
Who will die first in a horror movie, the jock or the bimbo?
Winner: Bimbo (Richard) – “Everyone wants to see her the least.”
Who has the better chest, Khan or the George Clooney Batman?
Winner: Khan (Miguel) – “The greatest nipples ever captured on film.”
The eight PUGS winners will be back for the final competition on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. This event is hilarious and highly recommended.
Other events to look for on Friday are the Bleeding Cool Fan Awards (Phoenix Comicon’s own awards event), the Star Wars Fashion Show, Geek Speed-Dating, two more Sketch-off events, the Steampunk Ball, the Zombie Beauty Pageant and the Zombie Walk.