This weekend, comic book fans in the Metro Phoenix area have another opportunity to gather and celebrate their fandom at a new comic con, AZ Eventure Con. Staged at Dave & Buster’s in Glendale, and amidst the cancellations of other similar shows in the Valley, I asked comic shop owner/show organizer Jesse James Criscione some pointed questions about the con’s origins.
What does “Eventure” mean?
JJ: Eventure is a combination of Event and Adventure. A gathering of comic book creators and their fans should always be both, and that’s our goal with AZ Eventure Con. We want our attendees AND our guests and artists to feel like they experienced something over our two days, rather than simply attending and spending money on stuff that you could usually get anywhere else in the country.
Why Dave & Buster’s, and what are some of the advantages and challenges of this unique venue?
JJ: The advantage of partnering with Dave and Buster’s is obvious. It allows us to start with something intimate and focused. What we envisioned was not a 20,000 person attendee base coming to see the same things that exist at every other show. What we want, as fans of comics (the source material for all the movies and TV shows that are so popular now) is to bring the focus back to those that create the comics. Dave and Buster’s “Fun Rooms” give us a hall that will give each of our guests and artists an equal opportunity to be seen by every attendee. No nooks and crannies. No odd corners that disrupt traffic flow. Just a simple set up to allow everyone to shine.
Holding the event at Dave and Buster’s also gives us a hint of quick exposure to their existing customer base. We are advertising at the location itself well in advance of the event. It also keeps things easy for our attendees. No multiple levels or confusing convention hall infrastructure. Simplicity is key.
Dave and Buster’s also allows for us to do something that no event will ever do for their attendees: Include food at the event. Each ticket purchase INCLUDES a buffet at Dave and Buster’s. Not simply the normal con food, but a legitimate buffet. Oh, and did I mention the parking? It’s free, too.
I suppose the only real disadvantage is that we have a smaller hall and will not be able to accommodate 20,000 people, but that goes hand in hand with the comic book culture. This is essentially a “Limited Edition” event and will allow the attendees access to some of the best in the business as well as the new blood they may have never met at a different con.
Will folks coincidentally at D&B that weekend be able to check out the show, and will folks coming for the show enjoy any D&B discounts?
JJ: We anticipate selling out of tickets well before the event. But if any remain, those at Dave and Buster’s by coincidence will be able to purchase any remaining tickets. If we are sold out, the Dave and Buster’s customers will still have access to the arcades and restaurant areas but due to those pesky fire marshals, they would not be able to enter the event hall.
With the cancellations of Amazing Arizona Comic Con and the Comic Media Expo, what steps are you taking to ensure this show’s success and longevity?
JJ: Truthfully, all we can do at the moment is focus on this first event. While we certainly would love for this to become an annual tradition, we have to take our first step before we can take the fourth or fifth. That said, we are hoping that the way we are creating this specific type of event will resonate with the comic book collecting/reading/buying audiences. And that audience is drastically different than the ones that generally attend the larger shows. This is a focused “meet and greet” with comic book creators from nearly ten different publishers of all sizes. We want our attendees to have time to talk to their favorite creators rather than be hurried off due to long lines. Again, we want people to feel as though AZ Eventure Con is a unique event mixed with a comic book adventure.
Has recent nationwide coverage about Phoenix Comicon and the Blue Ribbon Army affected planning and marketing for this show, and is taking strides to unite the fan/LCS/con community a priority?
JJ: The comic book community in Arizona is one of the primary reasons we decided to create AZ Eventure Con. There are so many fans of the source material here, as well as the Hollywood versions, that it was a no brainer to attempt this type of event here. Cosplay is welcome, and we have a few local cosplayers as guests, too! It is our hope that this new style event will bring together the fans of comics, comic characters, comic films and above all comic creators, because without those creators, none of us would be talking about comics or popular culture they have spawned.
Visit AZ Eventure Con this weekend at Dave and Buster’s, 9460 W. Hanna Dr., Glendale, AZ 85305. Hours are Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. An exclusive cards set featuring not all of the exhibitors will be available for interested attendees. Visit http://azeventurecon.com for more details.
About 99% of the creators/vendors will be at the comic store tomorrow, which will now be free to attend.
— Robert Warners (@LegionofSand) February 19, 2017