Eight years ago this summer, Nerdvana briefly transcended the bounds of reality and became, for just one day anyway, more than a blog.
Aug. 10, 2012, was the first — and, so far, only — NerdvanaCon. Taking place in conjunction with Downtown Mesa’s 2nd Friday block party, NerdvanaCon marked Nerdvana’s fifth anniversary.
I had just actually shipped out from the East Valley Tribune, where the blog began and was still hosted at that time, to work for a different newspaper in Colorado, but my former employers graciously brought me back to help celebrate. (In 2016, I would acquire the blog for myself and spin it off as the independent site it is today.)
One of my favorite memories of NerdvanaCon, aside from spending time with creative friends both old and new, is the artwork that promoted the event.
A driving force behind NerdvanaCon, our own contributor Bob Leeper, created exciting promotional artwork that drew upon old, pulpy sci-fi adventures and has continued to inform various identity elements on our social media channels through the years:
Then there was the poster promoting Bookmans’ and Dr. Diabolic’s screening at NerdvanaCon of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension — and the event was actually the first time I ever watched the cult-classic film:
And what would a NerdvanaCon be without gaming? Phoenix Vul-Con (now, sadly, defunct) ran tabletop gaming at the event, and artist Keith Decesare cooked up this great poster highlighting host Queen’s Pizzeria & Cafe — also, sadly, now gone — on Mesa’s Main Street, in a funny and loving homage to the iconic David Trampier cover art for the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook. The poster features the dicey characters from the artist’s hilarious Roll 4 Damage webcomic; I recently caught up with Keith on Instagram, and he was delighted to see the poster again (I found it while cleaning my home office) and he even said he’d been entertaining thoughts of reviving Roll 4 Damage!
The late, lamented Monsterland Bar & Grill also got into the act with a pop culture artists corner — and, again, the promotional artwork was wonderfully evocative:
Will there ever be another NerdvanaCon? Suffice it to say there have been preliminary conversations about reviving the concept. Who knows what the future may hold? Whatever it is, it will probably look amazing!
More events coverage from Nerdvana:
- Phoenix Fan Fusion 2021 scrubbed; January 2022 event set
- Independent music venues struggle to stay afloat during pandemic
- Samurai Comics’ new Chandler location officially open
- Arizona Renaissance Festival won’t happen in 2021
- Free Comic Book Day is returning in 2021
- Arizona Game Fair cancels 2021 event
- International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival 2020 highlights
- Magic Kingdom fans impatient over continued closure of Disneyland
- Shuttered by COVID-19, concert venues band together for a virtual show
- Scottsdale International Film Festival announces virtual 2020 dates
- RiffTrax in the Upside Down? ‘Stranger Things’ have happened …
- Game On Mega Drive In slotted into Game On Expo 2020 weekend
May 2021CANCELED: Phoenix Fan Fusion 2021 – the 28th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
CANCELED: Phoenix Fan Fusion 2021 – the 29th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
CANCELED: Phoenix Fan Fusion 2021 – the 30th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
Aug 2021Game On Expo 2021 – the 6th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
Game On Expo 2021 – the 7th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
Game On Expo 2021 – the 8th, All Day, Phoenix Convention Center
Sep 2021RESCHEDULED: CoKoCon 2021 – the 3rd, All Day, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe
Saboten Con 2021 – the 3rd, All Day, Sheraton Grand Phoenix
RESCHEDULED: CoKoCon 2021 – the 4th, All Day, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe
Saboten Con 2021 – the 4th, All Day, Sheraton Grand Phoenix
RESCHEDULED: CoKoCon 2021 – the 5th, All Day, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe
Saboten Con 2021 – the 5th, All Day, Sheraton Grand Phoenix
RESCHEDULED: CoKoCon 2021 – the 6th, All Day, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe
Saboten Con 2021 – the 6th, All Day, Sheraton Grand Phoenix
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Orchestra World Tour – the 24th, All Day, Phoenix Symphony Hall
Jan 2022Taiyou Con 2022 – the 7th, All Day, Mesa Convention Center
Taiyou Con 2022 – the 8th, All Day, Mesa Convention Center
Taiyou Con 2022 – the 9th, All Day, Mesa Convention Center