Looking back at 2012’s NerdvanaCon and the art of local blog fandom

Current D&D Campaign Adventures - Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

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!

Dec 2020

Collectors Marketplace – the 5th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Collectors Marketplace
Collectors Marketplace – the 12th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Collectors Marketplace
Collectors Marketplace – the 19th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Collectors Marketplace
Collectors Marketplace – the 26th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Collectors Marketplace
CANCELED: Dungeons & Dragons 101 – the 30th, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Aug 2021

Game 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 2021

RESCHEDULED: 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 2022

Taiyou 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

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About the author

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Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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