A Tale of Two Cons

Photography by: Tom King, Sybilla Robison and Gina Manzella

Not the type of con you might be thinking with curly mustaches and maniacal laughter, but with comics, movies and cosplay. This year I was lucky enough to attend 2 different “cons” in a short time span and get my geek girl vibe pushed into high gear.

Phoenix Comicon #1 – Lovely and balmy Phoenix.

I got up early and found Phoenix already basking in all her “It’s a dry heat” glory. I donned my latest costume creation (going for a steampunk theme) and zipped downtown to the Phoenix Convention Center before I could really start sweating. It was busy, people everywhere dressed as everything milling about and standing in long lines.

There was much debate and frustration about the last minute changes including no prop weapons due to a security concern that changed some of the rules for this year’s event. The primary effect being it created some very long lines outside in the heat to gain access to the convention center, past the heightened security, and generous pat downs, although once inside the event was a unique and air-conditioned as ever. Over 700 exhibitors and artists flooded the event with their talents, wares and good humor. Actors like Dick Van Dyke (Still rocking at 91 and scorching sarcastic, I love him), Holly Marie Combs, Ryan Hurst and John Bernthal just to name a few.

A few of my Favorite Things: Besides rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens: The fan car show on 3rd… VROOM VROOM, Phoenix Ghostbusters, Arizona autobots, and the massage booth.. (thank you….. so very much)

Special thank you to the vender’s dedication to supporting the security staff in enforcing the no prop weapons rule. It was a tough and unpopular decision to make, but they ensured our safety was first.

My Favorite Panels: Artists in the gaming industry, Armor for a post-apocalyptic world (totally valid. #goteamzomie), How to be a grunt: The bones of the industry talked candidly about that it takes to do what they do and Don’t die on me: Why do our favorites always die? Let all the frustrations out.

Superstar standout: Dick Van Dyke was on his game and ready with his special brand of zinging sarcastic fun, right out the gate with “This is a bigger crowd than Trump had!”, he talked about his unusual tactics to get jobs (Peeing the bushes outside of Banks house), and poked fun of his age. Dick Van Dyke is a brilliantly funny man and a true American treasure.

Funny comments I overheard:
“Why is he wearing pants?” – Older man speaking to his friend pointing at a Robin Hood.
“Does this tail look you know… weird.” – Young lady talking to her friends about her unicorn colored fluffy tail.
“What would Wonder Woman and the Hulks baby look like?” – I was actually part of this conversation so I own that.

Comic con #2 – Sunny San Diego – (Please note change of event spelling)

Then I rode west on my trusty blue steed (or Mini Cooper as the case may be) to the untamable and wild far lands of San Diego… for more.

The first thing that stood out? The droves of people – many decked out in impressive costumes and others in street clothes – the descended on the Convention Center like swarming locusts ready to meet some heroes, do some shopping, and see and be seen. It was a brilliant organized chaos, one that fully exceeded any and all of my expectations. This time I attended sans Cosplay and was blown away by the sheer size of the California event. The attendance has been topping over 130,000+ the last few years with satellite events and dozens of guest speakers. This particular event has a history spanning over four and a half decades and had has literally thousands of special guests during its long history.

I also learned Phoenix and San Diego spell it differently. Comicon VS Comic Con

A few of my Favorite Things: besides snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes: Syfy Live, Family Guy voice actors, and learning the Green Bay Packer, Mike Daniels, is a Sailor Moon fan. But then again, really who isnt?


My Favorite Panels: Cartoon Creative: Women Power in animation – An inside look at the pioneering women in this industry and their contributions, Emily the Strange Panel: Discussion of the artwork and creative process. This panel also went out of there way to embrace the strange, and Wynonna Earp panel was amazing.. Can’t wait for season 3.

Crazy Starwars themed Mac n Cheese and my ability to get lost into the land of comic books.

Funny Comments Overheard in CA:
“Wow I bet this is busier than my yoga class.” – Two ladies attending Comicon in their active Wear
“So the show is this guy who talks a lot, I mean A LOT” – An adult to a small child about Conan
“I don’t know if there is a Harry Potter Section” – two ladies in their 30s

Overall it was an adventure to be remembered. Hats off to those who work and keep all the parts moving on these functions. Both events had the wonderful warmth and kindness I’ve come to expect from these communities. Thank you to my hosting cities Phoenix and San Diego. A Special Thank You to those that made this possible and inspire me: Carmie, Tom, Brad, Zane, Richard, Shannon, Joe and Sarah.