Amazing Arizona Comic Con was in a word: Amazing.
I had asked someone about two weeks before the convention if they were attending. The response I got? “Is it as big as Phoenix Comic Con?”
Amazing Arizona Comic Con, regardless of what it set out to accomplish, has always been in the shadow of PCC. But how does one change that? The convention isn’t the same size, it doesn’t offer the hotel discounts at nice places nearby, and it certainly does not book a dozen or so high profile celebrities.
What does it do? It brings to life the vision of it is creator, Jimmy S. Jay, of a convention that pays homage to what that title implies, comics.
The three day event featured a TON of local and national comic creators. Most conventions will advertise a special guest or two who are not from the comic world, which is fine, I enjoy the hell out of those cons as well, but what did Amazing Arizona do? Featured not one but two of the biggest names in comics at the moment: Geoff Johns and Robert Kirkman.You know what? It worked.
Huge lines were present at all times during autograph sessions for those two, people still love comics and readers still treat creators like rock stars. Speaking of which, one of the original “rock stars” of the industry was also present at the con and his character might be the hottest thing in comics right now.
Deadpool. Rob Liefeld.
I sat in on two panels featuring Rob, the first being a Q&A after the world premiere of The Image Revolution documentary. The film was terrific, as someone who grew up on mainly Marvel, it was a very insightful look on how some of the biggest creators shook up the industry by forming Image comics. Along with Mark Silvestri, another founder of Image, the two took all kinds of questions and made it very entertaining, never once coming off too big for the room.
The second panel I attended featuring Liefeld was a Deadpool love fest. The panel, called “Last Word with Rob Liefeld”, was an hour long barrage of Deadpool questions from the crowd. Rob answered every question he could (legally that is, some questions concerned the movie script for Deadpool and X-Force which he could not answer with much detail). I even had a small interaction with Rob, he came up to me because apparently I looked really familiar (a part of me wanted to answer “Rob you don’t remember me, come on man!” but I had never met him before so I really couldn’t lie to the man) and we laughed it off after I told him he looked like Matt Damon. I have a huge new found respect for Rob Liefeld and the work he has given to so many millions of fans such as Youngblood and Deadpool.
Deadpool was all over the convention. I lost track of the amount of different Deadpool’s I saw but each was just as entertaining as the last. When a Deadpool wasn’t walking by someone else in a great costume was.
Cosplay had a huge presence at the convention which again, was headline by two of the biggest names in cosplay, Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee. Not once did I walk by the booth and not see a line of people waiting for pictures or just wanting the chance to say hi.
Also dressing up was a bunch of fans of zombies as Amazing Arizona hosted a zombie beauty pageant which saw 20 or so contestant strut their zombie stuff on a cat walk, trying to win best in zombie show. Very entertaining.
This convention at its core was about comics and celebrating it’s creators and fans. I could go on and on, talking about Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on the hit AMC show we all love, The Walking Dead, signing autographs, or the super interesting Alana from two seasons of Face Off meeting fans and talking about makeup fx but those were just added perks to being able to meet artists and writers like Kyle Higgins, Val Hochberg and so many more.
So next time I ask that person if they are attending Amazing Arizona Comic Con, the answer will be different, I’m sure of it. AACC no longer has to be in anyone’s shadow and how did it accomplish that? Simple, it was amazing.
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