This past weekend at the Tucson Convention Center, the 8th annual Tucson Comic Con was held to the joy of comic book fans and cosplayers. The weekend featured some of the best artists Arizona has to offer as well as a wide variety vendors slinging all kinds of merchandise. I’ve only attended TCC once before, back in 2013 where it was a small but enjoyable show. Two years later, the show is very much the same which can be good or bad, depending on your view point.
The event for the first time added Friday to its lineup as a preview night. Attendees who were able to attend were given an over sized Lion Forge Comics bags. According to one of the artists, preview night was a bit of let a down. “It was boring, maybe 100 people showed up” was the description I was given of preview night. The rest of the weekend didn’t suffer from a lack of attendees however as it was pretty packed Saturday and even Sunday. Most of the aisles near the entrance of the exhibit hall got pretty clustered, it got frustrating to move around or even stop to look over each table. Traffic eased up a bit the further away you got from the entrance but at least one third of the exhibit hall wasn’t even used, it was just an empty space separated by a few curtains. Not sure if it would have cost the con more to rent the entire exhibit hall or they thought it just wasn’t needed. Official attendance numbers have been released as of the time of this article but I am guessing somewhere between 11,000 – 12,000 attended TCC.
Plenty of vendors were on site, selling home made goods, comics, art, vintage toys and a wide of array of other merchandise. I’m guessing most of the vendors and artists had a pretty successful weekend as the majority of the attendees packed in the exhibit hall because the panels were out of site and generally out of mind. The occasional announcement would be made on the PA system but I over heard more than one attendee having problems locating the panel rooms. Besides panels, TCC offered a table top gaming room, a film festival, a separate area of for cosplay groups, and a family room to enjoy a few minutes of quiet if you needed them. A good amount of attendees were in cosplay and DC characters far out numbered any other type of costumes as I lost count of how many Harley Quinn’s, Jokers, and Batmans I saw both days.
I enjoyed Tucson Comic Con for being a small a con but I feel as if it’s ready to move past that label. It just finished its 8th year and has a really good following and prices are not that bad but I feel like its hit its ceiling and it might be time to start featuring some headline guests. It doesn’t even need to be a celebrity or media guest, bring in some of the big names in comics because they’ve got the crowd to support that. It was announced during the show that Brian Pulido, Lady Death creator, and a local to Arizona, is now part owner of Tucson Comic Con. Brian has been apart of the con scene for years and knows his stuff so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he’ll have on the show.
Overall, I enjoyed the show. A few things bothered me but I couldn’t ignore the energy of the show, people were digging it. If you were driving into Tucson for the show, everything could be experienced in about two hours, making the stay for the entire weekend a little underwhelming. Locals of Tucson have it good and I’m sure they are excited to see what next year will look like.