Hey everyone, Robert here with a recap of my second convention of the year; Amazing Arizona Comic Con. This year featured some high profile comic book guests such as George Perez, Chris Claremont, and Rob Liefeld. Dig a little further and you find that the guest list was exceptional with people like Charles Soule, Joe Ng, Jim Zub, and Steven McNiven. That’s why I attend Amazing every year is because you’re not finding a comic book lineup like that anywhere outside the city limits of San Diego (unless of course it is one of the handful of Amazing Comic Cons).
I heard some grumblings on social media leading up to the event that the guest list was a rehash of last year. Yes, some of the guests had been at the show last year but I think the properties they worked on were so relevant to this year, they they were invited back. We have a new Ninja Turtles movie coming out so Kevin Eastman was a guest, Captain America Civil War is due out in a few months so Steve McNiven was invited back, and so on. The biggest thing happening this weekend? Deadpool being released in theaters and the creator of the character, Rob Liefeld, was in town.
The convention felt like a celebration of the character and rightfully so. The exhibit hall had Deadpool characters littered from corner to corner with kids and adults wearing Deapool shirts or hats asking for pictures. The highlight of the Deadpool mania was on Friday night when a showing of the film was held down the street with Rob Liefeld himself. Everyone who attended also received a signed Deadpool comic and print. Watching the film with not only its creator but as well as other creators like Rick Hoberg, Chad Hardin, and Mat Nastos in attendance was just a really cool experience. The weekend was full of cool experiences, I was staying at one of the down town hotels Friday night and after the film I shared an elevator with Rick Hoberg, the artist from the original Marvel Star Wars comics. We both had just saw the film and we talked about it for a few minutes. I also ran into Rob Liefeld and Amazing Con owner Jimmy Jay at the hotel after the screening and got to chat for a few minutes.
My Saturday morning started off with a round table interview with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman. Eight of us sat in a room with Kevin for an hour, taking turns asking questions (I’ll have a video and some audio for you guys this week). Again, another really cool experience that made this weekend so memorable. Saturday was a bit of an enigma but I think I know why. The exhibit floor never seemed that crazy on Saturday, typically the busiest day of any convention, making me wonder if attendance was down. I didn’t take into account though the amount of people not walking the exhibit floor but spending time in lines for their favorite creators. The lines for Rob Liefeld and Kevin Eastman alone were monsters, then take into account smaller lines for Claremont, Ryan Ottley, etc and that adds up. Sunday on the exhibit floor felt like what Saturday should have been; busy and some times hard to navigate. Speaking of the exhibit hall, it offered a wide variety of booths and tables as well as the usual suspects like “Big Chris Art” and Samurai Comics. A caricature art area was set up and to my surpse, it was busy all weekend. I guess I am in the minority about thinking caricature art being a thing of the past. Comic booths were plentiful, booths for anime fans, toy collectors, and weapon buyers could be found. For a convention that isn’t in a mega venue (remember this takes place in the south building at the convention center, not the larger north building many are use to) it has a nice variety of vendors. I ended up buying some Doctor Who wine glasses for Valentine’s Day, spent some money on sketches, but I dropped less than $100 over the weekend which is a hard thing for me to do XD
Besides guests, the weekend offered programming in various areas that included cosplay tutorial panels, fashion shows, games, guest panels, etc. I attended quite a few panels in the main stage area, many I live tweeted (so if you don’t follow me on twitter then you should:D ). The cosplay red carpet, the chance for cosplayers to show off their stuff with the pressure of being judged or putting on a performance was packed. I had arrived a few minutes late and seating was full and atleast 20 + people all standing in the area trying to catch a glimpse of the cosplay being presented. I don’t really have that much to talk about what bothered me about the con, I’ve gone enough times to know what Amazing Comic Con offers and for me its great. I saw a tweet from an attendee saying it was small and boring but if you’re not into comics or cosplay, than you probably will think that. Again, people can’t help but compare it to Phoenix Comicon but it is two totally different shows that are going in two different directions. I saw a vendor on Facebook say the con had more vendors than paying customers. I saw a ton of people opening their wallets for prints, toys, signatures and comics. The convention as a whole isn’t a bust just because your table was.
I had a good time, talked to plenty of other attendees that had a good time, and I can’t wait to return next year (maybe even earlier, I would love to go to their show in Vegas or Hawaii!). March is up in the area for convention coverage so right now the next con I will for sure be at is Zapcon in April!