Well, it’s nearly 11:30 PM as I write this and the majority of the city goes back to the real world on Monday, including me. I wanted to write this with many of the events fresh in my mind and so here I am. Let me talk about my favorite holiday real quick so you can understand where I’m coming from. Christmas is (now) a nearly two month celebration. The turkey isn’t even carved before we start seeing Christmas decorations being hung. My feelings on that? I love it. I love the holiday and everything that comes with it: the music, treats, the parties, gifts and so on. When it’s finally Christmas Day, it’s such an emotional roller coaster because you’ve been building up to this day for awhile and bam, it’s over before you know it. No more festive music, no more decorations, it’s back to normal and for me, it’s a bit depressing.
What does Christmas have anything to do with Phoenix Comicon you might ask but for me, it’s a very similar experience. I’ve spent the past couple of months writing and preparing for PHXCC. I spend four days immersing myself in a fantastic experience, surrounded by friends and family during one hottest damn weekends of the year. However, unlike Christmas, I don’t have to wait an entire year for that feeling to come back around (my love for San Diego Comic Con runs deep as well even though it’s a bit different). While I have seen a ton of negativity surrounding PHXCC this past weekend (which I’ll get to shortly), I had a great time and genuinely bummed it’s over. Let’s talk about some of the positives.
My Thursday started around 1:30 PM as I picked up my badge. The exhibit hall didn’t open until 4 PM and so I had some time to kill. One of the first things I noticed is that the crowd was larger than usual for a Thursday. The intersection near the main entrance to the North Building was getting to be very crowded as attendees started congregating near the escalators, ready for convention security to allow access to the bottom floor. I had arranged early access to the exhibit hall with PHXCC and got to scope out the setup before the masses decended upon the hall. The main purpose of getting in early was take a video of the experience of the hall opening up for the first day of the con, which you can see here on my YouTube channel. The rest of my day was spent checking out the exhibit hall and just exploring the multiple floors of the con.
Not to bore you with every detail of my weekend (I leave that part to my Twitter account!) so I’ll just skip ahead to what I enjoyed this past weekend. Despite the heat which I’m sure you might have heard about a million times already, the cosplayers came out in full force and didn’t let the weather deter them from wearing what they wanted. A lot of really cool costumes were seen all weekend and it was one of the highlights. Speaking of highlights, the most entertaining panel of the weekend for me was Eve Myles. I wasn’t even planning on going but I grabbed a seat early in preparation for the panel that came afterwards but it didn’t take long for me to realize it was a good decision. Eve is known for her work on Torchwood which I’ve only seen a few times but despite not knowing much about her, I enjoyed her panel but because of her willingness to entertain with hilarious (and embarrassing) stories that usually involved her using foul language, I found it to be very amusing. She received a standing ovation after her panel, something I rarely see at cons.
One of the other things I really enjoyed were the sheer amount of options. PHXCC does a tremoundus job of giving you a real bang for your buck by offering a variety of panels and programming. Saturday night for example, I didn’t get back to my room until almost midnight, spending time at the masquerade, then playing arcade games at the makeshift Cobra Arcade bar in the West Building and then checking out the gaming area the Hyatt. You can probably count on one hand the amount of cons that offer the size and scope of programming that PHXCC does.
Let’s talk about some of those negatives I keep hearing about. First one that many point toward was registration on Friday. The line stretched out the doors onto 3rd Street with it lasting like that until around 4 PM. The convention was quick to point out what went wrong, the mistakes they made, and course corrected for the rest of the weekend. Yeah, this one did suck for many as panels/photo ops/autographs were missed. It makes me wonder why they are against using the south building. It could be a financial thing or they don’t want to confuse attendees on where to go but had the same situation with the credit card system happened at the south building, atleast attendees would have been inside, not in the heat.
Speaking of lines, that was another common complaint I saw on Twitter. I will never complain about long lines because I am numb to them. I slept on the concrete overnight in a line that stretched on and on in San Diego so I’ve experienced the worst of the worst. If something/someone is popular, there will always be a long line. The speed of those lines however is another story. Guests being late for photo ops or guests being late for a panel because photo ops are running long don’t sit well with attendees. Sunday morning panels/photo ops rarely get started on time, scheduling them that way is just asking for trouble. Scheduling a panel right after that guest finishes with photo ops is also asking for trouble and it happened at PHXCC. Will it change in the future? Doubtful but you never know. The show had its hiccups that affected everyone differently. I must have been one of the lucky ones because besides parking at the Hyatt, I didn’t run into many problems but if you did, sorry to hear it and hope you have a better experience next year.
I had a real good time this past weekend as I got to say hi to a lot of you guys and meet a few of you for the first time. Despite doing a lot of awesome stuff, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted but that’s life at a convention. What did you guys think of the PHXCC this year?
Photo gallery coming soon!