When the end of the year approaches there are a few things to look forward to in life in general. One of those things is Tucson Comic-Con who just celebrated their 10th anniversary this past weekend. This was my third year (maybe fourth?) attending Tucson Comic-Con and it has grown considerably since my first year. What was once an exhibit hall focused convention now has branched out to a recognizable comic convention thanks to the hard work of its organizers. The exhibit hall is still one of my favorite things about this convention. It’s a robust selection of vendors, artists, cosplay groups and so on. You can easily spend a couple hours checking out every table and booth while taking photos of cosplayers along the way. On a note about cosplayers, the convention has a TON of charitable cosplay groups in both the exhibit hall and the main hallway of the convention center. Plenty of cool photo opportunities for kids and families which is nice to see in a time where conventions are cutting down on the amount of free space they give to cosplay groups.
For a second year, Tucson Comic-Con has brought out legitimate media guests to the convention. Not the type of guests who are going to break the bank but guests with name recognition and in a setting where there isn’t thousands of people there just for those guests. The line up was headlined by Star Wars veteran Billy Dee Williams as well as Star Trek alumni Gates McFadden whose panels I was able to attend. Other guests included Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame, Ming Chen from Comic Book Men, and a trio of guests from The Rocky Horror Picture Show among others. My biggest complaint about Tucson Comic-Con since I’ve been attending is that for a convention that has such a big focus on comics and artists, it never featured any high profile comic book guests. This year they have looked to improve in that area by featuring industry guests such as the legendary Neal Adams, Chad Hardin, and Joe Rubinstein (who by the way had a great selection of sketches for sale). The convention expanded its programming with even more fan run panels, escape rooms, workshops, cosplay contest, as well as board games and an arcade area.
The con does have a small issue and that is with parking. I arrived at the convention at 11 AM, an hour after opening and both designated parking areas at the convention center were full. I ended up parking down the street at a parking garage for the same price but it looked like it was straight out of a typical horror movie. There were other parking areas at the convention center but those were designated for other events (for example, I got turned down for a different lot because it was reserved for something else later that day). Honestly, if that is my only complaint (which it is), that’s pretty good in my opinion. Bag checks and badge pick up were smooth and almost no wait for that time of the day. A nice variety of food options just right outside of the exhibit hall (okay, one more complaint, more seating is needed!), and just a really good value for the price of admission.
For more convention coverage, news, and discussion, make sure to follow Legion of Sand on Twitter!