Phoenix Comicon Logo
|Genre||Comics, Anime, Manga, Film, Television, Sci-Fi, Fantasy|
|Venue||Phoenix Convention Center|
|Attendance||77,818 in 2014|
Phoenix Comicon is a multigenre entertainment and comic book convention held annually in Phoenix, Arizona. It was founded as the Phoenix Cactus Comicon in June 2002, and originally consisted of a one-day six hour event held in Ahwatukee, Arizona. PCC plays host to comic related panels, programming events, art contests, and autograph signings for all ages. It is a four-day event (Thursday-Sunday) held during the summer at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. On Thursday evening prior to the official opening of the event, there is a preview for professionals, exhibitors, and select guests pre-registered for all four days.
Originally showcasing comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television, and related popular arts, the convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. In 2014, the convention set an attendance record of 77,818, and reportedly generates approximately $5 million in revenue for the city of Phoenix. Phoenix Comicon has also began to expand programming into the surrounding hotels, including the Hyatt Regency, Marriott Renaissance and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotels.
The convention has also expanded to hosting a convention during the winter months titled Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, the first of which was hosted at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
History and organization
The first Phoenix Comicon was held in June 2002 as Phoenix Cactus Comicon. It was a one-day convention for six hours held at a Best Western in Ahwatukee, Arizona. Admission was $3 per person and there were 432 attendees, along with a few local creators and exhibitors. The following three years, the convention was held at the Glendale Civic Center. The size of the convention and the attendance were doubled from the previous year, and the Sunday morning six hour length of the convention was maintained. The convention began to bring out some guests from out of state including Spider-Man artist Todd Nauck and comic legend Marv Wolfman. The programming was increased to include Q&A's with guests, how-to workshops, and film trailer presentations.
In 2006, the convention was held at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona for the first time in its history. It also became a two-day convention, with Friday preview night, and had guests such as voice actors Johnny Young Bosche and Greg Ayres. The exhibitor room was dramatically expanded, as was the amount of programming offered. This was the first convention to expand beyond comic books into the greater pop culture community, including Anime, Manga, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Cosplay. Attendance was over 2,600 people for the weekend. The convention was held in January from 2007 to 2009, at the Mesa Convention Center. Attendance jumped past 3,200. 2007 was considered the conventions first foray into media guests, with Feedback, the winner of "Stan Lee's Who Wants to be a Superhero" attending. In 2009, the event was expanded to 3 days, with a Thursday preview night. It was also announced at the 2009 convention that due to an overwhelming attendance of around 7,000 people for that year, the convention in 2010 will be moving to the Phoenix Convention Center the next year, along with the dates changing to the end of May.
Beginning in 2010 the convention was held on Memorial Day weekend, at the Phoenix Convention Center and Grand Hyatt Hotel in Phoenix. This change was due to the large increase in attendance, and the availability of funds to hold the convention in a larger venue. Bigger names, such as Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and Stan Lee also attended the convention as special guests. One of the highlights of the 2013 event include the showing of the fan-based production "Pilgrim of Eternity" a full length sequel to "Who Mourns for Adonais?". In 2014, due to a scheduling conflict, the convention was moved to the first week of June as opposed to Memorial Day weekend. The convention also expanded its presence into the South and West buildings of the convention center, as well as nearby hotels including the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Marriott Renaissance Hotel and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The 2015 convention will again take place the weekend after Memorial Day weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, and will further utilize the convention facilities, including expanding to the third level ballroom in order to accommodate a larger amount of attendees for popular media guests.
Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, evenings at the convention include events such as themed prom parties, the annual Masquerade costume contest, and a Film Festival with several different prize opportunities.
In 2014, Phoenix Comicon also began a partnership with NASA, allowing attendees to participate in the FameLab program, as well as hear from NASA representatives at various panels throughout the convention. Phoenix Comicon also partnered with media guests and entertainers to offer special events outside the convention, including a performance by Brian Posehn, Myq Kaplan and Mike Drucker for their comedy group Comedy Mutant, as well as a one-man performance of Star Wars, presented by Charlie Ross.
Like most comic-book conventions, Phoenix Comicon features a large floor space for exhibitors. These include media companies, as well as comic-book dealers and collectibles merchants. And like most comics conventions, Phoenix Comicon includes an autograph and photo opportunity area, as well as the Artists' Alley where comics artists can sign autographs and sell or do free sketches.
The convention also offers attendees the chance to purchase exclusive collectibles. Most such exclusives are licensed properties of movie, comic book, and animation characters.
For the first time ever, Phoenix Comicon held a separate event in December 2014, titled Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The convention functioned as a smaller version of Phoenix Comicon, maintaining its usual elements of panels, workshops, and exhibitors, while expanding its focus on comic book artists, and fan interaction with its various media guests. Convention organizers stated that they saw a desire from their audience to host a convention in Arizona during the winter, but due to costs involved with renting the Phoenix Convention Center, and blocking off rooms at nearby hotels, the decision was made to host the Fan Fest in Glendale at University of Phoenix Stadium. Several television and media guests attended the first ever Fan Fest, including David Ramsey, Colin Baker and Michael Biehn, among others, including several dozen comic book artists and creators.
Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest
|1||December 12-14, 2014||University of Phoenix Stadium||11,403||David Ramsey, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Tom Skerritt, Ben Browder, Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Eddie McClintock, Linda Blair, Jae Lee, Bob Layton, Norm Rapmund, Neal Adams, James A. Owen, among others.|