|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.
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.