Phoenix Comic Con has come and gone. After looking forward to it, I can’t believe it’s past already. It started on Thursday night but I had to work then. I could have taken the night off but there wasn’t too much going on so I didn’t worry much but I got up early Friday morning and headed off to the Con.

After checking in, the first thing I did was check out the vender’s room. They had expanded it. There was a lot more room and a lot more booths. There were more stores and more artist booths. As big as things are getting, other than a couple of independents like Avatar, there were no real publishers present though. I did see that the Arizona Avengers (a cosplay group that I’ve heard does other volunteer stuff too) has made a collaboration with the JLAz for DC themed characters too. I checked out the programming guide and there weren’t many comic panels either. There was one panel I wanted to attend though. I had some time before that so I hit a panel that a friend was moderating about actors and special effects with Casper Van Dien and effects expert Fon Davis. It was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. After that I headed to the panel DC: The New 52. On this panel were Scott Lobdell, Brian Buccellato, Ethan Van Sciver, Francis Manapul, Ryan Winn, and Scott Koblish. It was disappointing (but understandable) how much they had to mention the non-disclosure agreement when people asked questions. My question was about the mention of “the Flashpoint Event” in the Legion titles but no one on the panel knew anything about it but no one knew about any backdoor being left open just in case. As a balance to the number of quests that were unanswered was the unintended comedy routine that occurred. Most of the panels bickered with each other in a playful way that just made everyone laugh. Running gags about Wally West and paying $5 for whomever could answer certain things went throughout the panel. A moth that somehow made it into the room and landed on Ryan’s head created even more laughs. Scott and Brian tended to take run of the panel while the moderator seemed to be afraid to jump in which just let the fun keep coming. It was a good time there even though I didn’t get too much real information about the future of the new DC universe. After the panel, I just did dinner with a friend and hit an adult themed “puppet slam” before heading home. It was fun running into various friends all throughout the day while checking everything out.

The next day, I went prepared after the DC panel with a number of books to be signed. The convention was a lot busier but I managed to hit most of the people I wanted to have autograph books. Some of the panelists were busier than others but I had nice chats with Ryan Winn, Scott Lobdell, and Scott Koblish. The one panel I did go to was a Doctor Who panel that ended really bad and boring. It was run by a couple of older fans who just prattled on about how they saw their first episodes. A good portion of the attendees (including myself) were gone prior to the end of the panel because it was so boring.

The final day came and I made the majority of my purchases for the con. (I got a handful of prints that I had been looking at over the weekend.) I even made it to George Perez’s table to get a couple comics signed. I only wish that I had my New Teen Titans #1 with me here in AZ. He was a really cool guy though. I went to the 25th anniversary Star Trek: the Next Generation panel which had Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Wil Wheaton. It was in the ballroom and there were a ton of people. It was a lot of fun listening to them talk even though I really only saw them on the big screens set-up for the people sitting further back. (I hadn’t planned on attending at first as I wanted to get food.) Afterwards, I checked out the final panel I wanted to see, DC Universe: the Flashpoint Effect. The panel was a lot of talk about Flash itself and what’s gone on with the title so far. Not a whole lot of news or new information came out. Being early in the New 52’s existence, too much is still locked down. By the end of the con, I was so beat that I just picked up some pizza on the way home and collapsed.

It’s good to see Phoenix Comic Con getting bigger and bigger. They still seem to have some major growing pains. Even one of the moderators commented on the fact that for a comic convention, it was hard to find too many actual comic related panels. Most seemed to focus on anime or science fiction. With all the money that was put into the Star Trek cast, there was a major lack of mid level stars. (Last year there were people like Xander from Buffy and Pan from True Blood.) They put the individual panels for the Star Trek stars in the larger of the small rooms instead of using actual big rooms. This means that people waited in line for long periods of time and didn’t often make it in to see the panel because there was little room actually available. (It’s not like at San Diego where big rooms got filled up because there were so many people. Here, they just didn’t make the room that would be needed.) Hopefully this was a fluke a bad planning with trying to get the Star Trek cast. We’ll have to see next year.

One other thing that I’d like to see and will be working on is getting some gay themed panels. When I went to San Diego Comic Con, there was a panel on gay creators, a panel on gays in comics (characters and storylines), and a meet and greet after the latter for gay fans. I plan on working to try to get something like this going on next year if I can. They had panels for female creators as well as Native Americans in comics so I don’t think gay-centric ones would be out of the question and I’ve heard from both gay and straight friends that they’d love to see something like that. I’d really like to see Phoenix Comic Con keep growing but it needs to really focus and not go in too many directions. If it’s a comic con, it needs to focus on the comic side a little more. We’ll just see where things go when plans start picking up in the fall.

As a side note, I’ll have the pictures from the con up as soon as I get a chance to edit them up.