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In a word: Impressive.

For only the fourth show produced by Matt Solberg and his team, and the first expanded show (two full days, plus a preview night, up from a one-day, six-hour event), the results were nothing if not impressive.


The attendance was over 3,200 (compared to 2,400 just 4 months earlier at their September show, before Brian Pulido convinced Matt to relocate the show to a January event to avoid boiling Arizona temperatures that occasionally happen in September).

Also, the Hero Initiative had amazing success with the art auction, guest lunch auctions, donation jars and 'opt in' donations for ticket sales raising  in excess of $7,000.

George Perez was the main draw (as this was one of his last Con appearances before a long break, to focus on his new monthly book), and the bevy of other guests nothing to sneeze at: Mike Bullock; Len Wein; Mike Mignola; Jim McLauchlin: Mike Stackpole; Shannon Denton; Marat Michaels; Steve Rude; the very sweet Noel Neill;  and several other people without Mike in their names.

What might be most significant about this convention is that it had a perfect confluence of elements: no competing regional show; a general environment of the public embracing comics amidst other media; and a very, very professional staff.

The convention was held at the Mesa Convention Center (where in fact, we had one of Dave Sim's old Spirits of Independence shows, because my old Coppervale Studio was across the street. That show was terrible, but our afterparty was first class). The venue was spacious and accessible - and saw nearly 100 exhibitors take part.

The most intriguing part was that 'crossover' creators like myself, Frank Beddor, and Mike Stackpole (all of whom have work in print in both comics and the traditional book market) were represented as well as other creator subgroups. Borders had a hefty booth, as did other Arizona 'book' sellers. And while the manga and anime crowds were definitely omnipresent, the range of interests represented by creators, retailers, publishers, and the fans themselves will be what will allow this to grow into the regional powerhouse it has the potential to become.

The staff treated the guests so well - the only show I can compare it to is Shelton Drum's legendary HEROES CON in Charlotte - that I can't imagine anyone in attendance wouldn't want to return.

One thing's for certain - it's already on my calendar for next year!

For more info: http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
"...to avoid boiling Arizona temperatures that occasionally happen in September." The Occasionally had me rolling on the floor, since our last 100 degree day is typically in mid-October!!

It was good to see you -- brief as it was -- Tuesday!
Mar. 12th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
The comicon was great and it was wonderful to meet so many amazingly talented people, yourself included. I can't wait to see you next year. Jennifer Scott
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )