I have been doing Phoenix Comicon for 6 years now. It’s not as much as some other creatives I know, but it’s a consistent event I love to partake in. Every year, it gets bigger and bigger. Attendance has grown every year and this year was no different. Phoenix Comicon reached a record-breaking 100k attendees (up from 75k in 2015) over the 4 days (Thursday – Sunday). Last year, they moved all celebrity photo-ops, autographs, and cosplayer props/sets to the 3rd floor, dubbed “Hall of Heroes”, which probably helped attendance as well as free up some space for new artists and vendors.
This year, as much as I wanted to see celebrities, I knew I had to stay put. In the first few years, I was rarely at my table. I was meeting and greeting old friends and making new ones. I was notorious for not being at my table, actually. This year was different: I usually had at least one person standing by to take over the table if I needed to go anywhere. Not anymore; if I needed to step away for a bathroom emergency, I would just have to trust my table neighbors (this year it was author Dani Hoots and Terry Huddleston).
Once I had dropped off most of my stuff, I had to head back upstairs for a panel I was slated to be on: Green Lantern Corps. We discussed the upcoming movie, DC’s direction in the summer movie race, and potential casting choices for some of the Corps’ members.
The panel went really well, despite my nervousness (I had not been keeping up on the GL universe for a while.). Once back down at my table, I made one last trip to bring in the rest of our items and the weekend started to be set! Commissions and sales of original art seemed to be the driving force behind people stopping by my table.
Once the dinners and sales stopped, it was already Sunday. I had a panel from 3p-4p regarding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To be honest, this was the panel I was less worried about: I should have been. I forgot how much I had forgotten about TMNT and the intricate universe that had been built over the last 30+ years. (“Oh, yeah: Fugitoid!…wait: Triceratons? Oh, right, right!”) It did reignite a spark to dive back into the TMNT universe and catch up on a lot of stuff I missed. (I had already read a number of comics before the weekend to get prepared.)
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn over the years and telling other creatives like I was told probably won’t do any good, but here goes: STAY AT YOUR TABLE! Unless you need food or a bathroom break, almost everyone you want to see or talk to will wander by. I say “almost” because there are a number of creatives who are doing exactly what you are doing: staying at their table and making sales. It’s tough: I know. You want to have the con experience just like everyone else, but the folks coming up to your table are there to see you! Last year, I spent 3 hours from my table getting Christopher Lloyd’s autograph on a copy of Toonstruck for PC. I felt like I was working on borrowed time.
I did get to talk to so many of my regulars and meet new, fascinating people! I also got to take a bunch of pictures, with the intention of getting into some photography soon. Commissions flowed all weekend (and even a couple I’ll have to take care of afterwards) and a few of my original pieces were bought! To be honest, I was wrestling with the idea of doing Phoenix Comicon again next year, but after the event was over, I feel like I had finally hit my stride in how to handle my space. I am also now the proud owner of a commission piece Travis Hanson did of Asbestos!
What a weekend! What an event! I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Thanks for reading,