While some may sigh “Not another comic convention,” many more Arizonans are happy to welcome another chance to dress as their favorite superheroes or find first edition comic books. For local businesses, the Amazing Arizona Comic Con” at the Phoenix Convention Center February 13-15, 2015, is another great opportunity to show their wares.
The Phoenix Comicon, which will be May 28-31, is the behemoth convention in the Southwest, expecting to attract over 75,000. But this smaller event satisfies newer, smaller vendors and first-time attendees. The vendors this weekend seemed younger and more enthusiastic than most of the experienced large business owners who populate the May convention.
The traditional comic book and memorabilia vendors were well represented. Joe Clark, whose Mesa Comics opened in November, enjoyed this convention, as being on the waiting list, he may not get into the Phoenix Comicon before 2017. He is an astute businessman, acknowledging that few other retail businesses can depend on loyal customers (e.g., comic book collectors) returning every month. Shannon Bailey’s Geeksville, AZ LLC has been selling tee-shirts, toys and vinyl collectibles since 2012.
This Comic Con had an extensive alley of talented local artists. Phoenician Shelby Robertson, a well-known artist with over 20 years of experience, who appears at many shows throughout the US, was promoting his new comic book series Madam Satan. Big Chris is another regular at Phoenix conventions. His colorful prints of popular figures, like The Walking Dead characters, have always attracted crowds. At this show, he was debuting drawings of icons, like Ray Charles and Madonna, which he had originally sketched upside down during the time it took him to listen to each of their hit songs. These prints were truly amazing!
It is refreshing to see so many young women artists being showcased at this Con. Michelle Wolett, of Chick-Lit Designs in Gilbert, has created purses, iPad covers and other accessories from books. She started five years ago as a ways to raise money for her parents. Alyssa Stone, from Contraband, travelled from Tucson to sell her Logo-themed jewelry. First-timer Christine Jepsen’s fine art prints are detailed, realistic color pencil portraits of fantasy and science fiction actors.
Friday, there was a long line down Third Street to enter the Convention Center for the 3:30 PM start of the Comic Con, portending another good weekend for Arizona comic convention exhibitors and their fans.