On the scene: Amazing Arizona Comic Con 2014

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When the rest of the world is freezing their ass off, Phoenicians are dressed in shorts and Stormtrooper armor. Fortunately, it didn’t rain like last year. The 2014 Amazing Arizona Comic Con wrapped up another remarkable show. It’s hard to believe this con started out in the cramp, strangely cool Mesa center all those years ago. I haven’t received the final numbers, but I can assume that attendance was up from last year.

Arizona is riddled with various gaming, Anime/Manga and comic book conventions. It feels like there’s more conventions in the Grand Canyon state than there needs to be, but people will come out if it’s worth their time and money. This year the two notable guests were — wait for it — comic book creators. The guests of honor were Robert Kirkman (Image Comics) and Geoff Johns (DC Comics) . The very talented Danai Gurira, AMC Walking Dead mega star, made an appearance on Saturday and Sunday. There was a mix of 172 exhibitors, artists, creators and some fillers.

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Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Jordan Rennert and Patrick Meaney post Image Documentary Q&A – Photo by Henry Barajas

Image had a large and nostalgic presence at this year’s event. Marc Silvestri and the Top Cow booth exhibited at this year’s event. Rob Liefeld had a line wrapping around to the other aisle behind his booth. ACAC organizer Jimmy Jay and his crew will have to get staff to regulate lines for popular attractions like Liefeld. This will be a bigger problem next year, and I think that’s a good problem to have. Kirkman’s Skybound booth was there, and I only see that at San Diego Comic-Con.

The world premier of the Image Revolution documentary screened for the first time at ACAC. It was an extraordinary film about how Image Comics was formed and how things changed over the last 20 years. It was full of candid interviews with the founders and awesome vintage news footage. Most of it was taken from VHS, so it has that crappy, wistful quality. It’s an important story that change comics forever for good or bad, but I hope someone at Image helps Respect Films spread the word. Click here to buy a digital copy.

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Photo by Henry Barajas

Adventure Time Bravest Warriors creative team Eric M. Esquivel and Missy Pena were doodling and hanging out at the Boom Studios booth. Marvel Now! writer Gerry Duggan was bumping elbows —  because he was fighting a cold — and pushing his new Marvel Now! series Nova. There were a lot of Phoenix comic creators in the crowd like Tony Parker, Raven Gregory, Corey Walker and Rob Osborne. Steam Crow’s booth keeps growing in size and creativity. Denny Michael Riccelli, also known as dennmann, was trying to do some last minute crowdfunding for his already successful Kickstarter project. He’s trying to fund his comic that he writes, draws, prints and staples.

I highly suggest everyone considers helping this prolific creator, teacher, husband and father. Click here to help him out.

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All the Ocho comics by Eric Mengel – Photo by Henry Barajas

Next to him was Eric Mengel. Mengel has been in the comic scene for the last two decades. He’s been writing a story called Ocho and will probably keep drawing, writing, inking and self publishing that comic until he dies. The Chicago native is one of the nicest and funniest dudes I have ever met in the Phoenix comic book scene.

There were notable cosplay folks like Jessica Nigri, Monika Lee, Arron Forrester and Anabel Martinez. They all had endless lines and a packed panel about cosplay.

The one thing I noticed was a lot of artists trying to sell prints of their take on licensed characters. A majority of folks exhibiting were selling artsy crafty work based on someone else’s idea. It’s not easy to recreate the magic or likeness of Batman in a wooden 2D or (insert pop-slash-geek culture icon) and trying to make a living. There was a considerable amount of retailers and collectible-toy booths. A lot of tables were full of artist selling prints of licensed characters, but I see that everywhere. I feel like that’s more acceptable and frequent in Arizona.

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Artist drawing as fast as they can to beat a world record. Photo by Henry Barajas

The owner of Jesse James Comics and Spaz Dog publisher Shawn Demumbrum rounded up 101 artists, 12 writers from the con floor to beat Mark Millar and Leinil Francis’ record for most creators and comics completed in 24 hours. There were 250 copies printed and all the proceeds go to the Hero Initiative. We are still waiting to hear back but it sounds like they beat the record. Click here to purchase the comic here for $10. 

The con is held at the Phoenix Convention center and in the heart of downtown Phoenix. It’s next door to the US Airways Center and plenty of bars and restaurants that were enjoying all the business from the hungry and thirsty con goers. I split my time between the Tilted Kilt and eating drunk food at Copper Blues at 1:30 a.m.

ACAC is a comic book con that appeases to everything in between. I’m looking forward to next year with some high expectations.

Here’s some cosplay pictures I know you want to see:

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Photo by Henry Barajas

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Photo by Henry Barajas

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Deadpool – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Batman – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Spawn and his love child with the Devil – Selfie by Henry Barajas

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Superman – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Lady Sharknado – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Pink Stormtrooper – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Lady with whip and Stormtroooper – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Joker – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Photo by Henry Barajas

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Patriot – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Scarlet Witch – Photo by Henry Barajas

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Rocket Raccoon – Photo by Henry Barajas

Comments

  1. Great write up! It was a fun con, I’m looking forward to next year. It definitely fills the void in the winter.

  2. Thanks, PRM. I’m glad you had a good time.

  3. This is also the Convention Center that will hold the Phoenix Comicon when that arrives in June.

  4. Chris Hero says:

    I’m not a big cos-play fan normally, but some of those costumes are phenomenal. My favorite is the Rocket Racoon one, but that’s not taking away from the others. Wow…

  5. Jerry Smith says:

    Could someone find out if the Scarlet Witch is single? Hmmm … that didn’t sound creepy at all …

  6. Actually, Phoenix Comicon will be expanding into the south hall of the convention center (which is where AACC was) and will still have all of the north hall and downstairs exhibit space, plus activities going on at three nearby hotels.

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