The Amazing Arizona Comic Con took place over the weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix and played host to thousands of attendees. The event was a test for the convention in new grounds and even though it appeared an overall success, it did have its setbacks with room for improvement.
Early in the game the convention appeared to have hit a snag with the cancelled appearance of noted Marvel comic writer Stan Lee due to illness. The cancellation was announced early Friday morning, hours before the event kicked off, forcing the convention to arrange compensation and refunds for those who purchased special V.I.P. passes for the comic celebrity’s events.
That did not deter attendees however, as convention goers turned out in droves through the rainy weather to the event. Guests like DC Comics head Jim Lee, Face Off winner Nicole Chilelli, and Phineas and Ferb artist Mat Nastos attracted hundreds to their booths for autographs and pictures.
The convention itself was based around a large hall filled to the brim with artist and vendor booths, alongside a gaming area and food lounge. The area was noticeably congested late Saturday and especially Sunday for family day, which was undoubtedly the most popular day of the event. Two rooms outside of the vendors hall were utilized to host panels such as a live art demonstration by Jim Lee, a Q&A by Image Comics creators, and numerous others held consistently throughout the weekend.
Small issues came up during the event, such as the two rooms utilized for panels being referenced as “room one” and “room two”, instead of the actual numbers they were labeled as in the convention guide. Attendees were also given a single wristband for the entire weekend instead of a badge, making it cumbersome to retain over the course of two or three days. Although these issues were small, they could be rectified in the future by using badges and noting con guides to alleviate confusion in an already overflowing convention space.
Never the less, the convention retained a good hometown feel. Attendees launched into casual discussions with artists and vendors and guests interacted with con goers both during panels and around the convention. This convention was definitely focused on the artists and exhibitors, rather than programming, but there was always something to be found in the comparatively smaller event.
Official attendance numbers for the convention have not yet been released, but event founder Jimmy Jay commented in an earlier interview that ticket pre-sales had exceeded what they had been in previous years. With its growing size and positive attendee reaction, the Amazing Arizona Comic Con will likely need a bigger home in the near future.