So it’s a whole week after Phoenix Comicon and I’m only now writing this wrap-up. I was a little distracted for several days this week, putting an ending on draft #1 of my work-in-progress (woo-hoo!) so it’s taken me a while to put my con thoughts down. But it’s okay, my con thoughts can be summarized in basically two words: Comicon is equal parts awful and awesome!
I’m not entirely sure why a large convention is happening in Phoenix in the hottest month of the year. (For the last few years Comicon has been on Memorial Day weekend, although a conflict with that date this year meant they pushed it to June. It will move back to Memorial Day next year, but the temperature difference really isn’t that significant.) Someone in the lobby of the hotel where we stayed, who was there for a different convention but saw me in the Tudor getup**, asked me if I was from around here. I said yes, and I did know what to expect when I chose to wear that. I mostly succeeded in avoiding heat stroke. But still – what the hell were we all thinking, going out to a large convention that overflowed onto the streets of Downtown Phoenix in 110 degrees? And half of us were dressed in heavy clothing, anti-zombie tactical gear, fake fur, and so on. Like this guy.
And then there were the crowds. Holy hats, the crowds. Everything took three times longer than you’d expect because of how long it took just to get from point A to point B, and that’s not even counting time spent standing in line to get into the big panels or to get food. We missed several things we wanted to see because we had to stand in line for so long. Enochlophobics need not apply.
And yet, even as half my brain was screaming “Oh my god, what am I doing here?!” the other half was saying, equally loudly, “This is so cool!” Some people get their sense of community and shared goals from sports games or religious gatherings – this is the same thing for geeks. The last attendance count I heard was over 77,000, all fans of the same stuff, taking over virtually the entire Phoenix Convention Center. The John Barrowman panel and the Masquerade costume contest together were worth the price of admission. Much of the support for local writers has migrated from the small local science fiction conventions to Comicon, so it was good to be among peers again, even if I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in author programming. And where else can grownups wear costumes? (And be mostly not laughed at, that is.)
So plans are in place for next year. Hopefully I’ll have shaken off the heat and the crowds by then. Hopefully I can find quicker eating options next time. Hopefully the hotel will have more than one elevator working then (!!). But I’ll be there. Now, what am I going to wear…
** Why Tudor? I was hoping to put something more relevant together but ran out of time. However, I noticed that there were several Tudor costuming panels on the program, and since I’ve been in the SCA, I have Tudor/Elizabethan garb in the closet, so it was a quick solution. As it turned out, several people wanted my photo in this getup, including one small girl who looked like I made her day, and you can’t beat that.