Phoenix Comicon

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Coordinates: 33°24′N 112°06′W / 33.4°N 112.1°W / 33.4; -112.1

Phoenix Comicon
Phoenix Comicon logo.png
Phoenix Comicon Logo
Status Active
Genre Speculative fiction
Venue Phoenix Convention Center
Location(s) Phoenix, Arizona (Phoenix Comicon, Phoenix Fan Fest)
Country United States
Inaugurated 2002
Attendance 106,096 in 2016

Phoenix Comicon is a speculative fiction entertainment and comic book convention held annually in Phoenix, Arizona. It was founded as the Phoenix Cactus Comicon in June 2002, and originally consisted of a one-day six-hour event held in Ahwatukee, Arizona. PCC plays host to comic related panels, programming events, art contests, and autograph signings for all ages. It is a four-day event (Thursday-Sunday) held during the summer at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. On Thursday evening prior to the official opening of the event, there is a preview for professionals, exhibitors, and select guests pre-registered for all four days.

Originally showcasing comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television, and related popular arts, the convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. In 2016, the convention set an attendance record of 106,096, and reportedly generates approximately $5 million in revenue for the city of Phoenix. Phoenix Comicon has also begun to expand programming into the surrounding hotels, including the Hyatt Regency, Marriott Renaissance and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotels.

The convention has also expanded to hosting another convention during the fall and winter months titled Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, the first of which was hosted at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona in December 2014. It was re-branded as Phoenix Fan Fest and moved to October in 2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

History and organization[edit]

The Phoenix Convention Center has hosted the annual convention since 2010.
Phoenix Comicon 2017

The first Phoenix Comicon was held in June 2002 as Phoenix Cactus Comicon. It was a one-day convention for six hours held at a Best Western in Ahwatukee, Arizona. Admission was $3 per person and there were 432 attendees, along with a few local creators and exhibitors. The following three years, the convention was held at the Glendale Civic Center. The size of the convention and the attendance were doubled from the previous year, and the Sunday morning six-hour length of the convention was maintained. The convention began to bring out some guests from out of state including Spider-Man artist Todd Nauck and comic legend Marv Wolfman. The programming was increased to include Q&A's with guests, how-to workshops, and film trailer presentations.

In 2006, the convention was held at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona for the first time in its history. It also became a two-day convention, with Friday preview night, and had guests such as voice actors Johnny Young Bosche and Greg Ayres. The exhibitor room was dramatically expanded, as was the amount of programming offered. This was the first convention to expand beyond comic books into the greater pop culture community, including Anime, Manga, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Cosplay. Attendance was over 2,600 people for the weekend. The convention was held in January from 2007 to 2009, at the Mesa Convention Center. Attendance jumped past 3,200. 2007 was considered the conventions first foray into media guests, with Feedback, the winner of "Stan Lee's Who Wants to be a Superhero" attending. In 2009, the event was expanded to 3 days, with a Thursday preview night. It was also announced at the 2009 convention that due to an overwhelming attendance of around 7,000 people for that year, the convention in 2010 will be moving to the Phoenix Convention Center the next year, along with the dates changing to the end of May.

Beginning in 2010 the convention was held on Memorial Day weekend, at the Phoenix Convention Center and Grand Hyatt Hotel in Phoenix. This change was due to the large increase in attendance, and the availability of funds to hold the convention in a larger venue. Bigger names, such as Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and Stan Lee also attended the convention as special guests. One of the highlights of the 2013 event include the world premiere of "Pilgrim of Eternity", the first full-length episode of the award-winning Star Trek Continues fan film web series and a sequel to "Who Mourns for Adonais?". In 2014, due to a scheduling conflict, the convention was moved to the first week of June as opposed to Memorial Day weekend. The convention also expanded its presence into the South and West buildings of the convention center, as well as nearby hotels including the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Marriott Renaissance Hotel and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The 2015 and 2016 convention took place the weekend after Memorial Day weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, and further utilized the convention facilities, including expanding to the third level ballroom in order to accommodate a larger amount of attendees for popular media guests.

Beginning in 2017, the convention will take place on Memorial Day weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center through at least 2019.

On May 25, 2017, the first day of the convention, a man was arrested after posting to Facebook his intent to kill police officers, and was found in possession of several firearms and knives. The man believed he was the Punisher, and intended to kill bad police officers, along with actor Jason David Frank, who was attending the convention as a guest. Security changes were made for the event to include the banning of prop weapons, although vendors were still allowed to sell toy weapons as long as they were sealed.[1]


Stan Lee addressing attendees at the 2014 Phoenix Comicon.

Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, evenings at the convention include events such as themed prom parties, the annual Masquerade costume contest, and a Film Festival with several different prize opportunities.

In 2014, Phoenix Comicon also began a partnership with NASA, allowing attendees to participate in the FameLab program, as well as hear from NASA representatives at various panels throughout the convention. Phoenix Comicon also partnered with media guests and entertainers to offer special events outside the convention, including a performance by Brian Posehn, Myq Kaplan and Mike Drucker for their comedy group Comedy Mutant, as well as a one-man performance of Star Wars, presented by Charlie Ross.

Like most comic-book conventions, Phoenix Comicon features a large floor space for exhibitors. These include media companies, as well as comic-book dealers and collectibles merchants. And like most comics conventions, Phoenix Comicon includes an autograph and photo opportunity area, as well as the Artists' Alley where comics artists can sign autographs and sell or do free sketches.

The convention also offers attendees the chance to purchase exclusive collectibles. Most such exclusives are licensed properties of movie, comic book, and animation characters.

For the first time ever, Phoenix Comicon held a separate event in December 2014, titled Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The convention functioned as a smaller version of Phoenix Comicon, maintaining its usual elements of panels, workshops, and exhibitors, while expanding its focus on comic book artists, and fan interaction with its various media guests. Convention organizers stated that they saw a desire from their audience to host a convention in Arizona during the winter, but due to costs involved with renting the Phoenix Convention Center, and blocking off rooms at nearby hotels, the decision was made to host the Fan Fest in Glendale at University of Phoenix Stadium. Several television and media guests attended the first ever Fan Fest, including David Ramsey, Colin Baker and Michael Biehn, among others, including several dozen comic book artists and creators. In 2016, the Fan Fest was moved to the Phoenix Convention Center, and took place in October, rather than December.


Phoenix Comicon[edit]

Date Location Attendance Special Guests
1[2] June 2002 Best Western Hotel,
Ahwatukee, AZ
432 None
2[2] April 2003 Glendale Civic Center 780 None
3[2] April 2004 Glendale Civic Center 690 None
4[2] April 2005 Glendale Civic Center 680 Todd Nauck, Marv Wolfman
5[3] September 23–24, 2006 Mesa Convention Center 2,600 Christine Auten, Greg Ayres, Josh Blaylock, Johnny Yong Bosch, Shannon Denton, Eyeshine, Christy Lijewski, Jen Quick, Armand Villavert Jr.
6[4] January 27–28, 2007 Mesa Convention Center 3,200 Shannon Denton, Crispin Freeman, Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, M. Alice LeGrow, Angel Medina, Vic Mignogna, George Pérez, Jen Quick, Amy Reeder Hadley, among others.
7[5] January 26–27, 2008 Mesa Convention Center 5,200 Maral Agnerian, Greg Ayres, David Beaty, Jeremy Bulloch, Svetlana Chmakova, Luci Christian, Shannon Denton, Walter Koenig, Jeph Loeb, Peter Mayhew, Ed McGuinness, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie, Angel Medina, Michelle Ruff, Armand Villavert Jr., Mark Waid, Wil Wheaton, Andrew Wheelan, among others.
8[6] January 23–25, 2009 Mesa Convention Center 7,000 David Beaty, Lou Ferrigno, Tiffany Grant, Erin Gray, Matt Greenfield, Reuben Langdon, Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Platt, Christophe Tang, Wil Wheaton, among others.
9[7] May 28–30, 2010 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel
13,988 Stan Lee, Wil Wheaton, Lou Ferrigno, LeVar Burton, Felicia Day, Jonathan Frakes, Genie Francis, James Marsters, Philip Tan, Greg Capullo, Mike McFarland, John Scalzi, among others.
10[7] May 26–29, 2011 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel
23,001 Stan Lee, Wil Wheaton, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Sandeep Parikh, Jeff Lewis, Cassandra Peterson, Billy Dee Williams, Paul McGillion, Todd McFarlane, Max Brooks, Bruce Boxleitner, Jaime Paglia, Aaron Douglas, Alex Albrecht, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Vic Mignogna, Kazha, Brina Palencia, Ernie Hudson, John Scalzi, Cherie Priest, Robert J. Sawyer, among others.
11[7] May 24–27, 2012 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel
32,127 William Shatner, Ed Asner, George Pérez, Greg Horn, Yvonne Navarro, Jeff Mariotte, Jeremy Bulloch, Vic Mignogna, Kazha, Arthur Suydam, Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, James A. Owen, Gini Koch, Billy Tucci, Weston Ochse, Tony Amendola, Stuart Immonen, Kathryn Immonen, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Colin Ferguson, David Finch, Garth Ennis, Craig W. Chenery, Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Lou Ferrigno, Jon Bernthal, among others.
12[7] May 23–26, 2013 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel,
Marriott Renaissance Hotel
55,313 John Barrowman, Nichelle Nichols, J. Michael Straczynski, Bill Mumy, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik, Jason Carter, Robin Atkin Downes, Andrea Thompson, Michael Forest, Tracy Scoggins, Julie Caitlin Brown, Mira Furlan, Walter Koenig, Pat Tallman, Stephen Furst, Cindy Morgan, Garrett Wang, Kristin Bauer, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Sam Witwer, Michael Rooker, Gigi Edgley, David Franklin, Dean Cain, Chandler Riggs, Laurie Holden, Yuri Lowenthal, Vic Mignogna, Tara Platt, Grant Imahara, Wil Wheaton, Chris Gore, Tara Strong, among others.
13[7] June 5–8, 2014 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel,
Marriott Renaissance Hotel,
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel
77,818 Bruce Campbell, Nathan Fillion, John Barrowman, Adam West, John Rhys-Davies, Mark Sheppard, Don Rosa, Mark Bagley, Patrick Rothfuss, Danny Glover, John Ratzenberger, Stan Lee, Brian Posehn, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Todd McFarlane, Walter Jones, David Yost, Austin St. John, Richard Dean Anderson, Charlaine Harris, Manu Bennett, Dean Lorey, Crispin Freeman, Jim Butcher, Todd Haberkorn, Jason Spisak, Cary Elwes, Stephen Amell, Michael Rooker, Kelly Le Brock, Catherine Bach, Amber Benson, Dean Lorey, Sonny Strait, Paul and Storm, among others.
14[7] May 28–31, 2015 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel,
Marriott Renaissance Hotel,
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel
75,501[8] Summer Glau, Jason Momoa, Paul Cornell, Mike Zeck, Edward James Olmos, Charisma Carpenter, Renee Witterstaetter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Beaver, William Tucci, Scott Sigler, Lou Ferrigno, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Van Jensen, Michael Shanks, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Barry Bostwick, Christopher Lloyd, Chuck Huber, Danielle Panabaker, David Morrissey, Jason Isaacs, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff, Lexa Doig, Mary McDonnell, Max Brooks, Nell Campbell, Patricia Quinn, Ron Perlman, Tom Kane, Roger L. Jackson, Veronica Taylor, Vic Mignogna, Todd Haberkorn, Chris Doohan, Michele Specht, David Baron, John Layman, Mike S. Miller, Brian Pulido, Art Adams, Todd Nauck, Eric Basaldua, Michael A. Stackpole, Bret Blevins, Joel Gomez, Don Rosa, Jacen Burrows, Brett Booth, Jae Lee, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Jim Steranko, Norm Rapmund, Rafael Albuquerque, Ryan Ottley, Tim Vigil, among others.[9]
15[7] June 2–5, 2016 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel
106,096[10] Alex Kingston, Billie Piper, Oded Fehr, Mark Pellegrino, Timothy Omundson, Bob Morley, Arryn Zech, Caitlin Glass, Caity Lotz, Dan Starkey, David Fielding, David Ramsey, D. C. Douglas, Emma Caulfield, Eve Myles, Gates McFadden, Glenn Morshower, James Marsters, Jess Harnell, Kane Hodder, Sam Jones, Patrick Rothfuss, George Perez, Kara Ashley, Ksenia Solo, Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Martin Kove, Maurice LaMarche, Neve McIntosh, Nolan North, Ralph Macchio, Robert Beltran, Sean Astin, Tony Todd, Troy Baker, William Zabka, Mike Zeck, among others.
16[7] May 25-28, 2017 Phoenix Convention Center,
Hyatt Regency Hotel
TBA Dick Van Dyke, Alan Tudyk, Karen Gillan, Bonnie Wright, Jon Bernthal, Elden Henson, Kevin Conroy, PJ Haarsma, Gabriel Luna, Curtis Armstrong, Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, Vic Mignogna, Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Todd Haberkorn, Teddy Sears, Karen David, John de Lancie, Osric Chau, David Anders, Sean Maguire, Rachel Skarsten, Michael Rosenbaum, Neal McDonough, Ciara Renée, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jason David Frank, Osric Chau, Ryan Hurst, Peter David, Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, Michael A. Stackpole, Arthur Suydam, Norm Rapmund, Dan Jurgens, Diane Pershing, Diana Gabaldon, Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, Dan Wells, Jim Shooter, Jae Lee, Frank Beddor, Sam Sykes, Myke Cole, Pierce Brown, Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, among others.

Phoenix Fan Fest[edit]

Date Location Attendance Special Guests
1[7] December 12–14, 2014 University of Phoenix Stadium 11,403 David Ramsey, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Tom Skerritt, Ben Browder, Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Eddie McClintock, Linda Blair, Jae Lee, Bob Layton, Norm Rapmund, Neal Adams, James A. Owen, among others.
2[7] December 4–6, 2015 University of Phoenix Stadium,
Renaissance Hotel Glendale
Unknown Karen Gillan, Sean Maher, Alaina Huffman, Julian Richings, Gareth David-Lloyd, Dirk Benedict, Denise Crosby, W. Morgan Sheppard, Kevin Sorbo, Alan Oppenheimer, Melendy Britt, Tom Lenk, Tim Seeley, Aaron Lopresti, Don Rosa, Frank Beddor, among others.
3[11] October 22–23, 2016 Phoenix Convention Center Unknown Millie Bobby Brown, John Cena, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Daniel Bryan, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, David Harbour, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Bob Layton, Tahmoh Penikett, The Honky Tonk Man, Tim Rose, among others.


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