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Giant Comicon Party Set to Invade Downtown Phoenix

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 17:05

Comicon

Tony Parker, courtesy Phoenix Comicon

Get down with your geeky self this weekend at Phoenix Comicon 2012, Arizona’s annual pop culture celebration.

The three and a half day event is expected to outshine previous years with more than 30,000 guests, 25 signature events and 600 hours of panel discussions with celebrities and industry experts.

“It’s kind of like a giant party,” said Director of Marketing Jillian Squires. “Everyone is really carefree and having a good time.”

From superheroes and princesses to zombies and manga characters, there is something for everyone. Even if you aren’t a die-hard anime or sci-fi fan, rest assured that Comicon will be a party no matter what your interests are.

“Even if you aren’t walking around in a Princess Leia costume you get caught up in it,” said Scott Haag, who is the manager of music, nightlife and parties.“I think some people get the impression that it’s just geeks sitting around watching television, but these people get out on the dance floors, are at the bars and party hard all night long.”

The event kicks off Thursday, May 24, at 4 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency Phoenix and the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown and runs until Sunday, May 27.

Following classic comic book convention form there will be vendors, celebrity meet and greets and fans decked out in elaborate costumes.

The line-up for actors, authors and illustrators include cast reunions from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”and “Eureka,” appearances from William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, and Ed Asner, the voice actor who starred in the animated film “UP,” and comic book authors and illustrators like Stuart Sayger and David Finch.

In addition to real-life stars, fans can pay homage to their favorite fictional characters.

Storm troopers, Jedi and superheroes will flaunt their costumes on the streets and at various costume contests and fashion shows.

For Josh Nichols it won’t be his first time donning his Mighty Morphin Power Ranger gear at Comicon.

“You’re never too old for this kind of stuff,” said Nichols, who will be dressed as the White Ranger throughout the weekend. You get to meet all kinds of people who come up to you and say that you were their favorite childhood hero.”

Like many cosplayers, Nichols takes his appearance seriously, ensuring that he perfectly embodies his childhood idol. He spent more than $800 on his costume originally buying it from a man in Thailand then adding further customizations.

The Yellow Ranger, Hannah Nichols, and the Green Ranger, Dan Wilk, will flank Nichols’ sides.

After shaking hands and snapping photos with pop icons there are panel discussions anyone can sink his or her teeth into — from topics about the apocalypse and anger management for gamers to body painting and Disney princesses.

“What separates our Comicon from others is after you’ve spent your money and gone to a couple panels you can actually go do stuff and participate in events,” Haag said.

For youth there are sidekick training where a local martial arts instructor imparts his knowledge on basic self-defense to ninja wannabes, art and Lego rooms and brain-eating contests. Kids ages 12 and under, get free admission.

But the real fun starts in the evening, Haag said.

“Give it a shot,” he said. “Stay all day and into the night, and I promise you if you stay past dark you will be having a good time and we will convert you.”

Must-see evening events include the Zombie Walk through downtown Phoenix on Friday night. Make-up artists will be onsite to transform your day look into an evening corpse look.

Parties that go late into the night with DJs, dancing and costumes include the Geek Prom Charity Event, the High School of the Dead zombie manga/anime rave and the Dr. Who Party Like a Time Lord party, which Haag believes will be this year’s hit.

“For years and years, people have been asking me to do a Dr. Who event and when we announced this party at the kickoff event the amount of people that cheered was amazing,” he said.

With a weekend of fashion shows, panel discussions, drawing classes, raves, scream contests, and film festivals a game plan is necessary to tackle the weekend, and Phoenix Comicon made it easy with it mobile phone application, Conquest.

Attendees can download the official Phoenix Comicon guide to their Android or Apple device and have easy access to the weekend’s events and build a customized scheduled.

“The event is really fun, but you have to come back next year because there is no way you can see it all one year,” Squire said.

 

Full event memberships are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Single day tickets are also available. Children 12 and under get in for free with a paid accompanying adult. Limit two children per paid adult. For more information visit www.phoenixcomicon.com

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