Frenchie’s Finds – Phoenix Comicon 2011
Phoenix Comicon celebrates its 2nd year at the Phoenix Convention Center and the number of attendees is on the rise again! Fortunately, I was able to check in a day before the festivities began to check out the con grounds and the above picture is what it looked like. It kind of looks like a level from Portal, doesn’t it? If you came on the first day, however, you probably saw a mess of people, like this:
It was definitely more crowded than I have ever experienced at PCC. Each day, there is a jam-packed room full of people who are trying to get their badges. On top of that, they used the same room for the Dealer’s Room/Exhibitor’s Hall. Walking through the Dealer’s Room though, I began to feel as if I was at a mini Anime Expo for two reasons: Crowds and Space. This had to be the largest area used for a Dealer’s Room in the history of Anime/Comic conventions in Arizona. Keep in mind, this convention is mainly a comic convention, despite its ambiguity in the advertisements stating “Biggest Pop Culture Event in the Southwest.” The reason being is that the convention welcomes anything that has caught like wildfire, such as these fellows:
Yes, Angry Birds is that all-time famous pastime for smartphone users, both old and young (can’t you tell from the excitement on that young girl’s face?). These outraged birds got its popularity from the concept of a slingshot, not to mention a very cute storyline. Let’s not think too literally about throwing birds though, you could be had for animal abuse. On the plus side, you can buy these cuddly creatures (in various sizes) at the convention and throw them around all you want! I will not be absolutely surprised if I see a billion Angry Birds at Anime Expo.
Whether you’re at PCC for comics or anime, fashion tends to be very independent of them, but takes in fans from both worlds. Steampunk has gotten noticeably popular since last year’s PCC that a good number of stores specialize in Steampunk only outfits. This kind of fashion is inspired by intricate gadgets with a mixture of an outlaw-like attitude. There are series in both comics and anime that are inspired by this kind of fashion and it will only become more popular for next year’s PCC. The Steampunk fashion shows are a must-see, because they do get crowded very fast!
The other side of fashion is one that is very familiar to everybody now, Japanese Fashion. Since 2007, Japanese fashion has definitely grown in the Arizona convention scene. These three outfits were my top favorites, not because of the leg action. Regardless of how much leg gets shown, this show felt different, because about 90% of the models are actually with a local designer. That goes to show how many people are truly inspired by this unique fashion, with the drive to go national or international with their labels. It all starts from the ground up.
Until last year’s PCC, most of the convention was geared toward anime; even the vendors sold mostly anime-related items. Now, the tables have turned! It seemed as if less than 20% of attendees were there for anime. I believe that advertising also had a lot to do with the spike in number of comic attendees. You know, friends who tell their friends who also tell their friends. I find it to be really exciting, because Arizona needed an event like this for nerds and geeks alike. Looks like anime conventions may have quite a competition in their hands next year!
I must say that the gaming room was very outstanding this year! It looks like AZHP did a major upgrade, bringing more games and tournaments to comic and anime fans alike. Even little ones (right) are caught playing against gamers twice or even three times his age. One major relief was the decrease in the amount of “gamer funk” all thanks to a larger room with better circulation! No one will admit their gamer funk, but it’s better to find ways to eliminate it instead. The gaming room offered not only console gaming but also PC gaming, seeing as people were obsessed with World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2.
When I was looking at the programming guide, I hit an obstacle: Go to the “Poké University” panel, or the “How to be a bad@$$ 101” which were both at the same time. I figured that there were too many Pokémon-related cosplays, items, jokes to go around at future conventions, that I decided to give the other panel a try. Surprisingly enough, the panel was very informative. The room was almost packed and we all had a good laugh about certain bad@$$ characters. The two most popular ones were Prince Vegeta (for obvious reasons, he’s Vegeta) and Dante (because he’s cool). The panelists (The Renegades) made a nice presentation on what makes a bad@$$, going into details such as having a good back story to poses, attitudes and weapons. At times, the idea of a bad@$$ seemed similar to a douchebag, but they also talked about how to avoid being that person. If you missed it, let’s hope they will come back to a future convention!
This convention really shifted its focus from the first year it started. Some people who have been to any previous PCC have probably wondered why it looked to be anime-related as opposed to comics. With enough time, patience, and money, the real idea behind PCC finally shined down in Phoenix. I always wondered where all the Arizona comic book geeks went, because I know for a fact that anime isn’t the only kind of media that everybody likes. The number of attendees each year seemed like a wave of zombies in those horror survivor games, they get numerous after the previous wave. Since last year, that wave certainly gave the PCC committee something to work with by hiring more guests, panelists, vendors, etc. Will it be more promising next year? There’s only one way to find out!
PCC 2011 Cosplay Video