Every year since 2011 I have attended Phoenix Comic Con. Every year seems to attract bigger crowds and better celebrities as well as panels than the previous. When Phoenix Comic Con announced their first ever ‘Fan Fest’ just a few months the original announcement, many fans were skeptical. Here is our Phoenix Comic Con Fan Fest review!
I must admit that even I had my reservations regarding Fan Fest, they openly admitted to this sister convention being dramatically smaller than big daddy Phoenix Comic Con that consumes each floor of multiple buildings in down town Phoenix. However, what caught my attention was the mention of being so much more focused on comic books, artists, and vendors rather than TV shows, cosplay, authors, video games etc. Often during Phoenix Comic Con I do not spend more than a passing glance at smaller vendors and artists so I can rush to my next panel on the theory of who would win in a fight between Zombies or Stormtroopers or even stand in line for hours to get a seat at the Nathan Fillion panel.
Coming into Phoenix Comic Con Fan Fest was like a breath of fresh air. We walked onto the convention floor and were neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. The balance had been wonderful. My fellow Geek Lyfe writer and I were able to navigate our way through the floor and check out a variety of vendors to truly appreciate their work without the worry of being late for panels or hoping to catch our favorite cosplayer at his/her booth. We really took in every single booth, browsed their collections and even struck up multiple conversations with vendors to get to know them better. We were even able to interview Sour Apple Gallery on his artwork! This was a great change of pace from the larger convention.
Another good aspect of Fan Fest had been the timing. Due to the holidays being only a few weeks away, everyone had been in the mood to buy for their loved ones and vendors were willing to sometimes haggle for those who wanted their art but did not have the amount they artist asked for. The cosplyers were in full force, running around having a great time. I should mention that although the Cosplay titans like Jessica Nigri, Lindsay Elyse, Ivy Doomkitty, Rosanna Rocha and Toni Darling had not been there, it in no way hindered the con but instead gave exposure and attention to smaller cosplayers such as Itty Bitty Geek.
The only parts of Fan Fest that I felt needed a slight improvement were the lunch time food rush and potentially the addition of authors to Fan fest. After running around snapping photos of the convention, snagging cards for future interviews and buying Doomhammer I was one hungry blogger. The options available were an extremely long line for one burger food truck, going into the convention for alright burgers/hotdogs that were incredibly over priced or travel to West Gate and find a restaurant there. Granted I am fully aware that a lot of convention goers like myself simply breaks down and pays the crazy amount of money for the plain burgers just for the convenience factor, but I would have appreciate a bit more variety like Short Leash being there or some other food truck vendors to make the lunch rush a bit less painful. (And for the record, I will wait hours for Short Leash dogs with no complaints, because they are that good.)
In regards to Authors, I may be bias due to being a writer myself, but I feel that there are quite a few local authors who’d love to have a chance to promote their novels at Fan Fest where convention goers have a much better chance of wandering into their booth here than at the bigger convention. I love finding a new read and getting to chat with those who slaved over them. (Although it’s completely possible that authors were there and I just did not see them? Either way this is still an issue that perhaps giving them their own alley might resolve?)
All in all Phoenix Comic Con Fan Fest was far better than my original expectations. I completely loved it and had a very wonderful time and I hope they continue to have it every year.