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Phoenix Comic Con ’13: A Wretched Hive Of Scum and Villainy

Phoenix Comic Con was upon us again this past Memorial Day weekend. A four day event of wacky misadventures, cracking wise, and reTARDIS behavior. I was accompanied this year by my usual (or unusual, however you want to look at them) good friends Chris and Curtis, and a noob, Jason.

Quote of the weekend: “Now if the drummer from Def Lepard had NO arms, then I’d be impressed.” – Chris

Let’s get started.

Day 1

Preview day was a great start to the weekend. Much more elbow room and laid back. We got to roam the exhibit hall and search for good deals on comics. Also got a preview of what the costumes were going to be this year. Doctor Who. So much Doctor Who stuff. I also saw the actual Comic Book Guy. Weird ponytail skullet, goatee and everything. Not a costume. Actual person.

Chris picked out the first panel we went to. Something called Avengers Assemble! Sounded promising. Turned out to be fans of the Avengers movie dressed as the Avengers answering questions as if they were the Avengers. Chris lost his panel picking privileges after that. The next panel we went to was the best one of the whole weekend. It was a panel on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and habitable planets with Paul Davies and other professors from ASU who were experts in Astrobiology. One of the best panels I’ve been to, it was very educational and cool. The last panel we went to was something called Ultimate Nerd Smackdown where fans debate one another on something like, who is the better team: Justice League or Avengers. It was completely ridiculous and very entertaining. We did get to see a guy (champion from last year’s debate) use the panel to propose to his girlfriend, which was cool to witness her awkward acceptance.

Day 2

Since when do you need a wrist band to see Wil Wheaton’s Awesome Hour? Maybe since always, I don’t know. This was the first time, and last, I tried to go to his panel.

We went through a zombie obstacle course on this day. Sounded cool. We waited in line for almost two hours just to run a few loops through a big ball room at the Renaissance Hotel that took about a minute. So, a group of you would walk through the course of chairs and boxes while zombies (theatre students with makeup) would come after you and try to scare you. Luckily, we the helpless were escorted by the D.O.Z.D. (Department of Zombie Defense) to make it through alive as they would shoot the zombies dead with their orange tipped, plastic guns before they could get to us. Thank God. I’m pretty sure the lady protecting me shot me point blank in the temple. Twice. Chris too.  I lost my event picking privileges after that.

Our Zombie fun wasn’t over yet. Later that night was the Zombie Walk. It reminded me of the parade at Dragon Con, but just zombies and the D.O.Z.D. So a bunch of people got painted up like zombies, clothes covered in blood, gory gashes in their faces, white faces, etc. They all gathered out in the street in a horde and then set off around a few blocks groaning and limping. Sounds cool, except that a bunch of moms with strollers walked among them unscathed. Photographers kept getting into the crowd to take pictures. And a lot of zombies just weren’t in character. Just didn’t feel like they were the walking dead.

We went to another panel that day called the Science of Drinking. I think Chris picked that one, and totally redeemed himself! It was these two guys who came up with a bunch of drinks that were sci-fi related and provided the recipes. They have a blog. Check it out. Anyway, at this panel they mentioned a few of the drinks (Vulcan Mind Meld, Romulan Ale and Sonic Screwdriver) would be served at an after-party called The Captain’s Cantina Party. They didn’t mention the drinks would be overpriced. $9 for a glass filled with too much ice. The party itself was… sobering. Especially the young lady on an acoustic who took the beat poet route to making us feel uncomfortable.

Day 3

Here’s a Con tip: When you go to a Jewel Staite panel and line up to say what you’ve been dying to say, don’t start off with, “I’ve been TV stalking you since you were a little girl.” Especially if you’re a really creepy looking dude. And don’t leave off with, “The Child of Darkness still wishes to see tomorrow.” Or some such nonsense. You tend to come off a bit psychotic. (creepiness at 12:09) She handled it well, though.

Always a pleasure seeing Jewel Staite. You can tell she really enjoys going to these things and talking to her fans. Even The Child of Darkness. I learned at this panel that she has a food blog called Happy Opu. It’s pretty cool. Check it out.

Once we got back from lunch at a great little pizza place called Pizzeria Bianco, we walked the exhibit hall some more looking at art work. Later we went to another panel Chris had picked out about Star Wars, which was run by a group of teenagers who were not creative experts on the subject at all. Just really intense fans. Chris lost his panel picking privileges again.

But then he totally redeemed himself, again, by picking a panel about upcoming movies for the next two years so that I can be prepared not to pay money to see any of them. Basically, everything scheduled to come out in theaters for the next two years is a sequel, reboot,  rehash, unoriginal idea. All of Disney’s plans for Star Wars alone made me sick. Like, seven more movies, an animated series, a live action series, stupid shit like this. Watch that. Let it sink in. Try to keep your lunch down.

Ended the night seeing the first part of the costume masquerade, which was a bunch kids dressed in anime costumes standing awkwardly on stage with some epic TV theme song playing, or a group of kids dressed like the Justice League and for some reason started pretend-fighting each other. Why would members of the Justice League fight each other? Followed that up with Comedy Hour, which was hilarious, and way better than last year.

Day 4

Some yahoo thought it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm. We had left the con for a bit to get lunch at the Rose and Crown and when we got back everyone was outside. Fortunately, we didn’t have to bare that very long, because they let us all back inside shortly after we returned. Missed all the excitement. As a result, they extended the con hours. Unfortunately, half the vendors left along with a lot of the crowd. The Cosplay girls dressed down (or covered up) and it just wasn’t the same.

I did buy some new artwork. A hauntingly and heartfelt  piece of Mr. Freeze looking on a music box ballerina by Livio Ramondelli.

At the end of it all, we bought alcohol, went back to my place and made our own Sonic Screwdrivers and watched new episodes of Arrested Development. A great end to a great weekend.

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