It's a few weeks late, but the Phoenix Comicon has come to an end. Let's try to hold in the tears.
I really, really like the Phoenix Comicon. Hell, I like comicons in general. It's hard to admit that aimlessly wandering around a convention center full of people who really like giant, wooden swords is is an awesome way to spend the weekend, but I've since torn down the emotional curtain, removed the mask that's hiding my true feelings.
I am those those people. I am that guy dancing and play-fighting with a plastic lightsaber.
I'm sad that it's over. I'm sad I can't mix and mingle with artists and writers and old dudes selling overpriced Japanese monster toys. I'm sad I won't ever see those two hot girls dressed as the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold again. The entire experience left me feeling hollow, not because it sucked (of course it didn't suck!) but because I won't be a part of this circus of nonsense until a full fucking year from now. So many costumes, so many skimpy costumes, so many things that'll blow your mindballs. So what am I supposed to do now? Get a job? Talk to a real person? FUCK YOU.
...unfortunately, the music portion of the night was a complete mess. There, it's been said. It's off my chest!
Now, the crowd was great, the stage and setting and excitment and energy were all present, don't get me wrong. The main headache lied in the case that not a soul had any idea that music was involved in any way, shape or form. Sure, there was a slight buzz and a small rumor circulating around that, yes, there were live bands performing, but even if you beat the mystery and solved the puzzle, you'd still have no idea as to where those bands would be. In the convention center lobby? Next to the bathrooms? In the fucking Starbucks?
I'd hate to complain, since I took put zero effort into creating the event, and I'd only come off as ungrateful and a total sourpuss. But yeah. The show was in a hotel down a few blocks. Up on the second floor, down a dark hallway and to the right. Don't walk too far or you'll miss it. Did you see it? It's the unmarked and unassuming room. It's actually hidden, so put on your Invisibilty Tracking Glasses. Can't find it yet? Oh, actually, I think it may be in the Starbucks after all.
THERE'S A RAGE IN MY HEART.
At least the Honky Tonk Man kicked off the show with an introduction to fun and excitement.
NO MORE RAGE IN MY HEART.
We played, we rocked, we rolled. For all the heartbreak and cofusion, we honestly had a lot of fun. Met new people, hung out with friends and fellow comic book creeps, etc. No harm, no foul.
We wiped off our sweat, packed up our van and hit the road. The next few days were limited to time behind the merch booth, allowing us two full days to do whatever the hell we wanted to do.
One of my main goals was to spend at least spend a hundred bucks. I don't know where I got this idea from, since I don't have any right to be burning money so senselessly and with no real reason, but I was hellbent on wasting hard cash on plastic crap. I was looking for a hidden treasure, something I couldn't necessarily describe, but I had a weird collection of sparse imagery and dreamlike fantasies about this "somthing." I was on the hunt for a ghostly and indescribable Holy Grail.
I didn't buy shit. Not sure if I started feeling guilty about willingly wanting to spend money on pure nonsense, or the sad fact that I couldn't find what I was looking for (whatever that was) but I walked away epty handed and...well, kinda bummed. Hundreds of vendors hocking everything under the sun and I couldn't settle on a damn thing. The least I could do was photographic everything and anything, bbut even that turned into a task I wasn't willing to force upon myself. I didn't get close enough to any celebrities to warrant a quic scrable for my camera phone, so I ended up just...wandering. Kind of in a daze. I saw my favorite section of the con (weird and bizarre bootlegged DVDs!) and made my way past a booth selling customized "lazer swords." People dressed as medieval knights were banging on each other in their armor, a crowd circling their every move. Corn dogs, ice cream, junk food. A massive city built out of Legos, complete with skyscrapers, automobiles and natural landmarks...just fucking 'cause. It was surreal.
And I'm gonna miss it. It's been weeks since the place shut down and we said our goodbyes, but I'm still a little bit sad that I won't get to see at least two different Batman's roaming the city streets of downtown Phoenix, every single day for four days straight.
I wouldn't haven't bothered to take photos, really. I either totally forgot to, was super lazy or a combo of the two. But good thing I had Davey with me -- he took most of the photos. Okay, alright, he took ALL of the photos.
These are those photos.
One of the first stops was the Arizona Ghostbusters section, a near block dedicated to the ghost bustin' weirdos who reside in this great state of ours. They have their own gang-like meetings, a massive, blow-up Statue of Liberty and a life-size portrait of Vigo the Carpathian. The love of the film drives them into this frenzy, and altogether it's not the worst obsession to fall into. I like the idea of doing whatever is they do when you sign up to be an Arizona Ghostbuster. We can go to the DMV or eat at as long as I get to wear a proton pack. I'll even settle for a Jansport with a vacuum hose glued to the side.
Hey, it's me! It's us! It's Calabrese! I only posted this photo because, I dunno, I like the way my face looks. Ya know, like a duck. With a beak full of cake.
This is with Eric Esquivel, the dude who wrote the Calabrese comic, issue number one. Will there ever be a second issue? Sometime down the line, you betcha. Was that noticeably vague and imprecise? You betcha!
Davey couldn't resist a photograph with the greatest Hulk costume under what looks to be two feet tall. I swear, that kid was a little kid. To see such a small dude wearing matching Hulk feet, hands and abs to die for was...bizarre. It's hard to explain, but it felt out of the ordinary, confusing and altogether super-fucking-cute. A total cocktail of emotions and feelings went swirling and sloshing through my body. I think that troll-like mask struck a hidden nerve -- I might be kinda freaked out by it. Like, whoa.
Oh, and when the shot was taken, he roared. Totally into the part, inside and out. IT WAS AWESOME.
Obviously, one of the highlights of any comicon is the intense drive and dedication to fabulously dressing up as your favorite superhero, anime star or character that no one's ever heard about but, hey, you get to walk around with a plastic gun the size of a taco truck.
One area of the con hosted the Arizona Avengers, a group of fans who not only dressed as the team, but hosted their own gnarly obstacle course. Both DC and Marvel seemed to merge in this venture, but that was alright with me. Where else could pose on a ledge looking over Arkham city, swap friendly blows with Black Widow or take a photo with Commissioner Gordon? It was really fun, held a lot of charm and successfully made me look like a goon in a prison lineup. Anyone could get their mugshot taken, complete with "Arkham Asylum" placard thingy. Six foot three, greasy hair, pure evil.
My name? I am "The Long Locked Strangler." I stalk, strangle and condition my hair with over the counter products. I'm not cheap, I'm economical.
Davey is the "Face Slapper." He throws aftershave into your eyes and then rigs your staircase with Micro-Machines and forces you to spell "Macaulay Culkin." I've tried, and it's impossible. He is a man with a certain conviction...and a whole hell of a lot of time on his hands.
Lastly, Jimmy with something from Dr. Who. If you had any questions about Dr. Who's popularity, go to one of these convetnions. Right after we played, the Dr. Who themed dance party (complete with lazers and glowsticks and horny-Who-fans) was an unbelievable sight to see. I felt the word "mount" was the perfect word to describe the night. "Mount." What a creepy word.
You've done it again, Phoenix Comicon! You've done it again!