In a whirlwind of geekdom, epic scenery and fantastic people, the Phoenix Comicon seems to have ended as soon as it had started.
The four-day event spanned various levels of entertainment, from comics to YouTubers, anime and art — not to mention the many, many cosplayers that lined the busy halls of the city’s convention center.
One of the key features of the con was that there was something for everyone.
For the Doctor Who loyalists, fan favorites Alex Kingston and Billie Piper were on hand for photos and panels. For the gamers, a hall in the Hyatt Regency hotel stayed open day and night during the con, featuring a smattering of video games for them to play and tournaments to compete.
It’s hard to narrow down what was ‘best’ about the con, but we feel that these are at the very least up there with some of the coolest things seen over the weekend.
Inspired by the Mad Max series of films, car building group Engineers of the Apocalypse created this massive parade car dubbed “RYFFO” or “Rip Your F----- Off.” Led by group Master Chief Mikey Drobitsky, an eight-person team stripped and rebuilt a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban over the course of 8 months, adding giant tires, sawblades and a gunner seat to capture the post-apocalyptic look. The group debuted the vehicle at the “Wasteland” event near California City, CA last year.
At a panel titled “Cosplay for Your Car” on the final day of the con, Drobitsky spoke on the various elements of the design and what it took to make it a reality. He spoke on the sawblades dotting the front of the car, and the necessity to weld down the edges.
“I had a couple of sawblades kicking around the yard,” he said. Using one, the group “judiciously cut it not from the center so it looks like there’s more there than there really is.” According to group member Andrew Kristich, who was also on the panel, the blades were sharp enough that Drobitsky had to weld the edges down to avoid injury.
The sheer volume of Star Wars cosplayers and enthusiasts assuredly enjoyed the various panels and activities dedicated to the storied franchise that were on hand at the con. Chief among these was the Saber Walk, a short-range walk around the convention area that welcomed anyone with or without a lightsaber. Seeing the colorful displays of red, purple, green and more was an entertaining trip that drew crowds along the sidewalks as they watched Jedi and Sith alike walk side by side down the streets.
The Saber Walk is an actual community of Star Wars fans that hold these events each month, which began last year at the Phoenix Comicon’s Fan Fest. “We had 23 people, we had a little lightsaber walk, and we’ve been having unofficial walks for the last year and a half,” said Michael Whyman, who moderates the group’s Facebook page. Whyman said that the community has since grown, and that this year con organizers made the Walk an official event.
Cactus Brick’s LEGO ode to “Batman v. Superman”
Nestled in the busy Hall of Heroes area was a massive LEGO display featuring buildings and scenery from DC Comics locales Metropolis and Gotham City. The display paid tribute to the recent “Batman v. Superman” film, sporting renditions of the Batcave, Wayne Tower and Daily Planet buildings. It even nodded to the “Justice League” animated series with the floating head of the villain Brainiac. An automated train ran through the center of the display.
The piece was crafted by Tempe LEGO enthusiasts Cactus Brick, who meet every month to show off builds and discuss LEGO in general. They also brought a Star Wars Hoth-themed environment as well as a “Wasteland” design to the convention. Group Secretary Corey Gehman said that pieces of the “Batman” display were owned by individual members of the group, and that it took 20 members to create the initial build of the display.
What is a comic convention without cosplayers? The halls, streets and rooms of the event were replete with costumers of many different fandoms, and what’s great is that the con tailored certain events to meet them. Day two of the convention featured a hilarious Deadpool Fashion Show akin to a Miss Universe competition, for example. Aside from the sheer amount of ‘Pools acting as their namesake, folks dressed up as Time Lords, X-Men and many an Anime character, with great attention to detail.
Alexis Noriega cosplayed as DC superhero Hawkgirl, with a pair of wings that expanded and contracted by remote control. “The wings themselves were made using wire fabric, construction adhesive and real feathers,” she said. An aluminum frame housed an electric linear actuator powered by a battery pack.
On cosplaying Hawkgirl, Noriega said that the character was “really cool,”
“There’s a lot of girl power going on,” she said. “Honestly, I love wings. Anything that has wings I fall in love with so I really wanted to do her.”
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