Convention Life

Fan Fest – The sights, the sounds, the droids!

Way back in 2014, Phoenix Comicon took four short months to put together the first Fan Fest.

The three-day event brought out 9,200 guests looking to get their geek on while waiting for the full-on Comicon in May 2015

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest returned for a second year at University of Phoenix Stadium. It’s smaller and more relaxed atmosphere allowed for more of a focus on three main topics: comic books, kids and costuming.

Also, after listening to attendants from the first year, tickets were much more affordable as well.

At the stadium, fans found the main exhibitor area, an artists alley, media guests, costume groups, celebrity photo booth, three rooms for panel discussions and two outdoor event areas.

Naturally, ahead of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, kids had the BB-8 Obstacle Course, where participants were able to race various spherical droids. Panels included Marvel vs. DC, Star Wars Comics: Now and Then, Red vs. Green: The Holiday Wars, Geeks Who Drink and Game of Thrones: House Feud Edition.

Guest wise, fans were not left wanting. From Karen Gillan (who gained recognition in Doctor Who and recently played Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy) to Julian Richings (Death on Supernatural), there was a wide variety of fan moments to choose from.  ​

As always, cosplay was in full force that weekend. From established groups like Arizona Avengers, Heroes United AZ and the Arizona Autobots to everyday folks testing out their cosplay mettle, everyone let their creative side stand out.

In the first year, many fans wanted something to do at night. Therefore, the Blue Ribbon Army (B.R.A.) held the Fan Fest After Dark at the Solana Ballroom at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale.

With more than 250 vendors, Fan Fest was a good place to find holiday gifts for friends and family.

Also returning was the fan-made comic book. Last year, writers and artists teamed up to create a two-page comic book introducing the Valley’s own superhero, Blaze. This time, Blaze’s arch nemesis was introduced, and fans again were asked for their contributions.

All in all, much joy and fun was by the masses. Here’s to Phoenix Comicon 2016 as well as Fan Fest 2016!

Derrick Williams

March 9th, 2016

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