Phoenix, AZ – The AZ comic book convention season has officially kicked off with the first day of Amazing Arizona Comic Con. Now in its third year of operation, AACC has grown consistently every year, and quickly outgrew its old home at the Mesa Convention Center. Now located in the Phoenix Convention Center, the convention has the elbow room it needs to continue its expansion. It suffered a blow when its headline attraction, comic book legend Stan Lee, had to cancel at the last-minute due to illness, but it still has several other attractions to make up for the loss.
I arrived at the convention about 30 minutes before registration opened, hoping to beat the crowds. A few hundred other fans had the same idea, because the registration line was long and intimidating. However, once registration opened, they were able to process people quickly and efficiently, and soon we were able to enter the main floor.
The convention floor was set up in a grid, with vendors and comic book publishers positioned in the front of the main room, while individual artists were stationed along a few rows in the back. In the rear corner, the AZHP Gaming group had several monitors set up for video game tournaments. The vendors carried most anything that a geek could want, from comic books to costuming accessories, from action figures to artwork.
Once I got the lay of the land, it was time to do some serious shopping. There were several items from local creators that were debuting at this convention that I was eager to get my hands on. Jack Rabbit #1, a supernatural noir from Jon Goff and Jim Hanna, made its first physical appearance; it has previously been available as a digital download, but it’s difficult to get creators to sign 1s and 0s, so I had opted to wait for the print version. Also making its first appearance was Dr. Oblivion’s Guide to Secret Identities #3, the last chapter in Jeff Pina’s mini-series about a supervillain who discovers his daughter is dating his arch-enemy. As a teaser, there were some prints and character sketches available for Dead Ringer, and upcoming Pulp adventure from Brian Augustyn and John Derrick West. Finally, April Grady-reyna debuted “The most amazing SQUEE-tastic Sketchbook of 2013,” a collection of art and sketches that she had done during the previous year.
Of course, no comic book convention would be complete without people in costumes, and AACC certainly had its share. Star Wars and superheroes were everywhere, but there was also a healthy helping of video game characters, anime, and characters that I could not identify. There was an equal balance between professional costumers and talented amateurs, with a healthy dose of adorable children dressed as their favorites.
Overall, I was very impressed with the first day of the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention. There was a lot to see, and far too many opportunities to spend my money. I am looking forward to seeing what day 2 has in store.