I’ve been going to the Phoenix Convention Center annually since 2011 (attending Phoenix Comic Con) but on the weekend of January 24th through January 26th, it will be for something that I’ve never experienced before: Amazing Arizona Comic Con. It was only last year while attending the PCC that I learned about Amazing, and since then, I’ve been researching the convention’s prior lineup to get a better idea of what to expect. In the past, Amazing Arizona Comic Con has welcomed prolific comic book superstars like Jim Lee, Jeph Loeb, and Greg Capullo, and the lineup for 2014 is no different. Walking Dead creator and returning guest Robert Kirkman is this year’s Guest of Honor, and the convention will also be welcoming DC Comics Chief Creative Officer and writer Geoff Johns, Image co-founder and Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld, and a slue of other comic book artists and writers. In addition, actress Danai Gurira (Michonne on The Walking Dead) will be there to round out a pretty amazing guest list.
Although I would consider myself a budding aficionado of comic conventions, that feeling of stepping into a convention for the first time has washed over me since learning that I would be covering this event. Sure, this might be a building I’ve traversed before–I even know the proper fire-drill procedure thanks to last year’s mass evacuation of Phoenix Comic Con–but going to a brand-new convention is nonetheless an anxious endeavor. How early will people be lining up to get in? How well will the convention staff be organized to deal with the mass of people? What will the convention offer in terms of programming? How long should I expect to wait to meet Robert Kirkman and take a cheesy photo with him that I’ll immediately post to my Facebook page? All these questions, and more, are swimming through my spinning head right now.
One thing I’m confident about based solely on the lineup of guests is that Amazing Arizona Coming Con is more committed to comics than most conventions of this ilk, and that’s something to look forward to as an avid fan. Rifling through boxes of discount comics, chatting with local artists, buying artwork, and scoring a few signatures from some comic legends are some of the best parts of going to these kinds of conventions for me. Given the focus on comics that Amazing Arizona Comic Con seems to be promoting, I imagine the ease in which I can spend an inordinate amount of money in the fastest amount of time will be staggering. I look forward to the challenge of marching into the Phoenix Convention Center and conquering a new convention.
Tickets for Amazing Arizona Comic Con are available at the Phoenix Convention Center Box Office or online at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con website. Single-day tickets are available for Friday ($25), Saturday ($35), and Sunday ($25), but the best value is the three-day pass ($60). There are also Premium Packages available ($160-$200) and kids under 10 are FREE with a paid adult ticket.