The Mesa Convention Center seems to be the traditional birthplace of great conventions in the Phoenix area. Phoenix Comicon had its humble beginnings in the Mesa Convention Center, and now it’s one of the most visited conventions in the US. This past weekend another convention had its humble beginnings in the Mesa Convention Center, the Comic & Media Expo (CMX).
Walking through the Comic & Media Expo it’s not nearly as crowded as some of the more well-established cons in the Phoenix area, but this allowed for a more intimate setting. Instead of waiting in long lines for celebrity autographs and signatures, you could have a real conversation with cosplayers and celebrities. It’s something that most cons have lost in the modern times of huge Marvel panels where most people have to wait in line for over 24 hours just to get in (and sit in the back row no less).
Local venders came out to support CMX, and while their sales may not have been exceptional, most understood that this was the inaugural year for CMX. It’s more about building relationships and expanding the convention in the future rather than making a quick buck now. The local Arizona venders understand this concept and many have already signed on for a second year.
While Kevin Sorbo, one of the big-name guests of the con, had to cancel his appearance, it only meant fans had more time getting up close and personal with the other celebrities that made the trip. Facebok and Twitter were littered with selfies and group photos of fans with Dante Basco, Janet Varney, Sandeep Parikh and Amy Okuda, among others. This convention was a fan’s dream because it allowed for direct access to the stars they’ve only seen on TV and online.
In the years to come the Comic & Media Expo will grow. While more money will be made for all involved, the intimacy that made this year memorable for so many people will be lost. Instead of standing around talking up your favorite artists, you’ll have to fight your way through crowded hallways. Photographers won’t have a field day with cosplay models, having all the room in the world on the front lawns of the Mesa Convention Center. Instead, they’ll have to part the sea of people walking between their camera and the model.
When compared to bigger cons such as the Phoenix Comicon, some fans and venders may have been disappointed with the turnout. What’s important to note is that this event is run by the fans, for the fans. The directors behind CMX are cosplayers, con attendees and people just like you who are typically paying money to go to conventions. Their vision for the future is one that will shape the convention to be something different than Phoenix Comicon or San Diego Comic-Con. It will be something that people can enjoy instead of just a crowded convention center with long lines and frustrated attendees. We’re looking forward to seeing where the Comic & Media Expo goes from here, and you should be as well.
Photos taken by Claire and Devon Adams [www.devoncadams.com] for GNN.
All rights reserved. To see more photos, check out our Flickr page HERE.