Photo by KSL Photography from ArizonaFoothillsMagazine.com
Photo by KSL Photography from ArizonaFoothillsMagazine.com

I knew it was going to be the beginning of a fantastic weekend as soon as I passed by a father and son, and heard the father say, “You already have four Lightsabers, you can’t have any more!”  That was just the beginning to my first ever Comicon.  You can imagine my excitement, because I literally had just stepped into the hall where all the booths were.  The first picture I took was of a classy looking Steampunk gentleman walking on stilts.  I’d say I started it out well.  Every time I turned my head, I saw an overabundance of awesome costumes, geeked out adults with their nerdy friends (cameras in hand), excited little kids with new toys and face paint, and even some puzzled older individuals escorting their grandkids around.

At first, I’ll be quite honest.  I was a little irked at how expensive parking was on Saturday, when Friday was actually less in some areas.  $5 lots were jacked up to $8, due to the Diamondbacks game on Saturday night (though the lots I parked in were both $12).  And of course, the food prices were sky high; however I didn’t let that ruin my fun.  There was a reason I set money aside for this fun-filled weekend, after all.

That would be my first advice to all con virgins – HAVE EXTRA CASH FOR THE CON, AND ONLY THE CON!  A lot of the gizmos, gadgets, doodads, drawings, pictures, and autographs wind up costing a pretty penny, and it’ll add up with parking and food costs.  Case in point: the double-sided Lightsaber was $350.

Moving on.  The first thing I did was walk the halls of the con, taking in the culture and geekiness of it all.  It felt like my own version of DisneyLand.  I took a bunch of pictures of amazing cosplayers, and visited many different booths.  Of course, I had to stop by and say hello to my good friend Miguel at the Gotham City Comics booth, and took a picture to represent my favorite place to chill and geek out!  I was lucky enough to spot a couple friends, out of the 10,000+ people that were there, and got a couple pictures of them in their costumes (Vegeta and Jean Grey).  My Vegeta friend even had a killer Dragonball Z tattoo, which of course I captured as well.

"Super Saiyan"
"Super Saiyan"

As I continued walking, I saw a lovely petite girl decked out in one of the most intricate steampunk outfits I’ve ever seen.  Not only was her costume incredible, but she was wielding some crazy gun contraption, that looked to be about as big as she was.  So I took a picture of her in all of her awesomeness, and found later on that she was part of the Arizona Steampunk Society.  What a bunch of wonderful, creative people.  Just the trinkets in their display case were photo-worthy, and no doubt some, if not all of them, were gracing the presence of others at the Steampunk Ball.  Unfortunately though, I was unable to attend that event, but I’m going to assume they were there.  Shortly after that, I found another remarkable gentleman garbed in steampunk attire, and his lady friend in a magnificent, matching Victorian style dress.  However, what made me really excited about his outfit was his steampunk “backpack” (pardon my ignorance of the terms, as I’m still learning the steampunk culture).  I still don’t know entirely what it was decorated with, other than an oxygen tank and a couple of pressure gauges.  What I do know is that I NEEDED a picture of it, and it was probably my favorite “backpack” of the con, going up against some others that were very large and… involved.

She strikes me as someone I'd see on Firefly
She strikes me as someone I'd see on Firefly

Just a side note: If you’re interested in dressing up for next year’s con, don’t be afraid to ask some of the cosplayers for advice.  Some of them might be busy, but if you see their circle of fans have dispersed, don’t be afraid to ask a basic question.  They’re usually friendly enough to at least give you a smile and share with you an idea they may have had that helped them along the way to their amazing outfit.  However, you don’t want to bombard them with inquiries, so try to keep it short and sweet.

The next big things I saw and felt the need to capture were two… very large costumes.  I still don’t know what they were exactly, but I’m pretty sure one of them was Son of Arugal from World of Warcraft.  I apologize if that’s not who he was, but it sure looked like it to me, and that excited me as a WoW player.  Especially since I’d tried and failed numerous times to fight and kill the thing, being I was several levels higher than him… but he was elite, so there you go.  End rant.  The most I can say about these two were their costumes were beyond incredible, and must have taken a year or more to complete (not to mention the cost).  They had a large circle of people wanting to take pictures of them that lasted about 45 minutes, though I’m sure that happened more than once during their stay at the con.

Since that little photo-shoot was next to the food line, I decided it was time to eat something.  I spent who knows how much on a very large chili-cheese-dog, but I was too excited to get through even half of it.  I ate what I could very quickly and moved on.  Which brings me to my next word of advice: Don’t leave your mess for the cleaning staff to pick up.  Sure, that’s part of the reason they were hired, but out of respect, just be courteous.  You’re walking all over a gigantic convention center, so I’m sure 10 more steps to a trash can to throw away your barely half eaten hot-dog won’t kill you.

From there, I met up with a couple more friends of mine, dressed like Sailor Moon (possibly Jupiter, she was green) and Tuxedo Mask.  Oh, memories!  Sailor Moon was one of my favorite cartoons growing up, so this was a pleasant surprise.  I spoke with them for a little while about what events they were going to and what they’d already done.  I believe they said they were on their way to the Marvel Vs. Capcom Party, so they couldn’t stay and chat for too long.  I took their picture, and off they went.  Onward! 

One thing I am sad to report is missing Storytime with Wil Wheaton.  Not seeing him was probably what hurt the most in the three major events I had to miss, but I did get to see his bearded face through a small window for a few seconds.  Once I got a peek of that beard, I decided that’s all I really needed to see, and moved onto the Masquerade!

Two words: Comfy shoes.

This was one of the longest lines I’d ever stood/sat in.  The ballroom was massive to say the least, and the line went all the way down the ends of each wall, around all corners, and then back around. And what was even crazier was that it formed in a matter of 20 minutes.  I couldn’t believe it.  About half of the people there were in costume, but what puzzled me is that I saw a bunch of amazing costumes in the audience that weren’t part of the contest.  I was sitting to the far left of the stage, so the pictures I captured were mainly from the giant screen in front of me.  My favorite costumes were Invader Zim and Gir, Thor and Loki, and Sauron.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the woman dressed as a Jedi who kicked some serious butt with her Lightsaber.

I stuck around the ballroom after the contest was over, to get a few pictures of the contestants while they were off the stage.  I said hi to a couple friends, and by then, I was beat.  I thought about hitting up the Marvel Vs. Capcom party, but I decided to save my energy for Sunday, and went home.  Seriously, don’t spend all your energy in one day.  I know it’s difficult not to, but you’ll regret it when you’re too tired to hit up something incredibly awesome… like the Star Trek: TNG panel.  D’oh!

Favorite costumes of Day1: Steampunker on Stilts, the vikings who asked me “What’s in your wallet?”, Sauron and The Eye, Lady Hulk, and the “lotion” guy… though when you see the picture, I’m sure all the adults will know what I really want to call him.  Check the gallery for more pictures of my very first day, and the Masquerade!

[flagallery gid=24 skin=default_old name=Gallery]

Part 2 and more pictures coming soon!

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