Phoenix Comicon "Preview Night": A Taste of What's in Store for the Weekend

It's the weekend of Phoenix Comicon, and if the colorful crowd that showed up for "Preview Night" on Thursday, May 27 is any indication, there will be hordes of costumed geeks in the area for the next three days.

The doors to the Phoenix Convention Center opened around 5 p.m., and by 6:15, there was a line of people winding from the entrance, down the steps, and onto the sidewalk by Washington Street. At least half of those people were in costume, rocking every look from blue-haired Japanese maids to superheroes like Batman's sidekick, Robin (check out our feature this week on Comicon and costumers here).

Inside, all kinds of characters ran amok, including Ghostbusters, giant bunnies, and two women dressed as Skwisgaar and Toki from cartoon band Dethklok, from the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse. But Star Wars costumes still ruled the floor, as local branches of the 501st Legion and the Fighting Mandalorians showed up en mass to wander the hallways, pose for pictures, and man the Star Wars booths in the exhibit hall.

The exhibit hall itself was crammed with comics and other eye candy, and people were piling up on the goods so fast we could hear virtual ka-chings! in our heads. Among the prized finds: a limited edition Malcolm McDowell poster, signed by artist Retro Outlaw and McDowell himself; a 14-inch Aliens action figure in a reflective display box; and two different kinds of jackalope T-shirts by California artist Ben Walker.

As usual, there was a table of "freebies" (mostly old movie posters and Star Trek images) that fans heartily grabbed up, and a plethora of comic artists and writers sitting at tables, ready to sign their stuff after purchase. Among the most interesting was Chicago-based artist and writer Spike, whose comic, Templar, Arizona, takes place in a fictional Arizona town that's even more surreal and messed up than anywhere in real Arizona.

Also hanging around in the exhibit hall were Lady Death comic creator Brian Pulido, sci-fi writer and "Whatever" blogger John Scalzi, and Roy Farris, a.k.a. pro-wrestler The Honky Tonk Man.

By 9 p.m., the convention center was filled with a few thousand fans, some of which headed over to the nearby Hyatt Regency, where concurrent programming (like the anime rave) was taking place. Cars in downtown Phoenix slowed down to honk, wave, and scream at the colorful costumers sprinting through the crosswalks with capes and long, shiny hair flowing behind them.

And this is only the beginning. Events continue at Phoenix Comicon through Sunday, May 30. For more information, visit

The Atomic Comics crew hams it up.
The Atomic Comics crew hams it up.
E. Groves

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