Nerd Culture

Phoenix Nerd News: Todd McFarlane, Spring Anime Fest, Arcade Pickers, and More

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane at Phoenix Comicon in 2014.
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane at Phoenix Comicon in 2014. Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Flickr


Phoenix Fan Fusion and other local conventions might be postponed until next year, but there are still nerdy things to see and do in the Valley. Here's a roundup of recent news from the metro Phoenix geek scene, including a signing appearance by a pair of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers stars, a new YouTube arcade series, and more.


Todd McFarlane Launches Spawn Universe

Looks like Todd McFarlane is taking his signature character into “shared universe” territory. In mid-February, the Valley resident and legendary comic book artist announced the launch of a new interconnected fictional universe centered around Spawn, the iconic anti-hero and supernatural vigilante he created in 1992.

According to a video posted to McFarlane's Instagram account, the so-called “Spawn Universe” launches later this year and will be similar to what Marvel and DC Comics have done for decades. “The simple question is this: DC Comics started a shared universe in the late 1930s. Marvel Comics began theirs in the early 1960s,” McFarlane said in the video. “So, can lightning strike a third time beginning in 2021? I personally do not have the answer to that question right now, but the only way to get an answer to that question is to make the attempt in the first place.”

Four new comic book titles, including King Spawn and Gunslinger Spawn, will launch this summer to kick off the universe.


'Power Rangers' Actresses Making Signing Appearance in Mesa

Fans of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will want to swing through Gotham City Comics and Collectibles, 46 West Main Street in Mesa, on Saturday, March 13, for a chance to meet two actresses from the long-running Super Sentai television series. Catherine Sutherland and Nakia Burrise, who respectively portrayed the pink and yellow ranger on multiple iterations of Power Rangers, will make a signing appearance at the store from noon until 4 p.m. It's free to attend, but Gotham City’s staff says autographs will be $40 per actress, per signature and they’ll sign stuff like photos, action figures, or other Power Rangers items.

New YouTube Series Arcade Pickers Debuts

Local classic game collectors Ralph Ronzio, better known as RetroRalph, and Cory Missall of Arizona's Arcade Heroes recently launched a new YouTube series called Arcade Pickers. As its title suggests, the series involves the pair seeking out old-school arcade games and parts to resell, much like on the hit cable television series American Pickers

According to Ronzio, the series is “still in the early development stages” and they intend to create four or five episodes for its first season. The pilot episode was posted to YouTube on February 19 and features Ronzio and Missall digging through the garage of a Valley arcade game collector and purchasing such games as Street Fighter II, Dragon's Lair, and California Speed. A second episode, entitled "Lost in Tucson," is set to debut at 6 p.m. on Friday.


Spring Anime Fest Coming to Collectors Marketplace

One-stop geek shop Collectors Marketplace, 1945 East Indian School Road, has announced it will host the Spring Anime Fest on Sunday, March 28. According to the store’s Facebook page, the outdoor event will take place in the parking lot and feature an artist alley, multiple vendors, and a cosplay contest for various prizes. Masks will be required and social distancing rules will be enforced. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.