Suffice it to say, a lot’s changed with the event over the past 15 years, especially the size of its guest list.
At this year’s edition of Phoenix Comicon – which runs from Thursday, May 25, to Sunday, May 28 – more than 160 special guests are scheduled to appear at the famed pop culture event and geek extravaganza. That includes a slew of actors and actresses, several dozen authors and comics creators, and many nerd icons.
And, as per usual for any Phoenix Comicon, there are plenty of famous names. There’s television icon Dick Van Dyke, for starters, as well as Karen Gillan from Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy, Alan Tudyk of Firefly and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Brat Pack actor Anthony Michael Hall, Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill from Star Trek: Voyager, Harry Potter's Bonnie Wright, and even Machete himself, Danny Trejo.
And the actors behind the superheroes of both the Marvel and DC television universes — including Jon
Comic book aficionados can get their fill as well, as the four-day event includes a ginormous amount of artists, writers, and other creatives from the field. And fans of geek authors like Timothy Zahn, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Elizabeth Bear, Amy K. Nichols, and Alan Dean Foster will get a chance to interact with said scribes. There's also going to be tons of notable fantasy writers at Phoenix Comicon 2017, too. Tons.
Curious about who else will be making the trip to Phoenix Comicon this year? Here’s a complete look at every single guest that will be at this year’s event.
That's right. Every. Single. Guest.
Numerous movie stars, character actors, and geek icons famous for their roles on both big and small screens, as well as many web series, take time away from showbiz to attend Phoenix Comicon each year. As is the norm, there are folks from a wide variety of nerdy franchises, ranging from Star Wars and Star Trek to both the Marvel and DC television universes.
This Scottish-born actress and geek favorite Karen Gillan was companion Amy Pond on two-and-a-half seasons of Doctor Who, Nebula in both Guardians of the Galaxy films, and a special guest of Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest in 2015. She's coming back our way later this month, which will undoubtedly delight the Who faithful of the Valley. (Panel: Sunday, noon, West 301BCD)
Jason David Frank
Not gonna lie: Like many Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fans back in the day, we crushed hard on Tommy Oliver. Played by real-life martial artist Jason David Frank, the character was originally the bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold Green Ranger, who started out evil but later went legit. Then he became the White Ranger, Red Zeo, Red Turbo, and even the Black DinoThunder Ranger, earning the distinction of the longest-tenured character in the franchise. (Panel: Friday, 2 p.m., West 301A)
Don't let the fact that Rachel Skarsten appeared in both American Pie Presents Beta House (bleh) and Fifty Shades of Grey (double bleh) diminish your opinion of her skills as a thespian. The Canadian-born actress stood out as Dinah Lance (a.k.a. Black Canary) on the girl-centric and DC Comics-inspired TV show Birds of Prey and was even better as the Valkyrie-turned-bounty hunter Tamsin on Lost Girl. (Panel: Sunday, 11 a.m., West 301A)
Put simply, Dick Van Dyke is a national treasure. He’s a part of pretty much everyone’s fond childhood memories, be it when he
We sorta grew up with Elden Henson. Not literally, of course, but we’ve been seeing him in memorable movie roles for ages now, dating back to Turner & Hooch or when he played the strong-armed slapshot king Fulton Reed in the Mighty Ducks trilogy. As an adult, he’s been in a bunch of flicks both bad (The Butterfly Effect, Dumb & Dumberer) and good (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Lords of Dogtown) and is now a regular on Daredevil as Foggy Nelson. (Panel: Sunday, 3 p.m., West 301BCD)
Neal McDonough first landed on geekdom’s radar in 1996 after appearing as the ill-fated Lieutenant Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact. Since then, he’s traded blows with Tom Cruise in Minority Report, battled The Rock in Walking Tall, hammed it up as a dapper version of M. Bison in Street Fighter: The Legend of
Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill
Trekkers are very familiar with Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill for their respective roles on Star Trek: Voyager as the wide-eyed Ensign Harry Kim and hotshot Lieutenant Tom Paris. Both characters, who were basically intergalactic BFFs for life, played a big part of all seven seasons of the show and got into myriad adventures both comical (like role-playing '50s pulp sci-fi characters on the holodeck) and dramatic (getting stuck in a
If you caught Jon Bernthal’s memorable Q&A at Phoenix Comicon in 2012, you’d probably agree that the dude’s charming, likable, and funny as hell. Back then, he’d just wrapped up his run as Shane Walsh (R.I.P.) on The Walking Dead. These days, he’s got an even better gig as Frank Castle in Netflix’s Daredevil, which begat a separate show devoted to the character that premieres later this year. (Panel: Sunday, 3 p.m., West 301BCD)
Were you shocked and dismayed when they revealed on The Flash last season that Jay Garrick was actually the evil speedster Hunter Solomon (a.k.a. Zoom)? You weren’t alone. Teddy Sears, the dude who played both characters on the popular show, was apparently taken aback by the decision. We’re guessing it will be one of the many questions he’ll field during his Q&A at Phoenix Comicon 2017. (Panel: Saturday, 2 p.m., West 301A)
Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renée
And, as it turns out, Sears won’t be the only person behind beloved Arrowverse characters that will appear at this year’s event. That's because Ciara Renée, the Broadway singer and actress who donned the mask and mantle of Hawkgirl on such CW shows as Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, will also swoop into the Valley to attend Phoenix Comicon and
On ABC’s Monty Python-esque fantasy show Galavant, Karen David plays Princess Isabella, a quick-witted and resourceful heroine trying to free the land of Valencia from the evil King Richard. Meanwhile, on the Disney-esque fantasy program Once Upon A Time, also on ABC, she portrays Princess Jasmine, a quick-witted and resourceful heroine trying to rid the land of Agrabah from the evil Jafar. Confused? David will be happy to explain the differences between the two during Phoenix Comicon. (Panel: Sunday, 12:30 p.m., West 301A)
Alan Tudyk’s geek cred is beyond reproach. In addition to playing Wash in Firefly, Van Wayne in the DC
Veteran television star Brian Krause began his career as a teen on shows like TV 101 and a CBS Schoolbreak Special before moving on to such adult fare as Tales from the Crypt, Another World, and High Tide. However, he's best known as Leo Wyatt, a guardian angel-like "Whitelighter" on Charmed. (Panel: Sunday, 10:30 a.m., North 221ABC)
Besides starring as Piper, the most grounded of the three spell-casting sisters/witches on Charmed, Holly Marie-Combs is known for playing Ella Montgomery, the artsy high school teacher with relationship probs and mother to Aria and Mike Montgomery on the cable TV teen melodrama Pretty Little Liars. (Panel: Sunday, 10:30 a.m., North 221ABC)
This German-born actor has appeared in both the Marvel and DC television universes, specifically as Marcus Scarlotti on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hawkman on The Flash and Arrow. (Panel: Saturday, 2 p.m., West 301A)
David Anders is good at being bad. After all, he was the psychopathic supervillain Mr. Sark on Alias, as well as the equally evil Josef Bazhaev on 24, the immortal Adam Monroe (a.k.a. Takezo Kensei) in season two of Heroes, and currently chews up the scenery as dastardly brain-harvesting baddie Blaine "DeBeers" McDonough on iZombie. (Panel: Friday, 3 p.m., West 301BCD)
The fourth season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. probably wouldn't have been as good as it was without the inclusion of Robbie Reyes (a.k.a. the latest version of Ghost Rider). And that was due in large part to the skills of Gabriel Luna, the actor who helped bring the tormented anti-hero to life on the show. Then again, Luna has been good at most everything he's done in showbiz over the last several years, including Miguel Gilb on True Detective and Eddie Hasha on the biker-oriented miniseries Harley and the Davidsons. Guess the dude just can't get away from motorcycles. (Panel: Saturday, 4:30 p.m., West 301BCD)
If you were compiling
And speaking of DC-related cinematic atrocities, Uma Thurman’s daffy portrayal of Poison Ivy in the execrable Batman & Robin couldn’t hold a candle to the animated version of the villainous vixen that Diane Pershing memorably voiced in Batman: TAS and several of its spin-off cartoons. She’ll make her first-ever appearance in Arizona at Phoenix Comicon 2017. (Panel: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., West 301A)
Osric Chau not only played a nerd on Supernatural (specifically the geeky Kevin Tran, who became a prophet of God on the long-running show), he’s sort of one in real life. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see Chau in costume at Phoenix Comicon, since he’s been known to cosplay during many of the events he appears at as a guest. (Panel: Friday, 12:30 p.m., West 301A)
Believe it or not, John de Lancie has a few things in common with Q, the god-like being he portrayed in the Star Trek franchise, particularly his wit and penchant for humor and drama. Thankfully, the esteemed character actor (who’s had a celebrated career on both stage and screen) doesn’t share Q’s penchant for cruelty, mischief, or universe-altering tricks. In other words, feel free to ask him questions without fear of being called a “miserable piece of flotsam” or transformed into a block of ice. (Panel: Sunday, 3:30 p.m., West 301A)
Ryan Hurst is a character actor who you've seen in a number of your favorite films and shows. As a teenager, he played team captain Gerry Bertier in Remember the Titans (a.k.a. the flick you watched countless times in high school) and also made a couple of appearances on Saved By the Bell as Crunch Grabowski. In more recent years, Hurst has been on JAG, CSI: Miami, Medium, Law & Order: SVU, and several other dramas, including starring as the late Chick Hogan on Bates Motel and the equally ill-fated Harry "Opie" Winston on Sons of Anarchy. (Panel: Friday, 11 a.m., West 301A)
Every Batman needs a Robin, a role which Loren Lester happily played in a couple of different cartoons. The noted voice-over artist starred as the Boy Wonder in both Batman: TAS and the direct-to-video adventure Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. It wasn’t his only heroic role, as Lester was also Nightwing in The New Batman Adventures, Barbecue in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and Hal Jordan (a.k.a. Green Lantern) on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. (Panel: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., West 301A)
Long before Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg had the whole awkward geek thing on lock, this Brat Pack actor perfected the archetype back in the '80s playing cinematic nerds in flicks like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. He also had a one-season run on Saturday Night Live, starred in the TV remake of The Dead Zone, and played that one news anchor in The Dark Knight.
Any child of the '80s will remember this actor for his memorable turn as Dudley "Booger" Dawson in all four Revenge of the Nerds films. Armstrong's played several other notable roles, of course, including Herbert Viola on Moonlighting, Mr. Ralph in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, and Charles De Mar in Better Off Dead. (Panel: Friday, 10:30 a.m., West 301BCD)
If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball Z, you’re heard the work of Sean Schemmel, who’s voiced King Kai, Nail, and Goku in the anime’s Americanized version. (Panels: Friday, 1:30 p.m., North 221ABC; Saturday, 3:30 p.m., West 301A)
As an employee of Industrial Light and Magic, John Giang’s epic artistic efforts have made it into a slew of blockbuster popcorn flicks. He created some of the monsters of Pacific Rim, as well as crafting Michelangelo’s rocket-powered skateboard in 2013’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and was one of the designers of Ironman’s Hulkbuster armor in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (Booth: AA1631)
Tracee Cocco has done what many Trekkers have dreamed about doing: don a Starfleet uniform and hang out on the U.S.S. Enterprise. As a stuntwoman and actress, Cocco played a background character, later known as Lieutenant Jae, on multiple episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and in such films as First Contact and Insurrection. (Booth: Exhibitor Hall lobby)
Danny Trejo is a total badass, both in real life (he’s a former convict and boxer) and on the silver screen (he’s played assassins, thugs, kingpins, and killers). Don’t let that dissuade from talking to the dude at Comicon, though, as he’s quite personable and humorous. He even sells vegan tacos at a couple of taquerias he owns in the LA area. (Panel: Friday, noon, West 301BCD)
Christopher R. Sabat
The longtime voice director of Dragon Ball Z, who’s also the dude behind Vegeta, Shenron, Piccolo, Zarbon, Yamcha, Mr. Popo, Korin, Burter, Guru, and dozens more. (Panels: Friday, noon, North 221ABC; Saturday, 3:30 p.m., West 301A)
Vic Mignogna is a double threat when it comes to anime. He’s lent his voice to more 60 different roles in films and videos since the late '90s, ranging from Full Metal Panic! and Yu Yu Hakusho to One-Punch Man, and has released a few albums containing English-language covers of songs from various anime soundtracks. (Panels: Friday, 4:30 p.m., West 301BCD; Sunday, 2 p.m., West 301A)
Jesse Eisenberg ain't got nothing on Michael Rosenbaum, at least when it comes to portraying Lex Luthor. And we’re certain that fans of Smallville, the Superman-centric television show that featured Rosenbaum as the bald billionaire supervillain, would agree. It ain’t the actor’s only exposure to the DC universe, however, as he also starred as The Flash on the Cartoon Network’s animated Justice League series. (Panel: Saturday, 5 p.m., West 301A)
Bonnie Wright is renowned for portraying Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley, the on-again/off-again love interest and eventual wife of Harry Potter. That much you know. What you may not be aware of is that she also played a young Agatha Christie in a BBC docudrama and has a burgeoning career as a director. (Panel: Saturday, 3 p.m., West 301BCD)
Voice Actress/Internet Personality
Sorry RWBY fanatics, but the voice actress who plays Weiss Schnee probably won’t drop any big spoilers at Phoenix Comicon, either about her role or the upcoming season of the popular web cartoon. Everything else about the character (a rapier-wielding student and heiress who defends the fantasy world of Remnant along with her fellow classmates) is probably fair game. (Panel: Sunday, 1:30 p.m., North 221ABC)
Pop quiz, anime fans: What do Allen Walker in D.Gray-man, Attack on Titan’s Marlo, Yuichiro Tajima in Big Windup!, and Fairy Tail’s Natsu Dragneel all have in common? (Other than the fact they’re all from anime, of course.) Every single one is voiced here in the U.S. by Todd Haberkorn. Ditto for Viscount Druitt in Black Butler, Ling Yao in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hayato Mikogami in the Sekirei series, School Rumble’s Kentaro Nara, and
Ken F. Levin
Fans of the television versions of Preacher, which is based on Garth Ennis' landmark comic book, and Quarry owe a debt of thanks to Ken F. Levin, the executive producer of said shows who helped bring 'em from the page to the small screen.
As its name portends, Phoenix Comicon features a ton of special guests and content devoted to the sequential art form. This year is no exception, with appearances from a mix of famous names from the comic book world, as well as numerous local creators. Oh, and there will be loads of actual comics, too.
Josef “Joe” Rubinstein
Despite what the Internet says, Josef Rubinstein does not hold a world record for inking the largest amount of pencilers ever. That’s not to say he hasn’t partnered with a mind-blowing number of artists since his debut in the ‘70s, however. By his estimate, he’s inked the drawings of between 400 to 500 pencilers – including such heavyweights as John Romita Jr., Dan Jurgens, and Todd McFarlane – while working for, as he puts it, “nearly every major company and on nearly every character.” Bravo.
While he’ll forever be known
In addition to his many accomplishments in the comics industry, including creating Booster Gold and notable runs on Green Arrow and Justice League of America, Dan Jurgens has a rather infamous distinction: killing the Man of Steel. In the early '90s, Jurgens was writing and penciling Superman when DC infamously decided to off Kal-El for its now-legendary story arc. And while the character came back to life a few months later (no one really dies in comics), Jurgens was the dude who got to envision how Supes would bite the dust.
There’s a reason why Arthur Suydam has been dubbed the “Zombie King.” The famed illustrator is renowned for his portrayals of pop culture and comics characters as members of the undead, including his covers for the phenomenally popular Marvel Zombies series from the mid-aughts. His non-zombified work, which runs the gamut from gigs with Heavy Metal and National Lampoon to runs on Conan and Ghost Rider, is also impressive and tends to evoke an epic and almost painterly feel.
Ron Marz has been quite prolific during his 27-year career, accumulating a list of credits that rivals the Book of the Vishanti in terms of length. He’s written for practically every noteworthy publisher, like his notable stints in the ‘90s on Silver Surfer (which intersected with the “Infinity Gauntlet” saga) and Green Lantern (which included the controversial “Emerald Twilight” arc). He was also responsible for a couple of famous crossovers: 1997’s Batman/Aliens and 1998’s Marvel vs. DC, which he co-wrote with Peter David.
Few comics industry figures are as prominent as Jim Shooter, the editor-in-chief at Marvel who
If you think all comics inkers are merely tracers, a couple things are apparent: one, you should stop watching Chasing Amy, and, two, you should see the outstanding work of artist Randy Emberlin. Over the last 30 years, he’s added depth, definition, and his own distinctive touches to such landmark books as The Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, the original G.I. Joe, and Venom: Along Came A Spider.
As a comics creator, Tom Raney has pretty much done it all – penciling, inking, writing, coloring ... you name it. And he’s done it all with aplomb, earning him mad respect in both the industry and fandom in general for his dynamic work. Raney’s gigged for DC (where he relaunched The Outsiders and co-created Threshold) as well as Valiant and Image, but has mostly been a Marvel man over the last 30 years, including co-creating Mutant X and drawing for Alpha Flight, Ultimate X-Men, and Thor.
Scott Koblish has been a fan of Deadpool for years, long before geekdom went absolutely gaga for the “merc with a mouth” in 2016. He’s drawing Wade Wilson off and on since
If you consider yourself a fan of the DuckTales cartoons, be it the original from the '80s or the recent Disney XD revival, you really oughta check out the work of Don Rosa. He's world-renowned for his work writing and illustrating characters and titles associated with the franchise for decades, including creating the award-winning and well-remembered 12-issue series, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
Jae Lee's astounding work on Inhumans won him an Eisner Award in 1999, but that's far from the only honor he's earned during his 27-year career. He started out at Marvel in 1990 (reportedly becoming the youngest pro artist ever to be employed by a major comic book company), had a memorable stint on Namor the Sub-Mariner, collaborated with the legendary Grant Morrison on Fantastic Four: 1234, and not only helped illustrate The Dark Tower series, but was picked by Stephen King himself to create the cover and interior art for the novel The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole.
We could spend hours listing the countless comics and literary projects that the ultra-prolific Peter David has been involved with over the last few decades. And, frankly, everything he does is great. He's also contributed with a host of fantastic Star Trek novels (Q-in-Law and Imzadi are our personal favorites), had landmark stints on several comic books (including a 12-year stint on The Incredible Hulk), and written for geeky TV shows (Babylon 5) and cartoons (Ben 10, Ultimate Spider-Man).
If you stayed through the closing credits of last year’s Doctor Strange film (most likely to catch that post-credits scene featuring Thor) you just might’ve spotted Geof Isherwood’s name listed. That’s because the artist’s work on Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme in the late ’80s helped influence the look of the film. It’s not the only contribution that Isherwood, who’s also drawn for hundreds of DC and Marvel titles, has made to cinematic adaptations of comics, as he also worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past.
You’ll find plenty of phenomenal pinup-style portraiture and art gracing the booth of this Valley illustrator at Phoenix Comicon, as well as his online store and sizable portfolio. In the past eight years, DeBalfo’s has created covers for such publishers as Zenescope Entertainment and Big Dog Ink, as well as titles like Zombies vs. Cheerleaders and Lady Death, not to mention inside pages for Aspen Comics.
Norm Rapmund has been around the world of sequential art for decades, dating back to the early days of Image Comics, where he laid down the ink on Bloodstrike, Supreme, Team Youngblood, and Brigade. He also had a stint with
It wouldn't be a Phoenix Comicon without Brian Pulido, the famed Valley resident who frequently finds time in his busy schedule for his home con. And believe us, he stays plenty busy. When he isn’t running Coffin Comics or handling some of his signature titles – including Lady Death and Evil Ernie – Pulido is working on any number of multimedia projects, including making films like The Graves, the 2009 indie horror flick that was shot in Arizona.
Chris Bachalo is the man behind the quirky and almost cutesy look of Death, the gloomy and gothy psychopomp created by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg that originated in Sandman. Bachalo’s also famous for co-creating Generation-X, which focused on a teenage X-Men team, along with Scott Lobdell.
If you happen to dig any of the numerous comic books put out by Devil's Due Publishing since its debut back in 1999, be sure to say thanks to its founder, Josh
Die-hard Iron Maiden fans know the work of Derek Riggs. After all, he created the legendary metal act's iconic mascot Eddie the Head and designed several album covers in the '80s and '90s.
Brian Augustyn has been in the comics industry since the mid-'80s and has had lengthy runs on The Flash and Justice League. He’s also written for several dozen notable books over the last few decades, ranging from Ash to Zombie Tales.
If you’ve attended Phoenix Comicon any time in recent memory, you’ve seen the work of Val Hochberg. You’ve also worn it, flipped through it, or pinned it to your costume, as her colorful, cutesy, or cartoonish art has adorned badges, program guides, and other official ephemera. You can also spy it in issues of her indie comic book, Mystery Babylon, or on any of the prints, sketch cards or posters that she sells.
Mark Kidwell and Jay Fotos
Collectively, they’re the co-creators of the popular Vietnam War-themed zombie comic ‘68 (think Platoon meets Night of the Living Dead). Individually, they’ve contributed words, ideas, and drawings to a number of memorable titles. Kidwell also created Frank Frazetta's
The tortuous tale of Faust is one of the more influential pieces of legend and literature that's been adapted countless times over the last several centuries. And when horror-oriented artist Tim Vigil transformed it into a series of graphic novels in the ‘80s and '90s, it earned him a Bram Stoker Award nomination and became the basis of the 2001 flick, Faust: Love of the Damned.
Inkers, according to Mark Morales, make great art even better. "Your [role] is to help the penciler’s work look the best it can," he stated in a 2014 interview. And Morales, who studied under the late Will Eisner, has done just that in the pages and on the covers of hundreds of titles for both Marvel and DC, frequently tag-teaming with pencilers Olivier Coipel, Leinil Yu, and Jim Cheung.
Read on for more artists and authors coming to Phoenix Comicon 2017.