Think comic conventions are only for geeks, nerds, and losers? Well, we may not argue with that, but we will argue that being called a "geek" and a "nerd" are no longer derogatory terms. Those guys who picked on Bill Gates for wearing glasses so thick he could see into the future during the '70s are now probably the same guys who fix Gates' plumbing when one of the 18 toilets in his mansion is on the fritz -- if they're lucky.
These days, it's actually kind of cool to be a geek or a nerd, and comic conventions like the Phoenix Comicon this weekend are the new places to see and be seen. Since today (Wednesday, January 21) is the last day to pick up a $30 pass for all four days of Phoenix Comiccon, we'd like to offer...
The Top 10 Reasons to Attend Phoenix Comicon
1. The Zombie Beauty Pageant. First, I must disclose that I have been asked to be a judge at this pageant (because everybody knows how sexy and beautiful I find rotting flesh and oozing sores). But seriously, some of those zombies are gonna be downright HAWT. The contest starts at 10 p.m. on Thursday night. Peep the photos below for some of last year's contestants (and visit www.brokenimagephoto.com for more).
2. The Todd MacFarlane Signing. The owner of Phoenix-based MacFarlane Toys and Spawn comic creator Todd MacFarlane will be signing autographs (including his MacFarlane action figures and comics) from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Free tickets to the signing will be given out at booths F7 and F8 Thursday night at 6 p.m., and on Saturday at 10 a.m.
3. AZ comic writers and artists like Benjamin Glendenning, Adam Beechen, Andy Carreon, and Justin Barrett. Did you know the Valley's filled with comic book talent? You will if you attend Phoenix Comicon and meet locals like Glendenning (artist for comics like Loaded Bible 3 and Dynamo 5); Beechen (writer for animated hits like Teen Titans and X Men: Evolution); Carreon (illustrator for a comic called Golgotha); and Barrett (creator of the Hova comic).
4. National stars like Brian Pulido, Brent Spiner, Lou Ferrigno, Peter Mayhew, and Wil Wheaton. The celebrity guests this year are phenomenal, providing opportunities to meet the man who helped create the Lady Death comics (Pulido); the man who plays Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation (Spiner); the Incredible Hulk (Ferrigno), Chewbacca (Mayhew); and Wesley Crusher from Star Trek (Wheaton).
Look out for Lou Ferrigno at Phoenix Comiccon.
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5. Hot women stars like Erin Gray, Chase Masterson, Marina Sirtis, and Tara Platt. In addition to the costumed hotties just attending the convention, the celebrity guest list of gals is a role call of va-va-voom: Gray (Kate from Silver Spoons); Masterson (who broke out on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine); Sirtis (Starfleet Commander "Deanna Troi" on Star Trek: The Next Generation); and Platt (Dream Girl in Legion of Superheroes).
6. Kitsune Robot. This Tempe band performs covers of anime songs, giving an electrified, J-pop kick to songs like "Haruka Kanata." They perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Visit www.myspace.com/kitsunerobot.
7. Dart Wars. A new component of Phoenix Comicon, "Dart Wars" gives you the opportunity to lob foam dart blasters at your friends. You must bring your own blaster, pick a side, and attempt to topple the evil Empire. Events take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, in the grassy area outside the registration area.
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8. The K.I.T.T. and the K.A.R.R. Fans of '80s TV show Knight Rider won't want to miss the chance to see local enthusiast Jeffrey Maxwell Host's replicas of the original Knight Industries Two Thousand car (KITT) and Knight Automated Roving Robot (KARR). Check them out in the courtyard outside the convention center entrance.
9. Cosplay and the Masquerade Costume Contest. Almost everybody's going to dress up for Comicon. There will be superheroes, villains, and other characters galore, but to truly understand the time, money, and effort many cosplay enthusiasts put into their get-ups, you must attend the Masquerade Costume Contest on Saturday night. Here's an example of what you might see (photo by Carmen Vorse):
10. The film festival. This year's Comicon offers a buffet of freaky film fare, including all three episodes of the fan-produced film Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, metaphysical thriller Yesterday Was a Lie, and supernatural romp Envy, shot in Arizona.
The Phoenix Comicon takes place Thursday, January 22, through Sunday, January 25, at the Mesa Convention Center. Visit www.phoenixcomicon.com for more info.