Phoenix Comic Con / Phoenix Comic Fest / Phoenix Fan Fusion / Whatever-they-are-calling-it-this-week
A convention conversation from the exhibitor's side of the table.
Well, another PHXCC (we all know it's still going to be socially known as Comic Con in our nerd community) is under our belts and as I sit in my kitchen sipping my morning coffee, the day after con-hangover has set in. Per the usual, my legs are killing me, I have a mild headache from not drinking enough water, and I feel like I need to go on a health food detox from all the bad nom nom choices I made. (I regret nothing!)
And I feel good, at peace, but contemplative all the same.
This year marked my 8th year selling as a vendor at this event. PHXCC has always been my staple convention, my home convention, my biggest event of the year. For 2018, I began work on New Year's Day preparing just for these four days in May.
Before I started vending at PHXCC, I was an attendee. My first attendance was back when it was known as Phoenix Cactus Con and held in downtown Glendale. Their space back then was no bigger than one of the panel rooms they now have. So yeah, I feel like I've grown with this convention.
This event has marked some particularly high points in my life, growth and career. (Career? Did I really just type that?) I've pushed myself to up my sewing skills, disciplined myself to consistently produce quality products and moderated my daily life's schedule to ensure I have time to produce a stable stock. I've been able to expand and take a firmer foot hold in Artist Alley as a solo seller and let's not forget the two novels and an anthology I've managed to produce in just 5 years.
I've also made friends along the way that have led to collaborations and working relationships I value more than precious gems. Some of these people I might not hang out with socially, but I'll sure as heck spend 30 mins to an hour at their booths catching up on the past year.
PHXCC has allowed me access to an audience and given me a platform to do all of this.
Yet with the sweet comes the sour.
It's no secret that PHXCC has had a bumpy road over the last few years.
We hit the media big time in 2017 when an armed gun man entered the convention with the intent to hurt attendees and special guest. Thankfully, our wonderful police department apprehended the person in question with no shots fired and no injuries. This was a horrible event that no other convention in the country had ever faced and, understandably, was ill prepared to cope with.
Things went wrong, people got angry, and PHXCC's reputation soured.
In the year since this happened a lot has changed with my beloved home town convention.
Prices have gone drastically up, much needed security tightened its noose around people who were accustomed to much more freedom, items have been banned which effected cosplayers, vendors and their available products (or even their ability to attend). Attendees have threatened to boycott the convention which stresses out not only the convention staff, but the vendors as well. (Attendance numbers are our life blood.)
Stress breeds tension and feeds tempers which then get bottled until outburst happen.
It's a vicious cycle. And it's one that we as a community have the power to break!
I still remember what PHXCC was, what it has the power to be, and I'm going to take a stand to resurrect this desert phoenix to its former glory. I hope you'll join me.
With that being said, I'll happily see you all at Phoenix Fan Fusion in 2019.