Phoenix Comicon 2014: Friday – Fear, fun, Frodo and photos
Our Friday at Phoenix Comicon 2014 began with a stroll through the Third Street mile of fantasy cars. Okay, well maybe it wasn’t a mile, but extra geek points for anyone who got the “Used Cars” reference. Everything from the Ninja Turtles van to a coffin on wheels was on display in front of the convention center (see photos in the gallery below.)
Take note: If you are headed out to the convention this weekend and plan to drive up Third Street to the parking garages, the road in front of the convention entrance is closed for said car exhibit and you’ll need to take one of the adjoining streets to get to the Jefferson Street parking garage. The more you know.
On the way to our first panel of the day we came across the Moon Mermaid Lagoon exhibit (outside of the South convention building.) It’s undetermined whether any Con attendees were lured to an untimely end by these lovely sirens, but one passerby was heard to say that, “These girls have the best job at the Con.” The 105+ degree heat certainly made the water look refreshing.
We enjoyed the “Scare-Izona: A Travel Guide to Arizona’s Spookiest Spots” panel with the paranormal investigation group, Wailing Bansidhe Investigations. When it comes to ghostly happenings in Arizona, panelists Katie Mullaly and Patrick Ohlde wrote the book on the subject, literally.
The team shared ghost-hunting techniques and eerie anecdotes about their experiences throughout the state, with some of the spookiest locations being in Jerome (no surprise) and Globe. If you’d like to learn more, you can order their books HERE.
The better part of Friday was spent wandering the huge exhibit hall and taking photos of the colorful costumes and interesting vendors. The highlight was meeting Marvel Comics creators, Herb Trimpe (the seminal Incredible Hulk artist) and Len Wein (the writer responsible for creating Wolverine, Swamp Thing, and re-imagining the X-Men as the mutant team we know and love today.) These two living legends have contributed so much to popular culture and it was an absolute thrill to meet them in person.
We also came across a very cool new comic book series, Six-Gun Gorilla, based on the original pulp action hero (not to be confused with BOOM Studios sci-fi take on the same character.) This version is written by Brian Christgau and illustrated by Adrian Sibar, with amazing cover art by Wes Huffor. The Valley’s own Shelby Robertson is even involved with this project and we’ll be following up with more information on the book after the PHXCC dust settles.
Nerd Poetry Slam –
Before we knew it the exhibit floor was shut down for the day and we were off to the Nerd Poetry Slam, one of the coolest shows at the Con, celebrating its fifth year at the event. This year’s slam was hosted by Arizona’s Nerd Poet Laureate, The Klute, and was critiqued by celebrity judges including the award-winning poet and Zombie Pageant Queen, Lauren Perry, Sci-Fi author David Lee Summers, National Poetry Slam team member Joy Young, and nerdy adult film actress April O’Neil.
The Klute kicked the evening off with his hilarious ode to super-villainy and world domination, and he was followed by the first contestant, Christopher Fox Graham, who spoke of Superman’s longing to be a normal man.
Next up was Patricia Langevin, who explored the question, “When did the line between geek culture and pop culture disappear?” and “When did we turn into the jerks?” She was followed by Transformers fan Vocas Malone, who took on the guise of a Decepticon screaming to the stars and cursing Optimus Prime.
Malone was followed by “professional daydreamer” Leo Taylor, whose poem covered fandom in general, touching on everything from cosplay to Ray Bradbury and zombies. Then Lauren Perry wowed the crowd with some “zombie erotica” about undead lovers, giving new meaning to phrase, eating your heart out.
Contestant Jon Arney was next with a composition about wishes coming true, addressing the pitfalls that might accompany a reality with dragons and other fanciful dreams. He was followed by Braille, who led off with a Steve Urkel impression and a song, then followed with a list of items concerning love that do not compute.
Braille was followed by Robert, who spoke of slaying dragons and healthy relationships (after making a quick repair to the room’s faulty microphone.) Then next up was the celebrity judge, David Lee Summers, who told a fun tale of Dracula moving to Texas.
Mr. Summers was followed by Lori Peters, whose poem had a Star Trek theme, where everything is a game and “only laughter can make them stop.” Contestant Andres Cabrera came after Ms. Peters with a blend of Game of Thrones imagery mixed with comic book mainstays like Superman, who “has no place to land.”
Allie was next and she talked of facing fears with courage like Malcolm Reynolds’ and Frodo & Sam, with a Beetlejuice reference thrown in for good measure. Celebrity Judge Joy Young followed Allie by relating her anxiety about teleportation and her fear of disintegrating from the inside out.
Tristan Marshell was the last slam contestant and he fiercely performed his piece without paper notes, taking on the guise of the redneck grandson of Bilbo Baggins, hunting a well-known nasty creature that keeps breaking into his barn.
April O’Neil read the last poem of the evening, a piece called, “Romance of the Daleks,” by Trevor Byrne-Smith, a Doctor Who tale of Daleks, the TARDIS, sex, and torture.
As the judges discussed the competition, The Klute entertained the audience with some hilarious haikus about The Revenge of the Sith and Shark Week. When the winners were announced, Allie took Honorable Mention (third place), Andres took second, and Nerd Slam mainstay, Tristan Marshell, won the contest.
After the slam we made a mad dash to the other end of the hall to see the finale of the PUGS (Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown) competition, but alas, the show had already started and the room was full to capacity, so we couldn’t get in to see who won the championship – a huge disappointment. (Note to PHXCC Programming Dept. – Please try to schedule times for the Nerd Slam and PUGS a little further apart next year, so fans can attend both of these awesome events.)
As of this writing we can’t seem to find any information regarding who won this year’s PUGS contest, although we have seen a lot of cute dog photos while searching. We’ll let you know more information about the new geek champion as it comes available.
Speaking of photos, check out our gallery of images (below) from Friday’s 2014 Phoenix Comicon! For up-to-date details about Phoenix Comicon 2014, go to: phoenixcomicon.com. For all of NERDVANA’s Phoenix Comicon coverage, click HERE; and follow our ‘live’ Phoenix Comicon 2014 coverage on Twitter @nerdvana.