The Con Job: Year Two

First off, before we get any further, I want to apologize for the late post. For those of you who don’t follow The Torso Boy on Facebook, my hard drive died on Friday. We initially thought my power supply was the problem, so after buying another power supply we found that swapping the hard drive solved everything. With that, let’s go to the slightly delayed Torso Boy blog.

Phoenix Comicon was incredible! Though before I go on praising what turned out to be a really awesome con, I should jump to the beginning. The convention started with us yelling at the convention center. I know, not usually what makes a good con. When trying to get in after picking up our badges, we started to repeat last year. The bar was still in the door, security refused to move it, and we were directed to the next set of doors over. While the Missus had to deal with talking to the convention center staff, I got to sit outside in my vest and leather mask and my little awkward self felt ever odd as people piling in ask if I wanted help inside. Don’t ask me why it made me feel uncomfortable, though it felt like being put on display at the convention’s expense. That aside, we got a manager and were shown where the proper entrances were. This time there were thee available doors in the north building instead of the one. While this was not matching what I was told earlier, which was that people would be trained to remove the bar, the effort was still there. It would be nice if every entrance had one set of doors with the bar removed, but it’s a lot better than having to walk around the whole building just to find the one door that can fit a wide wheelchair. Though with understanding that a great effort was made, we went on with the convention.

After a few panels we ran into a friend who takes very professional pictures. We were stopped for a quick photo which I was wearing my infamous vest and the devil mask I bought at the last Keen Halloween.

Torso Boy Keyhole Productions Photography

After a bit of lunch and a bit of aimless wandering, we ended back in the dealer’s hall where the first of my three signatures were obtained. For those who don’t know, I painted three pieces for some of the guests at Phoenix Comicon. This first signature was Mark Sheppard. It all went really quick and I hope he liked the painting.

MS_PHXCC

We topped off the first day of Phoenix Comicon with a derby bout put on by the Desert Dolls and Arizona Roller Derby. Though it was a small taste of roller derby, it was nice to see it again. It really was unfortunate that the crowd thinned so much through the bout. Though I blame this on the lack of track and improvised setup.

Saturday was another day of wandering. Though there were a few panels we stopped at, my major highlight was getting the second signature, John Rhys-Davies.

JRD_PHXCC

He was a pleasure to talk with and he seemed to really like the painting. I was surprised when he decided to get up from behind his booth to get a picture with me. It made all the hard work before con really worth it.

Afterword we found James O’barr. The Missus had her own geek out moment as we both loved The Crow and ended up spending most of our con money at his booth getting prints and even his limited edition art book. What surprised me even more was that he signed everything, the prints, the art book, and even our copy of The Crow. While he worked on these, we chatted a bit and he was very kind. Phoenix Comicon, are you listening here? Invite him back! Seriously, you must invite him back next year. I will happily bring more money next year if you do.

Saturday night though was a different mood all together as we went to the Creepypasta gaming panel. Now as someone who had played most of the games they displayed, it was a bit disappointing. There was hardly anything new shown and the only fun to be had was the panel dissolving into heckling and commentary. Then again, I just might be desensitized to most cheap scares so I had a hard time understanding why everyone screamed when they did. I even started to wonder if they had a scream queue sign.

We left the con that night after a few games with friends to pick up my costume for Sunday. While it took longer than expected to finish, it was well worth the wait. Sunday, I arrived as Sokka from Avatar: the Last Airbender and I admit I was a bit nervous. It had been years since I dared try to be in costume. While I wasn’t asked for a picture, there where a number of compliments that make me think that maybe, just maybe, I’ll do it again next year.

Sokka

In addition to the cosplay adventure, we finally got the last signature. Bruce Campbell had such a long wait time that you had to line up land before he even started signing. We tried to get it Saturday but the line was already well packed and they even had police telling people to move along. So while the Missus had to stand for two hours waiting. Yet, we got to the front of the line once things started moving and I was able to gift my last painting. Again, I really hope he liked it. A joking comment was made that it looked like Ash was getting shot in the back which wasn’t my intention, but everything seemed very light hearted. Unfortunately though, he was the only one that I did not get a picture of with the painting.

Looking back on Phoenix Comicon, there was so much done and yet so much we missed. Mainly it was meeting up with friends. So many people I knew who would be there that we just kept missing. Though for those I did get to see, it was great! As for testing the changes put in place by the convention center and the convention itself? I think they were pretty successful. It would have been better if the ADA doors where better labeled because a manager should not have been needed to figure out what accommodations where made. It also would have helped if the internal ADA doors weren’t locked. On Sunday, we tried hitting the button to open a set of doors. When we tried to open then manually they were locked and had to fight the crowd to use the other doors. Though those weren’t the only doors I suspected to be locked. The family bathroom by the food court was only available once and on Sunday, we waited nearly a half hour assuming it was in use. Yet with that aside, Phoenix Comicon was fun and a successful adventure. It was still a pain to get the run around from convention center staff, though I have a feeling that won’t be changing any time soon.

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