Phoenix Comicon is less than a week away, with huge actors like Ron Perlman and Katee Sackhoff, and outstanding authors like Diana Gabaldon and Max Brooks it’s clear that the convention is growing, both in size and clout.
And looking at the numbers they’ve gone from around 30,000 attendees to 77,818 attendees in just three years, with attendance expected to rise again. So, what are they doing to make sure that all those attendees aren’t feeling lost in the shuffle? LOTS!
Let’s start with layout. The con has previously used the South building of the Phoenix Convention Center. Not this year though. Instead they’re now occupying all floors of the North and West Buildings of the Convention Center, and are still shutting down 3rd Street for the nerdastic cars. This also means that if folks don’t want to go outside in the heat (looking at you cosplayers!) won’t have to. Access to move between the buildings can be done via the Exhibitor Hall, or the skybridge on the 3rd level. So whether you want to feel like the hero our convention needs, watching the chaos on the streets, or like a mad genius perusing what amounts to a geeky subterranean market, consider your air conditioned needs met!
However, so that everyone can enjoy the cool skybridge (no that’s not a pun I swear), make sure that if you use it, keep moving. That means no pictures or loitering, because while something like a skybridge collapse in the comics can mean the creation of a new urban vigilante, in real life it just sucks.
Logistically, attendees should be aware of the fact that Registration, no longer in the unused South Building, is on the ground floor of the North Building (room 120, to be specific) . Additionally, if you’re interested in cosplayers, giant panels, photo ops, and autographs, then you’ll be spending a lot of time on the third floor. You may also want to consider a Fast Pass, rather than a regular membership. A side not about cosplay, their Cosplay Is Not Consent policies and practices will be again in full effect.
Now, a couple of other things that attendees may or may not love, but will definitely care about. When it comes to line management and related issues there will be some much needed changes. According to the convention’s Marketing Manager, Stephanie Munoz, Phoenix Comicon has been aware of some of the line and access problems for a while. Instead of just lines, there will be physical markers, like pipe and drape barriers. And, the convention has been working with their volunteers so that attendees will receive clear information about lines, panels and events.
Finally, and this matters for those that spend a lot of time in panels, to make their panels more pleasant to all involved, Phoenix Comicon will be issuing custom restroom passes for attendees sitting in panels. This means that we may soon see squatters in the early morning, securing seats for a panel they want in the afternoon.
How well will the con’s growth affect the fun? If anything, since it’s growth means the opportunity to draw bigger guests, and coordinate more events through the year like Fan Fest, then things are going to keep increasing in awesomeness for a long time to come!
Any thoughts about how Phoenix Comicon has grown, or the practices they’re using to adjust for the leaps in attendance? Let us know in the comments.