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Downtown's 9th Annual Tucson Comic Con Is Ridin' Nerdy
by Jenn Hopkins
Prepare yourself for incoming nerdiness in Downtown Tucson as the 9th Annual Tucson Comic Convention (TCC) sets itself up at the Tucson Convention Center the first weekend in November. Many locals are familiar with the neighboring Phoenix Comicon, but a surprising few know about Tucson’s own. “‘I didn’t know we had a comic con,’ I can’t believe I still hear it as often as I do,” said Sarah Murphy, one of the convention’s managers. “This year has brought a lot of change, and with it more public awareness; it’s getting bigger every year and I can’t wait to start planning our 10th year convention!”
The biggest change this year came from founders Mike and Teresita Olivares partnering with Brian and Fran Pulido. Brian is well known in the pop culture world for creating Lady Death, his work with the Hero Initiative, and running Coffin Comics. Founder of Tucson Comic-Con Mike Olivares is excited about the future possibilities. “Partnering with the Pulidos has definitely streamlined and helped the mechanics of the convention in making it more efficient regarding information for both our exhibitors and attendees. The Pulidos are very well known in the industry, which has helped when talking with new creators for this year and for our upcoming year ten. When you have worked in the industry as long as they have, you don’t find too many who don’t know them.”
This year, the expansion includes filling an additional exhibition hall that will host not just the standard artists’ alley, but an authors’ alley and crafters’ section as well. The Tucson Comic-Con has always been creator-focused and works with both local and national talent, as well as publishers and guests in the comic book industry. Unlike other cookie-cutter conventions, TCC is one of the only conventions that is co-owned by a local comic book creator and publisher, and remains locally owned. With the retooling and acquiring of another hall, the convention hopes to continue Hulk-smashing previous years’ numbers.
This year’s crowning jewel on its Infinity Gauntlet of change is the addition of celebrity guests. “Having guests was definitely something that has taken its time to reach the Tucson Comic-Con scene. In a show that prides itself on being a creator-focused show, we came to the realization that it’s not just our show, but the fans’, and Tucson’s. We have been asked numerous times over the years about guests and ‘celebrities’ in which we always responded with ‘in time, perhaps’. That time has finally come; we want to listen to the people that have made this show successful over the years and give them what they want. Although Tucson’s new model is ‘Pop Culture For All’, we still focus on the creators,” said Olivares.
Some celebrity faces you can expect to see headlining this year are Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek:TNG), Tony Todd (The Flash), and David Ellefson (Megadeth). A few behind-the-scenes talents will also be available to fans, including writer and director of Sharknado Thunder Levin, and visual effects guru and director of photography Bruce Logan who worked Star Wars: A New Hope.
Panels will be going on throughout the weekend, covering a wide range of subjects such as ‘How to Start Your Own Podcast’ and ‘Copic Marker Techniques’. Tucson Comic-Con also boasts the Southwest’s largest collection of costuming groups, so if nerd fashion or cosplay particularly excites you then you are in the right place. There will be a fashion show contest in addition to the traditional costume contest.
There is truly a little something for everyone at this year’s Tucson Comic-Con, regardless of your personal fandom, chock-full of family-friendly fun for everyone! The kids’ gaming zone will occupy your kid for hours with various activities including coloring pages, plus board and video games to dazzle even the most distractible of minds. So now that we’ve got your attention, do you want to go? Of course you do.
The show runs November 4-6th. Friday at 4:00 kicks off preview night if you want to get the lay of the land before the rest of the weekend’s madness begins. If you find yourself overwhelmed at any point, worry not—at the back of the center is an open courtyard for you to relax in and perhaps grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks parked out back. Want to skip some of the line? Purchase your weekend memberships online, and avoid the congestion of entry purchase. Those who buy a weekend membership get the perks of having some minor swag and a cool badge lanyard instead of a wristband.
Hours of the Tucson Comic-Con:
Friday: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Please visit www.tucsoncomic-con.com for more information including a full list of prices, guests, vendors, and programming.