Phoenix Comic Con 2013

This year’s PHXCC had everything from a brand new Awesome Hour to shenanigans with John Barrowman to a convention-center-clearing fire alarm.

It was certainly memorable, and a whole lot of fun for me and Anne.

We got to Phoenix Thursday evening, and prowled the con floor during preview night. I picked up some really great art and some Team Hawkeye stuff (Hawkguy is my favourite comic this year), and caught up with some friends who I only see at cons, but never have time to talk to when we’re there.

Friday was pretty quiet during the day, giving me tons of time to vist with the people who came to meet me and get my autograph on stuff. I never felt rushed, which made me really happy. The photo-ops at Phoenix CC were really brilliantly run, too. I never felt like a single person was rushed, I got to talk to everyone, I had all sorts of fun posing for silly pictures, and I think everyone left happy.

Friday night, I did my awesome hour, which ended up being an awesome hour and twenty minutes, almost 40 minutes of which was me doing a stand up set I’ve been working on since January. It ended up being way more dirty than I intended, but the audience (just over 1100 people!) didn’t seem to mind, and actually seemed to find it pretty funny. It was tremendously fun for me, and allowed me to introduce the concept of the cum-slick Zamboni to our mutual horror and delight.

Uh, you should probably not read the end of that previous paragraph if you’re easily offended.

Saturday was incredibly busy from the moment we walked into the convention center until we left about 9 hours later. The cosplay at the show was just amazing, as you’ll see in the photos I’m attaching at the end of this post.

Sunday was … eventful. After a morning of meeting people, signing things, an incredibly fun panel with John Scalzi that I hope ends up online, and picking up the last few purchases I wanted from the vendors, I was in my final photo-op of the convention, when the fire alarm went off.

Fire alarms go off at cons all the time (the fire alarm in my hotel went off on Saturday night, because teenagers think that sort of thing is awesome and hilarious. Memo to teenagers: you are wrong. It is not either of those things. It is childish and annoying and can end up actually hurting people if there’s a panic. Also, walking up 14 flights of stairs because the elevators were shut off makes me want to kick you in the face nine times) so I looked up, when “huh, some jackass pulled the fire alarm,” and prepared to keep taking pictures. But that’s when the staff of the con came into the photo area and made it clear that this wasn’t a joke, it was a real thing, and everyone needed to get out of the building. Right now.

Yeah. 40,000 people needed to get out of the building. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot, as it turns out … but nothing did. It further turns out that nerds are great at following directions, not panicking, and leaving the safe confines of our preferred gathering — the convention — for the deadly exposure of the outdoors and our natural enemy, the Sun.

We were outside for about 15 minutes before the fire department sounded the all clear and let us all back inside. I wasn’t ever able to get a completely official report, but I understand that there was smoke in a meeting room that had nothing to do with our convention.

I will share one observation: I’m 40, and I’ve been dealing with this sort of thing my whole life. Fire alarms go off, and most of the time it’s a false alarm. No big deal. But when I looked around at the younger people, the teenagers and the twentysomethings, I saw a real fear in their eyes as they waited to find out what was going on. I heard lots of them talking about the bombing in Boston, and how they were genuinely afraid that there was some kind of bomb or something inside the building.  It says something about the different worlds we’ve grown up in, that my first reaction was “not this again” and theirs was “oh shit I hope it’s not a bomb.”

After the all-clear was given, we moved back into the building, and I went back to resume photos. It took a bit of time, but the attendees came back in, and I stayed for about another hour to get as many photos taken for as many people as possible, before I had to go to the airport.

A funny thing happened at Phoenix Comicon this year: I never got exhausted. I never felt completely drained or burned out. Sure, I got tired (it’s a lot of work and requires a lot of emotional energy), but I never felt … used up. I also felt this way leaving Ottawa Comicon, and I’m hoping to get a hat trick at Denver Comicon this weekend, because a week from today I start production on season 2.5 of Tabletop and it would be great to go into that energized, instead of wiped out.

I’ll explore why I’m feeling this way instead of the other way on a future episode of Radio Free Burrito. Now, it’s time for pictures from the convention, which I’m putting behind a jump, because there are a lot of them:


I was asked by a couple to do a hand turkey. So of course, I had to go a little crazy with it:

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For the .0000001% of you who don’t get the reference: Trogdor.


I was happy to see this guy’s Avengers tattoos … then he showed me this and I squeed.

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So this first thing here is a Wesley Crusher … made using the Sheldon Cooper head from an existing model. It’s perfect.


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So how about a Matryoshka doll, based on ME!

Here we can see that Joel Watson drew Sparks McGee for the guy who made this…2013-05-25 17.40.28

The largest doll here is the Infinitee me, then that’s Fawkes, and of course the Infamous Clown Sweater

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Ensign Wesley Crusher, then Sparks McGee in his work clothes, and finally LITTLE GORDIE LACHANCE! OMG LOOK AT HIS LITTLE PATCH ON HIS JEANS!!
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Here’s the whole set:

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The whole reason we made Lil’ Wils was so people would get excited and make outfits for him. This delighted me.


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I made some Cards Against Humanity cards. Do not look at these pictures if you take the world SUPER SERIOUSLY and/or can’t laugh at things.2013-05-25 10.40.57 2013-05-25 10.47.18 2013-05-25 10.48.58 2013-05-24 14.33.10


“Conan, what is best in life?”


This little girl was so proud of her costume, when I took this picture she said, in the tiniest little voice you’ve ever heard, “exxxxxxxxxterminate!” and I just about died right there.2013-05-26 13.13.54

I love that I’m seeing Booker and Elizabeth cosplay all over the place.

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This young woman made her TARDIS dress, and I was pretty blown away by it.2013-05-25 12.29.19



She painted the bow…2013-05-25 12.29.05


And painted this cuff that she was wearing on her wrist.2013-05-25 12.28.59

Mama TARDIS and baby Dalek. The family that Whos together stays together.2013-05-24 16.37.01

I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve encountered a Dalek and said, out loud, “you are a beautiful Dalek.” This young woman made this entire thing herself.2013-05-24 16.34.31

This is the best cosplay I’ve ever seen: it’s Iron Man (or as you may know him, Tony Starch).2013-05-24 15.52.15

This couple is cosplaying as Fargo and Claudia, from Warehouse 13 and Eureka! #TEAMPARRISH.

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Missy asked me to give Ensign Helmet Hair a beard. I think I nailed it.

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I’m starting to see #TeamHorseMask at cons, but this is the first time I’ve signed the same one as John Barrowman…2013-05-25 16.08.16

I teamed up with John Kovalic and Dreamland Toyworks to make a little Wilthulu, and finally got to see one for the first time at the con. 2013-05-26 11.35.43


FINALLY: I closed out the con in #TeamHorseMask, cheering on my LA Kings.2013-05-26 18.15.38-2It was a fantastic convention. Thank you to everyone who came out, and to all the attendees who made me feel more awesome than I am.




45 thoughts on “Phoenix Comic Con 2013”

  1. Wil,

    I’m bummed you were running to the Scalzi panel with Anne and didn’t get a chance to say hi, but I know you saw my little boy wearing his R2-D2 costume. He was VERY popular on Sunday, as you don’t see too many home-made astromech droids made out of 5-gallon buckets:

    Thanks for a great con, man, hope to see you next year!

    -Greg, 2nd Generation nerd, bringing up the 3rd Generation right.

  2. It looks like you had a great time! More importantly, you used the words “Radio Free Burrito” and “future” together in a sentence. Happy happy joy joy joy !!!

  3. As a long-time attender of Phoenix Comicon, I’ve heard you speak *many* times in various panels throughout the years. By far, the best–ever–was your stand up routine on Friday night! You did a really good job, and your timing was perfect. We laughed our patooties off, and my 15-year old son learned new inappropriate phrases to share with his friends. The panel with Scalzi was great as well, and we were amazed that you could keep a straight face when he couldn’t.

    On a related note, please tell Anne that during PHXCC, we were on the gaming floor and my son introduced himself to someone as “T-Shirt.” We then had to explain to the confused couple about T-shirt cannons, but once Anne’s name came up, they laughed and said “isn’t she hilarious!?” Then we all played Monty Python Fluxx. Good times.

    Thanks to both of you for coming to Phoenix once again. It was truly a highlight of the event.

  4. Had a great time at my first Comi Con, could have done without the fire alarm going off. Best part was getting a picture with you, worst part was freezing up and not being able to speak to you…I was a little nervous.

    Guess I am officially a geek now!

  5. Without exaggeration or asskissery, your Awesome Hour and John Barrowman’s panel on Sunday morning were *the* highlights of this year’s ‘Con for me. Hands down.

    You were so amusing and awesome, as implied in the name of the hour-ish. But on top of that? You were happy and enjoying yourself and I fucking love that! I so so so so love watching people love and enjoy that in which they are doing. I just really do.

    My other highlight? Just how awesome all of us nerds are. We are polite and kind to one another. We hold doors. We say thank you and please. We say “I’m so sorry!” if we bump into each other. I receive 32 bless yous if I sneeze. That’s the way the world should be and I so rarely experience that so I’m glad I get to gather with my people at least once a year and be immersed in polite, kind behavior.

  6. As a Phoenix Comicon volunteer it makes me furiously happy to see you compliment the convention and proud of what my fellow volunteers and I are doing. Thank you for joining us!

  7. OMG – the Wilthulu is just TOO CUTE!!!! My fave pic of them all. So glad to hear that you had such a good time, and that it didn’t tire you out entirely.

    Question: Are you on for Gen-Con, or is this a ‘I can neither confirm nor deny’ situation?

  8. Glad you’re having a good time, Wil. Nothing better than doing what you love and loving what you do for a living. :)

  9. It was great seeing you again this year. You did a great job in the auditorium. Your fans are filling the seats. As for the fire alarm. I was one of the people who saw you in the stairwell on the way down. At 40, losing the sleep, I wasn’t too happy. I had a good laugh though at your reaction. I hate teenagers:) Hope to see you again next year.

  10. the riff on the “aliens” meme guy. You seemed happy when you got it and that’s good enough for me 😀 It was Sunday too and that was some chaos.

  11. My wife got to meet you as well and she was thrilled. She was dressed as River Song and probably tried to get you to come by our Wounded Warrior Fund Raiser we were doing in the gaming hall. Maybe next year you can stop by 😀

  12. I know we all do it but after one of the blogs I read started harping on it yearly I have to say it, whenever a fire alarm or smoke detector goes off you should treat it like the real thing even if you’re sure it’s not.

    Honestly, just look around the next time you hear one go off in a public venue, like a store or a restaurant (nothing there which could catch fire, right?) you’ll never see people immediately evacuate, half the time they won’t even react. My friend was at a bus terminal when it caught fire and the employees fled without warning the customers, so it’s not like you can rely on them to tell you it isn’t a false alarm this time.

    Yes, it’s horribly inconvenient to have to walk out and wait around but it could be much worse if it’s real and no one reacts.

  13. I am so glad you like my nesting dolls. Joel was super nice to draw on the blank one for me. I walked by a couple of times while he was doing it, and he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

    I have a five-year-old son who liked the nesting dolls so much he asked me to paint him some, but with a slightly different theme. I have a five doll set that I’m going to turn into the five lions of Voltron If they’re done by PHXCC next year, I’ll bring them by.

    I blogged about the original set I made (minus the Sparks McGee @hijinksensue special) a while ago: The motion GIF I made of the Infinitee doll is link broken, but you can see the rest of my inspiration there.

  14. True story: my friend Amy who sat next to me laughing while I was (laughing and) signing at the table next to you got the lowdown from the cops about the night the alarm went off in the hotel.. Apparently, someone was smoking on the 17th floor. Their suspicion was, in their words, “the pot”.. But yeah, the convention evac was balls. Lovely meeting you!

  15. So glad to hear you had fun at our humble con. I hope you didn’t go home to a case of Con Plague like I did.

    Thank you for signing our “dick wurms”! I proudly put the signed card in my deck!

  16. Woohoo!!! My Wesley made the blog!! It was great meeting you. Can’t believe how nervous I was. Sorry:( thanks for the signature and next year maybe I’ll bring him the Sparks McGee hat.

  17. One of my favorite moments was you and John Barrowman slo-mo running towards each other and the craziness that ensued. :) It’s so cool seeing you guys enjoying yourselves.

  18. If it was an organized and well run photo op, you need to share those logistics with Dallas…that’s all I’m sayin’…

  19. Complete awesomeness for all of us who couldn’t go. Darn it, now I have to spend time looking for video on YouTube from the CONs! Thanks for sharing it all with us. Great start for my day. :)

  20. I went to Phoenix comic con the first time this year, based on all of your amazing reviews, and I have to say I really liked it! My main experiences with conventions has been san diego comic con, so I’m used to a much (much!) bigger crowds, but I loved bringing my kids to this one, and having more time to spend with artists (and I found some cool ones this year).

    I am bummed that we missed your awesome hour, and scalzi’s panel (totally poor planning on our part). But I really like your post about it, I feel like you really captured the spirit. And we can’t wait to go back. Maybe this next time we will actually succeed in meeting you and Anne.

  21. ” It further turns out that nerds are great at following directions, not panicking, and leaving the safe confines of our preferred gathering — the convention — for the deadly exposure of the outdoors and our natural enemy, the Sun.”

    **dies laughing. ** So true…so very true. The sun is EVIL.

    (says this former resident (31 years!) of Fort Lauderdale, the outer circle of Hell)

  22. I won’t lie. When you took a picture of my husband and I on your friggin’ cell phone, I just about died and went to heaven. It is, by far, my best PHXCC experience of all time. To make your site is just the icing on the cake. You, sir, are one cool gent. I applaud your existence. #teamfargo 😉

  23. Ugh, I missed a cum-slick Zamboni!? I’m never missing ComicCon again.

    I’ve had that feeling, many times over, where it seems so sad to me how much the world has changed, and how our children will never know the world we did, growing up. I was living at Ft. Hood when 9/11 happened, and I watched as the largest base in the world literally went from completely open post, to a locked-down, battle-ready fortress in a matter of hours, and it’s always seemed like a correlative.

    Anyhooo…on a less shitty note…cum-slick Zambonis!!!!!!

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