>Phoenix Comicon 2011 Improvements Open letter from our Convention Director With our move to the Phoenix Convention Center North Building we are tripling the size of Phoenix Comicon.  Again.

The turnout we witnessed for our 2010 event was stunning.  We doubled in attendance to 13,988.  We expected growth, but did not anticipate we’d double.  It wasn’t until 10:44 AM on Saturday that we knew we were in for a roller-coaster, as that’s when the call came over our radios that the registration line was snaking around the building.  Not just out the door.  Or down one wall.  But around the building.

As Convention Director it is my responsibility to ensure a well-run and safe convention for our attendees, guests, and volunteers.   To all of those we made wait in lines outside during the summer heat, be it for registration or various autograph lines, I offer my apologies.

We learned a lot this past May.

  • We learned that lines for registration were long.  And waiting outside in the heat is bad.
  • We learned that the exhibitor hall was crowded.  And the programming hallways were packed.
  • We learned that the “I don’t know” desk is not informative, and that no signs are not a good sign.
  • Kids don’t like getting wristbands when their parents get cool badges.
  • And the geek prom sold out.  If you even knew you had to buy tickets ahead of time.
  • We learned that food onsite is expensive.  And there is no food outside after hours.
  • And if I say “masquerade” and leave it at that, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  And if you need to ask, it’s best you not know.

“So whattya gonna do about it, huh?”

We are making significant improvements in our infrastructure for 2011, beginning with our move to the Phoenix Convention Center North building!

1. The Exhibitor Hall is increasing by two-and-a-half times the space we had in 2010, with the newly gained space being utilized for queue lines and better traffic flow.

Registration is moving into its own dedicated Hall (in a space equal to our exhibitor room in 2010).

These moves will keep ALL of our lines inside air-conditioned buildings.

2. We implemented a new barcode registration system and overhauled our backend database system.

The new process is four clicks and no time-outs on the connection.  No longer do you have to key in the same information if you are purchasing multiple memberships, and the email confirmation now contains your barcode for each membership purchased.  You can retrieve your barcode should you lose it.  For the first time we will continue to sell memberships online once our convention opens, so you can purchase and print your barcode the day of our convention prior to heading out.  You can even be onsite, use your smart phone, purchase your membership, and we’ll scan the barcode right from your phone.

Once onsite, the pre-registration line will be a breeze. No longer will we need to look up your name and check a photo ID and have you sign acknowledging you received your badge.  Provide the barcode, we’ll scan it, and hand you your badge and let you be on your way.

Oh. We’re also opening onsite registration earlier on Thursday.  This will get you in to the Exhibitor room and Programming events quicker for our Preview Day so you won’t miss a thing.

3. You caught that in the last sentence, didn’t you, cause you’re smart.   We are EXPANDING our hours on Thursday, so it is no longer a Preview Night but our Preview DAY!

Our Exhibitor Hall will be open 4-9PM on Thursday, giving you more time to shop and not miss any of the Thursday night Programming.

4.  An ENTIRE FLOOR is dedicated to Programming, with larger room sizes, and oh la la WIDER HALLWAYS!  Yes, I just said “oh la la.”  You will too when you see the North Building.

5.  We have made an investment in easels and signs.

6.  We are creating a “Sidekick” badge for Kids 12 and under (who will continue to get in FREE with paid adult).

7. The Geek Prom will be in DOUBLE the space, and passes will be promoted and sold online beginning in March.

8. The Masquerade is being overseen by those who helped our sister convention, Saboten-Con, start their masquerade on time and will ensure it is fair and well run.

Now a quick word on what we have NO control over:

1.       Onsite food is primarily controlled by Aventura, the exclusive concession contractor.  They set the prices.  Phoenix Comicon does not have input in nor control over the pricing, nor do we receive a penny from the food sales at the convention center.  We don’t like paying three bucks for water just like you.

2.       Downtown restaurants are independently owned and operated.  You may not know but we reached out prior to our convention to many of those restaurants with the hopes they would stay open longer hours.  We will continue to reach out to downtown restaurants, but the decision to stay open longer, or not, rests solely with them.

3.       Most parking garages are owned by the City of Phoenix, who set the parking rates, and it’s usually twelve dollars a day.  Just like with onsite food, Phoenix Comicon has no input in nor control over this pricing, nor do we receive any money from parking garages.

These improvements and additions will allow us to continue to grow and expand and provide a fun and safe convention for our attendees, guests, and volunteers.

The planning for 2011 began in earnest the day after our event last year and you’ve already seen a small indication of what we have in store.  Stan Lee is returning for two days.  Leonard Nimoy is making his first Arizona visit in over a decade.  Paul Cornell is flying over from Britain.  Avatar is setting up their mammoth island display.  And Stan Sakai is attending for the first time ever.

We’ll be announcing two media guests next week and then join us February 10th for our Kickoff Event when the next round of guests will be announced AND we’ll give you a tour of our facility.

We have a stellar event planned for this Memorial Day Weekend.  Thank you for your continued support and interest,

Matt Solberg

Convention Director
891 Attendee Comments:Hi, still Matt here, thanks for continuing to read.

Many of the improvements we’re making we saw a need for during the show.  While we attempt to make improvements on the spot during the show, with an event the size of Phoenix Comicon sometimes those on-the-spot improvements come too little or too late.

We also hear from many of our attendees about improvements they’d like to see.  Within a week of the convention we sent out a post-con survey to those attendees we have email addresses for. It was fifty questions on various topics.  The best and most illuminating question we ask is the last one, which simply says “I want Phoenix Comicon to know”.  It’s open ended, we provide plenty of space for comments, and we hear it all.

We have always listened to our attendees and we strive to be open on the operation of Phoenix Comicon.  You may not agree with every decision we make, but ideally you’ll understand why the decision was made.

As Convention Director I have read all eight hundred and ninety one comments that our attendees made.  I’ve made those comments and the survey results available to the staff of Phoenix Comicon through our internal staff website.  And now I’m going to make those 891 comments available to you.

It is a sign of respect to our attendees and their feedback that we reveal what they said: good, bad, and humorous.  We’ll leave it up to you to determine if the improvements we’re making and the guest list we’re building live up to the requests from our attendees.

And don’t fret about the comments revealing names – the survey was anonymous as are the comments.

You can download all 891 comments from here.

Thank you to those who participated, thank you to those reading this, and thank you to all who continue to make Phoenix Comicon the signature pop culture event of the southwest,

Gratefully,

Matt Solberg

Convention Director

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PhoenixComicon 2011
Phoenix Convention Center
& The Hyatt Regency
phoenixcomicon.com
oracle@phoenixcomicon.com
602-635-1711 ext 02

May 26-29th
(Memorial Day Weekend)

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>>Guest Announcements!

Leonard Nimoy

Legendary actor Leonard Nimoy will attend Phoenix Comicon on Saturday May 28th, 2011! We are excited to welcome him to the valley of the sun, marking his first appearance in Arizona in over a decade.

Autograph and photo opportunities will become available beginning Feb 2011.

Billy Dee Williams An icon of not only Hollywood but also the African-American community, Billy Dee Williams was a long anticipated and much needed addition to the cast of heroes in the STAR WARS universe. His considerable presence brought many viewers to the seats of the theater to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK who may not have originally purchased a ticket. His overwhelming popularity and powerful performance opposite Diana Ross in the films MAHOGONY and LADY SINGS THE BLUES led many women flocking to see his character Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’ space fantasy. Billy Dee’s career has encompassed so much, including the films “Undercover Brother”, “Nighthawks”, “Bingo Long”, “Bryan’s Song”, and the television show “Dynasty”. His introduction in the “Star Wars” trilogy allowed Billy Dee to continue his role in “Return of the Jedi”; as General Calrissian he piloted the Millennium Falcon directly into the second Death Star destroying it from within. His popularity in the fantasy/Sci-Fi genre continued when he took the role of Gotham’s district attorney Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s “Batman”, lending his charming good looks and suave attitude to the film.

Bruce Boxleitner Bruce Boxleitner is an American actor, best known for his leading roles in the television series Babylon 5 (as John Sheridan) and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. He has appeared in such genre TV shows as Tales from the Crypt, The Outer Limits, Heroes, and Chuck. He is also known for his role as the title character of the 1982 film Tron, a role he reprises in the 2010 sequel, Tron: Legacy.

Sandeep Parikh Sandeep Parikh is a leader in the new media content space. He is also seen in “The Guild” web series. He wrote and directed Comedy Central and Atom.com’s highest rated and most viewed web-series “The Legend of Neil” which has had television runs on Comedy Central and MTV2. It was rated in the Hollywood Reporter as one of the Top 10 Webisodes to watch. Since launching the second season, Neil has garnered over 2 million hits online was nominated for 4 Streamy Awards including Best Director for Sandeep. Cornell Paul Cornell Paul Cornell is a British writer who has written episodes for Doctor Who (Father’s Day, Human Nature/Family of Blood) and other British television series (Primeval, Robin Hood), comics for Marvel (Wisdom, Captain Britain and MI-13) and D.C. (Action Comics, Knight and Squire, Batman & Robin), numerous Doctor Who novels (including creating the popular companion Bernice Summerfield, who has spun off into her own novel and audio adventures), and his own original fiction (British Summertime) including short fictoin in the recent superhero anthology Masked. COMICS Stan Lee That’s right! Stan “the Man” Lee’s returning to Phoenix Comicon for two days (Saturday and Sunday!).Autograph registrations for Stan Lee will go on sale in 2011.

Stan “The Man” Lee, whose legendary comic book career has spanned over 60 years, is the creative mind behind many of the biggest names in the comic book universe, including co-creating Iron Man, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Thor and numerous others, and his body of work is far and away the most extensive in the history of comic books.  At 87 years of age, Stan Lee is more active than ever with an unmatched career as a Writer, Editor, Publisher, Producer, and Actor. Avatar Press
Avatar Press is a leading independent company which publishes a wide variety of comic books — highly-regarded creator-owned titles such as Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, Warren Ellis’ Black Summer, and Garth Ennis’ Crossed; licensed comics such as Frank Miller’s Robocop, Stargate SG1, and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and a number of other current and upcoming titles. Avatar is privileged to work with some of the most talented creators in comics. Billy TucciBilly Tucci created his own publishing company, Crusade Comics, through which he publishes both his personal projects, as well as work from other up and coming creators. He is best known among American comic book audiences for his creator-owned title and character, Shi. Ethan Van Sciver Ethan Van Sciver is an American comic book artist, best known for illustrating a number of titles including Green Lantern, Superman/Batman, New X-Men, and currently, The Flash: Rebirth. He is known for having consistently detailed rendering in his work. Joe Corroney Joe Corroney has been providing Lucasfilm with official Star Wars artwork for books, games, trading cards, comic books, posters and magazines since 1997. Other comic books he’s illustrated include Star Trek, GI Joe, Fallen Angel, 24: Nightfall, Doctor WHO, Angel and Spike Vs. Dracula for IDW Publishing, Buckaroo Banzai, Kolchak The Night Stalkerand The Phantom for Moonstone Books and Crimson Dynamo for Marvel Comics. Currently, he’s providing cover art for IDW’s new True Blood series and BOOM! Studios’ Farscape comic books, developing his creator owned comic book series, Death Avenger and continuing to create new Star Wars artwork for Lucasfilm. Mark Texiera Mark Texiera has won mentions at the Salmagundi Club and Society of Illustrators for his oil paintings which sparked some interest and some work in the form of cover assignments for books, magazines and record albums. He has worked for Marvel, D.C. and Wizards of the Coast among other companies. Mike McKone Mike McKone has penciled many major titles including Teen Titans, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern, Punisher War Zone, Justice League of America and Exiles. Mike has recently worked on Amazing Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel and New Avengers. He has also contributed covers for Deadpool: Suicide Kings and Punisher. Currently Mike is penciling and inking Marvel’s Avengers Academy and lives in New York City with Lena and Sid. Steve Scott Steve Scott has worked for Marvel, D.C. and Dark Horse at various times with titles such as the Marvel Adventures of Hulk and Indiana Jones and Tomb of the Gods. He has also worked on X-Men forever, Batman Confidential and Captain Action. David Peterson David Petersen

He is the creator of the Mouse Guard series and is excited to be working on projects he dearly loves doing.
David won the 2007 Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 2008, David won the Eisners for Best Publication for Kids (Mouse Guard Fall 1152 & Winter 1152) and Best Graphic Album – Reprint (Mouse Guard Fall 1152 Hardcover).

Anime
Wendee Lee Wendee Lee is one of the premiere voice artists in the world of anime today. She has been voicing for such notable titles as Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Vampire Hunter D since the mid 1980′s which all began with her first role as Vanessa Leeds in the anime classic Robotech.

Volunteer Positions
Helping on staff (and as a volunteer at the con in May) is a great way to earn your membership pass and support the convention. There are many opportunities available for anyone interested in volunteering with the convention.Visit our website for a detailed list of position descriptions.

Programming Department
Contact Joe Boudrie, Programming Director
programming@phoenixcomicon.com

#P-1 Blood Drive Coordinator
Reports to Programming Director

Phoenix Comicon works with the American Red Cross every year to do an on site blood drive. Our goal is to be the single largest donation event in Phoenix. This position works to support that goal by coordinating with the American Red Cross and Phoenix Comicon staff to organize and promote the blood drive.

#P-2 Moderators (Seeking 10-15 candidates)
Reports to Moderators team leader

Sometimes our panels need support in staying on topic and interesting. We provide a team of moderators who are available and trained to lead select events and panels. Members of this group will need to be available to lead\moderate panels on various topics and of various sizes from small groups to rooms with up to 4,000 attendees.

#P-3 Programming Information/Support team (Seeking 10-15 candidates)
Reports to Programming Information and Support team leader

With dozens of programming rooms and events of all types occurring concurrently throughout the convention we need a team of people who are able to respond to questions from attendees or other staff and volunteers and to help as needed with anything that comes up. This team will also be a resource for helping to identify and address any needs or issues that arise related to programming so that our programming department team is able to manage the programming.

Host Hotel Info
Where the evening programming will be! Partying all night is much easier when you can simply take the elevator upstairs to crash after the late-night events.

The Hyatt Regency is the site for our evening and nighttime programming, including the Geek Prom, Zombie Beauty Pageant, themed-dances, and Celebrity Rock Band.

It’s also the home for all of our tabletop gaming and tournaments.

Whether you want to dance or DM, the Hyatt is the place to stay

The Phoenix Comicon guest rate is:
$119 a night for single/double occupancy,
$144 for triple, and
$169 for quadruple.

Plus, book your room using the Phoenix Comicon group code and receive a discount on self-parking rates at the adjacent parking garage with free in-out parking privileges. When you arrive simply charge the self-parking to your guest room folio to receive this specially negotiated rate.

You can also call 888-421-1442 and mention the Phoenix Comicon to receive the group rate.

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter from the convention director for PCC.  You can subscribe at www.newsletter@phoenixcomicon.com  I’m super excited for PCC!  Our very own Six Shooter Jesse James is PCC’s director of comic books so stay tuned to his postings for upcoming news to Phoenix Comicon this year! =)