Our favorite costumes from the beginning of the convention.
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Azcentral’s Kellie Hwang updates the situation at Phoenix Comicon where security has been heightened a day after a man was arrested.
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Long lines formed at Comicon due to the props ban and added security after a man was arrested with real weapons at the convention Thursday. Tom Tingle/ azcentral.com
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Thousands brave the heat and long waits in line to enter the Phoenix Convention Center for Comicon 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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Police said a 30-year-old man was arrested after making menacing social-media posts about officers and had weapons inside the Convention Center. Azcentral’s Kellie Hwang brings you the story from the scene. Patrick Breen/azcentral.com
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Police lead a man away from Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, May 25. Mathew Sterling, 31, is accused of threatening to harm police officers and a performer at the comic convention. (Courtesy of Monica Ivicevic)
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Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune discusses the incident with an armed man who was arrested at Phoenix Comicon on May 25, 2017. Kellie Hwang/azcentral.com
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Phoenix Comicon opened at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix on May 25, 2017. A cosplay participant talks about his motivation for attending the annual event.
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Phoenix Comicon gets underway on May 25, 2017. The four-day entertainment and comic convention is taking place at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix.
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Phoenix Comicon 2017 will be bigger than ever in downtown Phoenix.
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Phoenix Comicon 2017 Cosplay Thursday-Friday
Cosplayers respond day after armed man was arrested at Phoenix Comicon
Long lines at Comicon due to props ban
Battling long lines and the heat at Comicon
Man with multiple guns arrested at Phoenix Comicon
Raw video: Man arrested in weapons case at Comicon
Comicon incident press conference
Eager cosplayers attend Phoenix Comicon Day 1
Phoenix Comicon gets underway
Phoenix Comicon 5/25-28
When thousands of people descend on the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix for a four-day entertainment and comic convention, you’re bound to see some weird stuff.
The second day started off rough thanks to the fallout of an arrest made Thursday and the subsequent props weapons ban and added security, which caused long lines to get in. But once afternoon rolled around, the con was in full, glorious nerdy swing.
Anthony Michael Hall
Actor Anthony Michael Hall had a panel on Friday afternoon, filled with fans of his ‘80s movies, particularly the coming-of-age flicks he did with the late John Hughes: “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science.”
Hall told the audience he literally just flew in and came straight to downtown Phoenix.
“This is the biggest convention center I’ve ever been in!”
Hall talked a lot about Hughes, how in many ways he was like a big brother to him and how much he missed him.
During the audience question-and-answer session, one woman said she related to Hall’s character, Brian Johnson, from “The Breakfast Club” the most in the movie because she “was the nerd and outcast in high school.” She asked Hall what character he most relates to. He replied with Farmer Ted, his character in “Sixteen Candles.” Hall was only 16 years old in that role.
“It was such a fun experience. I look back on it now and I looked like an embryo.”
Another audience member asked Hall what geeky traits he has now.
“I’m very clumsy. At 49, my eyes are starting to go.”
Hall talked about how in Hughes’ movies, the actors were all young, were all trying fit in and establish friendships.
“Who would have thought all these years later geeks would take over the world?” he said.
The audience, of course, cheered.
Han Solo, Mos Eisley, R2D2, Stormtroopers
The fandom areas in the third floor Exhibitor Hall are one of the coolest things at Phoenix Comicon. The Star Wars Neighborhood is especially impressive, consisting of a number of Valley Star Wars fan groups. There’s a replica of Mos Eisley Cantina, where visitors can snap photos with Stormtroopers, Star Wars robots including a functioning R2D2, Hans Solo frozen in carbonite, and Greedo in the cantina holding up his blaster pistol. Convention goers can also “have drinks” with the cantina bartender and other Star Wars aliens.
Cobra Arcade, DDR
Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix has set up an arcade in the third floor Exhibitor Hall, offering free play of 27 arcade cabinets, pinball and Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. Audrey Buell, 14, and Alyssa Maier, 11, played a round of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme dressed as Cinderella and Wonder Woman.
Kortni Wyatt, 21 of Goodyear, and Taylor Haller, 21 of Prescott Valley, squealed after then met one of their favorite actors, Sean Maguire. Both ladies are fans of his role as Robin Hood on the ABC show “Once Upon a Time.”
“I’m so excited, I’m shaking,” Wyatt said. “My mind went blank.”
“Mine too!” Haller said. “This is completely unreal. I love him! I bought tickets the day I heard he was coming.”
Wyatt only just found out about Maguire’s appearance when they got there.
“I’m still in shock. He is the nicest person I’ve ever met in my life!”
Eddie Wouters, 37, from Phoenix, dressed up in this impressive Doctor Octopus costume. He is the villain in “Spider-Man 2.” Wouters said it took him two months to build his elaborate tentacles.
The Arizona Autobots is a Valley group that builds seriously magnificent robot and transformer costumes. Jay Zarecki is a member of the group, and dressed as a larger-than-life bot called Space Wolf from the tabletop game Warhammer 40K.
Danny Trejo panel
Actor Danny Trejo delighted fans at a crowded panel at noon on Friday. The actor is known for appearing in many Robert Rodriguez movies, including as the title character in the “Machete” films. Despite his often brutal and menacing characters, he was very funny and charming. Not to mention, he has a great laugh.
Most of the panel featured questions from the audience. Trejo is also an entrepreneur and restaurant owner, and runs Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts, all in the Los Angeles area. One audience member asked if he would open a taco shop in Arizona.
“I would love to. But only in the winter!”
Another crowd member asked what it was like working with the Muppets in the film “Muppets Most Wanted.”
“It was more fun that I ever had on set. They helped me through a bad time. My mom passed away while I was working on the ‘Muppets.’”
He mentioned that Kermit the Frog came up to send condolences to the actor.
“I’m really sorry,” said the audience member, in a spot-on Kermit voice, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
Someone else asked what Trejo looks for in movie roles.
“How many people die in the first 10 minutes?”
One person asked if “Machete in Space” is ever going to get made.
“We’re waiting,” Trejo said. “Everyone email Robert Rodriguez! Let’s do it!”
“Viva Machete!” someone yelled in the audience, and the audience cheered.
Mike Kilbey, from Helena, Montana, can’t make it very far at Phoenix Comicon without being stopped. So he stopped on the second floor in front of a wall to let fans come up and snap photos with him, while his sister, Michelle Kandel (of Bozeman, Montana), sat down and fielded questions.
He wore a power armor suit from the video game, Fallout 4, which was created by Sid Garrand, who creates movie-level costumes and armor. Kilbey’s suit was crafted from resin by hand, and retails for $5,700.
“It took a half hour to get off the ground floor,” Kandel said. “(Mike) has worn medieval combat armor before, and this costume is actually very breathable compared to that.”
Ethics panel features azcentral
Arizona Republic reporters gathered for a panel called “Ethics of Journalism in Comic Books,” led by Republic producer Lita Beck, who said she’s wanted to host this panel for a long time. She brought up comic book characters such as Lois Lane from Superman and Iris West from “The Flash,” both reporters who have crossed the ethical line in certain instances. West is a newspaper reporter on the CW show “The Flash,” and in one scene she asks for a quote from a source, who refuses. So she says she’ll make it up.
“Why? Why are you doing this to me?” Beck asked, and the audience laughed.
Beck pointed out that this topic matters because “trust in journalist is at an all time low,” and only 32 percent of the U.S. public have a fair amount of trust in the media.
‘Would you rather?’ draws a full house
This is one of the most popular panels all day, and it was completely full and stuffy. Host Sam Sykes posed “Would you rather?” questions to a panel of authors that feature a dilemma. For the majority of the time I was in there, the audience was roaring with laughter.
One question: Would the panelists would prefer to be with R2D2 or the Terminator in a, uh, intimate manner?
“Do you want the Terminator just battering you? That’s not fun!” Aprilynne Pike responded.
Another question: Would you rather be Indiana Jones, but be stuck with Shia LaBeouf, or a Jedi, and be stuck with Hayden Christensen? The actors would be themselves, not their characters in the movies.
“Can we immediately kill them?” panelist Brian McClellan asked. “If we can’t, then I would be a Jedi, and use Hayden as a bullet shield.”
Lines start to grow
At 1 p.m., the lines have grown significantly at Registration to pick-up and purchase badges. The line goes all the way out into lobby, where crowds are separated into two lines, which are divided by tape on the ground.
Then they come together into one line that brings them into the ballroom, and it snakes around the perimeter, filtering into individual lines for prepaid badges, purchases, fast pass, media, guests and panelists. It appears the lines coming into the ballroom are swiftly moving.
Cody Williams of Phoenix was here last year on Friday when some convention goers waited hours, some outside in the summer heat. He waited an hour and a half last year.
This year, it took about 15 minutes.
“Last year was crazy, and the computers went down,” he said. “The system is better, everything is better this year.”
Alex Sackitt of Tucson said: “The staff has been talking about plans for when the line grows, and they are communicating better.”
Today is the first day of Phoenix Comicon, a four-day pop culture extravaganza at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. Registration opened at 9 a.m., and programming started at 10 a.m., and already swarms of fans were making their way to the sprawling event.
The lines early in the day were not too bad, and outside of the main registration room in the lobby, strips of tape have been placed on the ground to keep any of the overflow lines organized, and event goers out of the heat.
Dressed for success
At 10:30 a.m., Goodyear resident Kindra Sanders is ready to go in her Muffet costume, a horror take on the character from the role-playing video game Undertale. She’s been coming to Phoenix Comicon since 2013, and came here early on the first day to “beat the crowds.” She made her entire costume, which is crafted from various types of fabric and clay, and her pet is made from fleece.
Outside of the main entrance of the North Building, Nick Simons of Phoenix is already getting swarmed by crowds. Simons is cosplaying for the first time as Pikachu from the Japanese media franchise Pokemon. He was inspired by photos of people in big inflatable costumes in Japan.
“Honestly this is a little more than I expected. I didn’t think I would be stopped so much!”
So far it’s not too hot outside so Simons isn’t too hot, but it’s expected to get up to 99 degrees today.
Training for the tiny Jedi
The Phoenix Lightsaber Academy hosted a workshop for children ages 6 and older, teaching them how to use foam sabers. Instructor Alan Venable led the class of youngsters, demonstrating the movements and having them repeat them.
Mia Parlato of Phoenix came with her two brothers, Connor, 8, and Liam, 6, and her father. She said her father saw the event and insisted they bring the boys, but they’re not really big fans of “Star Wars” yet.
“They are big fans of combat and beating each other up,” she said.
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