The folks behind Phoenix Comicon and Phoenix Fan Fest began their 16th year by opening new offices in south Phoenix. Last week, they invited members of the media to tour the facility and hold individual interviews with some of the executive staff.
Joe Boudrie is PhxCC’s Director of Programming. According to Boudrie, many of the popular programming tracks, such as Anime, Comics, and Film/Web (which includes the annually growing film festival) will return to Phoenix Comicon in 2016. Additionally, they will be adding a few new tracks including Steam Punk (previously embedded within the Costuming track), Fantasy, and Science. The latter is unique as it steps outside of the fictional realm and explores real world applications of such disciplines as physics and astronomy. For December’s Fan Fest, patrons can expect a heavy representation of STAR WARS, celebrating the popular franchise and the release of its seventh film within two weeks of the event. Popularity and fan feedback drive these events and there is likely to be plenty to entertain fans of Science Fiction, Gaming, and other corners of poplar culture.
A popular attraction of both Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest is the celebrity and expert guests that come to Phoenix for panel discussions and fan meetings. Brandy Kuschel is Director of Guest Relations, leading the team that brings those guests to the events each year. Working with an ever expanding wish list from both staff and fans alike, Kuschel negotiates cost and availability in order bring out artists and celebrities like Firefly’s Nathan Fillion. While there were no specific names dropped, she did indicate that PhxCC has built a reputation for treating the guests well, leading some guests to come to Phoenix based on the recommendations of others.
Like many of the events of this size, volunteers heavily support Phoenix Comicon and Fanfest. Jen Palmer is the Co-Director of Operations, overseeing event logistics and coordinating the efforts of those volunteers. The volunteer staff can make or break an event of this size, and the executives of Phoenix Comicon are well aware this. There are deliberate efforts to learn and improve each year. Volunteers are interviewed and vetted before being invited onto the team. They seek individuals who have intense customer service experience, such as retail and food service. The volunteers go through numerous training meetings throughout the year so that they are prepared to provide friendly and safe service during the events.
The Phoenix Comicon’s new office is located at 4640 E. Elwood Street, Phoenix, Az 85040.
Phoenix Fan Fest 2015 will be at University of Phoenix Stadium December 4-6, 2015.
Phoenix Comicon 2016 will be at the Phoenix Convention Center June 2-5, 2016.
Information for both events can be found at www.phoenixcomicon.com.