Start planning your costumes and putting aside some money for a comic book budget, because Tucson Comic Con is comic back to the Tucson Convention Center, Nov. 6 – 8, with plans on being bigger and better than ever.
Now in its eighth year, the con has come a long way from its grassroots beginnings, said founder and director Mike Olivares. Once an event he and his family would set up personally, the Tucson Comic Con has helped make the city a burgeoning market in the industry.
Olivares started the yearly event nearly a decade ago because he said it was “something I wanted to do and it was something I thought Tucson should have.” He said not a lot of cities were doing comic cons at the time, and he felt like Tucson’s culture was appropriate, he was right.
The con has grown in popularity each year, pulling in more than 15,000 attendees last year, a mark Olivares said he hopes to easily pass in November. He said it is difficult to get a completely accurate tally of just how many people attend the event, as children ages 12 and younger get in for free. He said he hoped to pass 14,000 in actual ticket sales, bringing in a total of around 20,000 total visitors.
Comic con coincides with another yearly Tucson event, the All Souls Procession, something Olivares said is a big help for his event.
“One of the things we try and drive to our out-of-state guests is to come and participate in The All Souls,” he said. “Obviously if they have lost a loved one throughout the year, as many have, it’s good to attend. But it’s also within an authentic, Southwest environment, obviously there’s a lot of history behind it.”
Attendees to comic con will be able to peruse through numerous booths of “a lot of local and independent creators, both writers and artists.” Over 250 vendors are expected to attend, including local comic book stores, creators, crafters, toy makers, artists and many others. Out of state vendors from Colorado, Texas, California and more also make the trip down to Tucson every year.
Aside from the vendor marketplace, one of the most iconic parts of any comic con is the costuming. Fans looking to dress up as their favorite comic book, television, book or movie character and show of their handiwork will get to do so in their own separate event. For the first time, the Tucson Comic Con is renting out The Leo Rich Theater to host the costume competition.
Panels and question and answer sessions with famous faces of the comic book world will also occur throughout the multi-day event. The current guest list for the 2015 Tucson Comic Con is Jim Mahfood, Shannon Denton, Ulises Farinas, Chynna Flores, Joelle Sellner, Don Rosa, Rob Worley, Billy King, Jon Goff, Paul O’Conner, Brian Augustyn, Tom Hodges, Brian Pulido and Sina Grace.
Tucson Comic Con will also feature seminars, workshops, awards and other contests, over 300 hours of programming in all, to make sure all attendees find something captivating while there.