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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


After two years, Tucson Comic-Con came back

AJ Stash Castillo

Marco Gutierrez, owner of Comet Collectibles.

After two years, Tucson Comic-Con came back to town last weekend from Sept. 2-4. Last hosted in 2019 before the pandemic, the event typically plays host to businesses, cosplayers and panels for artists and celebrities.

One of the businesses at the event included Comet Collectibles, a shop located in Park Place Mall owned by Marco Gutierrez. The shop is known for selling items like Funko pop figurines, anime figurines, action figures and much more.

“I haven’t done Comic-Con exactly. There are trade shows that happen here in the city of Tucson. For example in March, they always do this big toy show. I have done those events for the last maybe four or five years, but this is my first Comic-Con,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez also commented on how different it is selling at a booth compared to his shop.

“It’s way different. At my shop, I just wait for people to come in and it’s a very nonchalant, very chill atmosphere whereas here it’s the complete opposite. It’s hectic, it’s busy, you got to be on your feet kind of thing for 10 hours straight. But it’s a lot more fun than sitting around and waiting for people to come into the store,” Gutierrez said.

It wasn’t just local shops like Comet Collectibles that took part in the event, but also local artists like Gutierrez’s significant other Tiffany Federico. Under the art named ElysiumNox, she came out to sell her own physical art as well. Comic-Con provided a way for artists to connect with customers over their shared love of certain media.

“It’s actually so satisfying. It’s one of the fun things. It’s like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re a part of this?’ And then you both start freaking out for the next five minutes,” Federico said.

Tiffany Federico, the artist known as ElysiumNox.
Tiffany Federico, the artist known as ElysiumNox.

Federico also sells her art at Comet Collectibles and often finds inspiration in what people like as well as her own interests. Federico also believes media has a huge influence on art as well.

“My significant other and I go to the movies often, so we’re part of that scene as well. We get to see all the new movies coming out, what people think of them, and it influences [art] in a way like, ‘Hey if this got really popular,’ and obviously if I go see a movie and I like it, it encourages me to make something for that movie or that fandom,” Federico said.

But besides print art, there were several artists who sold their work like purses, stuffed animals and jewelry. Stacy Marshall, owner of her online jewelry shop Sparkle Monster, laser cuts her own art onto earrings, necklaces and more.

“I try to choose a variety [of styles] and different price points so that people have something to choose from. I just try to sell what brings me joy and that kind of attracts my tribe,” Marshall said.

Marshall shared a common piece of advice that many artists and business owners alike share, including Gutierrez and Federico.

Stacy Marshall, owner and artist of the jewelry business Sparkle Monster.
Stacy Marshall, owner and artist of the jewelry business Sparkle Monster.

“Just find your niche and follow what brings you joy. Don’t try to do what other people are doing because it’s popular or it sells because the people that enjoy what you enjoy, will find you,” Marshall said.

But it’s not Comic-Con without cosplayers. Cosplay is a form of costuming where someone dresses up as a character and sometimes even acts like them to an extent.

One of the cosplayers at Tucson Comic-Con this year was Ashley Shepherd who was cosplaying a character named Hawks from the popular anime “Boku no Hero Academia” or “My Hero Academia” in English. They said they have been cosplaying since they were 12 years old.

“It probably took about two to two-and-a-half weeks straight [working on this] and that was mostly just on the wings and then just buying the right stuff, pull it together, keep it together,” Shepherd said.

They have also cosplayed anime characters Itadori from “Jujutsu Kaisen,” Todoroki from “My Hero Academia” and Ken Kaneki from “Tokyo Ghoul.”

Ashley Shepherd dressed as Hawks from My Hero Academia
Ashley Shepherd dressed as Hawks from My Hero Academia

Another Tucson Comic-Con participant, Rae Galloway, was cosplaying the character of Kocho Shinobu from “Kimetsu no Yaiba” or “Demon Slayer” in English. She said she has been cosplaying since 2019.

“I decided on Kocho for a couple of reasons. I really like the ‘Demon Slayer’ anime and manga, and I’ve been working on quite a few cosplays and hadn’t had a chance to wear them, so this was actually the first chance that I’ve had to wear this one,” Galloway said.

Rae Galloway dressed as Shinobu Kocho from Demon Slayer.
Rae Galloway dressed as Shinobu Kocho from Demon Slayer.

She has also cosplayed other anime characters from “Naruto,” “Demon Slayer” and “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

“A lot of my friends were into [cosplaying] and had been going to conventions for a couple of years without me, so I decided that I wanted to go, and I made three cosplays,” Galloway said.

Both Shepherd and Galloway shared a common piece of advice for cosplayers.

“Have fun with it. Cosplay is for everyone regardless of body shape, sex, age or any of that. Cosplay is for everyone,” Galloway said.

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