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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Comic-con soars into Tucson

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    Get your superhero cape ironed and pressed for this weekend because the seventh annual Tucson Comic-Con is taking over the town with an array of panels, activities, booths and special guests.

    Tucson Comic-Con is a convention to celebrate comic books and the television shows and films adapted from them. Held in the Tucson Convention Center, this geeky gathering of artists and fans is an enjoyable event for people of all ages.

    This year’s convention is projected to have between 10,000 and 15,000 in attendance over the course of the two days, and artists are coming from all over the country to hold discussion panels or exhibit their work.

    The founder and director of Tucson Comic-Con, Michael Olivares, began the convention after being influenced by comic book artist Michael Turner, who passed away from cancer in 2008.

    “[Turner] was doing what he loved even though he was going through treatment, and that pushed me to ask why couldn’t I do something that I love and start this comic book convention,” Olivares said. At the time, there weren’t any events showcasing comic book art and artists in Tucson beside a few small gatherings here and there. Olivares wanted to put local comic book artists in the spotlight and give them the recognition they deserve. Thus, Tucson Comic-Con was born.

    The first year of the convention was relatively small, held in a large conference room with less than 500 people in attendance. Attendance has steadily increased over the years, and fans and artists from farther and farther away are beginning to make the trip every November to visit the convention.

    This year, comic book artist Don Rosa is scheduled to make an appearance. The mind behind the popular Disney comic book series “$crooge McDuck” and “Donald Duck” will draw his massive fan base and host a spotlight and Q&A panel on Sunday at 1 p.m.

    Tucson Comic-Con isn’t just for seeing comic book celebrities, however. There are a number of panels being led by artists and community members, such as “Podcasting 101,” “LGBT Themes in Comics” and “How to Make Beer Money with Your Comic or Zine.” The panels will be held throughout the two days in two different conference rooms.

    For those interested in gaming, there will be a specific section of the venue set aside for tabletop or live-action games. Various game creators and enthusiasts will be hosting gaming tables where attendees can try out new and interesting games or sharpen their skills against the experts. There will be tournaments, competitions and gameplay scheduled throughout the weekend, with each game taking a certain amount of tables and a time slot. Many of the groups advertise that new players are welcome, so attendees of any age and skill level can participate.

    Of course, a comic book convention just wouldn’t be a comic book convention without a costume contest. Perhaps the most exciting and anticipated event of the weekend is the costume contest that takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Those who would like to compete can register online or in person at the convention. The participation fee is in the form of an unwrapped toy, which will be donated to children’s hospitals in the area by costume groups that volunteer at the convention, such as Justice League Arizona and Arizona Avenger. Anyone can participate in the contest, and there are prizes for the winner. There will even be a costuming area before the competition where professional costuming groups can assist competitors with their entrees.

    All in all, the seventh annual Tucson Comic-Con is shaping up to be a noteworthy event with something for everyone.

    “The convention really has a wide demographic,” Olivares said. “Everybody of every age can find something that they like and that they can get into.”


    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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