Yesterday, I attended Phat Con 2015 in Orange, California and it was a wonderful change of pace from the bigger comic book conventions of the area.
Phat Con hearkens back to the origins of the comic book convention, back when they were intimate gatherings of long-time comic book enthusiasts and their favorite creators. There was no media, no film and TV promotions, no advertisers hawking their product in your face; Phat Con reminded me that at its core, conventions were about art, creativity, and enthusiasm.
This year’s guest of honor was Rob Liefeld. Liefeld is the much-talked about comic book creator of Marvel titles such as The New Mutants and X-Force. His most prominent creations are the “Merc with a Mouth” Deadpool (the often fourth-wall breaking antihero of the Marvel universe) and Cable, the son of Cyclops.
In any other comic convention, you would find quite a number of cosplayers dressed as Deadpool. Seeing as Liefeld was the guest of honor at Phat Con, the showroom was Deadpools galore. Hosted at Dave and Busters in The Outlets at Orange, the show floor was divided in half, both halfs with vendors and artists.
Because Phat Con was a local intimate con, I didn’t expect there to be as many people attending. This was not the case, people lined up for hours outside Dave and Busters for a chance to get inside Phat Con, whose main showroom could only hold 188 occupants. This was a testament to the ever-growing popularity of comics, and its evolution from a niche children’s genre to a massive artistic, cultural movement.