After two years, Tucson Comic-Con has returned
After two years, Tucson Comic-Con returned to town this past weekend September 2-4. Last held in 2019 before the pandemic, the event typically hosts businesses, cosplayers, and panels of artists and celebrities.
One of the businesses at the event included Comet Collectibles, a boutique in the Park Place Mall owned by Marco Gutierrez. The store is known for selling items such as Funko pop figures, anime figures, action figures and more.
“I didn’t do Comic-Con exactly. There are trade fairs happening here in the city of Tucson. For example in March, they always do this big toy fair. I’ve been doing these events for the past four or five years, but this is my first Comic-Con,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez also commented on how different it is to sell at a booth compared to his store.
“It’s quite different. In 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 have to be on your feet 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 stores like Comet Collectibles that participated in the event, but also local artists like Gutierrez’s significant other, Tiffany Federico. Under the art named ElysiumNox, she also came out to sell her own physical art. Comic-Con provided a way for artists to connect with patrons over their shared love of certain media.
“It’s so satisfying. It’s one of the fun things. It’s like ‘Oh my God, are you part of this?’ And then you both start freaking out for the next five minutes,” Federico said.
Federico also sells his art at Comet Collectibles and often finds inspiration in what people love as well as his own interests. Federico also thinks that the media has a huge influence on art as well.
“My significant other and I go to the movies a lot, so we’re part of that scene as well. We see all the new movies that come out, what people think about them, and that influences [art] in a way like, ‘Hey if it got really popular,’ and obviously if I go see a movie and I like it, that encourages me to do something for that movie or that fandom,” Federico said.
But in addition to printed art, there were several artists selling their work as handbags, stuffed animals, and jewelry. Stacy Marshall, owner of her online jewelry store Sparkle Monster, laser cuts her own art onto earrings, necklaces and more.
“I try to choose a variety [of styles] and different prices so that people have a choice. I’m just trying to sell what brings me joy and that brings my tribe in,” Marshall said.
Marshall shared a common tip that many artists and business owners share, including Gutierrez and Federico.
“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 people who like what you like will find you” , Marshall said.
But it’s not Comic-Con without cosplayers. Cosplay is a form of costume where someone dresses up as a character and sometimes even acts like them to some degree.
One of the cosplayers at Tucson Comic-Con this year was Ashley Shepherd who cosplayed a character named Hawks from the popular anime “Boku no Hero Academia” or “My Hero Academia” in English. They said they had been cosplaying since they were 12 years old.
“It probably took about two to two and a half weeks straight [working on this] and it was mostly just about the wings, and then just buying the right things, putting them together, keeping them together,” Shepherd said.
They also cosplayed anime characters Itadori from “Jujutsu Kaisen”, Todoroki from “My Hero Academia”, and Ken Kaneki from “Tokyo Ghoul”.
Another Tucson Comic-Con attendee, Rae Galloway, cosplayed the character Kocho Shinobu from “Kimetsu no Yaiba” or “Demon Slayer” in English. She said she has been cosplaying since 2019.
“I chose Kocho for several reasons. I really like ‘Demon Slayer’ anime and manga, and I’ve worked on quite a few cosplays and haven’t had a chance to wear them, so it was actually the first chance I had to wear this one,” Galloway said.
She also cosplayed other anime characters from “Naruto”, “Demon Slayer”, and “Jujutsu Kaisen”.
“Many of my friends were in [cosplaying] and I had been going to conventions for a few years without me, so I decided I wanted to go, and I did three cosplays,” Galloway said.
Shepherd and Galloway shared a common tip for cosplayers.
“Have fun with it. Cosplay is for everyone, regardless of body shape, gender, age, or all of that. Cosplay is for everyone,” Galloway said.
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