The ups and downs of comic con

Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 is in full swing.

After a three-year absence due to the pandemic, fans flock to the downtown Phoenix Convention Center in their thousands to celebrate their love of cosplay, anime, sci-fi, fantasy, comic book, furry, and other pop culture fandoms.

Here’s a selection of some of the best – and possibly not so good – things we spotted at the event. Fan Fusion runs until Sunday, May 29, so check back for updates.

And follow all the action of our Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 Live Blogwith new items all weekend.

Going to Phoenix Fan Fusion? Here’s how to approach your favorite cosplayers

Weak: a “painful lesson” – wait for the ink to dry

Many participants were able to meet the people who play their favorite characters this weekend. But amid rave social media posts about the friendliness of the celebrity guests, Tweet by @tekfighter on learning a “painful lesson” about silver Sharpies.

The tweet included a photo of @tekfighter’s photo with “Star Trek: Voyager” stars Tim Russ and Kate Mulgrew. Russ’ signature in black Sharpie appears intact while Mulgrew’s looks like an unfortunate smudge of paint.

“RIP to my signature @TheKateMulgrew,” they wrote.

It couldn’t have been a cheap mistake: Mulgrew’s autographs were $60 and photo ops were $70, according to the event schedule. Russ charged $20 for autographs and $40 for photos.

The takeaway: “Don’t put it in a sleeve just yet,” as @tekfighter wrote.

— KiMi Robinson

High: Chuck Norris was delighted to meet his “friends”

Actor and martial artist Chuck Norris was a late addition to Phoenix Fan Fusion’s celebrity guest roster, but that hasn’t stopped him from going all out for his fans.

Actor Chuck Norris did a free late afternoon fan meet and greet on Saturday, May 28, 2022 at Phoenix Fan Fusion.

Norris had a free meet at 5:15 p.m. Saturday. Similar autograph and photo sessions can cost $100 or more, and he had done several earlier in the day, with long lines.

Dean Goodwin, a security guard, started telling people that Norris’ late afternoon session would be free.

“This kind of thing isn’t just unusual,” Goodwin said. “It’s unheard of. Right place, right time, I guess.”

Why was Norris so keen on welcoming his guests?

“They’re my friends,” Norris said with a smile.

“That’s what brings me here, they’re my friends. All the money we make from this goes to our Kickstart Kids,” he said, referring to his nonprofit that offers martial arts lessons for children and teenagers.

—Sofia Krusmark

High: Watch out for Alligator Loki

Warning: Lots of Lokis are hanging around downtown Phoenix this weekend, but there’s one specific variation of the God of Mischief to watch out for: Alligator Loki.

Alligator Loki from the Disney+ show "Loki" made an appearance at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 28, 2022, courtesy of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.

Contrary to its surely terrifying teeth, the large reptile’s real name is Baby, and Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary is to thank for this particular cosplay of “Loki”, the Disney+ show that debuted last summer.

Hopefully this variant doesn’t do anything that causes a login event, prompting the Time Variance Authority to show up in Phoenix.

— KiMi Robinson

For subscribers:All about Gila monsters

Low: Are you hungry? It could be long…

The Phoenix Fan Fusion crowd inside the Phoenix Convention Center at noon on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

If you’re thinking of getting food from the dining room at the Phoenix Convention Center, think again.

Perhaps one woman crossing said it best: “Dang, people are hungry.”

Phoenix Fan Fusion attendees are not permitted to bring food or drink into the venue. If you don’t want to buy food inside the convention center, you are allowed to leave to find other options.

There are plenty of places to eat within walking distance of the venue, and you might feel less overwhelmed looking for them. Here is our guide to bars and restaurants near the Phoenix Convention Center.

—Sofia Krusmark

High: A ‘healing song’ for a ‘Little Mermaid’ fan

A man named Dalen Soto surprised everyone at a Phoenix Fan Fusion panel featuring Jodi Benson, best known as the voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

Dalen Soto, 38, at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.

Soto, 38, was diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy at birth and has been unable to walk his entire life, he said.

“I can’t walk but even though I can’t walk here on this Earth, I would love to walk and run, but I know I believe in God and I will one day walk in heaven,” Soto told Benson during a question-and-answer session to the panel. “Your song ‘Part of Your World’ gave me the strength to walk in heaven one day. I was wondering if there was a way for you to sing part of this song?”

He moved Benson to tears and everyone in the room took out their phones.

“I just want to say, Dalen, you are amazing,” Benson replied. “And you’re the reason I do what I do. You give purpose to the people around you and it’s such a privilege to have met you. God has a purpose for you.”

She ended the panel by singing part of “Part of Your World”, as Dalen requested.

“It’s a healing song for him,” Benson told the rally. “I hope it’s like that for all of you.”

She finished to a standing ovation.

—Sofia Krusmark

cosplay:Fans explain why it’s so much more than just dressing up

Daniel K. Denny