It’s a little over a week away, but I’m just not feeling the buzz for it like I usually do for Phoenix Comicon.
It could be that Fan Fest is a smaller con than Phoenix Comicon. It could be that I haven’t been to a Fan Fest before. It could be that this is only Fan Fest’s third year and it’s still finding its footing in the con world. But I don’t think it’s any of those things.
I think it’s the lineup.
With Fan Fest fast approaching, very few “typical” nerd/geek culture guests have been booked. Stating that they are trying to distance themselves from Phoenix Comicon and create an individual con identity, Fan Fest has booked several pro wrestling guests for their third annual con.
Granted, pro wrestling does have some cross-genre fans that like both geek culture genres (comic books, movies, TV shows, etc.) and the pro wrestling genre. However, many non-wrestling fans feel that Fan Fest is not offering enough “geeky” programming this year. I’ve spoken to several Phoenix Comicon veterans who are disappointed by this year’s Fan Fest lineup, and many are stating that they will not attend next year’s Fan Fest if this year turns out to be a bust.
There are still guests from sci-fi movies and TV shows, still cosplay guests, and still comic book guests. There’s still an exhibitor hall where congoers can get all kinds of goodies. So there’s still plenty of programming geared towards the geek stereotype… But will it be enough?
Next weekend’s numbers will tell the tale, and we shall see if Phoenix Fan Fest will continue to grow and expand its fan base–or whether it will fizzle as anti-wrestling fans are alienated by the odd transition.