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Arizona Fandom History

Why?

Because nobody else has done it and because, as Arizona fans who work many of these conventions, we want to refer to this information ourselves, here's an area of the AZPD site dedicated to all the fandom events that Arizona has hosted over the years.

Links on this page go to the individual pages for each con except for those within the Thanks section, which go to external sources. Links within each individual con page go externally when referring to that con or its organising body, but internally when talking about anything else. All PDFs are hosted on this site.

If you have corrections, can fill in gaps or have PDF files of program books, please e-mail us.

If you're looking for events happening this year, we maintain dedicated pages for them too. Click here for Arizona Conventions in 2017 and Arizona Film Festivals in 2016.

High Level Pages

Here's a Chronology of Arizona conventions so you can see how the patterns change.

Here's a Checklist of what we're already hosting for those looking to contribute program book covers or PDFs.

Here's a Changelog, started on 21 May 2016 after the bulk of the site went live.

Status

These cons are active, holding events in 2017: Apache Junction Public Library LibraryCon, Arizona Fur Con, Arizona Game Fair, Arizona Toy Con, AZ Eventure Con, Blazing Desert Comic Con, Capture! PhotoCon, Cirque du Livre, Cochise College Comic Con, Con-Nichiwa, Crit Hit!, Detonation, Dust World Expo, Game On Expo, Keen Halloween, LepreCon, LibCon, LIBCON West, Mad Monster Party, Maricopa Con, Payson Book Festival, Phoenix Comicon, Phoenix Fan Fest, Saboten Con, Shindig Monster Camp, Spacefest, Supernatural Official Convention, TaiyouCon, Tempe Public Library Comicon, Tucson Comic-Con, Tucson Festival of Books, TusCon, Verde Valley Comic Expo, Westercon, Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention and ZapCon.

These cons are forthcoming with debuts announced for 2018: Outlaw Comicon and Sci Par Con.

These cons I'm treating as active for now, as they held events in 2016 but have not yet announced plans for 2017: BASIS Mesa Comic Con, Casa Grande Comic Con, Cottonwood Comic Book Show, Doc Con, Kikori Con, KoL Con, Laughing Moon Con, Northern Arizona Book Festival, Phoenix FearCon, PHX Comic Art Expo, PHX Zine Fest, RinCon, Underground Publishers Convention and YumaCon.

These cons are active on a wider scale, meaning that they are still holding events but they travel and just happen to not be in Arizona this year: Browncoat Ball, Costume-Con, North American Discworld Convention, North American Science Fiction Convention, SMOFcon, Worldcon, World Fantasy Convention and World Horror Convention.

These cons are on hiatus, not holding events in 2017 but expecting to hold (or at least open to holding) future events: Comic & Media Expo, CopperCon, DarkCon, DevCon, OtherWorlds Festival, Phoenix DinoCon, RandomCon and Space Access.

These cons are inactive, meaning that they aren't likely to ever be held again (but you never know): AdventureCon, AlterCon, Amazing Arizona Comic Con, Anime Kaigi, AniZona, Arizona Book Festival, Conrunners, Contact, CorsairCon, CosFest, Desertcon, Devastation, HexaCon, Horrorfind Weekend, Ivan Cook's All New Phoenix Comic, Star Trek and SF Film Con, KimeraCon, MythosCon, NotACon, Phoenix Con (I), PhoenixCon (II), Phoenix Con Games, Phoenix Faerie Festival, Phoenix Fan Convention, PhringeCon, Rapture Horror Expo, Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy World Exposition, SmurfCon, Vul-Con and ZonieCon.

Also, CONflagration isn't likely to be held again as a separate event, but is an active part of LepreCon.

The Conventions

AdventureCon (2009, inactive)

AdventureCon seems to be an early version of what Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest would become, especially given that it was held at the Cardinals stadium. It was run by the organisation that hosted AdventureCons in other cities.

AlterCon (1980, inactive)

AlterCon was a one-off 'hastily organized relaxicon' to replace LepreCon 6 when it was cancelled three weeks out from the event. It was revisited 14 years later during a similar scenario around Leprecon 20.

Amazing Arizona Comic Con (2011-2016, inactive)

The Amazing Arizona Comic Con was an annual comic book convention in Phoenix. It's run by the Amazing Comic Cons organisation which hosts such events across the US. It cancelled its Arizona event as of 2017 as part of a refocusing effort.

Anime Kaigi (2010-2012, inactive)

Anime Kaigi was an annual anime convention in Flagstaff. Its demise prompted the creation of Kikori Con.

AniZona (2005-2009, inactive)

AniZona was an annual anime con held over the Easter Weekend. It was originally run by AniZona Anime Convention Inc. but that organisation was dissolved in 2007. The Western SFA hosted the last AniZona.

Apache Junction Public Library LibraryCon (2015-present, active)

Apache Junction Public Library LibraryCon is a pop culture convention held, surprisingly enough, at the Apache Junction Public Library.

Arizona Book Festival (1998-2007, inactive)

The Arizona Book Festival was a one day book festival coordinated by the Arizona Humanities Council in Phoenix.

Arizona Fur Con (2013-present, active)

Arizona Fur Con is an annual con for the fur community in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Arizona Game Fair (2017-present, active)

Arizona Game Fair is a tabletop gaming convention founded by Andrew Long and first held in 2017 in Mesa.

Arizona Toy Con (2016-present, active)

Arizona Toy Con is a pop culture convention in Glendale with a special focus on collectable toys. It was formerly known as iCON.

AZ Eventure Con (2017-present, active)

AZ Eventure Con is a comic book convention founded by Jesse James Criscione of Jesse James Comics and comic book creator/publisher Tom Hutchison of Big Dog Ink. It will be first held in 2017 in Glendale.

BASIS Mesa Comic Con (2016-present, active)

BASIS Mesa Comic-Con is a short pop culture convention in Mesa at and to raise funds for the BASIS charter school in Mesa.

Blazing Desert Comic Con (2015-present, active)

Blazing Desert Comic Con is a pop culture convention held in San Luis that was founded by Antonio Carrillo. I'm currently assuming that the first event was was called Yuma County Comic-Con.

Browncoat Ball (active on a wider scale)

Browncoat Ball is an annual fandom event dedicated to the Firefly universe. It was first held in Chicago in 2004 but travels around the country, being held in a different city each year. Phoenix has hosted it once, in 2013.

Capture! PhotoCon (2017-present, active)

Capture! PhotoCon is a photography conference in Phoenix which will be first held in Phoenix in 2017.

Casa Grande Comic Con (2015-present, active)

Casa Grande Comic Con is a free pop culture convention run by the Vista Grande Public Library.

Cirque du Livre (2016-present, active)

Cirque du Livre is a writers' conference and convention in Mesa run by Bob Nelson of Brick Cave Media.

Cochise College Comic Con (2017-present, active)

Cochise College Comic Con (or C4) is a pop culture convention at Cochise College run by the college's Digital Media Arts Club.

Comic & Media Expo (2014-2015, on hiatus)

Comic & Media Expo (or CMX) is a pop culture convention in Mesa.

Conflagration (2012, active as part of LepreCon)

Conflagration is a tabletop gaming convention run by Leprecon Inc. It was first held as a standalone event, but was subsequently rolled into the main LepreCon event as its gaming wing.

Con-Nichiwa (2010-present, active)

Con-Nichiwa is an annual anime convention organised in Tucson by Monkey Paw Entertainment.

Conrunners (2002-2008, inactive)

ConRunners was a free all day seminar for those interested in how fandom conventions and events are run. It was run by the WesternSFA and included 20 ConRunners events and 9 Mini-ConRunners events.

Contact (1984?-1991?, inactive)

Contact was an academic conference run by Contact, Inc. and CASFS that brought together scientists, writers and artists to 'exchange ideas, explore possibilities and stimulate new perspectives about humanity's future'.

CopperCon (1981-2014, on hiatus)

CopperCon is an annual science fiction convention with a special focus on literature. It's run by the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society (CASFS).

CorsairCon (1988?-1998, inactive)

CorsairCon was a pirate themed convention sponsored by the Corsairs of the Desert Sea, Inc. who were reformed as the current Arizona Corsairs.

CosFest (2015, inactive)

CosFest was a cosplay convention held in Mesa in 2015. It was run by Candies' Characters, a Gilbert company that supplies Disney princesses and other costumed characters for children's parties.

Costume-Con (active on a wider scale)

Costume-Con is an annual convention for costumers that moves around the world, usually North America. It's owned by Karen Schnaubelt but each event is organised by a different group. It was first held in San Diego, CA in 1983 and Arizona has hosted it once.

Cottonwood Comic Book Show (2015-present, active)

Cottonwood Comic Book Show is a more traditional event that focuses more on comic books than the average comicon.

Crit Hit! (2016-present, active)

Crit Hit! is new tabletop roleplaying gaming convention kickstarted in Phoenix by Jim Miller.

DarkCon (1995-2015, on hiatus)

DarkCon is a convention dedicated to fantasy and science fiction with a taste for different subgenres and a penchant for parties. It aimed to alternate years with CorsairCon, but soon outlasted the latter. It's run by The Dark Ones, Inc.

Desertcon (1973?-1978?, inactive)

Desertcon was an annual science fiction convention in Tucson, just predating TusCon. It was held at the University of Arizona and attracted major guests.

Detonation (2015-present, active)

Detonation is a post apocalyptic festival in northern Arizona hosted on private land half an hour east of Holbrook.

Devastation (2005-2011, inactive)

Devastation was a videogaming event and tournament in Phoenix.

DevCon (2014-present, active)

DevCon is an annual pop culture convention run by Arizona State University at their ASU West campus.

Doc Con (1998-present, active)

Doc Con is an annual convention centered around the pulp character Doc Savage who was created in 1933.

Dust World Expo (2013-present, active)

Dust World Expo is an annual wargaming convention based around games set within the World of Dust framework. It's unique in that it's staged at an actual military establishment, Falcon Field in Mesa.

Game On Expo (2015-present, active)

Game On Expo is an annual gaming event in Mesa that describes itself as 'all encompassing' because it covers not only tabletop gaming but video and arcade gaming too.

HexaCon (1991-2006, inactive)

HexaCon was a tabletop and computer gaming convention that was run by the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society (CASFS).

Horrorfind Weekend (2004, inactive)

Horrorfind Weekend was a horror convention hosted around the country with different guests. Arizona may have only hosted it once.

iCON (2014-2015, renamed to Arizona Toy Con)

iCON is a pop culture convention in Glendale with a special focus on collectable toys. It was renamed to Arizona Toy Con in 2016.

Ivan Cook's All New Phoenix Comic, Star Trek and SF Film Con (1976-1977, inactive)

It's not surprising that Ivan Cook's All New Phoenix Comic, Star Trek and SF Film Con soon became known as CookieCon, though its real name is startlingly descriptive.

Keen Halloween (2012-present)

Keen Halloween is a family oriented convention with a maker faire aesthetic that's held near and revolving around Halloween.

Kikori Con (2013-present, active)

Kikori Con is an annual anime convention in Flagstaff run by Monkey Paw Entertainment.

KimeraCon (2012, inactive)

KimeraCon was a 'multi-hobby convention for anime, games, sci-fi and fantasy' run by Kimera Con, Inc that may never have been staged.

KoL Con (2004-present, active)

KoL Con is an annual convention dedicated to the web-based roleplaying game, Kingdom of Loathing. It's held in Mesa, home of Asymmetric Publications, who created the game.

Laughing Moon Con (2010-present, active)

Laughing Moon Con is an annual pop culture convention run by Todd Van Hooser at Desert Edge High School.

LepreCon (1975-present, active)

LepreCon is an annual science fiction convention with a strong focus on art. It's run by Leprecon Inc. and is the second oldest active sci-fi con in Arizona (TusCon is one year older) and the only one currently active in the Phoenix area.

LibCon (2011-present, active)

LibCon is an annual pop culture convention run by the Chandler Public Library that's grown substantially since its debut in 2011.

LIBCON West (2016-present, active)

LIBCON West is an annual pop culture convention at Glendale Public Library, initially staged for teens.

Mad Monster Party (2014-present, active)

Mad Monster Party is a predominantly horror convention that's focused around signings by a strong line-up of guests.

MaricopaCon (2012-present, active)

MaricopaCon is an active annual tabletop gaming convention crowdfunded by Jason Youngdale, who had previously run gaming events for other groups.

MythosCon (2011, inactive)

MythosCon was a horror con dedicated to H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. It was held in Phoenix with a strong international guest list.

North American Discworld Convention (active on a wider scale)

The North American Discworld Convention is dedicated to the works of Sir Terry Pratchett, especially his Discworld books. It's held biennially on odd-numbered years to alternate with the UK Discworld Convention, which is held on even-numbered years. Arizona hosted the first NADWCon.

North American Science Fiction Convention (active on a wider scale)

The North American Science Fiction Convention or NASFiC is an convention dedicated to science fiction that is hosted whenever Worldcon is held outside North America. It was first held in Los Angeles, CA in 1975 and Arizona hosted it once.

Northern Arizona Book Festival (1998-present, active)

The Northern Arizona Book Festival is a long running 'literary extravaganza' founded by the Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County in 1998 that has grown to fill a full week at many venues in downtown Flagstaff.

NotACon (2011, inactive)

NotACon was a one day boardgaming event set up by the Creative Play Project to replace the cancelled RinCon in 2011. It was run for charity.

OtherWorlds Festival (2015-present, on hiatus)

The OtherWorlds Festival was a fantasy event that grew out of the Phoenix Faerie Festival.

Outlaw Comicon (2018, active)

Outlaw Comicon is a new pop culture event to be held in Phoenix in 2018 by the Comic Outlaws.

Payson Book Festival (2015-present, active)

Payson Book Festival is a free annual literature event run by the Rim County District of Arizona Professional Writers (APW) and Gila Community College (GCC).

Phoenix Comicon (2002-present, active)

Phoenix Comicon is an annual comic book and pop culture convention which began as Phoenix Cactus Comicon in Ahwatukee. It's smaller only than the Tucson Festival of Books.

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest (2014-2015, inactive)

In 2014, Phoenix Comicon expanded to a second event in the winter, which they called Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest. This was much more vendor-focused with fewer guests and very little programming. It was renamed in 2016 to Phoenix Fan Fest.

PhoenixCon (I) (1970-1972?, inactive)

Phoenix Con was a science fiction convention in Phoenix run by the Phoenix Fans of Art and Nostalgia (PFAN) that currently appears to be the oldest such event in Arizona. The first event was held in 1970.

PhoenixCon (II) (1985, inactive)

PhoenixCon was a different science fiction convention to the above that was held in Phoenix in 1985.

Phoenix Con Games (2005-2008, inactive)

Phoenix Con Games was a versatile gaming convention in Mesa that covered the gamut: tabletop gaming, LARPing and console gaming, even live action tic-tac-toe.

Phoenix DinoCon (2013-2014, on hiatus)

Phoenix DinoCon is a one day convention dedicated to the 'whoa' of dinosaurs. It was run by Julia Zolondz and her family.

Phoenix Faerie Festival (2007-2011, inactive)

Phoenix Faerie Festival was an outdoor family fun event run by Rowan Wakefield in the west valley to celebrate the folklore and fantasy of the faerie realms.

Phoenix Fan Convention (1977, inactive)

The Phoenix Fan Convention was a Star Trek and Science Fiction convention in Phoenix with a major guest list. It was run by Kandy and John Fong, leading to a nickname of KandyKon.

Phoenix Fan Fest (2016, active)

Founded in 2014 as Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, this winter-based event was renamed in 2016 to simply Phoenix Fan Fest. This accompanied a change of venue and time of year, the addition of wrestling guests and a bulked up programming schedule.

Phoenix FearCon (2006-present, active)

Phoenix FearCon was founded by Jim & Chris McLennan of Trash City as the Phoenix Fear Film Festival, a horror film festival with convention extras, but it grew into Phoenix FearCon, a convention with a film track.

PhringeCon (1980-1991, inactive)

PhringeCon was a pop culture convention in Phoenix run by PhringeCon, Inc for 'people interested in the fringes of science fiction'.

PHX Comic Art Expo (2015-present, active)

PHX Comic Art Expo is an annual comic book convention for local artists run by Ottawa University's Creative Art Department.

PHX Zine Fest (2016-present, active)

PHX Zine Fest is an annual convention for zine writers, artists and readers, held at the Ice House in downtown Phoenix.

RandomCon (2009-2010, on hiatus)

RandomCon was a tabletop gaming convention in the Phoenix metropolitan area run by the WesternSFA.

Rapture Horror Expo (2013-2014, inactive)

Rapture Horror Expo was a horror convention run by WTF Events.

RinCon (2001-present, active)

RinCon is an annual tabletop gaming convention in Tucson run by the Southern Arizona Gamers Association (SAGA).

Saboten Con (2008-present, active)

Saboten Con is an anime convention in Phoenix run by Monkey Paw Entertainment.

Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy World Exposition (1977, inactive)

The Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy World Exposition was a major event in 1977 in Tucson. It was billed as 'the event of the millennium' and came much closer to that than you might expect. Most called it Nudlecon.

Sci Par Con (2018, active)

Sci Par Con is science fiction and paranormal convention run by the folk behind Sci Par Radio which will be first held in Phoenix in 2018.

Shindig Monster Camp (2016-present, active)

Shindig Monster Camp is a weekend camp for Steam Crow Monster Scouts, held in an actual campground with a variety of activities.

SMOFcon (active on a wider scale)

SMOFs are the Secret Masters of Fandom, the people who tend to run science fiction cons across the world. SMOFcon is an annual convention focused on doing so, especially Worldcons. After the zeroth SMOFcon in New York in the early seventies, it was first held in 1984 in Washington, DC. Arizona has held it once.

SmurfCon (?-?, inactive)

SmurfCon was an irregular skills workshop for conrunners that was organised by Bruce Farr during the nineties for CASFS (the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society). Smurfs are a derivative of SMOFs, the Secret Masters of Fandom, who run SMOFCon.

Space Access (1994-present, on hiatus)

Space Access is an annual conference dedicated to 'the technology, politics and business of radically cheaper space transportation, featuring leading players in the field.' It's been run since 1994 by Henry Vanderbilt, founder of the Space Access Society.

Spacefest (2007-present, active)

Spacefest is an annual reunion of NASA Apollo astronauts, famous space scientists, authors, astronomers, space artists and fans. It's been run by space artist Kim Poor and his wife Sally since 2007.

Supernatural Official Convention (2015-present, active)

Salute to Supernatural (year one) and Supernatural Official Convention (further years) are travelling shows from Creation Entertainment focused on one franchise, here the Supernatural television series.

Taiyou Con (2011-present, active)

Taiyou Con is an annual anime convention in Mesa.

Tempe Public Library Comicon (2015-present, active)

Tempe Public Library Comicon is a free pop culture convention in Tempe run annual by the Tempe Public Library.

Tucson Comic-Con (2008-present, active)

Tucson Comic-Con is an annual comic book and pop culture convention in Tucson.

Tucson Festival of Books (2009-present, active)

Tucson Festival of Books is an annual literature event hosted at the University of Arizona in Tucson. It's the largest fandom event in Arizona.

TusCon (1974-present, active)

TusCon is the oldest active science fiction convention in Arizona. It's run annually by the Baja Arizona Science Fiction Association (BASFA).

Underground Publishers Convention (2009-present, active)

The Underground Publishers Convention (or UPC) is an annual symposium in Phoenix dedicated to small press/distros, zines and comic books. It's also free.

Verde Valley Comic Expo (2016-present, active)

The Verde Valley Comic Expo is a comic book event in Cottonwood run in collaboration with the Cottonwood Public Library to benefit a local literacy program.

Vul-Con (2012, inactive)

Vul-Con was a tabletop gaming convention in Phoenix billed as 'the Southwest's premiere strategy game convention'.

Westercon (active on a wider scale)

Westercon is an annual convention dedicated to science fiction and fantasy that moves around the western third of North America. It was first held in Los Angeles, CA in 1948. It's owned by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) but is hosted by different sponsoring bodies in different cities each year. Arizona has hosted it on five occasions and will host it again in 2017.

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention (2012-present, active)

The Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention is an annual steampunk convention held at Old Tucson Studios.

Worldcon (active on a wider scale)

Worldcon is the premiere science fiction convention in the world and it travels around annually. It's owned by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and is the event where the Hugos are awarded. It was first held in New York in 1939 and Arizona has hosted it once.

World Fantasy Convention (active on a wider scale)

The World Fantasy Convention is an active annual convention dedicated to fantasy that moves around the world. It was first held in Providence, RI in 1975. Arizona has hosted it on three occasions.

World Horror Convention (active on a wider scale)

The World Horror Convention is an active annual convention dedicated to horror that moves around the world. It was first held in Nashville, TN in 1991. Arizona has hosted it on three occasions.

YumaCon (2015-present, active)

YumaCon is Yuma's official comic con presented by the Yuma Art Center and the City of Yuma.

Yuma County Comic-Con (2014, renamed)

Blazing Desert Comic Con is a pop culture convention held in San Luis that was founded by Antonio Carrillo. I'm currently assuming that the first event was was called Yuma County Comic-Con.

ZapCon (2013-present, active)

ZapCon is an arcade and pinball convention with all games set to free play.

ZonieCon (1998-2001, inactive)

ZonieCon was a Tucson convention for the fur community that was held around the turn of the century.


Researching

Cosy Con - mystery authors at the Poisoned Pen.

CraterCon - sf and fantasy con in Flagstaff run by NASFS (Northern Arizona Speculative Fiction Society).

CreationCons - Star Trek in the 90s - one in mid-1996. Starlog #144 says 2x Star Trek in 1989: Sheraton Phoenix (7-8 Oct) and Convention Center, Tucson (22-23 Jul) (possibly with Wil Wheaton).

Doctor Who convention at Centennial Hall, Mesa on 15 Mar 1987.

PimaCon in Tucson. Advertised in the back of an early CopperCon program book.

PseudoCon 1 on 2-3 Jul 1993.

Star Trek Phoenix '83 at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix (1-3 Apr 1983) with Bibi Besch and Judson Scott.

Star Trek two day convention at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix (8-9 Jul 1988) with William Shatner.

Thanks

This site couldn't have been put together without the valuable input of many outside the AZPD. Many thanks!

Information sources include Anime Cons, CASFS, Coming Attractions, CthulthuWho1's Blog, DarkCon, Fancyclopedia, Fan Lore, Flagstaff Central, GeekCalendar, HobbySpace, Leprecon Inc, Nerdvana, Phoenix Comicon, Phoenix DinoCon, Phoenix FearCon, ThePulp.Net, SmofInfo, Space Access Society, Tenth Letter of the Alphabet, TusCon's Illustrated History Pages, Westercon, WesternSFA, WikiFur, Wikipedia and Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention.

Other sources that added details include Dragon magazine at Ann Archive and A Science Fiction Convention Attendance Chronology.

Thanks to Anna at Glendale Public Library, Stephanie Bannon, Richard Bolinski, Mark Boniece, Craig Dyer, Bruce Farr, Margie Grady, Matthew Hunt, Khurt Khave, Scott Malcomson, Victor Moreno, Rowan Wakefield and Mike Willmoth for providing further corrections and filling in gaps.

Special thanks to Stephanie Bannon, Cathy Book, Bruce Farr, Margie Grady, Bob Nelson, Mandy Parker, Paul Tanton, Larry Vela, Rowan Wakefield and Mike Willmoth for providing PDFs and/or physical material I could turn into them.


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