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Arizona Convention History

Welcome to our exploration of fandom conventions in Arizona, going all the way back to Phoenix Con in 1970. The current count is 122 past, present and future events.

To see what's coming up, with links to convention websites and maps, check out Arizona Conventions in 2017 or Arizona Conventions in 2018.

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

To see which Arizona conventions are live, on hiatus or no longer happening, check our Status page.

We're aware that we have gaps. There are other cons that we're Researching. If you have corrections or can fill in gaps in our Publications Archive with images, PDFs (or physical copies we can scan), please e-mail us.

The Conventions



Ace Comic Con

(2018-present, active)

Ace Comic Con is a gate show run by former founders of Wizard World. It appears to be aiming at high profile superhero guests.



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 Cosfest

(2017-present, active)

Arizona Cosfest is an annual cosplay convention in Phoenix sponsored by Power Entertainment, who also run events centered around beer and music.



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 Star Warz Convention

(1997, inactive)

The Arizona Star Warz Convention (yes, that's 'Warz' not 'Wars'), known as AzSWCon, was held in Scottsdale in 1997.



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 Phoenix Toy Show and then 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.



BasisCon

(2017-present, active)

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



BASIS Mesa Comic Con

(2016, renamed)

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



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 Con at the Prescott Public Library

(2017-present, active)

Comic Con at Prescott Public Library is as self-explanatory a name as I've seen. It's, well, a comic con event at the Prescott Public Library, presented with funding from the Friends of the Prescott Public Library.



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.



Desert Con

(1973?-1978?, inactive)

Desert Con 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.



Gila Valley Comic-Con

(2018-present, active)

Gila Valley Comic-Con is a pop culture convention held in Thatcher by the Eastern Arizona Courier.



Grand Prix Phoenix

(2000?-present, active)

Grand Prix Phoenix is a Magic: The Gathering tour event, run by Channel Fireball, combining a two day prize tournament with associated vendors and artists.



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.



Itty Bitty Fur Con

(2017-present, active)

Itty Bitty Fur Con is a convention in Mesa for the fur community, run by Monkey Paw Entertainment, who already run the Arizona Fur Con.



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

(2012-2016)

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.



Lady Death Fiend Festival

(2017-present, active)

The Lady Death Fiend Festival is a three day celebration of the opening of the Lady Death Museum and the Coffin Comics Company Store.



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).



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.



LibraryCon

(2012-present, active)

LibraryCon is a free annual pop culture convention at the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert.



Macro-Con

(2017-present, active)

Macro-Con is a free one day gaming event held at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale.



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.



MangaMania!!

(2011-2013, renamed)

MangaMania!! was a Japanese culture event in Tucson that was renamed to MegaMania!! when its scope widened in 2014.



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.



MegaMania!!

(2014-present, active)

MegaMania!! is a pop culture event in Tucson that's organised by the Pima County Library but held at Pima Community College.



Mesa Book Festival

(2017-present, active)

Mesa Book Festival is an annual book festival run by Bob Nelson of Brick Cave Media and Cirque du Livre.



Monster Market

(2017-present, active)

Monster Market is a 'one day celebration of independent artisans, artists, craftsmen and vendors with a spooky bent' with innovative angles like a 'dive-in' outdoor screening of The Lost Boys with the audience in the hotel pool, in collaboration with Cult Classics.



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.



Nansei Anime Con

(2018-present, active)

Nansei Anime Con is a new anime con in Yuma.



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

(2013-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, renamed)

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 comic book convention in Phoenix run by the Phoenix Fans of Art and Nostalgia (PFAN) that currently appears to be the earliest fandom convention 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 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, inactive)

Sci Par Con was to be a science fiction and paranormal convention run by the folk behind Sci Par Radio but was cancelled.



Shindig Monster Camp

(2016-present, active)

Shindig Monster Camps are weekend camps for Steam Crow Monster Scouts, held in actual campgrounds 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.



Star Wars Fan Fest

(2017-present, active)

Star Wars Fan Fest is an outdoor Star Wars celebration presented by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra, as a part of their 25th anniversary season.



Supernatural Official Convention

(2015-present, active)

Salute to Supernatural (year one) and Supernatural Official Convention (years two and three) 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 Book Festival

(2016-present, active)

Tempe Book Festival is an annual book festival run by the Tempe Public Library.



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.



Thrill Halloween

(2017, inactive)

Thrill Halloween was to be the Square Egg successor to Keen Halloween but was cancelled a month out.



TransContinental

(2016-present, active)

TransContinental is an annual one day gaming convention in Winslow, sponsored by Winslow High School and their game club. It focuses on gaming but with an anime room and cosplay contest.



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.



The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

(2017-present, active)

After closing down their Supernatural event, which had run for three years, Creation Entertainment set up a similar one, The Vampire Diaries Official Convention, which covers The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.



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 six occasions.



Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention

(2012-present, active)

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention is an annual steampunk convention held at Old Tucson Studios, a wild west town built as a Hollywood set.



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.



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Last update: 16th November, 2017