Phoenix Comicon 2012 Wrap-Up: The Spud Stands Tall

After a full night of recuperation and consuming my body weight in chicken, I am finally up to the task of recounting my adventures at Phoenix Comicon 2012.

In a word, it was amazing.  Picture me saying that while out of breath and suspiciously sweaty and you’ll have a pretty good idea of just how amazing it was.  Highlights included the usual: getting to see all my good friends that I only get to see at cons, selling out 95% of my books that The Poisoned Pen was carrying, making the acquaintance of innumerable scantily-clad young ladies.

But these are all trivialities.  Dandelion heads lost on a breeze.  Beautiful in motion, but hard to appreciate as they drift further and further from view, knowing that I will see them again.  The heart craves something solid, something permanent.

And that’s where this moment came in.  Thursday night wasn’t exceptionally busy and The Poisoned Pen’s booth only had one random browser, a fellow whose name I sadly did not catch.  Never expecting to do much business on a Thursday, I offered a friendly smile and hello.  He didn’t buy my book.  But he had a copy that he had brought for me to sign.

The first time this happened, I was happy.  The second time it happened, with a girl who said she loved roleplaying a character inspired by Kataria, I was elated.  The third, fourth, fifth and sixth time it happened, with the woman who wanted a photo, the little shy boy and girl who wanted me to sign their Kindle, the people who came with books so well-loved they looked like they were about to fall apart, I was delirious.

It was a moment where I realized I didn’t have to put on a huge display to attract people.  It was a moment when I realized the books had been speaking for themselves all this time and that I should shut up and let them do so.  It was a moment when I realized that I no longer had customers, but readers.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore the people that bought Tome of the Undergates and Black Halo and I hope they enjoy their purchases.  But it’s so incredibly awesome to not have to go mad with worry over selling a few books.

And for that, to the people who bought the books, people who brought their books, people who just came by, I thank you.

There was but one bone of contention.  You see, a good friend of mine, John Scalzi, was not in attendance.  According to him, he had some pitiful excuse for not being there this weekend (some wedding or something?  I don’t know).  This will be my third year doing Phoenix Comicon.  Both prior years, John has attended.  I have never been to a PHXCC that did not have John as a guest.

And as far as I am concerned, I never will.

If John could not be there in the flesh, he would be there in effigy.  Enter…


Yes, I purchased a Mr. Potato-Head to stand in for John and be my traveling companion throughout the convention.  The likeness is uncanny, no?  John would go on to have the best Comicon of his life!

Join me, friends, for an adventure I’m calling…

John arrives at Comicon and is pleased to see that a line is already forming out the door to receive his signature.  What devoted fans he has!

Armed with his trusty Sharpie, John prepares for the onslaught of fans demanding his autograph.

Unfortunately, people had been misinformed as to his schedule.  As it turns out, no one even knew he was here!

John grows testy…

He reads a fellow author to see what makes them so worthy of praise.  Joe R. Lansdale?  Never heard of ‘im!

Get this out of John’s face!

Perhaps a name tag will help?  John quickly establishes one, hoping to attract fans.

Success!  John attracts several fans, each one clamoring for his attentions and a photograph!

Ladies, please!  Control yourselves!  John is a married man!

John…John feels as though, perhaps, he has enough fans.

No time for that, anyway!  John has many panels to attend!  Here, he commands the respect and attention of his fellow authors: Aprilynne Pike, Weston Ochse and Michael Stackpole as he delivers a stirring speech to the crowd.

Weston is thrilled that John shows an interest in his book, Blood Ocean!  But John’s moods are volatile, at best, and he cannot bear the thought of other authors attracting too much attention.  Surely, he will remain civil, right?

John!  No!

Enough of that nonsense.  John relaxes and lowers his stress levels by celebrating the gift of literacy!

But John’s editorial nature gets the better of him.  With red Sharpie in hand, he goes about making fastidious corrections to his fellow authors’ works.

John justifies his actions, delivering a persuasive argument to Sam Sykes and Greg Van Eekhout, who listen with rapt attentiveness.

He spies new author Kevin Hearne attempting to gather some fans for a signing!

And offers his expert advice on the subject.

A fan catches his attention and requests a photograph!  Who is John to turn away such a devoted reader?

But there’s no time for more, John!  You’ve got another panel to deliver!  See that enthusiastic crowd, hanging on your every word?

Phew!  What a success!

I’d say that calls for a refreshing beverage to unwind with, wouldn’t you agree, John?  Let’s go have a look and see where we can find a nice Coke Zer–




John seethes quietly on his table, defeated and dejected.  Who could be so cruel as to stock a convention center solely with Pepsi products?

His faith in humanity dwindles, giving way to darker desires…

These people live cardboard lives in glass houses, treading carefully lest the illusion of civilization be bent and crushed beneath their giant, clomping feet.  They come to mock John and defy his great truths!  John comes to the only possible conclusion…

For mankind, there shall be no dawn.


The locals plea with John, begging him to stay his wrath and spare their lives, at least until the end of the convention!

Reluctantly, John agrees…but his rage cannot be contained!  Someone must suffer!

John approaches Weston Oches under the guise of peace.  Weston is eager to rekindle relations!

He asks John to watch his water while he goes to talk to a reader.  Surely, you can handle this, can’t you, John?

John!  No!

You disgust me, John.

Words of his deed spreads!  More and more people flock to gape at the legendary John Scalzi!

His reputation spreads so far he is approached by an elite supergroup!

But something seems missing…perhaps John could help?

A challenge looms before John!  Can he, a mere mortal, move the massive might of Mjollnir?

He is found worthy!

Have at thee, Ochse!

But John!  Don’t you know The Avengers are supposed to protect mankind?  You’ll never get in this way!

Sensing his despair, Diana Gabaldon offers him a drink to drown his sorrows in.

John!  No!

Rejected from The Avengers, John begins to despair…

But fear not, John!  You are among friends!

Even Iron Man will forgive you.  Let’s go see the rest of our friends at the con!

After a quick jaunt to the Hijinks Ensue booth to visit his good friend, Joel Watson, John feels a strange sensation coming over him.  Could it be?


But time grows short!  John still has one matter to take care of!  He hears that a good friend of his has come to Phoenix Comicon to say hello.  Braving the many lines, he searches for his chum and, after much searching…

John is reunited with his good friend, Wil Wheaton!  The two share a tender moment of holding hands together as friends before John must be off…

John, when will you learn?

And with that, Phoenix Comicon is a success.  John has once again brought the ever-glowing light of hope that is his shining personality to the dark corners of Phoenix.  But…what of other worlds?  John cannot idly sit by and let them suffer without him, can he?

A new adventure awaits…



Thank you, Lee Whiteside and Phoenix Comicon.  See you next year!

16 Responses to “Phoenix Comicon 2012 Wrap-Up: The Spud Stands Tall”

  1. Mark

    Best con report ever. Spud Scalzi’s adventures should be required reading for everyone. When does Skybound Sea arrive on these shores?

  2. Faith

    Brilliant & hilarious. My side hurts! Ahhh.
    Thank you Sam. 😀

  3. Mike (@NewGuyMike)

    Absolutely awesomesause. Missed so much on ye ol’ twitter. An epic tale indeed!

  4. Doug

    LOL!I’m thinking that next year it would be great if there were two Scalzis in attendance. And if they meet, a rift could open in the space/time continuum, which could lead to the destruction the universe, or at the very least, a chuckle or two.

    It was a great con and it was a pleasure to meet you. I thought you were particularly good on the panels that you were on that I attended. I even thought you held your own on a panel with Peter S. Beagle, who was dropping pearls of awesome like Obi Wan Kenobi, so that was impressive. Also, I believe it might have been my son, with his friend, whose kindle you signed, so thank you. He thought that was really cool.

    • sam

      Yes! It was your son! He was awesome! You need to remind him of the fact that he is awesome every day.

      • Doug

        Will do. I think he’s pretty awesome, too, but I’m kinda biased. 🙂

  5. Heather L.

    Brilliant. 🙂

  6. Greg M.

    This is the best John Scalzi-related post EVER Sam.

    Do you still think his blurb “I do not wish Sam Sykes dead” is accurate?

    • sam

      Oh, I think it’s more apt than ever. From what I understand, John had a blast watching it.

  7. Daisy_A_Dair

    Next time I see @Scalzi I am going to personally thank him for introducing you to my world.

  8. Courtney Leigh Creations

    But… he was such an attractive spud! Oh well. Mister J would be angry with me anyhow, and I could never betray Puddin’! – Harley

    Thanks for including us (Catwoman and Harley) in your round-up!

    • Courtney Leigh Creations

      Oh, and the Bubble Head Nurse right below is Courtney/Catwoman, too!

    • sam

      Oh, wow! You actually run a cosplay site! That’s amazingly cool.

      And yeah, Courtney told me she was the Nurse. I should have mentioned that in the blog post. But I didn’t. Because I am a lazy, lazy man.

      Thanks for stopping by, guys!

  9. deniz

    Awesome! Now everyone around me is wondering what I’m laughing at. Can I get Spudzi’s autograph?

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