Organizers of the third Alabama Phoenix Festival said that this year’s science fiction, cosplay, gaming, anime, and comic book convention would be “bigger and better than before,” and they were right.
If you didn’t get to stop by the Birmingham Sheraton this weekend, here are a few of the sights you missed seeing.
Where else but the Alabama Phoenix Festival can The Phantom and Luke Cage, Power Man be found hanging out together? (Well, Dragon Con, maybe, but Birmingham doesn't host that.) Chris Walker and Greg Cantrell were among the most photographed cosplayers over the weekend.
Here's the Phantom chatting with Iron Maven, the alter ego of local pirate cosplayer Andrea Stovall.
I had a great time talking with authors and festival guests Sean Taylor, Tommy Hancock, Bobby Nash, and Michael Gordon. These guys are doing great work keeping pulp fiction alive.
Magic City artist Melissa Shultz-Jones was on hand to display her work, accept commissions, and discuss her children's illustrations.
Here's a retro-inspired example of Melissa's work. Great stuff.
A full-sized remote-controlled R2D2 garnered quite a bit of attention as he wheeled around the Sheraton.
The iconic little droid made friends with everyone, including Shay Blaze's Tinker Bell, a match made in Disney heaven.
Russell Jones helps a young Captain America fan try on the super patriot's shield.
Jones' modern version of the captain's mask got a break while he sported the character's World War II-era uniform.
Always a popular festival guest, Darrell "Doc" Osborn recruits a new minion with his Twisted Balloons of Doom. His aluminized plastic creations are works of art.
Meghan Pruitt made her first foray into cosplay this weekend, dressing as Darth Vader while helping staff the Yelp booth at the Phoenix Fest.
Keven Gardner, left is the president of Birmingham-based 12-Gauge Comics, which has gained considerable acclaim as independent producer of comic books. He was joined at the Phoenix Fest by Shane Berryhill, the writer of 12-Gauge's latest series, Sherwood. Gardner describes the series as "Robin Hood meets Sons of Anarchy." Berryhill, a Chattanooga native, is also the author of a series of young adult novels featuring student superhero Chance Fortune.
K.J. Singletary displays Gaigin USA's intriguing Star Boxes, each of which contains $25 worth of pop culture, sci fi, and comic book related merchandise. The local company only makes them available at conventions, the next of which is Sukoshi Con, the Social Anime Convention on June 21 in Montgomery.
Former Magic City resident Yoko Mizuhara returned to Birmingham as a cosplayer and panelist at this year's Phoenix Fest. In the role of Rogue from the X-Men, her costume was among the festival's most colorful.
Among the festival's guests was director and producer Kevin Herren of Macabre Mansion, producer of original and adapted dramas in the horror and science fiction genres, including A Christmas Carol, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Tales from Beyond (an orginial series Herren says is produced in the style of The Twilight Zone).
Sally Morriss -- "the Woman of Wonder" -- had one of the festival's most unusual costumes in Isis, the title character in a live-action Saturday morning TV series during the 1970s. I remember watching the show (and reading the DC Comics tie-in series) when I was a kid. So does Sally. "I grew up watching Isis, Wonder Woman, and Shazam. Not everyone does this character, and I don't get to wear the costume very often."
And here's Sally a few minutes later, after a quick change into her Batwoman costume.
I was pleased to encounter talented local artist Elaine Tindill Rohr, decked out in a groovy 1930s-style aviation costume. She told me that this year's cosplay panel discussions were quite entertaining, adding that it would have been less painful had she broken in her new red boots before walking around all day in them at the festival.
Birmingham's Will Knight chose to work the festival as Booster Gold because "nobody else was doing it." His costume -- depicting DC Comics' time-travelling superhero -- was quite authentic.
Moody resident Will Janus sported Oliver Queen's island costume from The CW popular superhero series Arrow.