Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022: Updates from all 3 days of the Arizona comic con

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After a three-year pause for the COVID-19 pandemic, Phoenix Fan Fusion is back in downtown Phoenix for Memorial Day weekend.

The three-day event, Phoenix's largest comic con, takes place May 27-29 at the Phoenix Convention Center. It's a celebration of pop culture including comics, cosplay, movies, anime, manga, furry and countless other fandoms.

Celebrities scheduled to attend include Chuck Norris, Diane Guerrero, Cristina Vee, Doug Jones and Patrick Warburton.

We'll be updating this blog all weekend long with photographs and highlights from opening day Friday morning to the afterparties of Fan Fusion.

Phoenix Fan Fusion highs, lows: Chuck Norris meets his 'friends'; a big autograph fail

4:45 p.m. Sunday: Last chance for souvenirs

Sunday seemed slower than Saturday at Phoenix Fan Fusion, but the exhibition hall on the bottom floor of the convention center was getting plenty of action.

Megan Withey, an artist from West Palm Beach, Florida, sold paintings at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022.
Megan Withey, an artist from West Palm Beach, Florida, sold paintings at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022.

That's where everyone headed for last-minute purchases on their way out the door.

Fans could get autographs and photos with celebrities, authors and speakers, and hundreds of booths had goodies for purchase.

Pins, comic books, light sabers, buttons, sword hair clips and famous movie and cartoon figurines were up for grabs throughout the hall. Customers and vendors were making most of the final hours of the con.

Megan Withey is a vendor who flew in from West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday for the event. She paints watercolors of characters from popular movies and shows like the balloon house from "Up" or Eeyore from "Winnie the Pooh."

"The princesses are my favorite," Withey said. "And I'm currently illustrating a travel book about different people and places around the world."

— Sofia Krusmark

4:45 p.m. Sunday: Come for the conference, stay for the costumes

That's how Goodyear resident and attendee Stacey Pribyl sees it, at least. Her first time at the conference was in 2015. This year, she's back and dressed like Syndrome, the villain from the "Incredibles" for the last day of Phoenix Fan Fusion.

Stacy Pribyl of Goodyear came to Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022, dressed as Syndrome, the villain from "The Incredibles."
Stacy Pribyl of Goodyear came to Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022, dressed as Syndrome, the villain from "The Incredibles."

It's one of her favorite characters and she's written fan fiction about it, Pribyl says. Now, she's just relaxing while enjoying people's costumes as they file out of the hall.

"This is my lazy costume for the end of the weekend," Pribyl says, laughing. "I've never been a big panel-goer. I'm more of a 'wander around and look at everyone' person."

— Sofia Krusmark

3:25 p.m. Sunday: Tears of joy at seeing their hero

"Collaboration is everything," Doug Jones told the fans who packed the room for his Q&A panel on Sunday.

Actor Doug Jones, known for his roles in "The Shape of Water" and other films, took part in a Q&A session at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022.
Actor Doug Jones, known for his roles in "The Shape of Water" and other films, took part in a Q&A session at Phoenix Fan Fusion on May 29, 2022.

Jones — a contortionist, actor and mime artist — is best known for his roles in the Star Trek series, "Pan's Labyrinth," the Hellboy movies and, most recently, "The Shape of Water," which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2018.

Fans at the Q&A expressed their love for Jones. Some even cried.

One fan, with tears in her eyes, praised Jones for his humility and asked, "How do you stay humble and gracious as the actor that you are?"

To which Jones answered, "I am humbled by you. When I come out here, I see how my work affects people and why I do what I do. "

"Did you think it would be as impactful as it would be?" another fan asked.

"I feel really happy and blessed," Jones said. "When you're at the at the Oscars accepting Best Picture, you think, 'Yeah, that's a good turn to take.'"

— Sofia Krusmark

2:17 p.m. Sunday: Nini Music came from Taiwan to  perform at Fan Fusion

Nini Music was a rare treat at Phoenix Fan Fusion.

Nini Music flew from Taiwan to perform her traditional Chinese folk music blended with EDM at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022. Photo taken May 29, 2022.
Nini Music flew from Taiwan to perform her traditional Chinese folk music blended with EDM at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022. Photo taken May 29, 2022.

There have been few musicians throughout the weekend, but Nini flew in from Taiwan to perform her signature traditional Chinese folk music blended with modern rock and EDM. Nini performed popular tunes including "Dance Monkey" by Tones and I and the classic "Take On Me" by A-ha.

The crowd sang along and cheered as she played several guitar-like string instruments: the sanxian, ruan and liuqin. She's also known for her covers of gaming tracks, and she won Twitch's "Gamers Got Talent" competition in 2021.

— Sofia Krusmark

1:09 p.m. Sunday: Daddy-daughter Fusion fans

Will Friday has been coming to events such as Phoenix Fan Fusion for 17 years. He's been dressing as Gandalf for nearly a decade.

Will Friday and his daughter Tassie, 21, have been attending comic cons together for 17 years. He's been dressing as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings for nearly a decade. Photo taken May 29, 2022, at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Will Friday and his daughter Tassie, 21, have been attending comic cons together for 17 years. He's been dressing as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings for nearly a decade. Photo taken May 29, 2022, at the Phoenix Convention Center.

This year he continued his tradition of attending with his daughter Tassie, 21. They've gone to Fan Fusion together since 2014, Tassie said: "It's our daddy-daughter thing."

Tassie drove down from Flagstaff to spend the weekend with her family. She, her father and her mother came dressed as Star Trek characters on Saturday.

Her dad is always the star of the show, Tassie said. She stands to the side while Fan Fusion attendees asked her dad for photos.

"I've told him to just get a booth and start charging two dollars," she said, laughing.

— Sofia Krusmark

12:41 p.m. Sunday: Costumes, yes. Mask wearing, nah

It’s the first Phoenix Fan Fusion since the COVID-19 pandemic, and most of the attendees appear ready to put the past two years behind them.

Throughout the weekend, people were wearing masks — of the non-costume variety — around the Phoenix Convention Center were few.

However, Marina Sharpe, a cosplayer from Phoenix, told The Arizona Republic before the convention that she would be taking precautions.

She planned to avoid densely populated areas like the vendor hall, wear a mask while inside the convention center — including while speaking on panels — take at-home COVID-19 tests every morning and continue to test herself in the following days.

“There's no mask or vaccination policy for the con. Like, they encourage people to get vaccinated, but they don't have anything set in place for it,” Sharpe said. “I know that I personally will be wearing a mask for all three days that I'm there with each of my cosplays. And I know a lot of friends are planning that, too.”

A Twitter account called @friendlycovid19, which mostly trolls large events by thanking attendees for continuing to spread the coronavirus, went after Phoenix Fan Fusion in a May 28 tweet that reads, “So. Many. People. #phxfanfusion made a lot of money and I infected a lot of humans today. Win-win!” The quoted tweet includes a picture of crowded escalators at the convention.

— KiMi Robinson

11:41 a.m. Sunday: A quiet morning - so far

Today might be a more laid-back day than yesterday for Phoenix Fan Fusion.

A quiet Sunday morning on Day 3 of Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Taken May 29, 2022.
A quiet Sunday morning on Day 3 of Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Taken May 29, 2022.

While yesterday saw swarms of people, the lobby of the convention center is nearly empty at late morning. People in costumes are filing in for today's events and panels — but they're greeted by murmurs instead of clamor.

And while some are wearing their best cosplay, it seems like the dress is more chill, too. T-shirts and jeans seem to be the look of the day.

Word on the street is that last night was filled with afterparties, including Grogu's 51st Birthday Bash. Maybe that's why it seems like it's a late start today.

Only time will tell.

— Sofia Krusmark

6:09 p.m. Saturday: Chuck Norris holds a surprise free autograph session

Actor and martial artist Chuck Norris was a late addition to the Phoenix Fan Fusion celebrity guest roster, but that didn't stop him from pulling out all stops for his fans.

Actor Chuck Norris did a free meet-and-greet with fans late Saturday afternoon, May 28, 2022, at Phoenix Fan Fusion.
Actor Chuck Norris did a free meet-and-greet with fans late Saturday afternoon, May 28, 2022, at Phoenix Fan Fusion.

Norris did a free meet-and-greet at 5:15 on Saturday. Similar autograph and photo ops can cost $100 or more, and he had done several earlier in the day, with long lines.

Dean Goodwin, a security officer, started telling people that Norris's late afternoon session would be free.

"This sort of thing isn't just unusual," Goodwin said. "It's unheard of. Right place, right time, I guess."

Why was Norris so keen on greeting his guests?

"These are my friends," Norris said, smiling.

"That's what brings me here, is my friends. Any money that we get from this goes to our Kickstart Kids," he said referring to his nonprofit that provides martial arts instruction for kids and teens.

— Sofia Krusmark

Comic cons are back: For these cosplayers, they're about much more than costumes

Feeling the Force, Lego-style

Russ Nicholson, a member of Cactus Brick, a Phoenix-based adult Lego group, poses for a photo near his Lego sets during Phoenix Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Russ Nicholson, a member of Cactus Brick, a Phoenix-based adult Lego group, poses for a photo near his Lego sets during Phoenix Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Russ Nicholson is a member of Cactus Brick, an adult Lego group based in Phoenix whose display drew large crowds of Lego enthusiasts at Fan Fusion on Saturday.

“I’m one of the Star Wars guys,” said Nicholson, whose display featured pieces from his personal collection of Lego Star Wars memorabilia.

“There’s like 850 Star Wars sets. I have upwards of 600,” Nicholson said.

His collection included various models of Star Destroyers, X-Wing Starfighters, Imperial TIE Fighters, Yoda and R2-D2 sets.

“Most of this is custom,” said Nicholson. “We do a bunch of displays in town.”

Other Lego builds on display include castles, landscapes, a functioning train set and models from various entertainment franchises.

— Haleigh Kochanski

‘All my theatre girl dreams are coming true’

It never hurts to ask.

That’s the lesson Julia Chugerman, owner of the plant-based Phoenix restaurant Verdura, learned on Friday when she reached out to one Phoenix Fan Fusion celebrity guest to see if he was hungry.

Julia Chugerman and chef Chris Greubele, owners of Verdura in Phoenix.
Julia Chugerman and chef Chris Greubele, owners of Verdura in Phoenix.

Turns out, “Star Trek: Discovery” star Anthony Rapp was indeed looking for dinner after a full day of signing autographs. And that’s how Chugerman was able to meet the actor, who is also known for playing Mark Cohen in “Rent.” That’s when “all my theatre girl dreams” came true, she wrote in an Instagram Story.

Chugerman had messaged Rapp on Instagram but didn’t expect a response amid the hustle and bustle of the convention, she told The Arizona Republic. So she was shocked when he accepted her offer of a free meal.

Since he was unable to come to the restaurant, at Missouri Avenue and Seventh Street, Chugerman herself delivered a meal for him and his friends in a bag signed by the Verdura staff.

“Me and a majority of my staff are into theater and LGBTQ rights,” she told The Republic, adding that she appreciates him for “all that he does” for the LGBTQ community.

When she went to his hotel, he met her to accept the delivery — “he shook my hand and everything,” Chugerman said. Though she was “fangirling internally,” Chugerman said she was able to keep her excitement under wraps. The actor appeared tired, after all, and still had a weekend of signings ahead of him.

Rapp messaged her afterward to thank her for the meal.

He likely won’t be the only celebrity to dine with Verdura this weekend, Chugerman said, but fans will have to wait and see who else might patronize the restaurant on its Instagram account, @verduraphx.

— KiMi Robinson

4:31 p.m. Saturday: Fans are excited to talk to Patrick Warburton

The room was jam packed for Patrick Warburton, best known for his roles in "Seinfeld,"  "Family Guy," "Kronk's New Groove," "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Rules of Engagement."

"This is my first con in ages," Warburton said. "It's great to be here."

The questions were endless, from a girl who asked for advice on how to break into the voice-acting industry to how he got into acting in the first place.

The most asked question of the Q&A session?

Several people asked Warburton to say their favorite lines from their favorite shows or movies — and he appeared happy to oblige them.

— Sofia Krusmark

3:06 p.m.: 'I can be whatever I want'

Maritza Rivera of Phoenix created her mushroom elf costume for Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.
Maritza Rivera of Phoenix created her mushroom elf costume for Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.

"Can I get a picture with you?"

That question has resounded across the Phoenix Convention Center as colorfully dressed cosplayers make their way to panels and events.

It's how you know hard work pays off, Peoria resident Maritza Rivera said. She worked on her costume for more than 24 hours in the week leading up to Fan Fusion, she said.

"I'm a mushroom elf," she said. "I invented it myself, and it's my favorite part about coming to this convention. I can be whatever I want and people appreciate what I've done."

— Sofia Krusmark

Going to Phoenix Fan Fusion? Here's how to approach your favorite cosplayers

2:01 p.m. Saturday: Hungry? It might be a while...

The Phoenix Fan Fusion crowd inside the Phoenix Convention Center midday on Saturday, May 28, 2022.
The Phoenix Fan Fusion crowd inside the Phoenix Convention Center midday on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

If you're thinking about grabbing food in the Phoenix Convention Center meal hall, think again.

Perhaps a woman walking through put it best: "Dang, people are hungry."

Phoenix Fan Fusion attendees are not allowed to bring food or beverages into the hall. If you don't want to buy food inside the convention center, you're allowed to leave to go find other options.

There are lots of place to eat within walking distance of the venue, and you may feel less squished by seeking them out. Here's our guide to bars and restaurants near the Phoenix Convention Center.

— Sofia Krusmark

12:15 p.m. Saturday: A 'song of healing' for a 'Little Mermaid' fan

A man named Dalen Soto surprised everyone at a Phoenix Fan Fusion panel featuring Jodi Benson, best known as the voice of Ariel in Disney's "The Little Mermaid."

Dalen Soto, 38, at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.
Dalen Soto, 38, at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.

Soto, 38, was diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy at birth and has been unable to walk for his entire life, he said.

"I can't walk but even though I can't walk here on this Earth, I would like to walk and run, but I know that I believe in God and I will walk someday in heaven," Soto said to Benson during a Q&A session at the panel. "Your song 'Part of Your World' has given me strength that one day I'll walk in heaven. I was wondering if there was any way that you can sing a portion of that song?"

He moved Benson to tears, and everyone in the room whipped out their phones.

"I just want to say, Dalen, that you are incredible," Benson responded. "And you are the reason why I do what I do. You give people all around you a purpose and it's such a privilege to have met you. God has a purpose for you."

She ended the panel by singing a portion of "Part of Your World,' as Dalen requested.

"This is a song of healing for him," Benson told the gathering. "I hope it's like that for all of you."

She finished to a standing ovation.

— Sofia Krusmark

11:30 a.m. Saturday: What they're wearing

The food hall is already crowded for the second day of Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022. And it's a mixed bag for costume wear so far.

The little ones are sporting their princess dresses and DC Comic sweatpants, while several girls wander around in their spirit Disneyland princess characters: The Little Mermaid and even Mirabel Madrigal from Disney‘s "Encanto."

A few brave fans are painted from the top down in colors like hot blue and hot pink. Someone in a Pokémon suit walked by, and a couple wear dinosaurs.

The day is young, it seems.

— Sofia Krusmark

6:45 p.m. Friday: Singing along to the Disney hits

The Disney Cosplay Singalong got off to a rousing start with “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast,” the audience belting out the lyrics as they flashed across the screen to that scene in the movie.

A woman dressed as Ariel led the crowd in singing “Kiss the Girl” from “The Little Mermaid.”

At the end of the song, Ariel ran up to a guy dressed as the Prince for a kiss.

A woman dressed as Sleeping Beauty introduced the next song, “Once Upon a Dream” from “Sleeping Beauty.”

Next, a woman dressed as Snow White took the spotlight for “I’m Wishing/ One Song.”

There weren’t as many people dropping by in Disney cosplay as the organizers may have hoped, and the enthusiasm level in the room was definitely flagging after that Snow White song.

But things picked up when an audience member dressed as Bruno from “Encanto” bounded on stage for a spirited “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”

Someone shouted “encore” after that one and they built on that momentum with an audience request for “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, followed by the liveliest singalong yet, “Zero to Hero” from “Hercules.”

— Ed Masley

Who is a superhero, anyway?

Goofy arguments are as much a hallmark of nerd culture as dressing up like Wonder Woman.

The "Is That a Superhero?" session was, as promised, “a loud-mouthed audience-participation debate” in which various character names were tossed out for discussion to determine whether Harry Potter or Peter Parker’s Aunt May qualify as superheroes.

It was a lively discussion.

One audience member demanded to know, “Who did Harry save other than himself?” A woman dressed as Mary Poppins agreed, saying, “I don’t think he’s a superhero.”

The audience vote at the end of the Potter debate was a decisive “No!”

Aunt May fared much better. One panelist suggested that her superpower may be immortality, since she’s been really old she was introduced.

Other characters up for debate included Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, neither of whom got a ton of support, and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, who was deemed to be an antihero who only really cares about himself.

As one panelist wanted to know, “What is his problem?!”

— Ed Masley

5:45 p.m. Friday: Documenting cosplay nationwide

Arizona is the 22nd state travel photographer Susan Onysko has visited as part of a project she calls Cosplay 50: The United States of Cosplay, attending conventions to document the culture with the goal of one day publishing a cosplay coffee table book.

She just needs to get to 28 more states first.

Onysko, who lives in Ohio, started attending conventions with her children in 2016, but didn’t really define the project until the following year.

At the time, she was doing a lot of wedding photography.

Susan Onysko Photography display showcasing her 'Cosplay 50: The United States of Cosplay."
Susan Onysko Photography display showcasing her 'Cosplay 50: The United States of Cosplay."

“I hated that I was always gone on the weekend,” she says. “And I wanted to do something fun with my kids.”

Onysko brings a studio to each convention and scours the convention floor to find what she feels are “exceptional” examples of cosplay and invites those individuals to her studio for a free 30-minute portrait session.

“I wanted to create an experience where they had a rock star moment,” she says. “Like a super model experience.”

Each cosplayer receives a fully retouched hi-res JPEG via email after the convention to be printed for personal use. It’s a high enough resolution to be printed poster-size.

What she’s looking for is something unexpected and unique.

At Phoenix Fan Fusion, for instance, she saw her first cosplayer dressed as the Fairy Godmother from “Shrek.”

“I like unique,” she says. “I’ve photographed a million Harleys. This was different.”

Onysko herself has never tried her hand at cosplay, but her kids have done it. The appeal of this project for Onysko is the culture of cosplay.

“It’s a very welcoming culture,” she says.

— Ed Masley

4:45 p.m. Friday: Her Magneto costume had to have a long shelf life

Jaime Woodford’s costume was supposed to be for 2020.

“Then everything happened,” she said.

So Woodford stashed her first attempts at what turned out to be an excellent Magneto costume and waited for the world to return to normal.

Or as normal as the world gets at the Fan Fusion Cosplay Fashion Show, where Woodford and a friend dressed as Colossus were hanging out after the fashion show, which they helped run.

“I just knew immediately that I wanted to be Magneto,” Woodford said. “I think it was the cape.”

Cosplayer Jamie Woodford shows off her Magneto look at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.
Cosplayer Jamie Woodford shows off her Magneto look at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022.

She rolled up Friday with a group of friends dressed as X-Men, from Rogue to Beast, Wolverine and Quicksilver.

She’s seen a lot of Scarlet Witches, Woodford says, but her favorite Cosplay of the day so far was X-Men-unrelated — a woman who went all out as Cruella de Vil.

“It was very high fashion,” she said.

Her friend Colossus liked Cruella, too, saying “She had attitude.”

His favorite cosplay of the day, though? Magneto.

– Ed Masley

Attendees line up outside the Phoenix Convention Center on day one of Fan Fusion on May 27, 2022 in Phoenix.
Attendees line up outside the Phoenix Convention Center on day one of Fan Fusion on May 27, 2022 in Phoenix.

There are entire Spider-families at Fan Fusion

A by-no-means anywhere-near complete list of characters seen so far at Fan Fusion 2022: Many, many Spider-Men, Spider-Women and Spider-Children.

  • 6 Lokis.

  • 4 Captain Americas.

  • 4 Wonder Women.

  • 3 Obi-Wan Kenobis.

  • 3 Batmen, one angry.

  • 2 Deadpools.

  • 2 Jokers.

  • 2 Johnny Depps (!).

  • 2 Dr. Stranges.

  • 2 Moon Knights.

  • Morticia and Gomez Addams.

  • Han Solo.

  • Ghostface.

  • Harry Potter.

  • Squid Game.

  • Riddler.

  • Ghostbusters.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog.

  • Yoda.

  • Harley Quinn.

  • Florence Pugh in "Midsommar."

– Bill Goodykoontz

1:30 p.m. Friday: Urgent care for fantasy costume fails

Where do you go when your sword snaps or your Elvin ears won’t stick to your real ones?

Room 229A — the Cosplay Repair & Lounge Center. It’s like an urgent care for fantasy fails. They have touch-up paint, glue and other adhesives, tape, sewing kits and other fix-it tools.

After an early rush, things settled down a bit, though a Riddler was having some trouble with his oversized question mark. He seemed to get things sorted out with the help of some tape.

“Our busiest time is really first thing in the morning and midday,” said Gail Andersen of Phoenix, who was working in the center. Either people need last-minute touch-ups before they enter the halls and rooms, or the Arizona heat has melted their various adhesives and make-up.

Andersen, along with Charleeann Smith of Chandler and Angela Mhei Lambert of Gilbert was working the center, sponsored by Blue Ribbon Army, whose Facebook page describes it as “a social group focused on giving like-minded geeks a place to meet new friends.”

Weapons and props need the most attention

So what is most in need of repair?

“Weapons.”

“Weapons.”

“Weapons.”

Unanimous, then. Also props, which, in truth is what weapons are, too. The cardboard and foam they’re fashioned from isn’t always as rugged as it might be. Plus the heat, again, does adhesives no favors.

Over the years they have seen a few things, as you might imagine.

“The craziest one I’ve seen was at the last one,” in 2019, Lambert said. A woman wearing a hoop dress came in with a full-length tear in both the hoop and the dress. The team jumped into action with needles and thread.

“We said, ‘I hope you have a lot of time,’” Lambert said.

As she spoke, a patient, er, cosplayer came in, in dire need of help. She was dressed as Pearl from the show “Steven Universe,” which requires a gem on her forehead. Only her gem wasn’t sticking in place.

“I can’t break my gem,” she said. “That would be a catastrophe.”

Indeed. The solution? The three women answered as one: “Liquid latex!”

Another problem solved.

— Bill Goodykoontz

Eat lunch or take off your helmet?

Amy Munsil, dressed as Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet, poses for a photo at Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center on May 27, 2022.
Amy Munsil, dressed as Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet, poses for a photo at Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center on May 27, 2022.

The food court is a fun place to people-watch at Fan Fusion 2022.

It’s where cosplayers have to make a decision: stay in character or eat lunch?

“I’ve eaten in character,” Michael Cardena of Queen Creek said. “It’s a lot more fun out of character.”

Thus, dressed as Master Chief in “Halo” in a costume so realistic someone bowed down and did the “Wayne’s World” “we’re not worthy” salute when he talked past, he took off his helmet to eat chicken strips and french fries.

“I’ve eaten a whole plate of chicken and waffles in a helmet,” Cardena said. “It’s a big clean-up job.”

Cardena, for the record, is not an all-or-nothing cosplayer.

“When people expect me to stay in character, I find it a little weird,” he said. “I feel like an object.”

— Bill Goodykoontz

11 a.m. Friday: Captain America standing in line to get into Fan Fusion

People were waiting in line for Phoenix Fan Fusion by 8 a.m. By 10 a.m. temperatures had reached 93 degrees and kept on rising. Eduardo Macias of Tucson said he was glad to talk about the event — “if I don’t pass out.” His Captain America costume probably wasn’t helping on that front.

Macias said this was the “first big crowd thing I’ve done since COVID.”

Indeed, his reason for coming was simple.

“To enjoy," he said. "It’s been three years since the last one. We’re finally during that time to get back to ‘normal.’”

— Bill Goodykoontz

Wonder Woman at the ATM

For the next three days, downtown Phoenix will be a cornucopia of cosplay. So maybe seeing Wonder Woman withdrawing cash from an ATM shouldn’t look strange.

But it still kind of does.

Jennifer, who declined to give her last name, executed her financial transaction decked out as the comic-book hero. Yes, conducting business takes you out of the moment for a bit.

“You kind of have to put it past you and move on,” she said.

— Bill Goodykoontz

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 Live updates: Celebs, fans and costumes