We're so pleased to have Lisa Sikorski (aka pigtailsandcombatboots) blogging with us today at popculturedivas. Lisa is a pharmacist by profession BUT her passion is art and writing. She is a talented illustrator with a specialty in gothic and paranormal and an aspiring comic book writer/artist (plus she loves Henry Rollins and drew an amazing illustration of him which she gave to him at a recent concert). Her work would make great book cover art!!! Check out her web site and other links at the end of this post. 

Take it away Lisa...

Phoenix Comicon 2010
by Lisa Sikorski

I had eagerly been waiting a year and a half for this year’s Comicon. The con, which was previously held in a small hotel convention center, in Mesa, AZ, had outgrown it’s location. It had finally hit the big-time and was being held in THE major convention center in downtown Phoenix, which was the cause of the extra 6-month wait. *sigh* But as usual, the wait was well worth it.

Due to the extended time period between cons here in Phoenix, I had completely forgotten a “game plan” that I had previously manufactured in my head, as the best way to attack the multitude of stuff that there is to see and do. It was held over Memorial Day weekend, and I had a full 4-day pass, but I usually have to forego the Thurs. night festivities because of work. By Saturday, I had remembered my “secret plan of attack” as I started experiencing “time vs. activities” problems that I had encountered in the past. Saturday and Sunday were when most of the autograph/celebrity photographs were scheduled, and I had completely forgotten how much time was spent waiting in various lines, to experience whatever celebrity “encounter” I had purchased tickets for. As a result, most of my actual “trolling of the con” was done on Friday, something I’m determined to remember for future years, so that I don’t miss out on anything.

I had also spent a lot of time mapping out what sessions I wanted to attend. Pffffft. I won’t be wasting time doing that again. There were multiple awesome sessions that I wanted to check out, ranging from meeting with the local Browncoat community, to sessions with various comic artists, relaying some “tips of the trade.” Those were what I was specifically interested in, since I hope to someday break into the world of comic artists, on whatever meager level I can possibly achieve. I almost wish someone would put together a con that consisted of just the sessions, because there’s so much awesome stuff going on in the convention hall, that it’s almost impossible to keep track of the starting times. It’s kind of like being lost in the excitement of a Vegas casino, with no clocks or windows to alert you to the time of day.

So, I’ll just mention a few of my more awesome experiences from Friday, as to me, the most fulfilling part of Comicon is being able to wander the various tables, speak to random people, and just soak in the whole experience as it assaults your senses like a veritable comic kaleidoscope. Seriously, just being in the main hall, is a mental workout on your brain, as you feel like a kid let loose in the candy shop of your dreams.

As I wandered into Comicon by myself, on Friday, I was immediately assaulted by the myriad of awesome cosplay outfits that fans had dreamt up. I myself, had been working on a “steam punk” sort of costume in my head for many months, but as usual, didn’t quite achieve all that I wanted to with it in time for the con. Nevertheless, I had planned to don my steam punk persona on Saturday.

As I walked into the main hall, one of the first tables I wandered into, was the one staffed by Top Cow, one of my fave comics publishers. I’ve been a fan of Magdalena, and Witchblade for a long-time, especially the incredible artwork associated with them. I was overwhelmed with multitudes of their products to dig through, from trade paperbacks, to art prints, to con exclusives. One of their comic artists, Nelson Blake II, was also there, sketching and talking to fans. When he was available, I started chatting him up, telling him that I was interested in being a comic artist someday, asking him for pointers, and showing him some of my work. Let me tell you, he was the nicest guy I think I’ve ever talked to at Comicon. He was very down to earth, and I felt like I was talking with an old friend. He complimented me on my work, and wrote some pointers down for me in a notebook I was carrying, regarding sites, and topics to check out to help me with my comic drawing endeavors. Actually, the whole Top Cow team that was working at that particular moment seemed to have a great rapport, which made me feel more comfortable in approaching them to chat. That table was my first big hit in the wallet, as I walked away with an autographed Magdalena print, some trades, and multiple single issue exclusives of Magdalena and the Darkness, all signed by Nelson.

I continued to walk around, perusing all the booths…chatted with a Steampunk group based in Tucson, where I learned about a steam punk con coming up next year, hobnobbed with some members of the Imperial Guard at the Star Wars tables, and chatted a bit with Jim Hanna, a comic artist that I had met a few weeks previously, at Free Comic Book Day. He is another really awesome dude to chat with, and I bought an autographed Deadpool print from him.

Next, I made a pit stop at the Zenescope booth, another one of my fave publishers, and was somewhat disappointed by the unfriendliness of the people staffing the booth. I tried chatting a bit with one of the writers, Raven Gregory, who was also trying to autograph stacks of comics, as well as do some selling at the same time. He, as well as the other people at the booth seemed bothered, and did not even approach the fans as they perused the table. I asked Mr. Gregory a question about which issues were exclusives and he robotically pointed them out to me, without ever even looking at me. Nevertheless, I still bought a bunch of stuff…mostly exclusives of “Beyond Wonderland”, several issues of “The Waking” and the first issue of a new title of theirs, Inferno.

The shop booths were both awesome and overwhelming. Towering stacks of action figures and whole walls of comics, as well as boxes galore to wade through. I glanced through them, desperately tempted, but steering myself away from spending even more money in such a short period of time, and on the first day, no less! I finally wandered over to the celebrity area to momentarily freak out at the fact, that some of my favorite celebs were here, within arm’s reach. Surreal, to say the least. Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, were by far, the most popular celebs at the con, consistently over the whole 3 days I attended. Their lines of fans actually went out the door and into the 95 degree heat of the AZ summer. I had met Wil before at previous cons, so I was content with snapping “stalker shots” from a distance as I walked by. Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton were scheduled to be there, but had not arrived yet. In fact there was a sign that Jonathan would not be there until Saturday. I did make a point to purchase a ticket for their joint photo session scheduled for Saturday as I’m a huge Star Trek:TNG fan and wanted to add to my photos from last year with Brent Spiner, and Marina Sirtis.

Walking around to the other side of the celebrity area, I saw James Marsters, who was also hugely popular, not surprisingly. I was able to snap a “stealth pic” as I walked by, despite signs posted, stating “No posed photo with the celebrity” which I was told by one of the “geek security” (as I named them) meant, no candid shots at all. I was determined to get at least one candid shot of James, as he was charging a hefty fee of $60 for a professional photo with him, even more than Stan Lee was charging on Sunday, and I succeeded.

Friday was by far, the best day for wandering the exhibition hall, as Saturday and Sunday were at times, insanely crowded. This was a little irritating, as the temperature inside was a bit too warm for wearing cosplay gear, and the crowds made it harder to look at tables and talk to exhibitors. But, as I mentioned before, I had forgotten that most of my time that would be spent waiting in line for celeb photos, and the autograph line for Stan Lee anyway. Each wait time ended up being at least an hour, some of which was spent outside due to poor planning. The security had nowhere to direct the long lines except for out the side door.

Saturday I was dressed in my makeshift Steampunk/Dieselpunk costume, which I wasn‘t really happy with, but wore anyway, because that‘s a part of Comicon that I really enjoy. I had my pic taken with Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton, which was a very surreal experience to me. It’s always a weird feeling to see actors that you’ve been watching on TV for years, actually standing physically right there in front of you. I was all fangirled out, giggling like a school girl, too starstruck to say much, especially when they both commented that I smelled good! I didn’t really get much of a chance to speak anyway, because security kept the line moving non-stop in order to get everybody through. I left the con not soon after I picked up my photo because I could not wait to get my costume off!

Sunday was pretty much the same as Saturday, just sans costume, and spent waiting in two lines, instead of one. The waiting was definitely worth it though, because it was spent in order to meet the amazing Stan Lee. I never really thought I would ever meet him in person, so when it was announced several months ago that he would be at the Con on Sunday, I bought tickets to meet him right away. Security was extra tight on Stan and there were so many people that bought tickets, that they basically told everyone, “just keep walking, don’t talk to Stan, don’t shake his hand, etc.” For the autograph, I brought a drawing-instruction book that Stan co-wrote, titled, “How to Draw the Marvel Way,” since being a comic artist is one of my dreams. Stan was amazingly chipper and genuinely excited to see all his fans. I think he needs to be promoting whatever vitamins he’s taking because for 88 years old, he’s pretty darn peppy.

Overall, the 2010 Phoenix Comicon was an overwhelming and fun experience. It’s like dying and going to geek heaven. There’s so much stuff to look at and people to talk to, and if you’re interested in learning about getting into the comic book industry, most of the writers and artists are more than happy to talk to you.

I’m grateful for the comic artists that took the time to talk to me, and I make sure to become a follower of their work on deviantart.com

If you’d like to take a look at my work, my drawings are at 

Also, if you’re on Tumblr, I have an account there where I post a lot of darker/alternative art at 

and I’m a partner on a comic book Tumblr with my friend Ian, who’s way more knowledgeable about up-to-the-minute comic book info at 

Really, if you’re into comic books at all…or sci-fi, steam punk, anime or any other related geeky pursuit, take a moment to check out a con sometime, even if only for a day. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll get a chance to learn more about comics and network with people that are interested in the same things as you. Just be prepared to wait in some long lines if you’re into meeting the celebrities!


  1. As a long-time follower and my #1 Tumblr crush, I want to congratulate you on becoming an honorary diva! Thanks for sharing the con experiences - your passion for art is obvious and you are extremely talented. I look forward to the day when I can get one of your comic books - keep chasing the dream.

  2. Lisa what a fun piece! And I hope that you'll blog for the divas again and post your own artwork!!! ;)

    Oh, as someone who's attended film festivals and writer's conferences - I totally get that fangirl feeling. I love them! They are fun and crazy and creative and a great place to meet and network and learn. So you should definitely go back!!!

  3. Lisa - that's quite a conference. Can't believe you met J Frakes and LeVar Burton! I'd be giggling, too! Sounds like a great experience and I wish you the best in your career.

  4. Sounds like such fun! It's been too long since I've been to a conference, but I would love to go to ComicCon - thanks for allowing us a peek into it. How cool that you got to schmooze with LeVar Burton. :)

  5. Thanks everyone for the great comments! Glad you enjoyed my little write-up. I'm going to be grinding my teeth next week during San Diego Comic Con because I REALLY wanted to go, but didn't realize that the tickets would sell out almost a year in advance. I'm going to definitely try to go next year, as well as continue going to Phoenix Comicon every year. (I don't know why by the Phoenix one spells it Comicon, where most of the others make it two words - Comic Con.) ;)

  6. ' It’s like dying and going to geek heaven.'

    LOL! The massive Comic Con in California is on my bucket list. Maybe you'll be there at your own table by then...?

  7. Yes, Julia! That would be my ultimate dream! To have my own table at any Comicon actually, would be wonderful! :)

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