What It Looks Like To Get Excommunicated From Phoenix Comicon

Anabel Martinez used to be a director at Phoenix Comicon and she, as well as other folk, has been critical of Phoenix Comicon's move to restricting volunteers to those who pay to be member of the Blue Ribbon Army fan society, of which Phoenix Comicon's Matt Solberg is also a board member.

You may have read about that story earlier.


Well, what Anabel read was a letter banning her from attending the show, her booth cancelled and her fee refunded by cheque sent by Fed Ex.

15747521_10211663774128053_5910489415559949610_nThat's the equivalent of Comicon excommunication. Excommunicomiconication?

She writes,

WOW. Why people are afraid to speak up: Matt Solberg, the owner of Phoenix Comicon, just cancelled our booth and FedExed a check to me to make it extra spiteful.

I've had concerns about cons before but none have ever sunk this low.

I am so sorry to my husband and friends. I already said said we love this show but vehemently disagree with charging volunteers to volunteer for a for profit show.

UPDATE: A volunteer leaked me that he is working with his team to character assassinate me. In tears.


How many of you know me? And that I had a fan group for PCC and spoke so much good and encouraged so many to go? I'm a local artist and geek culture enthusiast who wanted to speak up for those who were afraid to.

Matt will always spin it when people voice concerns. My big critique that got me banned from a convention I love and adore? Being upset that volunteers have to pay for the privilege to volunteer now. He says I stepped down as a marketing director – that was a volunteer gig.

We've contacted Matt Solberg for further comment, but I understand he may be a little busy today.

UPDATE: He responds, repeating much of what he said in the letter. Doubling down…

Since her dismissal in 2010 Ms. Martinez has pursued a vendetta against Phoenix Comicon, our staff, and myself. She has increasingly grown vindictive and bullying in her comments and actions. We made a business decision as a privately held company that we no longer need to tolerate her behavior by allowing her to participate within our event. I stand by the letter I sent her which she has posted to social media.


Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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