Over the span of little more than a decade, Phoenix Comicon has grown from its inception and unknown status to a nationally recognized event drawing 75,501 attendees in 2015. Using serious leisure and specialization theory, ethnographic research reveals the formation of individual identities and engagement methods with this sub-cultural phenomenon. In this case study research, seven interview participants provided in-depth accounts of their interests, experiences, and involvement with Phoenix Comicon. These reports demonstrate a high level of recognition with theory components, yielding a total 329 markers across all interview transcripts. The results match theory limitations, in that, participants may be engaged in serious leisure independent of length of involvement. However, long-term participation is linked to potential for deeper investment in a leisure activity and participants reporting greater personal fulfilment are associated with serious leisure principles such as: significant effort, occasional adversity, and durable benefits.
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