Monday, September 08, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con Recap

What!?!  Salt Lake City has a Comic Con?

Yes we do, and it is the fastest growing Comic Con in the nation.  In fact, if you look at percentages of attendance as compared to the population of the host cities, Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC) is larger (in relation to population) than San Diego Comic-Con International.  But, I’m not sure that Salt Lake Comic Con can get much bigger because our state’s largest venue, the Salt Palace Convention Center, is just not big enough for the 120,000 attendees that we had this year.  The Salt Palace is going to have to grow, or a larger venue is going to have to be built if Salt Lake Comic Con is going to grow any larger.
My wife and I had kid of decided that we were not going to go this year, and would probably just go to FanX in the spring (if there was one) but then, something improbable happened, and I commented on a post from SLCC on Facebook, and ended up winning a Saturday only ticket.  So I had to use it, right?  We then purchased a Saturday pass for my wife and spent the day.

Saturday morning, we got up and took Trax (Salt Lake’s commuter rail line) to the Salt Palace.  We got there a little early and figured that we’d have to wait in line.  I had taken advantage of early check in, and so, had gotten our wrist bands on Tuesday, so thankfully we didn’t have to wait in that massive line.
 Whoh... Can you see the end... way out there?
But, there was another massive line to just get into the convention center.  When they started people going into the expo hall, I could see movement way up the line, and it took almost 20 minutes before that movement got to us, and we started advancing toward the entrance.  I’m not sure what happened at that point, but all of a sudden, the live broke, and everyone was advancing, without regard to lines or anything directly to the gate.  It was mass confusion.  But eventually, we were in and on our way through a very tight and very crowded artist’s alley.

I had a couple of goals in mind that I wanted to do, and they mostly had to do with meeting actors. 
Don’t judge.

I started by meeting Matt Frewer, he who was once Max Headroom.  I found Matt to be very friendly, and very talkative.  I told him that I was a huge fan of his work as Max Headroom, and he told me that there has been talk of rebooting (as it were) the Max Headroom series.  He signed a picture for me, and then we took a pic while my wife went on ahead to get in line for Alan Tudyk.
Hey Max Headroom is a real person... who knew?
After finishing up with Matt Frewer, I fought my way through the groups of fellow attendees, to Alan Tudyk’s line.  My wife had texted me that she was in the overflow line and told me how to find her, I did and found that she was standing with a girl I knew from one of the plays I had worked on.  Megan was in line to get a picture signed for a friend of hers who couldn’t make the con, but really wanted Alan Tudyk’s signature.  So we talked for a bit while we waited.

Alan Tudyk was so nice and personable.  We were a couple of people down from a family who had small kids, and Alan treated them to the voices of King Candy from Wreck it Ralph and the Duke from Frozen.  It was kind of a treat for me to hear him do that, and the kids were just ecstatic.
The only woman that my wife would let come between us.
Then, it was on to Erin Gray.  I’ve had a crush on her since Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  I think that I was 12 or 13 years old at the time.  She was so fun to talk to so we just had to lay down a couple of extra bucks to have our picture taken as well.  She put her arm around me… *Insert Fan-Boy Noise Here*

Right next to Erin Gray was Charisma Carpenter (of Buffy and Angel fame).  So we stopped to see her because my wife is a huge fan.  She was also very nice and totally overwhelmed by the fandom of Salt Lake.  She could not believe the number of people that came out.  I’m thinking that she thought that SLCC would be a small con, and just could not believe what it turned out to be.
After grabbing some overpriced food for lunch, we set out to find Margaret Weis who co-authored the Dragon-Lance books back in the 80’s.  I still have my original books from back then and had Tracy Hickman sign them when we went to FanX.  I really wanted a complete set of signatures, and so when we found Margaret Weis I asked if she would sign as well.  I couldn’t get a read on her.  When I showed my books to Tracy Hickman, he was so excited to see that I had been packing these books around since Junior High.  He talked to me about them and was so pleasant.  Margaret Weis, not so much.  She just signed them and handed them back without a word.  When I tried to engage her in conversation, all I got was one word answers.  Maybe she was having a bad day.  Right next to Margaret Weis was Larry Elmore, the artist who did the cover design and several other illustrations for the Dragon-Lance series.  I purchased one of his prints and he signed it for me.  He was quiet, but very pleasant.

Wow, travel log.
We were down to our last $52.00 and were trying to decide what to do next.  Our kids wanted the signature from Cary Elwes who played the Dred Pirate Roberts in The Princes Bride.  He had a pretty long line, and they had closed it because he was going to be leaving for a panel.  We took the opportunity to go to Matt Frewer’s panel and spent a wonderful hour listening to him talk about his career as an actor.  I really hope that the Max Headroom reboot comes together.

As you Wish!
Then, after checking out a few of the venders, we went back to Cary Elwes’s line and spent a solid 2 hours there.  His setup was a little different.  All of the other celebs just had a table; he had constructed a little curtained off booth where he could meet you one-on-one.  He was nice enough, but was really focused on trying to get you to buy his book.  It would have been nice if he had just mentioned it once and then moved on… but he didn’t.
After that, we were beat, and so we sat and people watched for a while and then headed home.

Salt Lake Comic Con was so much fun, but there were way too many people.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but I fully intend to attend next year.  I’m really giving volunteering a thought.  I just think that would be a kick.

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