Salt Lake Comic Con
Salt Lake City, Utah
Day 1, Thursday, September 4th 2014
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
The Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC) started off with a press conference. SLCC founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg led the press conference. First responders were honored at the conference. In addition, there were several children from the Make-A-Wish foundation that were on stage and took photos with celebrities and others that were at the conference.
There were several celebrities at the conference, all of which were introduced by coming through a smoking TARDIS. These included: Lou Ferrigno, Manu Bennett, Jason David Frank, Eugene Clark, Vic Mignogna, Veronica Taylor, Frank Parker, Gigi Edgley, Neil Adams, and Charisma Carpenter. Professional cosplayers Leeanna Vamp and Riddle were also on stage. There were several comments from the celebrities about the success of SLCC and how hospitable Salt Lake City is.
Some exciting facts mentioned during the conference include how 15,000 tickets were given away for SLCC including many tickets for first responders, for an entire school, and for Make-A-Wish. SLCC 2013 was the largest inaugural Comic Con in the U.S. It is because of that success that they have doubled the floor space for this year’s SLCC. They have over 300 hours of panels and over 450 panel guests (one of which is myself). There are over 400 vendors at SLCC 2014.
To close the press conference, Manu Bennett stated that he will be donating the first $1,000 he makes at SLCC to charity. He then invited all the others on stage to do the same.
The exhibit hall was impressive at SLCC on day one. As I mentioned previously, there are over 400 vendors. Some samples of include: Harry Potter, anime, steampunk, comics, artists, writers, a wrestling battle ring, several TARDIS, batmobiles, props of all shapes and sizes, ghostbusters, orc heads, hobbit hoodies, kid con, robot wars, board games, a reptile exhibit, Umbrella Corporation, a Delorean, WETA Workshop, Star Wars, Salt City Strangers, Rainbow Ribbon Anime, and Atomic Arcade. Just outside the exhibit hall there is a game hall that has a large board game library and giant versions of Chess, Tsuro, and Settlers of Catan.
I need to give a special shout-out to a few of these vendors. Rainbow Ribbon Anime is a great anime booth that everybody should check out by the end of the convention. They are located at booth #4118, by the Umbrella booth and the Air Force truck. Salt City Strangers is another great booth. They deal in board games and also have the Salt City Strangers comic. You can find their products at touchpaperpress.com. One last shout-out goes to The Closet Geek podcast. I spent time with Michael Ricks today from The Closet Geek, and I urge everybody to check out this podcast for everything geek. You can find it at theclosetgeek.net.
There were a lot of panels that occurred on Thursday. I attended the Cary Elwes panel. He started the panel with a lot of energy and the panel went strong the entire time. It was mentioned that he uses a great amount of research for his roles. Additionally, he met his wife at a chili cook-off. The ironic thing is that neither of them liked chili at the time. He had a lot of kind words to say about Andre the Giant.
The next panel that I attended was a panel on board game production. This panel was put on by the Salt City Strangers, which include Josh Butterfield. They have produced the games: Super Showdown, Woe to the Living, and Paranormal Investigations. In the panel they went through game production, from start to finish. You can find them and their games at touchpaperpress.com.
Another panel I attended was The Appeal of Fear. There were six panelists on the panel, one of which included the organizer of the SLC Zombie Walk, Elizabeth Fernandez. It was an informative panel on all aspects of horror. The panelists talked about how people like horror and fear, even though it scares us all.
The final panel I attended on Thursday was the very last panel of the day, Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. These are animated short that Spike & Mike have presented all over the country, including at San Diego Comic-Con. There were technical difficulties for quite a while before the festival of animation began. Once it finally got started it was sick and it was twisted. Fortunately, I enjoy that type of animation. However, some of those animated shorts left me thinking, “what did I just watch?”.
There was pros and cons for day one of SLCC 2014. There were large lines just to get into the convention, at some points being a three hour wait. Salt Lake Comic Con is attempting to rectify the situation by fixing the line problem for tomorrow, and also by upgrading passes of those that had Thursday only passes or giving a refund for those passes.
There were a variety of panels. I enjoyed the panels that I attended. Speaking of panels, come and check out the panel by the group SLC Anime. It is on Friday, September 5th at 6pm. The panel is: The Latest and Greatest in Anime. If you love anime and want to get some ideas on brand new shows to watch, or if you are new to the anime world and want to know what this anime stuff is all about, you should definitely join the panel. There was some quality cosplay, but I wish there had been more of it. The exhibit hall was filled with a variety of vendors. There was no shortage of things to do at Salt Lake Comic Con on day one. They even had Comic Con specific beer.
Photos courtesy of Breanne Evans. Feel free to share photos, but please give credit to Fragglepuss.com.