Tales of the Con

Did I mention we’re already the 4th largest Comic Con in the nation? Because we are! Woot! But onto business.

Like smart people, my geek gals and I registered for the Con early. They even encouraged this with QR codes you could take and scan. And the first 1000 people supposedly got a figurine, but I wasn’t about to fight that crowd. I was just happy to have my registration out of the way. Because every day during the Con the lines to get your wristband went clear out the door and around the block. In this case the early bird does get the geeky worm.


They said it started at 4 p.m. but apparently they scheduled panels for much earlier. I still had to work, so I missed out on the Buffy panel with Nicholas Brendon (Xander). 😦 But I did make it in time to see David Prowse and Peter Mayhew (Darth Vader and Chewbacca).


Peter Mayhew has had a surgery to fix his knees so he can walk well again. Hopefully that goes well. They were doing a documentary on it, featuring our Con as the last one before his surgery.

One of the most interesting parts of the panel was hearing David Prowse talk about being Darth Vader. He said they kept darkening the eyes of the helmet because they didn’t want to see light reflecting in his eyes through it. Also he delivered all of his lines through the helmet and he kept asking George about what they were going to do about his lines for sound and George promised they’d fix it in the studio.

And they did. With James Earl Jones.

Then David had another surprise in Return of the Jedi upon viewing it. They finally take the mask off of Darth Vader, when whose face should appear but Sebastian Shaw. Say what?! Poor David. But as he said, Star Wars, it bought me a car, it paid the mortgage. And now he can run the Con circuit regaling tales of Star Wars shenanigans. 😉


Day One was pretty chill considering. Not everyone was there yet. Some of the booths weren’t set up in the exhibit hall. Things were just getting rolling. But Day Two brought a bigger crowd and lots of fun costumes. Like a cool weeping angel, an AT-ST, and even Gozer the Gozerian.

weeping angel

Don’t blink!

AT-ST costume

Being original = winning.

gozer costume

If we think of J. Edgar Hoover…

We showed up early to see Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod on Highlander). If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend it. One thing we really respected about Mr. Paul was his commitment to the story and the show. He constantly kept on producers to keep things consistent and to keep the show about the relationships, especially when it came to flashbacks. He said he believed that’s why the show worked so well.

He also briefly touched on his charity PEACE (Protect, Educate and Aid Children Everywhere). All in all he seemed like a really decent fellow and didn’t have that disdain for fans you unfortunately see a lot with celebrities. He said multiple times he knew the success of Highlander was due to the fans.

adrian paul

Yup. He still works out.

Then it was Go, Go, Power Rangers! time. I used to watch the original MMPR with my little brother back in the day. Let’s be honest, I watched it for Tommy. I was studying martial arts at the time and he’s a big martial artist practitioner, so it was a match made in heaven.

But Tommy wasn’t there. 😦 However, Zack and Billy were. And Zack is still looking real good! 😉

powerrangersI have no idea who the girl is. She’s from a later iteration of Power Rangers. And unfortunately, either on medication or a few bricks short of a full load. I was like, “Come on, don’t be the ditzy blonde!” Nothing doing, peeps. She barely remembered her name, let alone why she was there in the first place. But at least Zack was entertaining. He even got up and showed us some of his “Hip Hop Kung Fu.” 😉

I already told you about my experience with Dean Cain. 😉 The end of Day Two concluded with a premiere showing of a movie called Orc Wars.

Okay, it’s not the most brilliant thing you’ll ever see, but it is a lot of fun. It’s basically Die Hard meets Lord of the Rings with a tank. And ladies, the protagonist may rival Taylor Lautner’s abs, just sayin’.


Saturday we began with a Q&A panel with Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame. He brought a DVD of some clips from Hercules, but mostly took questions from the audience. His patience level for questions was about 3 seconds. So he wasn’t a jerk exactly, maybe just on the border of disdain for the fans. I guess after seeing how Dean Cain and Adrian Paul interacted with fans, it was a starker comparison.

But he at least made concessions to one fan whose father had suffered a stroke. I guess Kevin went through the same thing during Hercules. He wrote a book about it called True Strength. I might check it out if it goes under the $5 Kindle mark or it’s available at my library.

kevinsorboThen it was time to go listen to the Captain—Captain Kirk that is. The line an hour before was already ridiculous amounts of long. But that’s to be expected for Shatner, isn’t it?

Our local Utah Jazz Bear came to most of the larger events, throwing around confetti and some Jazz swag. (And at this Con, swag was nearly an extinct species. Nobody was handing out nothing!) He’s just trying to promote the team. Yes, it’s a little lame, but hey, not like anyone else is handing out swag. And Shatner not only wouldn’t play along and toss stuff out into the audience that the bear handed him, he had to berate how stupid he thought the whole thing was. *sigh*

At least he’s funny. It’s not like I didn’t know he was kind of a jerk. Again, with the contrast of other celebs who weren’t acting like total doofs, well… But once the attention was all back on him, he at least turned on the funny. He told stories of how he was out in Utah when he got the call for Star Trek.

A fan asked him who he’d want to play him in a movie about his life. His answer: Chris Pine. 😉 He also said he used to prank Leonard Nimoy while filming Star Trek—a lot. Nimoy had a bike he’d ride to where they had lunch, and Shatner wanted to be first to lunch so he chained it up. Then had the grips put it on the ceiling and light it. And a bunch of other pranks. I’m betting Nimoy wished the Vulcan nerve pinch was for reals.


Crowd for Shatner from the middle of the room.

After Shatner we were allowed to stay in the room for Stan Lee, but we had Dean Cain pics scheduled at 4:50 and Stan Lee at 5. Well, we knew if we left the room that would be the end of our chances to see Stan Lee. The things a girl does for Superman. I’d seen him once before at SDCC, so it wasn’t as big a disappointment as it could have been.

And apparently because he had so many people who’d signed up to meet with and take pics with him, he decided to cut the panel short and keep his commitments for the meet and greet. So at the end of the day, it wasn’t the worst thing ever. Right? Right?


Since I sit at a desk all day for work, three days of walking on concrete floors had taken its toll on me. The remaining panels weren’t all that appealing to me, so even though the Con would go on for another few hours, I headed home.

But what a weekend! But fear not, friends, that isn’t the end of Jae’s Con posts. Tomorrow I’m going to be at a writing conference, so I thought I’d leave you with a post on displays, including one of the coolest Lego displays you’ve ever seen! Lots and lots of photos! See you tomorrow.

If you’d been at SLCC, which panel(s) would you have wanted to attend? Which celebs have you seen in person you thought were total jerks or really nice? Who’s the one celeb you’d want to meet and why?

Salt Lake Comic Con Domination!

None of us were really sure what to expect. We knew the geek culture in Utah was strong. We just didn’t know it reached superheroic heights of strong.

salt-lake-city-utah-comic-con-logoWhen we first heard Salt Lake would be hosting a Comic Con, most of us locals winked at each other, like isn’t that cute? Oh, but then we heard William Shatner was coming. Say what?! The William Shatner? Hmmm, maybe this thing could be pretty decent after all. It seems like Shatner got the ball rolling, because things only got bigger from there.

But at this point in the game, I was still not sure what my September looked like, so I hesitated on buying tickets. The plan was to hold the Con at the Sandy Expo Center, where the GEEX expo (what Comic Con had sort of been before) had been held for some time. The event sold out, so I thought, well, maybe next year.

And then they moved. Feeling like Sandy Expo was far too small, they switched to the Salt Palace, located right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake. Besides, that means more tickets to be sold and more geekery to be had. By this point we had Shatner, Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), and Adam West. Not a bad line-up for a first year Con.


This thing was ALL OVER Facebook if you were a local. And speaking from a graphic designer point of view, this thing was well put together. I really liked the logo and I especially loved the geeky promotions they put together. And it seemed every week someone new was coming to the Con. At first it seemed dominated by more local celebs, like Brandon Mull, Lisa Mangum, the Ghost Hunters of Utah, the Utah Jazz Bear. Then some very cool artists started flooding the feed.

At some point Adrian Paul (Highlander) joined the game, which I was very excited for. Then August brought Nicholas Brendon (Xander on Buffy), then David Yost (the blue Power Ranger Billy), Walter Jones (the black Power Ranger Zack), Henry Winkler—wait, this is starting to get serious isn’t it? Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo on MST3K), Glenn Morshower (Agent Aaron Pierce on 24), Noah Hathaway (Atreyu on Neverending Story), and Dean Cain. Wait, hold on a sec. Superman is coming too? How could this event possibly get any better?

Sure, it’s not the glamor and glitz of San Diego’s Con, but it’s our first Con. We were all patting each other on the back, feeling pretty awesome about our little city’s Con. I, of course, had tickets by this point. My geek friends and I were looking forward to a good Con. Certainly this had to be a great opener to great future Cons.

And then they dropped one more bombshell on us. A really, really big bombshell.

They announced on September 4th that on Saturday, September 7th, one night only… Ladies and Gentlemen, the Godfather of comics, a man we all know and love (well, if you’re a geek).

The one, the only, STAN LEE!

There. Were. No. Words. William Shatner and Adam West on stage together. Dean Cain. Power Rangers. And now you’re telling me to top it all off Stan Lee is coming?! Geekery overload.

By Thursday evening, our little Con had gone from cool to legit with 40,000 tickets sold. That made us the biggest Con opening in the nation! (Next largest was NY’s at 33,000.) But it didn’t end there. By Saturday morning, the ticket count was at over 50,000 sold. At some point in the afternoon they declared the event sold-out and the fire marshal called for a limit on entry. We learned we were now trapped inside—at least if we left there was no getting back in. So in we stayed.

Having attended the San Diego Comic Con three times myself, I was quite impressed with our little Con. The exhibition floor was packed. Our most impressive booth was probably the Weta Workshop with lots of Hobbit memorabilia and large statues. Mostly we found artist galleries and geek stuff stores. But Evil Dead the Musical had a booth, and we had a few local movies premiere, one directed by a friend of mine titled Orc Wars. It’s a fun little film and definitely added to the Con experience. 🙂 There was also a fabulous Lego exhibit. More details tomorrow.

This morning we got even more pleasant news. The Fire Marshall informed the Con that 70-80,000 people attended Saturday (no wonder if felt so jam-packed). Give us a few years and we may rival even San Diego (at least with numbers). Stan Lee said he enjoyed his visit so much he hoped we’d invite him back (as if we’d say no to that). Most of our big name attenders sang praises of Salt Lake City and our Con. I’m fairly certain next year’s will be even crazier!

The costumes were fantastic. The panels were great. The exhibition hall was a lot of fun and we had plenty of geekery to go around. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in more on my personal experience, but I just wanted to give you all an idea of how our first year went and to expect Salt Lake’s Con to appear on the horizon in a big way in the years to come.

Lastly I’ll leave you with what the Salt Lake Comic Con people posted on the Facebook page this morning. I think it sums up the event pretty well. Great first year!

According to fire marshalls and Salt Palace Convention personnel we had 70-80,000 people attend Saturday which makes 2013 Salt Lake Comic Con the largest 1st year Comic Con in the nation.

The Governor’s office tells us we had the largest convention of any kind in the State of Utah.

You were a part of history. Next year Salt Lake Comic Con will rival San Diego, thanks to you.

There were some glitches, without a doubt. We will make sure that next year, things will be better in every way.

When Stan Lee tells you at the last minute he’s willing to come to Salt Lake City for your first Comic Con, do you say, “Sorry Stan, we don’t have enough time to plan for your participation.”

When Adam West and William Shatner tell you in the last week that they will agree for the first time in history to be on stage together, do you say, “Sorry Gods of Geeks, we don’t have enough time to plan for this.”

We did the best we could. And we hope that you, our fans, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, guests will look at the best that we did, rather than the worst. You’ll find whatever you’re looking for.

Thanks again for making this a super fun, record breaking event.

Have you ever attended a Comic Con or geek convention of any kind? What do you go for, celebs, costumes, both, or something else? Do you like to cosplay or would you just go in a geek-themed T-shirt? What do you think makes or breaks a Con? Were you impressed we got Stan Lee out here?

At the Con

salt-lake-city-utah-comic-con-logoNo Friday Flix today my hearties. I’m at the Salt Lake Comic Con this weekend. Stan Lee will be there, along with William Shatner, Dean Cain, Adam West, and a bunch of other peeps you may or may not have heard of. It likely won’t have the same magnitude as SDCC, but I’m excited to attend nonetheless. Seems like a lot of fun.

And I’ll try and post a little while I’m there, and definitely do a follow-up on what went on. Okay, off to get my geek on!

A Star Wars Intermission

I promise, I was all ready to go with an Iron Man 3 Friday Flix, but this Storymakers conference got in the way of things. But fear not, lovelies, I won’t leave you without some entertainment this happy Friday.

First of all, want to see some rad Empire Strikes Back photos? I thought so.

Need to a quick recap of what happened in Star Wars: A New Hope? What if I said I could give it to you in one full minute?

Hey, everything doesn’t have to be about Star Wars, does it? Let’s see what Stan Lee is up to these days.

Okay, so maybe I did sneak in just a little bit of Star Wars. But this blog is an educational blog. And what better way to learn than School House Rocks? Today’s lesson is on “interjections.” Since a lot of us are readers and writers here, we need to know what all of this stuff means. I give you, interjections: Star Wars style.

Want to know how I felt when I watched Episode I, II, and III? I think this video about sums it up.

Okay, we certainly can’t leave it on that sour note! I just wanted you to see Star Wars Halloween decor and we’ll let Seth Green finish things off for us.


Enjoy the rest of your Friday!