If you’ve never been to a convention for fantasy, sci-fi, and comic book enthusiasts, buckle up. Even if you’re not a card-carrying geek, this year’s Salt Lake Comic-Con is shaping up to be Utah’s can’t-miss family fun event. With public interest soaring (the event was recently moved from the South Town Expo Center to The Salt Palace to make room for crowds and vendors) and a projected 25,000 to 35,000 attendees, what started as a modest fan gathering has snowballed into a major community occasion. Here are seven reasons to block out September 5-7 on your calendar. You won’t want to miss it.
1.It’s family-friendly. While some other conventions have a reputation for at-times scandalous attire and adult-oriented fare, the Salt Lake Comic-Con (which counts among its sponsors both Deseret Book and Deseret News) is keeping it PG. For example, the rules for the costume contest state: “Absolutely NO foul language will be acceptable during your performances! Remember, this is a family convention so please be respectful of all the children and parents out there. Inappropriate or overly sexual material will not be allowed…Please make sure your costume covers all of your private areas. This is not a ‘peep’ or ‘peek-a-boo’ show. Again, please keep it family-friendly. While we do not mind sassy costumes, there is a point when too much is just too much.”
2.Adult tickets are affordable. Tickets for teens are cheap. Kids’ tickets are free. Kids ages ten and under get in for free. Adolescents ages eleven to sixteen cost about half as much as grown-ups (for teens it’s $12-15 per day or $30 for a three-day pass, for adults it’s $20-30 per day or $50 for a three-day pass).
3.You can meet celebrities. For its first year, the Con has amassed a very impressive roster of pop culture icons for you to meet, take photos with, and get autographs from. Comic book enthusiasts will “geek out” over their favorite artists and authors, book fans can rub elbows with their favorite writers, and mainstream types will get to rub elbows with:
- William Shatner (Star Trek, T.J. Hooker)
- Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica, The A-Team)
- Cerina Vincent (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
- Adam West and Burt Ward (Batman)
- Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World, Relic Hunter)
- Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
- Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Soul Surfer)
- Sofia Milos (CSI: Miami)
- Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica)
- Adrian Paul (Highlander- The TV Series)
- And more (with others to be announced)
4.The film festival. Although submissions are still being reviewed and accepted, there are two films which will have exclusive screenings at the Con that I am very excited about. The first is Dragon Lore: Curse of the Shadow, a fantasy adventure with elves, orcs, dwarves, and dragons, by local director John Lyde (the excellent Christmas Oranges) and starring Danielle Chuchran from director Kieth Merrill’s 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue. The makeup, cinematography, and action all look stellar.
The second is The Last Man(s) on Earth which, it’s no secret, is my favorite comedy of the past year. The film stars Charan Prabhakar (Abandoned Mine) and Brady Bluhm (Dumb and Dumber), with supporting performances by Darin Southam (Ephraim’s Rescue) and Rick Macy (The Testaments) as you’ve never seen them before. The plot revolves around inept survival experts trying to save the world from a zombie apocalypse. Appropriate for young teens and up.
5.Panels. Actors, artists, writers, and more will delight you with panel conversations about film, TV, comics, and more.