Inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con Was A Massive Success!
I, like a lot of other geeks, nerds and freaks, have had a near life-long dream to attend the grand daddy of all conventions: San Diego Comic Con. But as most of us know, it’s a huge convention that is not the easiest to get into. While that dream of mine will still remain, I was lucky enough to take part in an event this weekend that far surpassed the expectations of just about everyone. About six months ago, word begin to spread that Dan Farr, of Dan Farr Productions was putting together the very first Salt Lake Comic Con. As with any first-year event like this, expectations weren’t set too high, but they put their best foot forward and started reaching out to actors, artists and authors to bring them to the con, including comic icon Stan Lee and geek favorite William Shatner. Slowly but surely, the celebrities began signing up, with a lot of local favorites and Utah natives. But that list quickly grew, mainly because the convention began selling more and more tickets. When Dan Farr Productions initially set out on this venture, they were hoping to bring in about 10,000 people, an impressive goal for a first-year con, but no one expected what happened next. Not long before the con was to open, they were forced to move to a larger location due to the large amount of tickets that were pre-sold, roughly about 30,000. Then, just a few days before the con, that number grew to 35,000, already three times the attendance they had planned. But that’s not all! Initially, a lot of the bigger names that had been contacted opted to pass on the convention, mainly because they thought the attendance would be too low, but once they’d heard the news, they jumped on board and William Shatner and Stan Lee joined up.
Mr. Shatner also made history this past weekend by joining fellow TV icon Adam West on stage for the first time during a special event. Burt Ward, Robin from the popular Batman series also atteneded. For fans of Star Wars, there were a few actors that stopped by, including Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca, David Prowse, aka Darth Vader and Ray Park, who portrayed Darth Maul in the new trilogy, along with Snake Eyes in GI Joe and Toad in Bryan Singer’s X-Men film. Dean Cain also stopped by for a few days, as did Manu Bennett of Sparatacus and Arrow fame. For fans of the original Power Rangers, David Yost, Walter Jones and Cerina Vincent all made an appearance. Lou Ferrigno, who was instrumental in getting Stan Lee to attend, was there all three days, signing autographs and taking pictures. Also in attendance were Kevin Sorbo, Richard Hatch, Henry Winkler, Dirk Benedict, Adrian Paul, Brian Krause, Claire Coffee and Nick Bennett. There was also an impressive group of people from the world of comics, including Batton Lash, Tyler Kirkham, Leo Leibelman, Dexter Vines, Scott Harben, Chad Hardin and many more.
The event, needless to say, was a massive hit. Numerous panels and Q&A sessions were held, which included anything from ghost hunting to Disney’s Haunted Mansion history, to Stan Lee; literally something for everyone in attendance. At the pique of the event on Saturday, attendance was so high, the fire marshal was forced to step in and close the doors because the building was at its maximum occupancy. After all was said and done, and the dust had settled, it looks at though over 50,000 tickets were sold, with a likely attendance of over 70,000 people, making the Salt Lake Comic Con the most successful inaugural con ever and the fourth largest in North America, behind only San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con and Toronto’s Fan Expo. Rumor has it that if this type of attendance and growth continues, the SLCC will rival the top cons in the nation.
All in all, I had a blast this past weekend, seeing my fellow nerds and geeks going all out and having fun. As you can see from the image gallery below, there was some fantastic cosplay, from the obscure to the awesome, from Doctor Who to Deadpool to Scarecrows to dudes in Catwoman suits. Even saw a guy dressed as Aquaman. I had the pleasure to meet Stan Lee and Manu Bennett (awesome guy, by the way). If this is what Dan Farr Productions can offer in their first year, I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table next year. You can get more information on their Facebook page- where they are already giving out 3-day passes for next year- as well as their website.
The folks at Dan Farr are already hard at work prepping for the 2014 gathering, so fans, not just locals, should really keep an eye on this one, as the potential is huge. I’ll be watching and waiting to see what they have up their sleeves for next year.