A Mad Man’s Rant…

I’m not going to beat around the bush. I need to vent. I must clear my head and get this off of my chest, today. Now. This very second! Before I explode…

First, don’t let people shit you; it does not get any easier with time. I lost my son, Kent, 1 year, 4 months, 23 days and 20 hours ago… Today, I woke up in a foul mood; depressed, angry, full of rage, filled with regrets. Living with the loss of a child is indescribably painful, empty and without hope; but – you are expected to go on… Today, it is hard to breathe. I feel like I’ve been repeatedly hit in the gut, all-over, again.

I miss my fucking kid, goddammit! My despair is so great, so deep, that I had to leave my job; (how can I be pleasant with the American people, when I just want to beat the shit out of someone…) Driving home on I-15, I couldn’t stop the tears, or – the boiling anger I have inside of me. I resolved to go to Kent’s grave, but as I went to make the turn for the cemetery, I couldn’t bring myself to go there. I can’t stand the idea of seeing that slab of granite; his name and favorite baseball team etched upon its surface. And, as I think of him laying there, now, writing this, the tears are flowing, again… Maybe, I just need a good bawl-baby day; but – I’m entitled to that, aren’t I?

Am I being selfish? Is it wrong for me to want to see his twinkling blue eyes, to hear his all-to-unique laugh, to hear him go round-for-round with his smartass dad, (’cause, by God, I taught both of my children the art of smartassery, and – they are masters…) Kent was a good, tender-hearted kid, (despite his 6’3″ 260lb build and blond soccer ball sized-head); but he loved to banter and laugh, usually at his own expense. I miss that.

So much has happened since Kent departed this Earth, and I want to share my experiences with him. I want to show him the Boba Fett sketch that Joe Corroney drew in my Star Wars Trilogy hardcover. I want to show him the the Star Trek comic book anthology that Joe Berenato, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Bob Greenberger, and Keith DeCandido signed for me at ShoreLeaveCon; (having, since-added, Joe Corroney’s signature at SLCC). I want to show him the comic book that I had my question submitted in, and tell him about my character-namesake in Dayton Ward’s Star Trek novel! What did I do to warrant immortality in a book, but my son had to leave us, too soon, with no mark of his own to leave behind? Yes…I’m angry, and sad… One day, if I get the opportunity to write a novel, I’ll make this kid my main character; because, he was – is – my hero.

I want to share my comic con experiences; (Hell, I want to take him to comic con). I want to talk about the upcoming Star Trek 50th anniversary movie and Star Wars Episode VII. I want to invite him to my Batman Facebook page! I want to show him the Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers action figures, and the Bionic Transport and Repair Station David has gifted to me; to show him how kids used to play, back in-the-day… I just want to take him for a ride and talk; to tell him I ‘came out’ and share with him how liberating that moment was. I want to hug him, again, and – let him know how much I love him. I want to hear him laugh…

I want the pain and sorrow to go-the-fuck away… But, I must go on; I need to be strong and move forward. Time marches on… I still have Erica and I need to be there for her, if nothing else. Which, in-turn, leads every parent who’s lost a kid, to worry, incessantly, about the ones who remain: if I can lose one, what’s to say I won’t lose the other(s)? Nothing. I became a member of this dreadful club in the blink of an eye, and…it could happen, again… (Sighs heavily) And-yet, I can’t wallow in that gloom, either. Just writing this has helped…

Folks, thanks for letting me vent. Thanks for reading, if you’re here. If you have kids, love the shit out of them, right NOWWW! Go give them a hug, tell them you love them with every fiber in your body, and – listen to them laugh…


The Bionic Woman: Season Four, Issue 1

Today marked a new-beginning for another old-favorite TV show, with the debut of Brandon Jerwa’s The Bionic Woman: Season Four, from Dynamite Comics. With the release of James Kuhoric’s highly-anticipated, well-received The Six Million Dollar Man: Season Six, earlier this year, it was inevitable to see the launch of this comic-book series, as well. No, I did not look forward to this day; I saw the cover several-months ago, and I wasn’t impressed. I mean, at least Alex Ross’ SMDMSS covers ‘get it'; not-so, with BW, as Jaime Sommers resembles more-a-mashup of Cheryl’s Tiegs and Ladd and, Angela Bassett’s Tina Turner, than Lindsay Wagner. Alex Ross’ likenesses of Steve Austin (et al) are spot-on; plus his image of our old-foe, Maskatron, gripped the hearts of every fan in the world, as we plotted and strategized attacks of vengeance, in our mind’s-eyes! Bigfoot, Fembots, bionic action-shots…my God!

To me, today’s comic release did exactly what I dreaded: they’ve made Jaime Sommers a superhero; an action figure that kicks ass and takes names later. As I’ve commented elsewhere, Jaime Sommers is NOT Wonder Woman! Jaime is first, and-foremost, a human-being, a tennis pro and school teacher, a small-town girl, livin’ in a lonely world…and, who just-happens to be bionic. Jaime Sommers is beautiful, a natural beauty; she’s smart and funny, she doesn’t lose her cool on-a-whim, and she reasons her way out of difficult situations with style and poise, using her cybernetic enhancements, as a last resort. Despite her superhuman capabilities, Jaime is vulnerable, and she lives in constant fear that her bionics will cease to function, bring her terrible pain (or – death), and, more-still, will leave her less-than human. A large part of Jaime’s charm, is her frailty; her making us empathize with the way she handles her ‘handicap.’

In Issue 1 of The Bionic Woman, we open with the opening-theme from the show. I loved it, although it seems rushed; we go straight from the operating theater to a harsh-looking Bionic Woman Facebook profile picture/mug-shot. I did enjoy seeing the blue bionic-modules grids, representing her ear, arm and legs. The unconscious, helmeted-Jaime was nice, too; but a classroom scene, or – her with the birds on the beach, would’ve been great here.

Bam! We’re thrust into immediate action, as Jaime and Chris Williams take back a drilling platform from a band of Cuban pirates. I don’t think Jaime would approve of Chris shooting one of the pirates in the head, though. It was a good scene, bringing an iconic figure from BW front-and-center, from the very-start. Then, we’re witness to a shadowy meeting between two men, where intel on Jaime is being discussed. You know it isn’t going to bode-well, later.

Next, we’re in a lab, and Jaime is hooked-up to machines, her bionic limbs flayed-open as Dr. Wells works on upgrades. Who’s idea was it to have Rudy in a brown, calf-length, London Fog rain – I meant, lab coat? Honestly, it’s the little things that can ruin a story! Take note: Dr. Wells wears a white lab coat, always! That said, this scene is reminiscent of Jaime’s ‘Bionic Salon’ from Kenner, or – Steve Austin’s ‘Bionic Transport and Repair Station,’ where you could hook them up with hoses to diagnostics machines, and-such. If that was the intention here, you scored! However, a great moment was missed here, as Jaime could’ve been rendered in that just-as-iconic-as-Steve’s running suit; (especially, if the flaps in her blue pants would’ve been pulled up, like the action-figure’s did). The idea for a mobile bionics’ lab is terrific and plays just-fine for this time period, as-well-as, Oscar’s penchant for utilizing any money-saving strategies.

The rest of this story is pretty-predictable. You’ve got Oscar sending Jaime on an urgent mission to retrieve classified spy equipment, as no one else is available, (or – capable) of succeeding, Jaime goes off on her own, then gets the shaft by the villains of this episode, wherein – she’s left stranded, cutoff from OSI, unsure of where’s she’s at, or what to do… To be continued.

Some tips for the team: 1) Soften Jaime’s features and make her recognizable. She looks hard and angry in a lot of this issue. If I can’t ‘see’ Jaime, then Brandon Jerwa’s work is for naught. Likenesses are key to a comic-book’s success. 2) Don’t make Jaime a superhero; show us her vulnerabilities and play on them. In my opinion, what killed the previous Bionic Woman comic-series, from Dynamite, is that they tried to make her a female Rambo. 3) Do a better job with the covers! If there’s one place, where Jaime should look like Jaime Sommers, it’s the cover! 4) Get rid of Rudy’s brown lab coat, the blue-tinge in Oscar and Agnes’ glasses, (make them clear) and ditch Jaime’s designer sunglasses. And, finally… Make the rest of this series phenomenal!! You have the technology to create the best The Bionic Woman comic book on the planet! Use it.

‘Til, next-time, I’ll see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone



Hey folks…

It’s been just-over a week, since the Salt Palace Convention Center locked-up its doors; leaving worn-out fans, celebrities, cosplayers, artists, writers, press-members and vendors, plus – employees and producers, to go their separate-ways from a record-busting Salt Lake Comic Con 2014. The closing of this fast-growing comic con has left me deflating; suffering from a severe case of PTSLCCSD: Post-Traumatic Salt Lake Comic Con Stress Disorder. Yes, I couldn’t hardly-walk for two days; stumbling around on auto-pilot, in a starry-eyed fugue; but from the moment I boarded the last Frontrunner home, I’ve been anxiously awaiting FanX15. Three days hardly seems enough time to experience comic con thoroughly. There is just so-much to see and do, so-many people to try and catch-up with, or – meet; whether it be a celebrity, a writer/author/artist, Facebook/Twitter acquaintances, people in a panel… I’m still trying to catch my breath. And, yet – I can’t wait to do it, again.

It’s no-wonder, that Stan Lee pronounced this event as, “The greatest comic con in the world!” From the star-studded opening press-conference, (at 11am Thursday, in the North Ballroom), all the way through to Saturday-afternoon’s close, everyone was having a great time! Over 90,000 people overtook the sold-out comic con, filling the Salt Palace, the Gateway Theater and the neighboring hotels’ gaming-venues and sidewalks, on Saturday; forcing a cease-sell on tickets by noon and a mandatory fire marshal lockdown by 3pm. Meanwhile, stars and comic book icons, press corps members and fans-galore got their ‘geek on,’ in hundreds of panels, dozens of photo-ops and and countless signing-sessions, everywhere you looked. Despite some opening-glitches, VIP issues and long, first-day lines, our attention-garnering con ran smoothly, and – for the most-part, no one got their feathers ruffled (too-badly). My only fear was, what if some catastrophe happened, while we’re all-packed in those buildings, tighter-than a can of sardines? The fire marshals have every reason to fear a disaster. Crowd control has got to be a priority-issue, going-forward, for this con’s strategists and producers. Also, as I discussed with Matt Miner, there needs to be a better system of finding booths in Artists’ Alley.

It’s easy to see why San Diego Comic-Con (notice the hyphen) sees fear; Salt Lake Comic Con is, now – the largest (per capita) comic con in the United States, (in less-than a year); plus – Utah was voted the ‘nerdiest state in the nation!’ But…SDCC’s bullying lawsuit (for trademark violation) is petty and baseless. Can you imagine Ford Motor Co. demanding that General Motors cease-and-desist using the words car or automobile from any future logos, ads, promos, etc? Better-yet, DC Comics demanding the same of Marvel, for the words comic book(s)? Not-only-that, but why single-out Salt Lake City, when hundreds of events employ the use of ‘comic con'; I mean, hell – it’s a comic convention, for crying out loud! Gimme a break… If I’m not mistaken, this has been done before with Denver Comic Con; SDCC’s case went nowhere in stopping Denver, and I don’t see anything changing for Salt Lake Comic Con, either.

Yes… Salt Lake Comic Con has come and gone. My feet and aching-back are getting better, my mind is getting back to my everyday disordered-normalcy and my routine is back to the slog of working the phones; but I can feel the pulse-rates of every Facebook and Twitter friend I know, racing…getting amped-up, already, for the next thrill at FanX15. It won’t be long, before the social-media cogs begin turning, again; new guest-announcements and cut-rate early-bird ticket offerings, new winners will be picked and, press-conferences will kickoff what is sure to be our biggest-event, yet!

Thank you, Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenberg, (and – all of you hard-working volunteers and staff-members), for putting-on the best-damned comic con in the world, and, also – for letting me have the opportunity (and honor) of covering its historic relevance and achievements. I don’t think you guys realize how-many dreams you fulfill out here. Do you ever stop and think about how-many kids’ lives are forever-altered by their experiences, here? Or, that you can give a seemingly washed-up, middle-aged man an infusion of hope; making him see, that yes – dreams are still attainable, if you just reach for them? You do that. And, please… Don’t stop believin’… You, are our heroes.

‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone

Star Trek Has Limited Exposure at Salt Lake Comic Con

Hello Trekkers!

Yes, Salt Lake Comic Con got into full-swing and the Salt Palace Convention Center was busier than I’ve ever seen it, for the usual Thursday start. One big difference, this time, there isn’t the same Star Trek intensity that I’ve grown accustomed to; but its presense is still here, nonetheless. In fact, we had a ST celebrity open for us at the kickoff press conference: Vic ‘Capt. Kirk’ Mignogna.

In April, at FanX, Star Trek was the centerpiece of the convention. We had the cast of TNG, as-well-as William Shatner, the Star Trek: TNG bridge restoration was set up on the stage for the opening press conference (plus, a major attraction on the main floor) and there were many ST panels for people to attend: Karl Urban, for instance, was very popular. As-was, the last-minute arrival of Sir Patrick Stewart.

At the inaugural comic con, in 2013, William Shatner was the main-event, kicking things off in stellar style.

And, while ST isn’t the big-ticket draw, this go-round, we will be feeling its impact. Leonard Nimoy will be Skyping-in on Saturday, as this year’s surprise guest; and – as I said, Vic Mignogna is here for the duration. I ripped the ass out of my pants to climb up on stage to meet him; answering a challenge from our own Michael Clark, to say ‘hello.’ Not-only, did I get the message to Vic, but I got a selfie of the two of us on-stage and, Vic accepted our invitation to join Michael and Bunny on the show. Vic was great at the press conference, by-the-way; he came out of the T.A.R.D.I.S fired-up, coaxing the audience into singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and telling some good jokes about how Dan Farr (SLCC’s producer) coaxed him into attending. It was terrific meeting Vic and a highlight of my first day.

Also, in-attendance is Grant Imahara and Lou Ferrigno, who have roles in Star Trek Continues; the former as Hikaru Sulu, the latter (famous for playing the The Hulk in the ’70’s TV series) as the evil (and green, again) Orion slave dealer Zaminhon. So-far-as I know, this is it, Star Trek-wise; but each is appearing their own panels. Vic, actually has two.

Joe Corroney, a friend to VisionaryTrek, and – mine, is back for his second visit to Salt Lake City (having attended the aforementioned FanX in April). Joe has been on The Holodeck podcast a couple of times for his work on IDW’s Star Trek comics titles, and I’ve written some glowing reviews about his work, also. (You can find those here, by-the-way…) While he was here, I was able to speak with Joe briefly. He loves drawing TOS, (namely prime Spock) and TNG. Indeed, I was able to get a glimpse of Joe and Brian Miller’s collaborative ST:TOS novel-cover, (‘Foul Deeds Will Rise’ by Greg Cox), while I was at his booth, before it was released by CBS and Star Trek’s website, later that evening. Joe, also, did something very special for me: I left my Star Wars Trilogy leather-bound hardcover with him and he drew Boba Fett on the cover page, while he was in his hotel room, with a message to me and his signature, signifying SLCC14, as well. On Saturday, I had hoped to spend more time with Mr. Corroney, but I arrived late and we were both pressed for time; the crowd on Saturday was unbelievably massive, too. I did manage to get him to sign Joseph F. Berenato’s ‘New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics’, as he’s a definitive player in that history, now; plus I got a couple of surprises for some friends…

There’s a definite lack of Star Trek cosplayers at this con, though. I ran into two, Levi (Spock) and Shane (Kirk), and I asked them what they liked about ST. Levi is a TNG fan (despite being dressed in a JJverse uniform and Shane was partial to TOS. I asked them if they read any ST books or comics, but neither of them had; however, I told them they were really missing out on the ‘canonized’ ongoing-series. Especially, as Levi loves the new movies; particularly the twist on the Khan story in Into Darkness. (Down, haters! We all have our own likes and dislikes…eh?) It was great talking to them, though.

When it comes to ST merchandise, there’s no shortage. There’s everything from toys to Klingon Bat’leths to comic art and clothing. But, still – Star Wars had a larger variety of goods and vendors. I guess, FanX just took all of the air out of the Trekkers and a new focus was emphasized, this time. One cool item, however, was Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet (a local Star Trek fan association, cosplaying fan group, charitable organization) had a booth, where you could use computers to simulate various ship’s helm controls, flying these virtual ships, while raising funds for the charter and charity. John Adam Barnes has set me straight, saying: ” It was more than just helm control; 6 of the 9 PC’s each operated a department: Command, Helm, Science, Weapons, Engineering and Communications, to simulate being on a starship bridge. The other 3 were Game Master, Server and view screen. It only controlled 1 ship at a time. To do more than that you’d need at least 6 PC’s per ship.” Admiral Carl Stark offered to let me pilot one, but, I quietly waved him off; I’m not a gamer… I’m sure it was great fun, though.

The great comic con is over, now, but I still have a bit more to report, shortly; I sat in a panel with John Eaves and it was quite something. I’ll go back and listen to my recordings, then I’ll fill you in, as soon as I am able. As I said, the record-breaking event, which – Stan Lee called, ‘The greatest comic con in the world!’ is done, so I’m back to my paying job, and I’m visiting with my mother, too; she’s here from Florida.

Yes, we had 90,000 people in the Salt Palace Convention Center and the Gateway Theater; yes, the fire marshal locked-down the building because we exceeded capacity; yes, we still-reign as the ‘nerdiest state in the country’ and – yes, we are the third-largest comic con in the United States. No…three days is not nearly-enough time to cover it, either.

‘Til, next-time, I’ll see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone


Salt Lake Comic Con Breaks Records!

The press release has come, affirming what I had already suspected: We busted our previous con records by a mile! On Saturday, the Salt Palace Convention Center, the Gateway Theater and the gaming venues saw 90,000 fans, forcing the fire marshal to declare a lockdown; which – I got caught in, just as I was about to reenter the convention center around 2:30 pm. Fortunately, I regained entry, but ticket sales were halted at noon, as the building was beyond capacity limits. The numbers released today state that 120,000 attended during the 3-day event; 60,000 attended on the opening day! I know, from my own experience, that Thursday was the busiest I have seen, thus-far! It was incredible!

I’ve seen glowing reviews from many of the stars and guests, that Salt Lake Comic Con is becoming one of their favorite destinations. Joe Corroney posted on his Facebook page: “Thank you Salt Lake Comic Con and the fans for a great time this weekend!” He went on to give Dan Farr and his staff a special Thank you for their graciousness and for putting on a spectacular show, adding, “…this is quickly becoming one of my favorite events of the year.” Concept artist, and prop-master John Eaves of Star Trek fame, plus – many other mega-movies said: “I didn’t want it to end…but I did want to jump out of my booth and see everything!!!!” As I reported yesterday, Stan Lee said that this is the greatest con in the world! With that kind of support, Salt Lake Comic Con is sure to bring in even more stars and comic book talent, in the years to come.

Dan Farr said: “The response we got from fans was tremendous. I’ve said it before and I mean it, we have the greatest fans in the world.” The overwhelming support allowed 15,000 tickets to be given back to the community; schools, military personnel, first responders and charities.

There were 42 film and TV guests in attendance at Salt Lake Comic Con and word is spreading amongst celebrities, that this is a ‘can’t miss event.’ Plus, there were countless authors, comic book creators, artists and writers, as-well-as, movie and television production icons. Also, there was over 300 hours of panels and over 400 vendors; booths sold out weeks before the con’s opening.

From my perspective, (despite the opening day glitches) this was one-helluva show and I was awed by the sheer magnitude of the fans who came out to show their love and support! The panels were spectacular, the celebrities were gracious and accommodating, the participants of Artists’ Alley were phenomenally kind, informative and giving; and – my God, the volunteers were absolutely amazing, as these venues were swarmed by our awesome fans! It’s YOU, who have made this the third-largest con in the country, in less-than a year. These numbers only-guarantee, that bigger names and events can be brought to Salt Lake City, Utah, and – it ensures, that we will continue to reign-supreme as the ‘nerdiest state in the country.’ Take that San Diego Comic-Con! I can’t wait for FanX!!!

‘Til-then, I’ll see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone

Salt Lake Comic Con: Day 2 & 3

This is for my mother, Norma Parker, who has come home to Utah, for a visit; my nephews, Josh Dilas and Brandon Daugherty, in-tow. It’s great to have them here and I hope they have a terrific stay. Love ya, Mom!

As we (me, my colleagues Jeremiah and Stephanie Stewart, along-with their son, (celebrity-magnet) young Master Bruce) boarded the train to Salt Lake City, Friday (Day 2 of SLCC), I noticed that there were a lot of people in those seats; more-than I had seen on my previous cons’ travels, (FanX, in April, and last year’s inaugural, in Sept). There was a lively-buzz in the air, too, as these folks were excited to be there; dressed in costumes and makeup, or – just donning their favorite comic-hero T-shirts, etc… Well, the geeks were representing. Indeed, the entire Stewart family was wearing their Batman shirts; as was I. Bruce, (now – nearly 6 months old), made his con debut at three weeks old, donning his cowl and cape and sitting in Captain Picard’s chair, on-stage at FanX14’s opening press conference, this past spring. Speaking-of, the weather was absolutely beautiful, throughout. Thank God, because the lines, everyday, were long and wrapped-around the Salt Palace Convention Center, from early in the morning to late in the afternoon.

When we arrived, we stopped at the press desk and lodged a few complaints: the main-one being, press members had been asked to wait in the general admission lines (instead of with the VIP’s), thereby giving the press corps crappy access to panels and events. As Dan Farr proclaimed at the opening ‘press’ conference, we are a big part of what’s brought success to these cons. If we can’t cover them, we’re going to be pissed and write bad articles and reviews; the bad juju will be felt, seen and heard by future participants, which will only be bad for everyone. That said, I found access to the panels and celebrities more-accommodating during the remainder of the con on Friday and Saturday; despite the massive number of people that were swarming into the Salt Palace, as-well-as other venues.

There are several key areas that need to be addressed: 1) The app and website need to be updated in a timely manner. Three/four days before the con is not sufficient time to prepare. Also, there were events that I couldn’t cover, because I didn’t know about them, until opening day; in a panel, no-less, (I’m sure I’m not the only-one, frustrated by this, either). For instance: both episodes of Star Trek Continues were being shown at the Gateway Theater. As I ride the train a long distance, I was unable to attend the screenings, for fear of missing my scheduled departures; a major-bummer, as I write for VisionaryTrek, and that was a key event I could’ve covered. Another, was the showing of the Star Trek: Axanar trailer that was being shown at the same venue; this, too, was a missed opportunity, for me, as I didn’t learn about this screening, until the John Eaves panel, that afternoon, (Friday). Plus, the ‘new’ con program was not helpful, in this regard; last con, the panel rooms, dates and times were listed on a schedule, not this time. We got an overview, but little-else. (Although, looking at it, now, I do see a schedule for screening-times, however – Star Trek Continues is not listed).

Second: there has to be some kind of arrangement for VIP’s; that could be more pre-registration venues and smoother line organization at the Salt Palace. Because of several organizational glitches, on Thursday, the VIP’s slowed things way-down and forced General Admission folks to wait in line for hours to even get into the building. There was some serious anger and frustration from fans and employee-volunteers, and rightly-so, by everyone. Lines for the special merchandising didn’t move for a good hour. This means people miss panels and photo-ops, etc; plus – it leads to needless butthurt on both sides.

Some suggestions that I heard from people, were to send things in the mail and have more venues for people to go register pre-con; also – eliminate the Gold Pass, as this was confusing for volunteers and fans, as to where to place them at events. VIP’s pay a lot of money to have a fun, (in some cases, once-in-a-lifetime) awesome experience and they’re being denied, time-and-time, again. VIP’s should be instructed, beforehand, to go to a different entrance all-together; chaos ensues, because VIP’s and GA aren’t sure where to go, causing stagnation and bottlenecks. The same is true for panels, and-such; mass confusion and flaring-tempers were seen, by me, on several occasions. Maybe, look at having a separate app-section, a section on the website and social-media, exclusively for VIP’s, to give them more info and direction, too.

Look, we’re still a new player, and – yes, there will be snags; but as many people I interviewed stated, these cons are bringing in major dollars, and there have to be more volunteers and a smoother process. I have no doubts, that the folks behind-the-scenes are already addressing these issues, and changes for the as-yet-announced FanXperience15 are being implemented, as I write this.

With all of that said, I can report that this con was a huge success! Stan Lee has now-stated, that this is “The greatest con in the world!” High-praise, indeed, (as Spock would no-doubt say). I’m still waiting to hear how the Skyped Leonard Nimoy panel went; (I was locked out of the Salt Palace, after the fire marshal enforced a capacity crowd shutdown; although, I did regain entry some time later). But, I interviewed dozens of attendees (fans and exhibitors), and they were all having a phenomenal time. There were thousands of cosplayers, both – professional, and – amateur fans, there were thousands of excited kids (many in costumes), there were lots of people meeting-up and having good laughs and making lifetime memories, new friends were being made, and – the panels (the ones I attended, and from comments of people I spoke with) were absolutely incredible. Even the celebrities were in good-spirits, allowing access to anyone that came along. I mean, I got to bump-knuckles with Eric Roberts, shook Matt Frewers’ hand and I got a selfie with Land of the Dead‘s Eugene Clark, without paying for those opportunities. I can report, that that was a prevalent occurrence, by everyone. Kudos to all of the stars who made this such a great event! Well-done!

On Saturday, (I haven’t received the official press release, yet), the Salt Palace was overflowing; I’ve no-doubt, that we have shattered all records, prior to this con! I’ve never seen so many people in one place – ever! I talked to other con attendees, whom – had been to Atlanta, Pheonix, San Diego, Chicago, Denver, and they were all impressed by the sheer-numbers of people and artists, writers and exhibits that Salt Lake Comic Con had, in-abundance. As I said, in my previous report, (despite the glitches I mention here), the layout was much better, allowing more walk space, easier access to events and celebrities, as-well-as getting those comic book artists and writers front-and-center. The ones I talked to (Joe Corroney, Neal Adams, John Eaves, just to name a few) were very pleased with the new positioning of Artists’ Alley, and – by the turnout they were seeing. I know they were busy making new friends, greeting old fans and bringing-in the dough; (I could hear the Ka-Ching of transactions being made everywhere I turned.

I know this much, Dan Farr has stated that as long as the numbers warrant it, he will have two events a year: FanX in the spring and Comic Con in the fall. For me, covering these spectacular events, this year, has been a dream-come-true, as-well-as, a life changing experience. I’ve got new goals going forward: I’m thinking of applying to the official media team and working my way into becoming a panelist. Yes, lofty dreams, to be sure; but….they’re attainable, here, at Salt Lake Comic Con. My feet ache, I’m exhausted and I’m suffering con withdrawal syndrome, but – I cannot wait until FanX! Three days, just isn’t nearly-enough time to do this…

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone





Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Well, Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 got off to a grand start today, as Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg were brought onto the stage by Lou ‘The Hulk’ Ferrigno, surrounded by cosplayers of every stripe, dot and color. Dan Farr thanked us for being an integral part of making the cons a success and he said he was expecting 130,000 to crowd the halls and main-floor of the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Celebrities, like Barbara Eden (whom I had the pleasure of meeting and shaking hands), Vic ‘Capt. Kirk’ Mignogna, Craig Parker, Gigi Edgley, Eugene Clark, Jason David Frank and Manu Bennett were just a few that stepped out of the T.A.R.D.I.S to greet the press and general audience attendees. Manu Bennett offered the first $1,000 he makes as a charitable contribution, to help a local family with medical bills for their daughter, who is fighting cancer. The Make-A-Wish folks were there with several children today and you could see those kid’s eyes twinkling from the phenomenal reception they were given.

Some of the best moments of the press conference were by Lou Ferrigno, who introduced our heroes, Dan and Bryan, while pumping-up the crowd. Vic Mignogna came out at warp speed, getting the crowd to sing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’, then, Eugene Clark had us sing a ‘zombie’ version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jason David Frank; now, THAT was a hoot.

With that, we were given access to the stars and they were very receptive to our questions and comments. Barbara Eden was gracious and beautiful. Eugene Clark was glad to be in Salt Lake City and thanked me for my support. But, it was Vic Mignogna who made my day. I jumped up on the stage to meet him and ripped my pants, but he shook my hand and gladly accepted our invitation to come on VisionaryTrek.com for a show; I even got a selfie of the two of us.

Out on the main floor, the changes were immediately noticeable, and – welcome. The entire layout has been altered; most-noticeably Artists’s Alley and the Celebrity Signing areas, as well as Kid Con and the themed food courts. The Vendor areas have been broken up, also. I thought it was more stream-lined and easier for fans to access their favorite genres. I spoke to several artists, including Neal Adams and Joe Corroney, and they seemed well-pleased by the new arrangements; they all liked being closer to the fans, as – now, they are front-and-center. As it should be; after-all, the con is about them.

I ended the day by going to the Sam Witwer panel, moderated by Bryan Young. What a great time! Sam was very funny and regaled us with some great stories about his work on Star Wars, Being Human, Battlestar Galactica and more. By the way, here’s the order in which you should watch the Star Wars Saga: Clone Wars, Ep. IV and V, then Ep. I, II, III, and finally, Ep VI. I thoroughly enjoyed this panel; even taking some pictures for Bryan (who is a friend of mine).

All-in-all, it was a terrific start to this comic con! I’ve been to all-three and this was the busiest I’ve seen it on a Thursday. I can only guess, that we are going to break every record, thus-far, and become one of the biggest comic cons in the nation. Yes, their were some glitches, today, so-far-as VIP registration, lines for pre-ordered merchandise not moving, running out of bags, etc, but everyone seemed eager to have a good time. At one point, I went to the entrance, where the masses were waiting to get in, and I yelled: “Who’s ready for comic con?!” The crowd went wild, throwing up their hands and sending out a thunderous cheer. Yeah… We’re the nerdiest state in the USA, alright; and – by God, we’re proud of that.

See y’all tomorrow, and – ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone