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