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