Monday, September 9, 2013

Comic Con! Bang a Gong! Comic Con!

Faithful readers, I am officially a geek.

I mean, I've manifested geek tendencies before, and I can hold my own when it comes to geek trivia, but I had a rite of passage this past weekend and I wanted to announce it to the world: I attended my first Comic Con. And I would like to briefly share my experience and thoughts with you.

I've thought about attending the Comic Con in San Diego for some time now, but the tickets are way too expensive and the trip there would only add to the bill. So I just admired other people's pictures. However, Comic Con finally made its way to Salt Lake City and that was much closer to me and much more manageable.

So I went. I was resistant at first (money and time were an issue), but I obtained a Press Pass (never mind how I got it) and I was able to go to the Salt Lake City Comic Con. My first "Con" ever.

My first impression was how many people were there. As I was making my way to the Salt Palace (in the pouring rain), I was amazed by all the people who were walking around the city in costume. It was awesome. But I was confused by the fact that many of the costumed people were walking away from the convention center. As it turns out, Salt Lake Comic Con was sold out. No new tickets were being sold. Luckily, I had that Press Pass, and the event staff let me right in.

Crowds. . .why did it have to be crowds?
Wow. So many people were inside.

I'm not a big fan of crowds, so I was hesitant to wander down in the midst of the horde, but it called to me. I couldn't resist.

I didn't really know where to go or what to do, so I just wandered and looked at costumes. As it turns out, that was my favorite thing. I went to a couple panels and I wandered by the celebrity tables, but I just loved seeing the dedication and creative spirit of the people there. I was wearing my Firefly shirt, so I did put some effort into it, but I kept thinking how fun it would be to have a costume that people wanted to photograph. Maybe next year.

The Hulk is much bigger than I thought he'd be.
Anyway, one thing I learned about Comic Con is that most of the celebrities charge for a picture or an autograph -- I had no idea. It almost seems like highway robbery when you have to pay $40 to use your own camera to take a picture of you standing next to Lou Ferrigno. But I guess these people need to make a buck somehow. Some of the celebrities, like Kevin Murphy don't charge for an autograph or picture. But they will accept donations for a charity. Mr. Murphy mentioned that they had raised $850 for the American Red Cross during his time at the Salt Lake Comic Con. Way to go, Tom Servo!

Also, there are big lines to wait in if you want to shell out the cash to stand next to a celebrity. However, I soon discovered the power of the Press Pass and was able to jump the line to snap a photo using my cell phone. Granted, I wasn't in any of the shots and I didn't actually meet any of the celebrities, but seeing them interacting with their fans was pretty interesting.

This guy does a GREAT Tom Servo impersonation.
I have two regrets in that regard: One, I chickened out on meeting Kevin Murphy. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is my favorite TV show, and I get a little tongue-tied when I'm around people I admire. I had already made a fool around They Might Be Giants a few years back, so I figured I'd sit this one out and just snap a photo and run.

The second regret is that I didn't get to see Nicholas Brendon. I recently convinced my wife to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer in its entirety, and so I'm kind of on a Buffy high. Xander was on a break when I was doing my quick celebrity walk-by pictures, and then he was gone when I got back from attending a panel. Darn. I'll just tell myself that it wasn't Nicholas Brendon. I'll convince myself that it was his identical twin brother, Kelly Donovan.

But that was pretty much it. I was only able to be there for a few hours. I wish I could have been there longer. It seemed strange that they closed down the floor at 7:00, when they still had panels going until 9:00. I don't know why they decided on that. The later panels seemed a little disorganized, too, like the event staff had gone home for the evening.

But I had fun. As I mentioned before, I just loved seeing people walk around in costumes. Plus, even though there were lines and crowds, everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Compliments were given out almost as much as flyers and business cards. Everyone seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. And there was a spirit of camaraderie among all of us geeks there. It was like Burning Man, but with more bathrooms and less nudity.

How many Deadpools can you fit into a TARDIS?

I'm glad I went to the Salt Lake Comic Con, and I hope to go again next year.

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