The First Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake City’s first ComicCon was held on September 5-7, 2013, at the Salt Palace Convention Center.  According to the organizers, over 70,000 people attended on Saturday alone, and I can attest that the place was packed.  As with the original San Diego ComicCon, the Salt Lake ComicCon was about a lot more than just comics.  At this point the name ComicCon seems to be sort of a branding tool to indicate “big convention celebrating science-fiction & fantasy pop culture.”  From what I hear, next year they will use the entire Salt Palace, which will double the available space.  Hopefully, the surprisingly large attendance figures this year will make movie studios, publishers, and other important players in the entertainment industry decide to participate next year with the kind of special sneak previews and such that the San Diego ComicCon gets.

There were quite a few LDS authors/artists/creators in attendance: Aaron Johnston, Ally Condie, Brad R. Torgersen, Brandon Mull, Dan Willis, David Farland, Howard Tayler,  Jake Black, James Dashner, Jessica Day George, Larry Correia, Laura and Tracy Hickman, Mette Ivie Harrison, Richard Paul Evans, Robison Wells, and many more.  Shadow Mountain Publishing had a major presence selling books on the vendors’ floor.

There was only one panel that specifically dealt with Mormonism: “Mormon Culture and Comic Books.”  I did not attend, so if someone who did wants to give a report in the comments, go for it.  (Slightly related: One of the vendors whose booth caught my eye was From the Dust, which is a comic-book retelling of the Book of Mormon using anthropomorphic animals.)

The Deseret News ran a story about one particular panel of particular relevance to the Mormon-letters community: “Ender’s Game: 30 Years of Books and Comics to the Big Screen.” (Disclosure: I was on that panel.)  By next year’s Salt Lake ComicCon, the movie version of Ender’s Game will already have come out, so perhaps there will be a panel about how great it was.  Or not.

About Eric James Stone

A Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year’s Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Blood Lite anthologies of humorous horror, among other venues. One of Eric’s earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father’s collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. While getting his political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but after it was rejected he gave up on creative writing for a decade. During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah. In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job. In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show. Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
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3 Responses to The First Salt Lake Comic Con

  1. Th. says:

    .

    FYI: My portion of the Mormons and Comics panel is online.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mSv0vt8ByA&noredirect=1

  2. Jonathan Langford says:

    Wow! 70,000 people in Salt Lake? Whoa!

    A few questions:
    - What was the demographic who attended, as best you could tell? Teens? Twentysomethings? Older? Local? Regional? Inquiring minds want to know!
    - What brought most of them out?
    - Is this locally organized, or is it one of those things where it’s a single larger organization that hosts various local events (like some Renaissance festivals)?

    (In case it’s not obvious, I’ve never been to a ComicCon…)

    • Jonathan,

      The attendees were mostly adults, although I did see a fair number of children of all ages. (I heard several people complaining that strollers should be banned from the dealer’s room.) I’m afraid I didn’t particularly notice a trend in the ages of the adults, which may mean they were varied, or just that I’m not very observant.

      I did look at license plates on cars in the parking garage under the Salt Palace, and they were almost all Utah plates. Of course, if someone flew in and rented a car, my method of sampling wouldn’t reflect that. But I think the vast majority of the attendees were from Utah.

      I believe the initial draw was Adam West, and then ad ticket sales were boosted by the addition of William Shatner as a guest. Then Stan Lee was added as a guest less than a week before the con, and that boosted sales some more.

      This ComicCon was locally organized and has no connection (as far as I know) to the San Diego ComicCon.

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