Salt Lake hosts first Utah Comic Con

The Salt Palace Convention Center will host the 2013 Salt Lake Comic Con Sept. 5–7. The convention includes panels and booths with a variety of successful guest speakers from the film/TV, comic, computer game and book industries. Advance sales for the event have already hit more than $30,000 and continue to rise.

This year’s guests include William Shatner, Captain Kirk in TV’s “Star Trek”; Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics; David Prowse, the original Darth Vader in “Star Wars”; Lou Ferrigno, TV’s Incredible Hulk, who, according to sources at the Salt Lake Tribune, was the one who prompted Lee to attend; and Adam West and Burt Ward, the original Batman and Robin. Speakers from Microsoft, Weta Workshops — known for work on “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” — and Ghost Hunters will also attend, among many others.

Weber State University freshman Hannah Scharf said she is excited about Comic Con coming to Utah, adding, “Us Utahns are just as nerdy as anyone else!”

Though Scharf will not be attending the convention, she emphasized her excitement that there is going to be one in Utah at all. “It’s nice for the less-than-wealthy people that can’t afford to go to the big one.”

The convention will house many artist booths, a film festival and discussion panels with special guests. Special events were also organized before the convention, such as a Super Smash Brothers gaming tournament, the Salt Lake Zombie Walk, cosplay games, the Fear Factory Ghost Hunt and a comic book drawing competition.

Founder Dan Farr predicted last week that attendance would far exceed 40,000 people, at least 7,000 more than the first New York Comic Con.

Joshua Rigby, a psychology major, said he thinks Comic Con will bring a good amount of business and publicity to Utah that it otherwise would not have seen.

“It opens the door for business in an area that, from what I’ve seen, is virtually untapped in Utah,” he said. “Aside from celebrity appearances, it has the chance to capture the interest of those who know little about Comic Con and all it has to offer.”

Although official Salt Lake Comic Con organizers could not be reached for comment, Farr opened the convention with talk of the warm reception Comic Con has seen from the state of Utah.

“Talk about a wild ride . . . This is so much bigger than we expected! Beyond my wildest dreams!” he said. “This will be the biggest first-year Comic Con in the nation . . . I’m beside myself with how well this has turned out. There were a lot of challenges, but it was worth it. The one thing I’m really worried about is I want my staff to experience this first-time Comic Con and really be present. I want everyone to have a good experience.”

More information about the event is available at Photos and coverage of the full event will appear in next week’s issues of The Signpost.