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Geek in Gear: Comic Con brings Utah twice the geek fun with FanX

On Nov. 14, the folks behind the wildly successful Salt Lake Comic Con announced that they were adding another event to next year’s lineup in addition to Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 in September. The new convention will run in April, the weekend right before finals week here at Weber State University, and is going by the name Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience — FanX for short.

FanX looks to be exactly the same as your standard Comic Con. In fact, the main difference I can see, besides a bit of change-up in time schedules and promised events, is that it’s basically an excuse for con organizers to say, “Hey, this isn’t just about comic fans. We want all the fans of everything!”

And that’s why they’re calling it FanX. Get it?

All things considered, I’m totally for this marketing ploy. We’re getting two potentially annual events rivaling the best comic cons currently running in North America. As for the direction the organizers are taking in marketing it as FanX, I’ve already talked about how comic cons are no longer just for comics. They’re simply capitalizing on the success of comic cons to bring in more fans, just as they originally capitalized on GEEX’s connections to make SLCC13 so successful. They’re also solving the argument some elitist fans throw out that comic cons should stick true to their name and go back to focusing just on comics. It’s the next logical step.

On the whole, response to the new event, which was initially described as being a slightly smaller event to tide fans over midway to SLCC14, has been mostly positive. Within minutes of the official announcement being posted online, fans already had quite a bit to say about it. Many fans with business and economy on their mind are more than glad to host another convention like this. Just think of all the revenue Salt Lake City can get. All in all, a convention is a pretty good thing for the local area for a number of reasons. But, while I wouldn’t say there were any people outright furious, there were a few concerns.

Conventions are a blast, but the last one was barely three months ago, and April isn’t that far away. The anxious comments all tend to boil down to a matter of cost and lack of time. Some people are wary about shelling out hundreds of dollars to get themselves and their friends and families into both conventions. Others are worried they won’t be able to get off work in time, or there won’t be enough time for them to pull together costumes. Then there are those who feel like they’re going to be forced to choose between the two, and if it’s anything like last year, guest announcements will be running right up until the week before the conventions, which makes the decision on which one to go to, if you have to choose, all the more difficult.

On the other hand, quite a few of us go to several pop culture conventions in a year. In the past, all the big ones have been out of state, and the travel and hotel costs tend to bite into the spending budget. That’s if, of course, you manage to actually get tickets, which is a difficult thing to do if you’re aiming for, say, San Diego Comic Con. For some of us in this category (me included), another local con within daily driving distance is just perfect. However, for those of us who like to sell or have booths, the somewhat short notice is . . . well, less perfect, but we’ll manage.

I’m all for FanX. I’m especially excited because I likely won’t be in Utah in September and will be missing SLCC14. But I’m also excited because I’m hoping that the upgrade in name will draw those less-hardcore geeks out to their first convention. I know that there are some of you out there who think that conventions aren’t for you, and let me tell you, unless you have a sincere phobia of large crowds and people, you’re seriously missing out. Conventions are a time when you can be you, when you can be excited about something you care about among others who are just excited. FanX is an open invitation for anyone of any fandom, of any fan level, to come hang out. Yeah, maybe it’s financially motivated. But it’s always fantastically fun. And if it’s anything like SLCC13, it will be something worth the experience.

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