The short of it is, two weeks ago I went to FanX and I had an amazing time, and I’ve only just gotten around to writing about it. If you want the long story, read on.
Yes, I can make this list work. I can come up with 17 reasons that the year 2017 is going to be a good one that are all geek-related. Can you? Is there anything on this list you didn’t think of? Anything I didn’t have room for?
While you’re digesting your turkey and pie and thinking about the things you are grateful for, feel welcome to browse this list and the attached photos, and if you want to give feedback you can share why you are grateful for Salt Lake Comic Con. Disclaimer: yes, next week for my personal blog I’m going to be posting a wish list for guests to have at future SLCC events, so if you think I’m buttering up the Salt Lake con organizers I won’t blame you for thinking that. And bear in mind, none of these are in any particular order…except towards the end.
We’ve have a few months to marinate. The hype and overreactions are over. We’ve had a little while to step back and evaluate Captain America: Civil War. The spoilers are out. So what comes next? It concluded the Captain America trilogy, but the story of Steve Rogers–the man who carried the mantle of Captain America–is far from over. Some of the ideas I will be sharing are things I heard at two Captain America panels at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX back in March.
When people ask what the difference is between Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanX event, the only real answer you can give is the size. Part of the Salt Palace space is closed off and so there are much fewer artists and vendors. There are also fewer attendees, so when it comes to fighting crowds it’s much less of a hassle.
Batman and Superman reversible capes aren’t really a new thing or something that I came up with, they have been around forever, but they are something that I enjoy making for my kids and for gifts so I thought I would show how I make mine. With Batman v Superman opening next week I thought it was a good time to share them. Also FanX is coming up next weekend and these capes are perfect for an easy cosplay option for kids. I made the traditional Batman on one side and Superman on the other but I also decided to make a girl version. I thought about doing Batgirl and Supergirl but since Superman and Supergirl’s capes would look the same I decided instead to do Batgirl and Wonder Woman.
Another week is in the books, and we are bringing back our “This Week in Geek” feature. In this feature we are going to take a look at a few of the stories that happened this week in the world of Geek. We aren’t a news site, so this won’t necessarily be a comprehensive list, just a few highlights. If you see a story throughout the week that you think should be featured here, then send it along to me and I will include it. You can send it directly to email@example.com. Alright, let’s get to This Week in Geek.
FanX 2016 is coming soon. Ok, maybe soon is not the right word. It’s happening Easter weekend, 2016, which is the end of March. It seems like Salt Lake Comic Con just ended, and some of us are still recovering, but that’s the life in a geek community with two major conventions each year. Once one ends, we are all anxious to start hearing about who is coming to the next one and when it will be and all the details, even though, right now, there are relatively few details to have. Planning a huge convention like this takes time, and a lot of the details are not completely hammered down until right before the convention begins. That’s a big reason why we get guest announcements right up until the day of the convention, and sometimes it happens at the convention itself- like when Patrick Stewart was announced at the very first FanX in 2014.
So here we are at the last day of FanX 2015. I can’t believe it. It seems like only two months ago that this event was announced, and now is almost finished. Ok, it was only 2 months ago, which makes it pretty impressive that they were able to get it all put together as quickly as they did and that things have gone as smoothly as they have so far. Mt experience this time around was not as much FanX as I would have liked, maybe, but it was definitely quality over quantity for me. There is a lot going on in the geeky mormon household this weekend, and FanX has had to take a back seat to some of it, namely my oldest son’s baptism. That’s ok. While I welcome events like this as a great escape from reality with a bunch of like-minded people, reality does not stop and sometimes has to take priority. What I did appreciate this time around was how much time I got to spend at the con with my wife, just the two of us. That kind of time is always welcome. I don’t want you to think, though, that just because my time was limited, that I didn’t get to do a lot of great stuff. Here are the highlights:
I Thanked A FanX Volunteer or Two
If you saw my post from the other day, then you’ll know that I encouraged attendees of FanX to stop and tell a volunteer thank you. I did that while I was there. I thanked a few, but here is a pic of one of my stops. These two are two very hard-working fellas. The gentleman in the lighter shirt is Tony, and he was the head volunteer over all the other volunteers, which means for the past couple of months he has basically had two full time jobs, his day job and then the volunteer job. Of course, since one was volunteer, that means he was working two jobs, but only getting paid for one. Spencer, the gentleman behind unworked as his assistant during the con, so I am sure the two of them have been going nonstop the last couple of days. Tony does a lot to say thanks to his volunteers, so I thought it would be good to thank him as well. I didn’t do any other pics with volunteers because they were all working so hard to make the day great for everyone there, that I didn’t want to interrupt that. For the most part, I saw some really great work from all the volunteers we encountered. Well done.
I Met Some Members of Rogue Squadron
I saw these folks set up for some photo ops, and thought it would be cool to get a picture with them. I love Star Wars, and I thought these guys looked pretty good and the backdrop was great, plus the droid int the foreground, the whole thing looked pretty good. One thing I will say about FanX this year is that there seemed to be many more spots where you could stop for photo ops like this, something that FantasyCon did last year which I thought was great. In addition to this spot, there were some other photo ops set up by Salt Lake Comic Con like the Trolls from the Hobbit. There were also some other spots set up by vendors like the TARDIS, which for the first time was set up in a booth area with an established line, instead of just some random spot on the floor. It was more organized than any of the previous cons, which was nice. However, the line was long, so we didn’t get our picture there.
I Bought Some More Pictures for My Geek Wall
I have a real problem. An addiction. When I go to these events, I am drawn to the art prints like a moth to the light. I can’t help it. I know my geek wall is getting full, so I need to limit myself when I go and make purchases. Before hand, I se my limit at one. One print, that’s it, and it needed to be either Marvel or Harry Potter since I have neither of those on my wall yet. Absolutely no Doctor Who, because I already have three Doctor Who pictures on my wall. As you can tell from this picture I failed at that part, miserably. I saw this print, and I had to have it. This is the TARDIS at Bad Wolf Bay, and it is beautiful. My crappy phone pic doesn’t do this print justice. The artist who did this painting did two of my other Doctor Who pictures , so needless to say, I like his stuff. Here is the unfortunate thing, I asked for his card and he was out of them, and he gave me his website, and I didn’t write it down. I have a brother-in-law who is going back today and he is going to find out for me, so I will update this post when he does.
Most of the artists or any of the booths that sell prints (some of the booths just have a bunch of prints from random artists. I prefer the booths with the actual artist there to sign their work) have a deal, where it is so much if you buy one, and then less if you buy two or more or whatever. This particular artist charges $20 for the first print, and then $10 for each additional. So I saw this one of Arrow from the TV series, and it looked amazing, so I got it as well. Please stop by this guys booth when you go today. I believe it is number 1623, and he has a bunch of random prints hanging up behind him (they’re not his), and then his own original stuff is framed on the table. You’ll know you are in the right place if you see the picture of the TARDIS at the Salt Palace and a picture of the Bat Signal over Salt Lake City. His stuff just looks amazing.
Every time we go to one of these cons, we try to find something little for the kids, something that represents what they are into. This year we found the artist booth of Adrian Ropp. You can find him at the website ChimChum.com. His style is Disney inspired, so he draws other characters as they would look in the Disney animated universe. My oldest boy loves How to Train your Dragon. My little girls all like My Little Pony and Jak like Ninja Turtles, so we found these four prints for them and the kids loved them. I thought they would like them because of the bright colors and the style just seems so appealing to kids.
For me, I found this print. It is of the Thundercats, which is one of the first things I remember obsessing about. Even before Ninja Turtles. I loved this show as a kid, and for whatever reason, unlike other popular titles from my youth, this has never really gained a lot of traction today. There was the ill-fated Cartoon Network remake of the show, but other than that, nothing. You hardly see anything Thundercats at these cons, so when I saw this, I had to snatch it up. This is what they would look like if Disney bought them and did an animated Thundercats movie. Who knows, maybe it will happen. They’ve bought everything else from my childhood. Except it wouldn’t be hand drawn animation, it would be computer animated.
We Went to the Ultimate Doctor Who Xperience
This was a great experience, maybe the highlight of the night for me. Matt Smith was really great, as were Karen and Billie, but I think Matt stole the show. He told some great stories that had nothing to do with anything, but they were entertaining, he demonstrated how to do the drunken giraffe dance, and he just acted and sounded like the Doctor. It was almost like having 11 back. For some folks, that may be what they really want. I am happy with 12, but it was cool to see “11” again. There will probably be highlights or the whole panel that will show up on YouTube, so you can check that out there. I didn’t take any pictures or video because we were so far back that it didn’t seem worth it, so I’m sorry about that. I will try to do better next time. The biggest thing, for me, that came out of the experience, was when a fan asked all three of them if they would ever be back on Doctor Who. Matt Smith did not even hesitate when he answered “Yes.” I don’t know if it is just that he wants to come back some time, or if Moffat already has some kind of crossover planned with 11 and 12. I am wondering if it might be the latter. Karen said maybe, but only because she said no at first and has already come back since then, so who knows. Billie said if she came back anymore it might start looking a little sad. But Matt Smith is definitely planning on coming back some time. The big highlight for any of the people there was when a woman broke down crying because of how much these people meant to her when her mother was very ill and passed away. She couldn’t even get to her question, and was kind of shuffled off by one of the volunteers manning the mic. The three stars came over to her to give her a hug from the stage, and then asked her to come up on stage with them, and she was able to stay there the rest of the show. It was classy by all three involved. That highlight, I am sure is already up on YouTube.
The Real Highlight for Me
I mentioned this last night when I posted on Facebook, but one of the real highlights was meeting a reader of the blog at the convention. It is always nice to know that your stuff is being read and followed, even by just a few. So it was great meeting Braden at the show. Plus I ran into a few other folks I had met previously who let me know that they were keeping up with the blog as well. Thank you everyone for reading it. That makes my day to find that out and to meet you folks.
That was the end of my FanX adventure. It was a short one, but as you can see it was high in quality. I can’t wait for Comic Con in September. I am already planning for it. I may need to find a way to condense what I have on my geek wall, or it may just have to expand somehow. The other option would be to stop buying, but that doesn’t seem like the right one for me.
So I got to spend some time with some of my favorite people, outside of family, yesterday and Tuesday. These are part of a special breed of person. They are Salt Lake Comic Con FanX volunteers. I volunteered with them at the first FanX, and then decided not to volunteer for Salt Lake Comic Con in September, but missed it, so I decided to volunteer again this year, and it has been a good experience. The team I volunteered with this year were all behind the scenes, so we didn’t get to help any of the attendees or guests directly, but trust me, you will all feel the effects of what we did. We moved in all the FanX supplies for Salt Lake Comic Con, and then snuck out before anyone saw us. Like little magical elves making shoes for the shoe maker when he is sleeping. Wait, that sounds lame. It was more like Ninjas (wish I could take credit for that name, but I can’t). So, you will probably not come in contact with anyone that was on my team during your visit to the event, but you will come in contact with any number of an army of volunteers.
These folks are just absolutely amazing, and don’t get half the credit they deserve. None of them are volunteering for FanX as a living, which is good, because in the way of money, it does not pay well at all. And by not well, I mean it pays nothing in dollars and cents. These people don’t do it for that. They all have day jobs, and they all take time away from those day jobs to come to FanX, not to just attend and enjoy the event, but to make sure that you get to come and enjoy the event. Some of these volunteers end up working the whole event, so they don’t get to see anything. Those same people are probably not even doing this for the first time. This is probably how they spent the last three cons, and probably how they will spend the next three as well (or beyond).
None of these individuals are professional registration workers, or access control workers, or vendor floor workers, or panel room workers. That doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they are doing. Quite the contrary, actually. As I mentioned before, for many of the volunteers this is the third or fourth con they have worked, so they have experience. They want nothing more than to help you and all the other attendees to have a great time. In addition to their experience, they have sacrificed even more time leading up to the con to be trained in their individual areas. They have also been given a lengthy handbook to help them to know how to provide the best service available. I think as a result of all of this, we may see a staff so friendly and helpful, it may be like visiting Disneyland, only without the measles outbreak, hopefully.
So, why write all of this? Because, from time to time, they are not treated great. Sometimes, attendees get a little frustrated because a panel was full, or they missed an autograph, or a photo op sold out, and they were really looking forward to it. Sometimes, those attendees are going to let someone know about it, and that someone is typically the one wearing a bright colored volunteer shirt. I will say, when that happens, I am confident that these volunteers will do everything to make it up to that attendee. I will also say, that sometimes that same volunteer will have a lot of attendees let them know about issues like that, and that can be tough for anyone. It can wear them down, and they begin to forget about the vast majority of people who are having the time of their lives. In any customer service position, you always hear from the minority of people who are upset, and hardly ever hear from the people who are having a great time.
I guess what I am saying is, we should do something about that. I know I don’t have the largest readership, so I am asking you pass this on to your friends who are going. Let’s make tomorrow (Friday, January 30) and the next day (Saturday, January 31) National Thank a FanX Volunteer Day. It’s simple. If you see a volunteer, just tell them thanks. Let them know we appreciate everything they are doing. It’s a call to action. Spread this on to the Facebook pages of Salt Lake Comic Con, and through twitter and to all of our friends- let them know that tomorrow is National Thank a FanX Volunteer Day. They will all be working to make your day, so maybe we can return the favor and make theirs too.
So, who’s with me? Upload pics with them to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #ThankaFanXVolunteer. Maybe we can make it a trending hashtag by the end of the day Saturday.