This year marks Salt Lake City’s FanX (formerly Salt Lake City Comic Con, but that’s a post for another day) 5 year anniversary! I have been to all of their events and have really enjoyed the celebrities they get to attend as well as the vendors and comic creators that all come to a seemingly strange place for a successful Comic Convention. BUT, it works. In fact, it works well. I went this last week representing Shoot the Breeze Comics and was able to talk to a few different comic creators about how they feel about the industry, their comics and what they see in the future.
Over the years I have talked to a lot of different people at these events and came across Greg Horn’s art when he did a convention exclusive cover for that specific event. My brother and I stopped by his booth where he had so many of his variant covers on display. It was amazing and I have loved looking at his collection each year as he continues to come back. His online presence on Facebook is fun to follow and you can see the new projects he has coming up.
There are so many talented and amazing artists there, some straight from the comic universe, others just love making art. I was able to talk to Thomas Estrada who is fairly new to the comic scene, but spent years working for Dreamworks and Disney. He was there with amazing crossovers and so many incredible stories. I may have picked up a wonder woman print or two from his booth.
It took me a few days, but I knew I had to find Denys Cowan. One of my favorite things about FanX is the amount of amazing talent they bring to Salt Lake City. Denys was very busy, but I was able to talk to him for a few minutes. When I asked him what he thought of the direction comic books, and comic books movies were going in, he told me how great it was to see something that used to be very quiet and in the dark become pop culture. We also talked about his vast contribution to comic books and he told me just how great it is to do something you love. He gets to wake up and draw comic books for a living.
Denys participated in a panel called Wakanda Forever that focused on the comic books that lead to Marvel’s wildly successful Black Panther film. It was remarkable to listen to those responsible for the comic books talk about their role. They never expected a following like what has come from the movie. It is directly from the remarkable writing that these men put their hearts into that we have such profound characters.
With an all-star lineup, there was someone for everyone at this year’s event. Headlining were Evangeline Lily (The Hobbit, Antman and the Wasp), David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Ducktales), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Thor: Ragnarok), Dave Batista (Guardians of the Galaxy), and many more. Ben Affleck was slated to attend but postponed due to his going into rehab. I have never seen the fans be as understanding as when he postponed. It was remarkable to see such a great outpouring of support from the community that exists between fans.
This year had a lot of repeat guests, Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Justice League, Game of Thrones, Stargate: Atlantis) was among them coming for his second time, which says a lot about the convention. There were several guests who have attended over half of FanX’s events, such as Manu Bennett (The Hobbit, Arrow, Spartacus) and voice actor Jess Harnell (Animaniacs). Harnell has been rumored to say that if he didn’t get an invite to FanX, he’d show up anyway.
The variety of guests, artists, and vendors that come is wonderful. There is so much to see and so much to do, you have to plan your time well. The panels are always a highlight and despite technical issues, FanX had only a few minor hiccups. I, thankfully, did not get stuck waiting for a photo op to be printed for several hours. But one thing I have seen with the showrunners of FanX is that you rarely see a mistake happen twice. When a hiccup causes major issues, they are quick to look for a solution that benefits everyone. And they learn from their mistakes and move forward.
Are you thinking of attending a FanX event in Salt Lake City, UT? Their next convention will be April 19th-20th in downtown Salt Lake City. Be sure and bring your cosplay because who doesn’t love dressing up??