Kyle J. Steenblik

Kyle’s adventures at FanX 2015

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The Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience ran this past January 29 through the 31st at the Salt Palace Convention Center.  This FanX was different from last year in several ways.  The fist being that it was about half the size, with ticket sales limited to about 50,000, and a reduction in guests and panels, and vendors.  By comparison the first Salt Lake Comic Con bought in about 70,000 visitors, was packed wall to wall with guests and vendors.  The second is the heightened levels of organization.  They utilized a new RFID wristband system they picked up from New York Comic Con.  This system allowed the SLCC staff to check every one in as they walked through he door, and check everyone out as they left, giving them a fairly accurate head count inside the building.  Lastly, minor as it may have been, there was a Sundance connection as a handful of filmmakers came down to talk about their films.  These panels were regrettably small and mostly overlooked by a large portion of the attendees.  Overall this was a good convention, but I do get the feeling the its primary function was something of a test run for September.  If the main convention in September is as well organized as this FanX, I have a good feeling about my hometown convention.

Thursday kicked off with a press conference, this is beginning to feel like routine now.  Guests were introduced; the Salt Lake City mayor read a proclamation, and the work SLCC has done with Operation Underground Railroad was highlighted.  After the press conference, as we were exiting the hotel we bumped into the legendary Nichelle Nichols, who was as gracious and sweet as you could possibly imagine.  With that fantastic encounter, the weekend took off at break neck speed.  Back in the convention center, we took in the floor before the panels began.  With the smaller layout, and fewer vendors it actually took a very short time to walk the entire floor.  Over the three day convention a few vendors stood out.

IMG_20150207_113436Artist Sarah Wilkinson who was displaying, and selling some original prints she drew and painted for Star Wars trading cards, and some original oil on canvas paintings.  Along with a children’s book she illustrated, titled Eat The Bunny Before The Bunny Eats You, written by Scott Bachmann.  I gladly picked up a copy and my children adore it.

Jay Crow comics, who were promoting and distributing free copies of the first issue of Super, and original comic book concept about the one and only super powered human in the world.  The first issue is very good, I recommend it, and I do anticipate seeing much more from these guys, if they can keep the self-run operation afloat, for that we wish them well.

Author and artist Aneeka Richins was promoting her web comic, and now self-published comics Not a Villain.  The quality of her self-published books impressed me a great deal; it is definitely one of the highest qualities that I have seen.  I very much liked her character design and her minimalist style; it is clean looking and engaging.

Ukiyo-e Heroes, traditional style modern Japanese style art.  These guys would have taken a great deal of my money, had I only enough wall space to display the artwork.  They had gorgeous Star Fox, and Princess Mononoke wood block prints that I am still salivating over.

Animal Jam, an online educational game partnered with National Geographic Kids.  These guys were set up in the KidCon area, where kids could come in, sign up and begin playing this online game.  The game itself is fun and signing up and playing is free, there are in-game purchases, but those are not necessary to have fun.  My kids are enjoying this, and I recommend it to anyone with kids that enjoy science and nature.

Finally, there was KidCon, where kids could go through super hero training.  My kids ran through the training with Spider-Man and Deadpool, they even have a nice certificate of completion, certifying them and fully trained superheroes.

Check out some of the panel and guest highlights below.  Let us know what your favorite moments from the convention were, and we will see you in September.

Guests Felica Day, Rebecca Frost, Charity O’Haodagain, Debra Jenson, Mette Ive Harrison, and Susan Phelan discuss The Bechdel Test, and gender equality in film and television.  It was a great panel, I have to apologize for the audio in this recording, I will replace this version with one of better quality if I can get the audio cleaned up and equalized a little better.



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