Update: We’ve added hours and some website links. 9/1/2014
Attending Comic Con is hard work. Gamers, Cosplayers, Geeks, and Nerds all need food to keep running. There are food courts in the Salt Palace, as well as nearby malls (Gateway and Gallivan), but these are our among our favorite places to visit for breaks at Comic Con. All are within a couple blocks of the Salt Palace and offer some wonderful food.
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 is coming up, fast! We are less than one month away from the event. It is time to prepare. Grab your calendar, get a pen, plan which celebrities to see, but what do you do between awesome panels? The vendor’s hall has always been amazing, but here are a few of our favorite local vendors Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Preparing for Comic Con – Local Vendors to See
Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg again held a press conference. This time, they were escorted by the armed guards of the Umbrella Corporation. Dan and Bryan shared some wonderful statistics, some details of plans, and a whole new set of guests for this coming September.
Numbers and Plans
- Salt Lake Comic Con is the 3rd largest in America
- September 2014 will be larger than Fan X (April) and September 2013, in every way.
With the expanded space of Comic Con, the gaming area has increased in size substantially. In September, a few tables were set aside in the vendor’s hall, but in April, an entire conference room encompasses the gaming area. Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Fan Xperience – Gaming Room
I unintentionally cut into the Billy Dee Williams spotlight while I was early for the Brent Spiner Q&A (more on that later). I’m glad I was able to listen in.
I only caught a bit of the spotlight, but a few of the questions from the audience were priceless.
One that stands out:
Why was Lando wearing Hans clothes [at the end of the movie]?
Mr Williams gave the ideas that, “Because they were a couple”, or “He owned the clothes first [referring to the fact Han had won the ship in a game, and therefore the clothes]. The reason the audience came up with, “because he wanted to get in Leia’s pants”. Mr Williams wasn’t impressed with that thought.
I haven’t been watching any of the dancing or singing reality contests, so I was caught off-guard with Mr Williams being on Dancing with the Starts. He looked the part though, he was wearing a grey outfit (shirt and slacks) with a grey cardigan sweater and scarf. From other images I’ve seen that look is something he does often. He did mention he’ll be in the next filming of the show for a reprise!
I do want to share one sentiment. Towards the end a fan asked him which character did he “own”. He stated that each experience has it’s own significance, and wished everyone to have a wonderful experience.
Comic Con is once again upon us. In less than 16 hours, the halls will be packed with fans of all ages. The list of guests is massive and is sure to appeal to everyone from Trekkie to Zombie. The real problem is who to see and what to experience. My cadre all have different tastes and we hope to be spread throughout the convention to bring as much awesomeness as possible. Continue reading Comic Con Fan Xperience – Preview
Salt Lake Comic Con presented a wide variety of unique merchants and products. Some vendors traveled from across the globe, others were local. These local vendors showed off a lot of the diversity and creativity to be found along the Wasatch Front.
After meetings, chatting, taking pictures, and shaking hands with celebrities for three days, we built up quite an appetite. Two gals, in particular, contributed to the geek culture with food. They baked, poured, molded, and displayed some of the funnest, and most delicious, products available for the chic geek. The Truffle Cottage showed off some of the most unique chocolates I have ever seen. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio had a few of the best geek cakes in the business.
I contacted both of these wonderful ladies after Comic Con and heard back about their experiences at Comic Con. Both of them enjoyed the convention and the added exposure. Both of them work from their homes. And they are both excited about next year as well. Without further adieu, let me introduce them…
The Truffle Cottage
Coming to you from Pleasant Grove, Utah (about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City) is The Truffle Cottage. If you missed their booth, or missed Comic Con for that matter, you need to check them out. Jennie loves creating her own flavors, hand rolling chocolates, or molding truffles.
For the Comic Con people, she created several unique products. They sold out quickly on the days I checked in with the crew, but I did get a chance to actually see some of them and pictures exist on the Truffle Cottage website (listed below). As an example, try Companion Cube truffles (Portal 2), Millenium Falcon truffles (Star Wars), Punisher and Spider Man truffles (Marvel), and Tardis truffles (Dr. Who).
Jennie doesn’t stop there, however, she was booked for a few other conventions in the weeks following Comic Con and has created some very interesting objects for Halloween, as well as Easter, Christmas, and any other special occasions.
I have a friend back in Ohio that I still need to buy a few Companion Cubes for a great geek gift.
Most importantly… they ship!
Mad Hatter Cake Studio
While we were walking around the area we stumbled across a few R2-D2 units. One of which was edible. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio produces some great looking cakes. Among them R2-D2, the Tardis, and an Xbox 360 complete with controller (games not included nor recommended).
Jenae works out of her home, but she delivers “all over Utah”, as she says. She creates a variety of products, beyond her sculpted cakes. These include wedding cakes and cupcakes among others.
If you are looking for a memorable event, this might be the ticket. I have a birthday coming up and I am not sure which cake to get, but I am starting to get some fun ideas.
Whether you are a chocolate lover or a cake lover, or especially a chocolate cake lover, there are plenty of delicious gifts for geeks and nerds. Support your geek culture and your nerd friends. Whether they are local or across the country, they will love gifts from Mad Hatter Cake Studio or The Truffle Cottage.
Greetings fans of fantasy and fiction!
At Salt Lake Comic Con, I got the opportunity to chat with this incredible couple who have been involved in gaming, writing, and game design for over 30 years. I was able to learn some interesting information about them, what motivated them early in this field (including why they accepted the job at TSR and moved to Wisconsin), and where they are heading now. What an incredible couple!
“Unemployed in Greenland” – direct quote, Tracy said it.
Aside from the initial greeting as being one of their biggest fans, which I am sure they hear thousands of times a year. I proudly presented my original Ravenloft module (1983, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons). As they tracked down their pens to sign my prized possession (and a lovely picture of the two of them) I begin interrogating them about how they got involved in the business.
First, despite what you may suspect, it was Laura who started the addiction to gaming. She was several hours late picking up Tracy when she got side tracked with a gaming group. She then introduced Tracy to gaming and the passion began. This was during the rough times where gaming had first started and was receiving a lot of negative press. I started gaming in this era (though I was 8 or 9 then) and can still remember some of the accusations and insults thrown at gamers. This was during the early 1980s.
When Tracy and Laura first got started professionally in gaming, they were living in Logan, Utah. If you are not familiar with it, don’t feel bad. It is the home of Utah State University and is on the far north side of the state, about 70 miles almost due north of Salt Lake City. Tracy had been working as a movie theater manager for a time until he became, and I quote, “unemployed in Greenland.”
The Hickman family was struggling. They had been unemployed for several months and had children to feed, cloth, and take care of (they married in 1977). Tracy and Laura sent a few module submissions (Pharoah and Rahasia) to TSR (makers of Dungeons and Dragons) in hopes of making money to buy shoes for their children. TSR offered them a job in Wisconsin.
Tracy’s dad, who was living in Flagstaff at the time, begged them not to go. He offered them a place to stay and a job in Flagstaff. Tracy and Laura however decided to take the plunge and headed to Wisconsin.
Between Then and Now
Tracy and Laura worked on several projects since that time. Tracy is well known for his work on the Dragonlance setting (novels and modules). He worked extensively with Margaret Weis on that series as well as several others (Darksword, etc).
He and Laura also worked on novels together. One of the most recent trilogies is “The Annals of Drakis” (published between 2010 and 2012). They have also been evolving their story telling and marketing to the digital age, including the “Dragon’s Bard” where material was downloaded via subscription and a final physical book was received when the subscription was over.
2013 and Beyond
In March of 2013, Tracy Hickman joined Richard Garriott’s (Lord British) team for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsake Virtues. This project, as of September 8, 2013, has raised over $2.4 Million with over 24,000 backers to date. The PC game will be playable solo or multiplayer and is expected to have initial content available in October of 2014 (www.shroudoftheavatar.com).
Tracy and Laura have been busy on their own projects. Thursday night, September 5th, they launched a Kickstarter for their newest game. Sojourner Tales is “The storytelling board game that turns your e-reading device into a portal to Imagination and Adventure!” (quoted from the Kickstarter page, listed below). Tracy took a few minutes and used his Kindle to show my daughters (ages 12 and 8) how to play. The game is fascinating with dice, cards, and events changed by the Kindle. It specifically mentions that a print version of the adventures will be available, but the e-book version makes the game faster and easier. (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/trhickman/tracy-and-laura-hickmans-sojourner-tales-board-gam?ref=live)
I very much enjoyed spending time with these two wonderful people. I also cannot wait to see them virtually at Aethercon where they will be answering questions and running the game as a demo. (www.aethercon.com)
Today was filled with a lot of people, and I mean a LOT of people. The Comic Con FaceBook page lists Comic Con as Sold Out. Various sources list that Friday broke 50,000 tickets sold and attendance. Based upon reported economic impact from other conventions (specifically the 130,000 attendees at San Diego Comic Con who spent $180 million and the 46,000 people at Dragon Con in Atlanta who spent $40 million, both listed on KSL.com) the average person attending Salt Lake Comic Con will spend about $900 to $1000.
What that means: Take 50,000 people (low estimate) and have them spend $1000 each (high estimate, but easy math). That means $50 Million dollars were spent, much of that is in the local market. There were vendors from around the world (Weta Workshop from New Zealand, for example) but a lot of them were local and really got a chance to shine.
We talked to artists, authors, game stores, costume shops, chocolate makers, cake decorators, a 3d printer supplier, a pinball machine specialist, jewelers, and guys who dress up as dinosaurs. Each of them put their faith in Salt Lake Comic Con and were here showing off everything they could do. And, over the next several weeks, we will be show casing some of our favorites. Every one of these shops is within driving distance of Salt Lake City.
This project will take some time. We want to get hold of people involved at the business and ask them about what they do. I can talk about each of them, and I have a stack of business cards on my desk, but we want the businesses to put in their own words what they do, how they do it, and how they benefited from Comic Con.
In the mean time, it is time to say Thank You! Thank You for reading this blog. Thank You to Dan Farr for bringing Comic Con to Utah and letting me get involved. Finally, Thank You to my family for putting up with me during this crazy week.
We will update this post when numbers become available. I would imagine attendance numbers will be available within a few days. The financial numbers will likely take much longer, but we will try to keep everyone updated.
Update: The information we have been able to find for first year Salt Lake Comic Con shows an attendance of 70-80,000 people. To put that in perspective, the first year New York Comic Con had 33,000. Way to go Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con crew, and special thanks to all the guests, attendees, and vendors for making the show awesome!