SALT LAKE CITY - If you build it bigger, even more people will come.
The Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, which wrapped up last Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center, drew more than 100,000 attendees and shattered all the records so recently set by last September’s comic con. No longer just the biggest convention in the state, it is now the third-biggest comic con in the entire United States.
“The fact that we exceeded attendance expectations is further proof to the Comic Con world that Salt Lake is a major player in the industry,” said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder and VP of marketing.
The fans who crowded the halls of the convention center were happy to enjoy the benefits of that reputation. Stars such as Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) drew long lines of people through all three days of the event.
“I’m most excited about meeting Amy Pond,” said Sunset resident Brant Wilson, referring to the character Gillan played on “Doctor Who.” “I’ve met about 30 celebrities, but I’ve never met a female one.”
In addition, celebrities also sat on several panels, discussing their shows and the world of science fiction, fantasy and fandom.
“Most of us are worried about whether there’s even going to be a future,” said Brent Spiner, who played Data on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” “Shows like this say there’s not only going to be a long future, but it’s going to be great. It’s encouraging.”
There were also several authors and artists on hand, from big comic book names like Neal Adams to independent artists such as the creators of the web comic “Cyanide and Happiness.”
“There seemed to be a little more focus on art and indie artists, which is sweet,” said Centerville resident Sage Smith, comparing FanX to last year’s comic con.
Those same artists, along with authors and other creators, were also on hand to speak at dozens of panels offered throughout the convention.
“It’s okay to start with a great line of dialogue or an awesome picture in your head,” said Howard Tayler, award-winning creator of the webcomic “Schlock Mercenary.” “It’s why we write. We want to get to these cool moments, and we lay the foundation so we can. I promise you they’re super satisfying.”
Brandenburg and co-founder Dan Farr are already making plans for an even bigger comic con this September, expanding for the first time into venues surrounding the Salt Palace.
“There’s a lot of geeks in Utah,” said Jacque Brown, a Fruit Heights native. “It amazes me every time I get in line how many geeks there are.”