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Zombies, 'cosplayers' welcome Salt Lake City's first Comic Con

Published: Friday, Aug. 9 2013 7:00 a.m. MDT

Weta Workshops' booth at San Diego Comic Con was one of the convention's most popular booths. Salt Lake City Comic Con announced Tuesday that Weta Workshops will be bringing its booth to Salt Lake City.

N. Eric Heath, Courtesy Salt Lake City Comic Con

SALT LAKE CITY — Pedestrians walking around downtown this weekend may see some unusual visitors.

Superheros, villains and other geek celebrities will hit the streets Saturday, Aug. 10, as part of Salt Lake Comic Con's Cosplay Games — while the Zombie Apocalypse will come to town Sunday with the sixth annual Salt Lake Zombie Walk.

During the Cosplay Games, participants dressed up as their favorite characters will go on a scavenger hunt around the city, either alone or in groups, taking photos near city landmarks. The locations will be disclosed Saturday morning on Salt Lake Comic Con's Facebook page. After the hunt, participants are invited to attend a party at the Fear Factory.

Sunday, zombies, zombie hunters and (willing) zombie victims will battle in the streets. Last year, more than 4,000 people participated in the event.

The event's Facebook page describes the it as a "flash-mob style zombie outbreak."

Both events kick off a countdown to Salt Lake City's first Comic Con, occurring Sept. 5–7 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

While Comic Con International, held in San Diego each year, is the largest of the Comic Cons, several cities across the country have established their own conventions. The events celebrate comics and pop culture.

Dan Farr, a computer software engineer, decided it was time to bring a convention to Salt Lake City.

The event is expected to bring in more than 20,000 people, 200 vendors and dozens of celebrity guests, from actors to comic book artists.

Special guests include actors Adam West (the original Batman), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Manu Bennett (Pale Orc), David Prowse (Darth Vader) and William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), with more guests still to be announced.

“The gathering of talent in the room is going to be unprecedented for this type of market,” Farr said.

Tuesday, the convention announced Weta Workshops also would be attending. Weta Workshops is one of the design and effects groups behind Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" and "District 9." The New Zealand-based group works in a range of disciplines from conceptual design of movie weapons to makeup and prosthetics, all of which will be on display at its booth.

“If you look up what they had at Comic Con San Diego, the booth was one of the most exciting booths in San Diego, which is saying a lot," Farr said. "They are going to be bringing that exact booth here to Salt Lake."

This will be Weta Workshop's first event in the U.S. outside of San Diego Comic Con.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been invited,” Tim Launder, general manager of Weta Limited, said in a press release. “We have so many friends and fans across the American continent and we are looking forward to meeting more and making new friends in Salt Lake City. We are very grateful for the invitation and we promise to bring as much cool stuff as we can possibly fit in.”

Fans will be able to interact with artists and craftsmen as well as purchase products at the booth.

Find more information about the event, including panel and ticketing information, visit Salt Lake Comic Con's website or visit the Facebook page.

Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: kharmer@deseretnews.com Twitter: harmerk

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