Shatner, Lee and record-breaking crowds: Inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con ends with a bang
As the Marvel comic book world has expanded, Lee admitted he has not been able to keep up with all of the books. But when asked who his favorite Marvel character was, Lee quickly responded with “Spider-Man,” an answer the crowd seemed to approve of.
“The funny thing is no matter what character I would have mentioned, you all would have cheered,” Lee said.
The hero spirit abounds
During his panel, Lee talked about his own hero as a child: Errol Flynn. The 1930s star was the hero actor of his era. From Captain Blood to Robin Hood, Flynn played characters who defended the poor or helpless. Lee said that as a child, Flynn was “the sheriff of Dodge City.”
“So there I was, 12 years old, leaving the movie theater with a crooked smile, the kind I thought Errol Flynn would have, and I’d be looking around for some little girl that might be bothered by a bully so I could defend her,” Lee said. “That’s how Errol Flynn affected me. I wanted to do good deeds.”
Several years ago, Shatner did a skit on "Saturday Night Live" where he attended a Star Trek convention and told the participants to “get a life.” While the skit was all in good humor, Shatner said he was always intrigued by why people feel drawn to the conventions.
“What are you doing here?” Shatner asked the audience. “What brought you to come here on a beautiful Saturday to listen to an actor speak?”
Shatner said that after hundreds of conventions, a book and even a documentary, he found that at the heart of Comic Con is a celebration of heroism and community. During the conventions, Shatner said, participants are able to celebrate the larger mythology behind the comics, movies, TV shows — themes of courage and heroism.
Bennett, of “The Hobbit,” said the messages in these media can be a powerful tool used to promote morality and change and help us become better people.
“I think that the lingering kind of message behind most of the comics is morality. In some way, the fans of these comics are not just connecting with a comic; they’re not just connecting with a drawing of a figure in a costume,” Bennett said. “They’re connecting with themselves and they’re connecting with society. I think one of the interesting things about Comic Con — the reason that it’s becoming so popular — is because they’re looking for answers and they’re finding it and connecting with it in each other.”
Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: harmerk
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