Dana Blunk, Creative Media Group
The Facebook event had only been posted on the Salt Lake Comic Con fan page for 35 hours. Fans of all ages in almost every costume imaginable flocked to Orem for the event — a commercial shoot to publicize the upcoming Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, which will be held in Salt Lake City from April 17-19.
Dan Farr, co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con, hopes that the commercial created Wednesday will help draw more attention to the Comic Con scene in Utah.
“These people are such big fans of the different genres of films and comic books and everything and it’s just amazing to see the turnout from the community,” he said.
Farr’s inaugural event in September 2013 broke national records for a first-time convention, as reported by Forbes Magazine.
“The culture (in Utah) is that people come to help out on things,” Farr said. “But people, when you get something that they like to do, and if you’re going to make a costume like what people have made, you look for almost any chance possible to showcase that. People don’t make these costumes to have them sitting in a box. They make the costume so they can share it."
More than 100 costumed fans showed up to the event Wednesday. Two of those fans, Shawn and Shane Gordon, saw the photo shoot as an opportunity to show off their costumes. The Gordons, identical twins, have been making costumes for years. Shawn came dressed in a classic Batman costume, circa 1966, and Shane was dressed as a clone trooper from Star Wars.
“It’s really great to take an interest in the activities here, especially Comic Con and the FanX,” said Shawn Gordon, who lives in Ogden. “Not only is it fun to go, but it’s great to be a part of it.”
Shane Gordon and his wife, Larissa, heard about the event on Tuesday and immediately made plans to get off work in time to drive down to Orem the next day. This was no small undertaking, however, as they live in Preston, Idaho.
“I called my wife and I’m like, ‘Get tomorrow off. We’re going down to Orem,’ ” Shane Gordon said. “We just planned yesterday and got up early this morning to make it down here.”
Larissa Gordon, who came dressed as a Star Wars snow trooper, explained that they had to leave one of their sons home in Idaho.
“He actually likes school,” his father added. Their other son came down for the event later in the afternoon, adorned in his finest Star Wars Boba Fett costume.
Shawn, Shane and Larissa are all members of a local chapter of a Star Wars club knows as The 501st Legion. Members of the Legion pride themselves on having costumes that are completely faithful to their Hollywood counterparts, both in design and in quality. Shawn said that his clone trooper costume took four people four months to make.
Many fans that took time to attend the Orem shoot were treated to a special guest. Daniel Logan, best known for his role as young Boba Fett in “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” stopped by to be part of the commercial and take pictures with fans.
“I love what people like Dan Farr are able to do,” Logan said. “They bring people and communities together.”
Logan, a New Zealand native, recently relocated from California to Salt Lake City. He says that a convention like April’s FanXperience “automatically brings a community together."
“We’re not in (Los Angeles) where there’s things that are always happening,” he said. “For one weekend, we get to go out and be a part of something big — get to relive those memories of actors that we saw in the past or present actors that we admire the work of today.”
One of Farr’s goals this year is to show people that Comic Con is not just about comic books and costumes. “Our biggest challenge with an event like this is that people don’t realize how broad the appeal is. They may not realize that there really is something there for everybody. You don’t have to be a super fan or make your own costumes to enjoy that."
Farr says that Salt Lake City has established itself as a national powerhouse for all things pop culture. “The fans here in Utah are just phenomenal,” he said. “The fact that they came out and the support that they did for our first event has opened so many doors for us to make Salt Lake a place that celebrities and venders and everybody that they want to be here. We don’t have to twist arms to get people to want to be here. The fans put Salt Lake on the map like no other city, so that’s a big deal.”
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