Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 1Hello Trekkers!

Yes, Salt Lake Comic Con got into full-swing and the Salt Palace Convention Center was busier than I’ve ever seen it, for the usual Thursday start. One big difference, this time, there isn’t the same Star Trek intensity that I’ve grown accustomed to; but its presense is still here, nonetheless. In fact, we had a ST celebrity open for us at the kickoff press conference: Vic ‘Capt. Kirk’ Mignogna.

In April, at FanX, Star Trek was the centerpiece of the convention. We had the cast of TNG, as-well-as William Shatner, the Star Trek: TNG bridge restoration was set up on the stage for the opening press conference (plus, a major attraction on the main floor) and there were many ST panels for people to attend: Karl Urban, for instance, was very popular. As-was, the last-minute arrival of Sir Patrick Stewart.

At the inaugural comic con, in 2013, William Shatner was the main-event, kicking things off in stellar style.

Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 2And, while ST isn’t the big-ticket draw, this go-round, we will be feeling its impact. Leonard Nimoy will be Skyping-in on Saturday, as this year’s surprise guest; and – as I said, Vic Mignogna is here for the duration. I ripped the ass out of my pants to climb up on stage to meet him; answering a challenge from our own Michael Clark, to say ‘hello.’ Not-only, did I get the message to Vic, but I got a selfie of the two of us on-stage and, Vic accepted our invitation to join Michael and Bunny on the show. Vic was great at the press conference, by-the-way; he came out of the T.A.R.D.I.S fired-up, coaxing the audience into singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and telling some good jokes about how Dan Farr (SLCC’s producer) coaxed him into attending. It was terrific meeting Vic and a highlight of my first day.

Also, in-attendance is Grant Imahara and Lou Ferrigno, who have roles in Star Trek Continues; the former as Hikaru Sulu, the latter (famous for playing the The Hulk in the ’70’s TV series) as the evil (and green, again) Orion slave dealer Zaminhon. So-far-as I know, this is it, Star Trek-wise; but each is appearing their own panels. Vic, actually has two.

Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 4Joe Corroney, a friend to VisionaryTrek, and – mine, is back for his second visit to Salt Lake City (having attended the aforementioned FanX in April). Joe has been on The Holodeck podcast a couple of times for his work on IDW’s Star Trek comics titles, and I’ve written some glowing reviews about his work, also. Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 5(You can find those here, by-the-way…) While he was here, I was able to speak with Joe briefly. He loves drawing TOS, (namely prime Spock) and TNG. Indeed, I was able to get a glimpse of Joe and Brian Miller’s collaborative ST:TOS novel-cover, (‘Foul Deeds Will Rise’ by Greg Cox), while I was at his booth, before it was released by CBS and Star Trek’s website, later that evening. Joe, also, did something very special for me: I left my Star Wars Trilogy leather-bound hardcover with him and he drew Boba Fett on the cover page, while he was in his hotel room, with a message to me and his signature, signifying SLCC14, as well. On Saturday, I had hoped to spend more time with Mr. Corroney, but I arrived late and we were both pressed for time; the crowd on Saturday was unbelievably massive, too. I did manage to get him to sign Joseph F. Berenato’s ‘New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics’, as he’s a definitive player in that history, now; plus I got a couple of surprises for some friends…

Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 3There’s a definite lack of Star Trek cosplayers at this con, though. I ran into two, Levi (Spock) and Shane (Kirk), and I asked them what they liked about ST. Levi is a TNG fan (despite being dressed in a JJverse uniform and Shane was partial to TOS. I asked them if they read any ST books or comics, but neither of them had; however, I told them they were really missing out on the ‘canonized’ ongoing-series. Especially, as Levi loves the new movies; particularly the twist on the Khan story in Into Darkness. (Down, haters! We all have our own likes and dislikes…eh?) It was great talking to them, though.

Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 6When it comes to ST merchandise, there’s no shortage. There’s everything from toys to Klingon Bat’leths to comic art and clothing. But, still – Star Wars had a larger variety of goods and vendors. I guess, FanX just took all of the air out of the Trekkers and a new focus was emphasized, this time. One cool item, however, was Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet (a local Star Trek fan association, cosplaying fan group, charitable organization) had a booth, where you could use computers to simulate various ship’s helm controls, flying these virtual ships, while raising funds for the charter and charity. John Adam Barnes has set me straight, saying: ” It was more than just helm control; 6 of the 9 PC’s each operated a department: Command, Helm, Science, Weapons, Engineering and Communications, to simulate being on a starship bridge. The other 3 were Game Master, Server and view screen. It only controlled 1 ship at a time. To do more than that you’d need at least 6 PC’s per ship.” Admiral Carl Stark offered to let me pilot one, but, I quietly waved him off; I’m not a gamer… I’m sure it was great fun, though.

Salt Lake City Sept 2014 Image 7The great comic con is over, now, but I still have a bit more to report, shortly; I sat in a panel with John Eaves and it was quite something. I’ll go back and listen to my recordings, then I’ll fill you in, as soon as I am able. As I said, the record-breaking event, which – Stan Lee called, ‘The greatest comic con in the world!’ is done, so I’m back to my paying job, and I’m visiting with my mother, too; she’s here from Florida.

Yes, we had 90,000 people in the Salt Palace Convention Center and the Gateway Theater; yes, the fire marshal locked-down the building because we exceeded capacity; yes, we still-reign as the ‘nerdiest state in the country’ and – yes, we are the third-largest comic con in the United States. No…three days is not nearly-enough time to cover it, either.

‘Til, next-time, I’ll see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone