Comic-Con Mania

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Comic Con by Terry Check  IMG_9805The nerd/geek culture, the New Cool, has gone mainstream. Everyone, young and old, are entertained by fictional characters like Superman, Iron Man, Spider-man, and the Avengers as the characters become animated at Comic-Con.

Many fans and celebrities amass at Comic-Con events in cities such as San Diego, New York, and Salt Lake City to celebrate sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and horror in film, television, and comicbooks. More than 120,000 fans—many personifying their favorite fictional characters—converged on downtown Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Palace to celebrate this ever-expanding nerd/geek pop culture phenomenon. Captivating panel discussions and photo ops with over 200 celebrity guests, hundreds of vendors selling books, shirts, and posters, and stage performances enacting sci-fi battle scenes set the theme for the three-day event.

Far and beyond the most popular panel discussion with guest celebrities was Stan Lee, the King of the Comic-Con pop cultural events.

“Comicbook is one word, not two,” Lee preached to his fandom. “A comic book means a funny book. A comicbook is something special.”

Comic Con by Terry Check  IMG_9817In the Q&A session when a fan asked about how inspirational comic characteristics influenced his life, Lee simply responded, “I was just writing these things to make a living, to pay the rent. I didn’t know I was performing this great public service.” When asked to name his favorite character, he smiled and said, “All of them. You’d never suspect this, but I am my biggest fan.”

Another fan asked, “Who was the better Spider-Man: Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield?”

“I like ‘em both. Tobey’s wonderful. Andy’s a different look, but he’s a terrific actor,” Lee replied with a grin. “There’s only one person who could do it better, but I wasn’t available at the time.”

Lee’s creation of Marvel Comics gave us unforgettable characters like Iron Man, Spider-man, Thor, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and an unending list of popular icons. Lee commented, “You people are the greatest Comic-Con in the world. You are the best group of fans anywhere, and it is such a pleasure coming here, I can’t tell you.” His commentary was appreciated by the organizers of the Salt Lake City Comic-Con since more than 40 Comic-Con conventions are scheduled for the United States in 2015, and many more throughout the world.

Comic Con by Terry Check  IMG_9823“Standing room only” was posted in every ballroom hosting panel discussions with celebrity guests like actor Stephen Amell of CW’s hit series Arrow, Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie, Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead series, Cary Elwes of The Princess Bride, television personality Hulk Hogan, golden Globe winner Ron Perlman of Beauty and the Beast, actor Simon Helberg of The Big Bang Theory, and too many others to mention.

The best feature about Comic-Con is cosplay (short for costume play): creating and wearing elaborate costumes giving homage to favorite characters from comicbooks, cartoons, anime, or live-action films. Cosplayers sometimes adopt the character’s personality, simply enjoy the notoriety of cosplay, and revel in the creative process as they banter with other cosplayers. As a Batman cosplayer said, “The idea of every day sort of being Halloween just makes it that much more fun because not only do you get to step in the shoes of a character that you really love, but on top of that you get to connect with people who really love these characters as well.”

Whether you are a cosplayer or simply enjoy fictional characters, Comic-Con is for you.

Read more article by Terry Check on ClicheMag.com

“Comic-Con Mania” was originally published in Cliché Magazine’s Dec 2014/Jan 2015 Issue: Photographed by Terry Check

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