Utah Comic Con: The Mecca for Geeks

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Students, businessmen, doctors and blue collar workers mull around like cattle in a massive convention center.  Although they vary in personal background, they all attend this convention for one reason: they are all geeks.

Adam McNevin, left, who is a web editor for The Universe, attended Salt Lake's Comic Con as Sweeny Todd. Courtesy Adam McNevin
Adam McNevin, left, who is a web editor for The Universe, attended Salt Lake’s Comic Con as Sweeney Todd. Courtesy Adam McNevin

The Mecca for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts, Comic Con is a place where anyone can portray their favorite comic book character without fear of judgment, mockery or scorn from onlookers. At the Con, you are a geek, and everyone loves you for it.

Comic Con is one of the few places where you can brandish a massive sword and not get arrested. You can wear revealing costumes without receiving judgmental looks. You can cake your face in zombie makeup and sneak up on others while croaking in their ears. In any other place, these actions would merit a restraining order.

But at the Con, they are welcomed with open arms.

Comic Con encompasses a dizzying scope of genres. Stands sell weapons for zombie survivalists. Tailors occupy booths to display their steampunk-themed costumes. Artists promote their masterpieces of Superman and Lois Lane sharing a smooch. Some even set up tattoo parlors to administer to those with a hankering for superhero ink.

Anything goes at the Mecca for Geeks.

Celebrities make appearances at these conventions to grace the fans that idolize them. Attendees fight over John De Lanci’s autograph, cut lines to slap Henry Winkler’s hand and throw punches to claim Stan Lee’s table scraps. Do you want a picture with William Shatner? Pay $75 and he is all yours.

I attended Comic Con in Utah this year as Sweeney Todd, and I was something of a celebrity. Being the only one out of 80,000 dressed as Sweeney Todd, I received countless requests for pictures. In every picture, I held my fake razor up to their necks, reveling in the attention I received for my fictitious murderer getup. For a brief moment, I was a star.

In hindsight I realized I was a fool for not capitalizing on my stardom. Case in point: an actor that played a vague role in only one episode of The Walking Dead charged $40 for a picture.  Few attendees knew who he was, yet everyone knew my character and wanted a picture. If I charged even one dollar for every pose I made, I would have have paid off my admission ticket three times over.

The Con is a forum where people express what they hold dear. It is a stage where everyone holds a starring role in the production of a lifetime. From the muscled Spartan to the toddler Wolverine, all walks of life come to enjoy the thrill of cosplay.They come to celebrate who they really are inside: true blue geeks.

And they are not ashamed. I am not ashamed.

View our slideshow of the Salt Lake Comic Con action here.

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