BYU students prepare for Salt Lake Comic Con

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Timo Elliot
Timo Elliot wears armor he has worked on for six years. He plans on wearing this armor at Comic Con and selling chainmail jewelry. (Timo Elliot)

The biannual Salt Lake Comic Con is back this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 1-2, 2016. With it comes Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk actor William Shatner and John Cena, among other fandom favorites.

The Salt Lake Comic Con may just be beginning, but many — including BYU students — started preparing for the event long before Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

BYU senior Timo Elliot, an illustration major, signed up for a booth at comic con six months in advance, right after the last Salt Lake Comic Con. For the second time, Elliot and three other friends, including BYU roommate Jason Averett, are selling chainmail jewelry at the Salt Lake Comic Con.

“We make hair clips, headdresses, bracelets — lots and lots and lots of bracelets — some necklaces, key chains, lots of earrings,” Elliot said.

The group also designed graphic T-shirts and bought a 3D printer for die to sell. During the long hours of creating jewelry and other merchandise, the group binge-watches shows like “The Lord of the Rings” and all of the Marvel Universe movies.

The business started in part for Comic Con, which provided a venue for selling what was once only a hobby for Elliot. Elliot’s jewelry was originally inspired by his suit of armor, an award-winning costume he has worked on making on and off for the past six years.

“The armor is a stylized German harness circa 1380,” Elliot said. “It’s basically metal sandwiched between two pieces of leather.”

Elliot plans on wearing his armor for at least part of the convention. Most of his time at Comic Con will be spent at the booth, but he hopes to see Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker. Though Elliot does like to go for his business, his favorite part about Comic Com is his opportunity to make “obscure geek references.”

“It’s nice to go and make obscure geek references and have people around you recognize them,” he said. “It’s also fun to see all of the other people geeking out about their things, even if I’m not really into it. It does my sanity nice to see there are other people more into their thing than I am.”

BYU illustration major Junior Hannah Leber also loves Comic Con for the people.

“They are some of the most fun-loving and accepting (people),” Leber said. “The vibe of it is really electric just because everyone wants to be there.”

Leber said she isn’t one to go “all out” for comic con, but she does keep her eye out at thrift stores for different outfits she can wear. She bases her costumes off of what she can find or sees in thrift stories that remind her of a character. This year, she plans on dressing up as Peggy Carter from Captain America and Princess Leia from Star Wars.

Hannah Leber
Hannah Leber dresses up as Princess Leia from Star Wars for the 2016 Salt Lake Comic Con. (Hannah Leber)

“I also brought a Bob Ross T-shirt and I’ve thought about teasing my hair and being being Bob Ross,” she said.

Leber had the misconception before attending her first Comic Con that the event was “just for comic books.” This is now her third Comic Con and she said there’s far more to it than that.

“It’s for a lot of fandoms,” Leber said. “It’s broad.”

Brittany Kholer, a senior majoring in English, is one such individual who goes for a variety of fandoms. She will dress up as Mabel Pines from the animated series “Gravity Falls,” Bee from the animated web series “Bee and puppycat” and Toriel from the video game “Undertale.”

Kohler has attended Comic Con since around 2004 and has dressed up for every one. She said the costumes are a good “starting point” for talking to other people at the convention. One thing she looks forward to is seeing familiar faces from past conventions

“It’s like one big geeky family reunion,” she said.

Like Elliot, Kohler also has a booth for her art at Comic Con. After finding a lot of success with her My Little Pony bookmarks at the Crystal Mountain Pony Con two years ago, Kohler began actively creating and selling art at Comic Con.

The event offers a creative outlet for all types of people. Leber even suggested people bring their children, as she wished her parents did. She said had she gone as a child, it might have cleared up a lot of misconceptions.

“When I first heard about it I never thought, ‘Wow, that’s something I would be really interested in,’ but now that I go, I realize it’s all across the board,” Leber said.

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