Monday, 9 September 2013

SLC Comic Con 2013 – Fewer Virgins Than Any Comic Con In History

posted on 9/9/2013 by the Salt City Sinner

Salt Lake City's first Comic Con, held from September 5 - 7, was a record-crushing success. SLCCC sold 50,000 tickets, had around 80,000 visitors, had to turn thousands away at the doors (including some wristband-holders, due to excessive amounts of people and pesky fire codes).

Celebrity meatvatars included Adam West, William Shatner and Stan Lee. You could play “blast a storm trooper” or get your picture taken with probably no fewer than three hundred Batmen roaming the floor, ranging from the pudgy and depressing to the marvelous and movie-quality.

Like all cons, this one was an orgy of both creativity and consumerism – a colorful peacock parade of costumes jammed shoulder-to-shoulder between long rows of booths selling art prints, posters, clothing, video games, action figures, and, of course, comic books.

SLCCC will be back, I have absolutely no doubt, and that is a boon for Salt Lake's geek / weirdo economy (arguably the most important economy of all). In addition to regional and national venders, local favorites like Night Flight and Doctor Volt's comic shops, Crone's Hollow pagan emporium, and the Salt Lake City Weekly (which voted this humble blog SLC's saltiest in 2012 – REPRESENT) were present, glad-handing and doing a brisk trade.

I talked with a regional antiques vendor who specializes in books and comics, both of which I collect, and scored a sweet antique Doctor Strange special issue:

What made Salt Lake City Comic Con stand out to me was the demographic makeup.

First of all, the crowd was much more diverse in terms of race, age, and gender than I expected, more than most events I've been to in Salt Lake. Second, what SLCCC drove home to me was how mainstream geekdom is in Utah. Geekiness and nerdiness are at their high-water mark in mainstream culture as well, but the virtues of nerd-dom – alienation from “traditional” pop culture, a flair for the creative and the detail-fixated, proud (supposed) intelligence and wonkiness – align so closely with the virtues of Mormon culture that being a geek has always been easier in Utah than elsewhere, based on my subjective first-hand experience.

So many LDS kids I knew growing up – a strong majority, really – could quote Monty Python or Star Wars chapter and verse, or delighted in memorizing the schematics of the USS Enterprise, that it really shouldn't have surprised me how successful a dorkbutante ball would be in Zion. This leads us to my last observation, the one regarding virgins.

I would bet the family spider farm in western Montana that Salt Lake City Comic Con had fewer virgins in attendance than any Comic Con in history. I base this wager on the fact that SLCCC's child-friendly policies and the enormous family orientation of Utah/LDS culture combined to heavily tilt the makeup of the event toward young families: in other words, where an average con plays host to a bevy of lonely, portly men in ill-fitting Superman costumes, this con featured many more stressed, portly men in ill-fitting Superman costumes with Wonder-Woman-costumed wives in tow and little Aquaman and wee Captain Janeway trailing behind.

As repressed and weird as Utah can be, I'll say this much: SLCCC proved that our nerds are knocking boots (and each other up) on the regular.

1 comment:

  1. "...a dorkbutante ball..." LoL.

    Yer def in fine fettle with this one, Chas... ...good read/spot on analysis.