This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It seemed like the ever-turning merry-go-round that is Salt Lake Comic Con was doing another lap last week.
A week after Utah's geek community had finished with Salt Lake Comic Con's FanX event, the con's co-founder Bryan Brandenburg posted a big announcement on Facebook, listing the celebrities booked for Salt Lake Comic Con in September.
The combination of the announcement's date (April 1) and the too-good-to-be-true nature of the list which included dream "gets" Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, David Tennant and "Supernatural" stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles clued everyone in that it was a big April Fool's joke.
But a serious announcement this week by Brandenburg indicates that the merry-go-round may slow down a bit and give Utah geeks a needed rest.
Brandenburg announced that, as things stand now, there won't be a FanX in spring 2017 because "there is no availability at the Salt Palace."
(Brandenburg took pains to say this was not a religious decision answering critics who have complained that Salt Lake Comic Con was bending over backward to avoid the first weekend in April, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds its semiannual General Conference. Frankly, scheduling a comic convention the same weekend as General Conference would be a traffic disaster in downtown Salt Lake City.)
Brandenburg assured Salt Lake Comic Con fans that he and partner Dan Farr have plenty in the works, starting with the fourth Comic Con on Labor Day weekend. Their company also will be busy staging three FanX events in Asia this fall.
Brandenburg promises other events in Salt Lake City this year, adding that "when you REALLY find out what we are up to you'll be dancing in the streets."
I'll hold off on the dancing for now, but I will be happy for the short rest after Salt Lake Comic Con is done in September.
Not that this year's FanX wasn't a success, attracting 50,000-plus attendees and wowing them with engaging celebrities, fun panel discussions and other events. (Disclaimer: I was on some of those panels and got to moderate the appearance by "Doctor Who" star Alex Kingston, who was delightful.)
But I still wonder whether Utah's geek community is big enough to support two fan events every year and whether Salt Lake Comic Con's staff wouldn't be doing fans a service by concentrating their efforts on one gigantic blowout every autumn.
For one thing, going to a con is expensive, if you factor in the passes to get in the door, the tickets for the special events (like this year's appearance by astronaut Buzz Aldrin), fees for photo ops and autographs, not to mention the pricey Salt Palace concessions. Add in materials for cosplay, and the bill can really add up and doing it twice a year is a strain on some geek budgets.
Then there's the notion that Salt Lake Comic Con, if it limited itself to a single event, could bring more to the party.
Take, for example, the talent, which points out the unintended subtext of Brandenburg's April Fool's joke. Some of the listed big stars represent the top tier of talent that Salt Lake Comic Con still strives to land on a regular basis the people Salt Lake needs to attract if it wants to keep up with its more established rival, San Diego Comic-Con.
(After the April Fool's gag, Brandenburg posted that some of the stars listed have been booked or were in the process of being booked for September. One, the venerable William Shatner, himself tweeted his involvement a month ago.)
And there's the possibility, after three FanX events and our fourth Salt Lake Comic Con arriving in less than five months, that the novelty is starting to wear off. Comic conventions can be special, magical things, but they stop being so special if they happen with the same regularity as switching our clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
There's one more advantage to a single comic convention in Salt Lake City every year: There will fewer chances for "The Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus to promise to be here and then cancel.