The Experienced Veteran

Matt Kunes

As many of my friends can attest, I am a major geek. I enjoy fantasy, science fiction and a whole lot of anime.

I think Salt Lake Comic Con was created for the sole purpose of making me happy.

Okay, so I don’t really believe that, but sometimes I feel that way. I attended Comic Con all three days and I was very glad I did.

At the Con, I got to meet many of my favorite authors. I shook hands with fantasy author Brandon Sanderson at his signing, and he wrote funny messages on the title pages of my books.

I sat down with four strangers and engaged in a good, old-fashioned game of “Dungeons & Dragons.” It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard. Sit down with me sometime and I’ll tell you the story.

Walking around the convention floor, I was surrounded by fellow fans. Many came in costume, and everywhere I turned, there was a different  recognizable character. I was almost perpetually smiling.

This was where I belonged.

At one table they were selling katanas, a Japanese sword. I was disappointed since they didn’t have one specific weapon I would buy: a reverse-blade katana featured in one of my favorite anime, “Rurouni Kenshin.”

At another booth, DVDs flew off the shelves from a medieval fantasy film company, Arrowstorm Entertainment. With titles like “The Christmas Dragon” and “Orc Wars,” they sure turned a few heads.

I passed through a whole section of booths showcasing brilliant works of fantasy art from many talented artists.

I rifled through huge stacks of anime posters, looking for a poster from one specific film. I found it– right at the bottom. It’s hanging on my bedroom wall right now.

I passed by a life-sized statue of Gandalf the Grey, as portrayed by Ian Mckellen in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogies. He was looking weathered and beaten down, struggling against forces beyond comprehension.

I bought a t-shirt, and then another and another. The rest of my siblings could not go to Comic Con because of school and other plans, so I made up for it by getting them all souvenirs.

At Comic Con, I could be myself without having to apologize. There, what I loved was celebrated rather than forgotten. I was surrounded by people who, in countless ways, actually “got it.”

Salt Lake Comic Con was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had all year.

The Newcomer

Emilee Atkinson

After waiting in what seemed to be the longest line in the world, I entered Comic Con for the first time on Saturday.

It was awesome.

Although there were reportedly 100,000 people in attendance, the day couldn’t have been better. Putting it into words is a little difficult, but I’m going to try my best.

The masses were filled with excited people ready to embrace the bombardment of art, cosplays and merchandise.

My journey started in the area with artists, because that was the first thing you saw when you finally made it in the doors.

My initial thought when I got in was, “Wow, where am I supposed to begin in here?” Soon enough, however, I started weaving in and out of various aisles and began to feel like a seasoned pro.

I was ecstatic when I saw someone doing a cosplay of one of my favorite characters. I was able to hunt down quite a few awesome costumes and get good pictures.

My main mission of the day was to find anything that had to do with “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” its spinoff “The Legend of Korra” and of course, “Star Wars.”

I wore a t-shirt featuring Darth Vader in a phone booth, and to my surprise no one else was wearing the same shirt. That made me quite happy.

From the artist section, I made my way further into the Con and found many amazing and interesting things in the Kid Con area. While the area says it’s for kids, it was just as fun for me.

After that adventure I headed to an area where I found an Umbrella Corporation booth, as well as the 501st Legion, a group of Utahns who cosplay  as “Star Wars” stormtroopers and go to awesome events.

After spending a ton of money on amazing art, buying overpriced beverages and walking until my feet and legs were extremely sore, I still had one of the best days of my life.

I am looking forward to doing it all again next year.

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