Tessa Barney and Cara Darr at FanX 2015. Cara Darr/Signpost
Tessa Barney and Cara Darr cosplay at FanX 2015. (Cara Darr/Signpost)

Imagine a world of muggles, wizards, storm troopers and hobbits. Picture a fantasy land full of nerd poetry slams, sci-fi speed dating and comic book reading. Now imagine putting all this together in a few days.

Actually, there’s no need to imagine; FanX 2015 gave the experience of all these things packed into three days.

Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, declared FanX The ultimate fan celebration. “Salt Lake Comic Con has brought to our capital city every sort of comic, book, movie and television hero, from captains of the Enterprise and leaders of the rebellion to costumed heroes and more Doctor Whos than you can shake a Dalek’s plunger at,” said Becker.

Featuring over 150 hours of panel programming, FanX 2015 also displayed Artist Alley, Author Avenue, Kidcon, photo ops and autographs with celebrities. A few of the biggest names that appeared at FanX 2015 are Matt Smith from “Doctor Who,” Steven Yeun from “The Walking Dead,” and Carrie Fisher from “Star Wars.”

“It’s a really great environment for any nerd,” Tessa Barney, junior of zoology at Weber State University, said.  Barney has attended Comic Con and FanX for three years. “Everybody is nerdy and everybody loves each other. You could find something you love and something you really want to get into,” she added.

FanX 2014 broke the record for the most attended convention ever to be held in Utah. FanX was also the third largest in the United States and the largest in North America per capita with 100,000 attendees.

Lawrence Magana, WSU sophomore of computer science, said his favorite part of FanX was looking through the artist gallery. “When you see different artists illustrate the same topics, it’s always amazing to see which one you like better,” he said.

Magana was a part of an art booth so it took away time from enjoying the con. Although he was happy to be selling artwork at the booth, he was looking forward to two of the panels.

“I’m dying to see Tom Felton and Brandon Routh’s panel,” explained Magana. “The Doctor Who panel would be amazing since Matt Smith, Billie Piper and Karen Gillan are in there but it sold out and was way too expensive.”

Panels to discuss nerd topics may be a part of a con but cosplay is a major factor. The cosplay contest in 2015 was different from last year because of the added youth division contest. The genres for cosplay included, but weren’t limited to, comics, sci-fi, anime, zombies, steampunk, television and film.

Barney’s cosplay for FanX 2015 was Roxanne Richter, but most would know her as “Evil Ex No. 4” from “Scott Pilgrim VS. The World.”

“Everyone is constantly asking to have pictures with each other or they’re complimenting everybody all the time,” Barney said, explaining why she cosplays at cons.  “Then they’ll strike conversations about their costume … why they chose to cosplay what they did.”

Looking at exhibits is a must-do at FanX or any con. From merchandise displays to the art gallery, there was something for everyone.

Magana explained the art booth he worked at, saying “Most of our art is just based on popular demands at the moment. We have different things because there are four different artists. We have a lot of black and whites, color, hand-drawn artwork and just random types based on the mainstream demand such as video games, TV shows or actors.”

Decker declared the opening day of FanX 2015 “Salt Lake City’s Day of Heroes.”

“The great city of Salt Lake is welcoming of everyone who seeks to celebrate, share and strengthen the arts and culture,” said Decker. “Whether through comics, crafts, movies, games or steampunk unicorn Deadpool costumes.”


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