What’s the Difference Between Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX™?

By Ashley Hasna and Blake Casselman

Those familiar with Salt Lake Comic Con will see many similarities with the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience show, or what’s more commonly known as FanX™. Like Salt Lake Comic Con, FanX is home to a wide range of celebrity guests ranging from film and TV, best-selling authors, astronauts, boy band members, WWE stars, YouTubers and comic creators. It has an exciting and thought-provoking lineup of panels, presentations, and workshops, a vendor floor with hundreds of businesses and talented individuals selling unique items in the popular culture realm and services to a “geek”-centered audience, a Cosplay contest, geek speed dating, Author Avenue and an Artist Alley which features amazing artwork directed at different fandoms from talented artists, both local and from around the world. Salt Lake Comic Con’s Founder and Producer, Dan Farr, likes to tell people “there are more similarities than differences” to both events, but there are differences which have distinguished FanX from Salt Lake Comic Con as well.

The primary difference between Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX is while Comic Con focuses on a broad spectrum of different fandoms tied to comic books, superheroes, science fiction and fantasy. FanX using comics as a foundation, paints outside the comic book box. It does this by focusing on specific fandoms, and on aspects of pop culture normally not found at most comic conventions. “Comic books are the bedrock of Salt Lake Comic Con, but the FanXperience is about expanding the fan genre beyond that base while still maintaining what is the core of a comic con,” explains Salt Lake Comic Con Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Co-Founder Bryan Brandenburg. “We’ve been able to use FanX as a focus on the fandoms people love, and with that take the experience of our attendees to the next level.” Some of those popular culture fandoms have included Star Trek: The Next Generation, Space, Boy Bands like Backstreet Boys and *NSync, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and Star Wars.

Past FanX shows have been home to unique events such as the Star Trek: The Next Generation Ultimate FanXperience featuring Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Denise Crosby, and moderated by Captain Kirk himself; William Shatner. There has been an Anime Film Festival which feature theatrical screenings of fan favorites such as Akira and Steam Boy, the Doctor Who Ultimate FanXperience featuring Matt Smith, Billie Piper, Karen Gillian, and Alex Kingston, Zom-B Laser Tag, and the interactive Walking Dead Experience.

At FanX 2016 thousands of space enthusiasts were thrilled to meet Dr. Buzz Aldrin, 2nd man to walk on the moon, and hear him speak on his experiences as part of the Apollo 11 moon mission, and to hear his thoughts on the future of space travel, including NASA’s upcoming mission to Mars. In another part of the convention center, fans were welcoming band members from The Backstreet Boys and *Nsync.

FanX has seen the premieres of some of our favorite featured items including the Tardis from Doctor Who, the Back to the Future Delorean and the USS Enterprise-D Bridge Restoration.

Amazing gaming tournaments have had a home at FanX as well, including Super Smash Brothers, League of Legends, Star Craft 2, and Xfinity Mario Kart.

FanX has also been where many activities and presentations have made their debut. Some of them have become fan-favorite staples for both FanX and Salt Lake Comic Con, including the “Twisted Toonz” panel presentation, Studio C, Kid Con, the Comic Con Bash after party, and the FanX Family Feud competition.

FanX is, by design, a physically smaller and more intimate event. With attendance capped at 50,000, FanX has sold out in 2015, 2016 and will sell out again in 2017. Many of the fans like the more personal event that is less crowded than the bigger event in September with attendance over 100,000. But with similar demand as the bigger show, it does sell out faster with much fewer tickets available.

Cosplay groups like the Umbrella Corporation, H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., Krayt Clan: Madalorian Mercs, the 501st, Rebel Legion – Rogue Base and more have participated at FanX in a union of multiple local groups in one place. They use the fandoms of the cosplay they represent for charitable causes, or in other words, “Through FanX, we’ve expanded support for the communities,” says Bryan Brandenburg.

In 2017, FanX is leveling up with Autograph vouchers that come with VIP and Gold Pass tickets. Co-Founders Farr and Brandenburg have promised “more affordable fanXperiences” at FanX and Autograph vouchers are one of the vehicles to fulfill that promise. A VIP ticket includes 2 Autograph vouchers that can be redeemed for an autograph session with a list of up to 10 participating celebrities (Gold Passes include 1 voucher).

Often the Autograph experience is more intimate than professional Photo Ops that are on a schedule and move fairly quickly. The value of these vouchers can be redeemed for Autographs worth $20-$50….or more. And unlike previous Photo Op vouchers, no other costs are required as they redeem straight across. Fans will get to meet more of their favorite celebrities than ever before for less than any previous event! We’ve reinvented the celebrity fanXperience and we’re sure you’re going to be thrilled. (Autograph vouchers must be redeemed no later than March 16th at 11:59 pm MST)

Also in 2017, we’ve shifted from a three-day event to just two days. We wanted more focus in a shorter period of time to allow more people to participate without having to take time off from work. These two days will be jam-packed full of fun and excitement but we think everyone will still have a fantastic and memorable event….without being completely exhausted like the September Salt Lake Comic Con. FanX 17 takes place March 17-18, 2017 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX are for anyone who enjoys pop culture. With the focus of FanX being on specific fandoms, will one of your favorite fandoms or pop culture icons receive the FanX treatment? Come to the show and find out! We’re confident that Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2017 will be our best one ever. Buy tickets here.

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