This past weekend was the first annual Silicon Valley Comic Con, taking place at the San Jose Convention Center. Hosted by Steve Wozniak and friends, the event was branded as the first office comic con in the area in years. I’m guessing Wizard World just didn’t happen last year…
Anyway, the show was packed with big names: Stan Lee, William Shatner, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Renner, a Back to the Future Reunion of Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and more. But it was more than celebrities. There were science people such as Adam Savage, and authors such as Andy Weir and Kevin J. Anderson. There were producers and writers from TV shows, comic book artists, and professional cosplayers. There were panels on the science behind the Marvel movies, VR technology, publishing, costuming, along with talks by Stan Lee, Shatner, and many of the celebrities. There were booths with wax figures from Madam Tussauds, and Robot Chicken was there recording an episode with all of its stop-motion glory. The badges were bracelets that had RFID chips in them, so you tagged in and out of the halls. It was a comic con on steroids, a celebration of all things geeky and nerdy and science-y. And we set an attendance record for the San Jose Convention Center with over 30k.
The first day was a Friday afternoon/night. It featured a talk with Shatner, but also gave everyone a chance to preview the space and the vendors. There were so many vendors. It was the same hall as Wizard World, but made better use of the space. There was a Stan Lee Museum where his sketches were featured. There was a space for the Str Wars people who build R2 units and a little museum of memorabilia. There were rows of artists and sellers that had everything from Japanese monster toys to vegan nail polish to Dune figures and everything in between. There was even a booth with crochet pokeballs. There were artists who made brushed metal paintings next to the VR booth that let you play a demo of their game. We saw Woz being interviewed, and it was so exciting to be so close to someone who shaped so much of the computer world (and regular world) that we live in. There was so much to see, and I honestly think that we missed some of it.
The second day was cosplay day. We convinced two of our friends to dress up with us. The four of us were Rey, Kylo Ren, BB-8 and Poe from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We were a big hit. Lots of kids wanted to take pictures with us. I blew one little girl’s mind by letting her hold my lightsaber in a photo. As always, it was a lot of fun. However, the condensed space with the giant crowds was a bit too much, and we changed into normal clothes halfway through the day. We attended the opening ceremonies where Woz walked right by us (!) and listened to a few talks. We looked at the auction items that were going to be sold the next morning. They had a crazy amount of cool Hollywood memorabilia: Arnold’s jacket from Terminator 2, the helmet from Judge Dredd, Selene’s guns from Underworld, a hat from The Last Starfighter, a pamphlet from Jurassic Park, Neo’s coat from The Matrix, hoverboards from Back to the Future 2, the helmet and mask from Top Gun, the volleyball from Cast Away, and so much more.
The third and final day had us meeting people. We met Ray Park (Darth Maul), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), and Vic Mignogna, who is a prolific voice actor but also staring as Captain Kirk in the fan-funded Star Trek Continues series. We went to a screening and Q&A of an episode of the show. As usual, everyone was really nice and cool. After autographs, we walked around the floor again to try and find everything we missed. Before we knew it, the day was over, and it was time to go home and back to reality.
The show was a tremendous amount of fun. There were a few missteps with lines for food and badging in and out, but I think that was due to the amount of people that showed up. I don’t know that anyone expected that many, considering the numbers that showed up to Wizard World. However, Woz and his friends managed to get almost every nerd in the area to show up, and we are incredibly glad that he did.
Want to learn more about the show? http://svcomiccon.com/