Look out San Diego, there just might be a new comic con in town. Silicon Valley Comic Con welcomed more than 30,000 con goers to the San Jose Convention center in its inaugural weekend, and we’re only talking about the first day!
While 30,000 seems like a far cry from SDCC’s 130,000 attendance, it’s a helluva start for a fledgling convention. That roaring success might have something to do with it being the brainchild of Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak and Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee.
"There was a time before Apple when we were geeks, and we were just different," Woz told the crowd during the opening ceremonies. "We liked living outside the rules." With the biggest names and minds in the Silicon Valley backing it, it’s should come as no surprise that SVCC brought out some of the best and the brightest celebrity guests. "Back to the Future" stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson were together for a rare panel and series of photo ops. Other must see celebs included, Peter Mayhew, (Chewbacca in Star Wars), William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols from the original Star Trek TV series, Jeremy Renner of Marvel's The Avengers, and Nathan Fillion, just to name a few.
Among the fabulous cosplayers and dizzying display of vendors and collectibles there was a virtual reality area that was completely unlike anything I’d experienced before. We were able to catch the “Let’s Go to Mars” panel which included The Martian author Andy Weir, Adam Savage, and Chris McKay of NASA. The panel discussed the reality of going to Mars and how close NASA is to an actual mission to Mars. The blend of real science in this panel infused into the world of science fiction epitomized the beauty of the convention and what made Silicon Valley Comic Con different than other cons.
The highlight of the first full day was definitely the Back to the Future panel featuring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson. The touching reunion came at the heels of the recent Back to the Future revival that dominated the pop culture scene in October. The group fielded a number of questions including why they thought the Back to the Future franchise has been successful, to which Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) responded, “I think imagining yourself in another time is a universal fantasy everyone has.” He also told the audience that over the years he’d a number of people tell him that they’d become scientists because of BTTF. When asked where they could travel if they could travel anywhere in time Lea Thompson gained thundering applause from the audience when she declared, “I’m a woman, so I’m happy to be right here, right now.”
One audience member with Parkinson's asked Michael J Fox about dealing with Parkinson's. To which Fox responded - “I just take note of it and find another way to get around it. First thing in the morning, I wake up and I’m a mess, and then I look in the mirror and say, 'What the hell are you smiling about?' And then I try to keep that smile on me the rest of the day.” Fox also talked about normalizing the way we see the disabled community via how they are portrayed on TV.
So far the Silicon Valley Comic Con has already thrown down the gauntlet in the growing world of cons. And I am looking forward to seeing what the second full day brings...