‘An escape’: Cosplayers, celebrities and fantasy fans gather for FanX

  • 5 min read
  • Sep 24, 2022

‘An escape’: Cosplayers, celebrities and fantasy fans gather for FanX

Estimated study time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The famous Spider-Man meme of three Spider-Men pointing at each other became real — though not for the first time this year, if you’ve seen the latest superhero (or superheroes) episode — on Thursday as a line for FanX , the Utah Comic Convention was formed.

Friends Isaac Hammond and Jeremiah White went together and dressed as the character’s Tom Holland and Tobey McGuire respectively. While waiting for the meeting to start, they bump into Mostyn Cagle, dressed as Andrew Garfield, and agree that the three will form a “new friendship”.

The young men said they aspire to do good deeds like Peter Parker, who goes from being a shy geek to a hero.

“I’ve been watching these movies since I was little… I guess I just wanted to be that. I just feel like being a bully can be a good thing,” White said.

That’s something they wanted to celebrate over the weekend, as they said they were excited to fly their flags alongside others at FanX.

“They’re all the same,” Hammond said.

“I love the vibe. I’m not going to be bullied … I’m just being me and feeling good,” Cagle said.

“No one will judge you for wearing a suit. It feels good,” added Hammond. “It’s an escape.”

Thousands of people are expected to attend the conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City this weekend. This conference features celebrities and creators from across the entertainment industry. Many of the attendees on Thursday dressed up as characters from the fantasy world, from anime to sci-fi to superheroes and beyond.

Attendees can meet and take photos with their favorite celebrity guests and listen to panel discussions. Hundreds of vendors are also selling their wares, filling the Salt Palace Convention Center with colorful artwork, toys and items for space games, a form of performance art in which fans dress up as fictional characters.

Mike Lookinland, who plays Bobby Brady on The Brady Bunch , said FanX was “the biggest and nicest and coolest thing I’ve ever seen across the country, and I’ve worked in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles. “

Mike Lockeland speaks to reporters during the FanX conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Mike Lockeland speaks to reporters during the FanX conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday. (Photo: Ashley Imley, KSL.com)

He noted that Salt Lake City is a “local show and hometown” for him, as his mother lives in the area.

One of the biggest draws to the Lokiland convention is the fans, which her colleague Florence Henderson has taught her are essential to keeping the show going. Luckinland said he enjoys meeting people, shaking their hands and hearing their stories. He also “fans” himself for other performers.

“But by the end of the weekend, I’ll be spent,” he said.

Luckinland said he never gets tired of hearing people tell him they love “The Brady Band” — and he’s rarely heard anything negative about the show.

“It’s all good, and that’s why the show has lasted all these years. It’s because it feels good to watch it, to grow up with it, to watch your kids watch it.”

Celebrity guest Backstreet Boy AJ McLean said the first comic convention he attended was FanX in 2016.

“I love it. I’m a big kid, so I love comic books, I love Marvel, I love the whole experience, so I’m proud to be here,” McLean told reporters.

He said the popular boy group (now Mardan) is still going strong after 30 years together and will soon release its first Christmas album. He said a collaboration with British girl group the Spice Girls might also be in the works, though that hasn’t happened yet.

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean speaks to reporters during the FanX Comic Con on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Backstreet Boy AJ McLean speaks to reporters during the FanX Comic Con on Thursday in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Ashley Imley, KSL.com)

When asked if he considered himself a nerd, he said: “I’m the biggest nerd in the world. I’m a tomboy, I love toys, I’m a collector. I’m a big collector. With sneakers and Funkos. They have a serious problem,” referring to culture-oriented dolls.

He added that he has about 1,200 Funko dolls that his wife forced him to move into storage, as well as an “Iron Man” helmet. “It’s like my sanctuary, through any of these problems. I have the best time. And the other artists and the people and the fans here are so kind and sweet, and honestly, it’s just one big, happy family. You.”

The convention honors iconic characters like Nintendo’s Mario, who perhaps no one knows better than Charles Martin.

“Hi, it’s me, Super Mario! Woohoo. Mommy Mia, you’re #1!” said Martin, who has voiced Mario since 1992.

He said he failed the audition for the character after never having heard of Nintendo.

“You’re an Italian plumber from Brooklyn named Mario, and you’re going to be in a video game, a real-time animation system for Nintendo,” Martinet recalled being told at the hearing.

He said he started describing the process of making spaghetti in an Italian accent until he ran out of words and started making it. Martinet said he found the job and it has been a “great joy” for the 30 years since.

Charles Martin, who voices Mario for Nintendo, poses during Fan X in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Charles Martin, who voices Mario for Nintendo, poses during Fan X in Salt Lake City on Thursday. (Photo: Ashley Imley, KSL.com)

“Do what you love, find what makes your heart sing, and bring yourself happiness. Be your own best friend, because you deserve the love and affection that your best friend gives you. And then to Go into your own world. Martine advises others, because you will bring happiness to others. “I think our world would be a better place if we all dedicated ourselves to our own happiness and that of others.”

Jennifer McKenna, of Ogden, said she attends the convention every year but once. His favorite event is the “Dr. Horrible Singing Blog”, a charity event held at the end of the convention.

“And 500 people sing along, and we’re like, we have gear and everything. It’s awesome,” he said.

He was excited to meet the famous “Star Trek” actor on Thursday.

Brick toys of multiple characters will be unveiled during FanX in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Brick toys of multiple characters will be unveiled during FanX in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

Actress Rachel Skarsten, a celebrity guest at the event, said she loves comic conventions because they give people a chance to be themselves. He said he’s excited for FanX, which he’s attending for the first time.

Jonas Carlind and Tate Rigthrup traveled from Cedar City for the convention, where they co-starred as a samurai and a knight.

“I’ve always wanted to go to a convention. I’ve never been to one. I happen to have all of these,” Rigthrup says of his knight’s armor.

Carlind was excited to meet “Princess Bride” actress Cary Elwes, and Rigthrup said she couldn’t wait to shop the merchandise, especially a leather backpack.

Rigthrup said she’s looking forward to “being included. It’s nice to be around people who are as shy as you are.”

“It’s nice to come and express your interests and hobbies, things you like to do, watch and play,” Carlind said.

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Ashley Imley covers state politics and breaking news for KSL.com. A lifelong Utahn, Ashley also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.