At this year’s FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, fans gathered to meet their favorite stars, show off their finest cosplay and find a community of fellow pop culture obsessives. Salt Lake was there every day to take in the action and talk with celebrities, local creators and, of course, the fans themselves.
“What made you want to be a voice actor?” We asked five beloved voice actors—Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, Kaitlyn Robrock, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, who have voiced characters including Winnie the Pooh, Carl Wheezer and two of the three Animaniacs—about what inspired their careers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the actors said that TV and movies from their childhood, from The Jack Benny Program to The Flinstones to Aladdin, inspired their passion for performance.
John Ward of RawTin Garage is proud to have made ” a piece of FanX history.” RawTin’s custom motorcycle, bearing autographs from some of the convention’s most high-profile guests, has become an annual tradition. For other local businesses and organizations, FanX is a chance to connect with thousands of people and have some geeky fun. Pleasant Grove’s The Truffle Cottage sold Doctor Who-themed chocolates to sci-fi fans. The Utah Pride Center shared suicide prevention resources for the queer community. And Commander in Chief Carl Stark represented the Starfleet Command Seventh Fleet—”it’s a free club to join because it already costs too much to be a Star Trek fan,” Stark explains.
Even as big-name celebrities draw large crowds, many local artists and creators show off their own work at FanX. Cosplayer Sharyl Sykora joined a group of friends in costumes that she describes as a combination of chaos cats and Mad Max. Local writer Jessica Fowler shared an anthology of stories from the Utah Horror Writers Association. Some attendees used their fandom to make a positive impact in the community. Cameo Courage helps children battling health issues meet their favorite superheroes, and Ghostbusters of Salt Lake raises money for causes like the Humane Society of Utah.