Our Comprehensive Recap of Silicon Valley Comic Con 2018
Silicon Valley Comic Con 2018
San Jose Convention Center
San Jose, CA
April 6-8, 2018
Photos and Words by Tawni Kuhn and Jared Stossel
We’re three years deep into the presence of Silicon Valley Comic Con here in the Bay Area. If the message wasn’t originally received when the convention began at the San Jose Convention Center in the heart of Downtown San Jose in the spring of 2016, let our recap reiterate this statement once and for all: nerds are dominating pop culture, and rightfully so. Once were the days when nerd culture was ridiculed by the mainstream masses; now it’s responsible for studio income (Star Wars: The Last Jedi raked in over 1.3 billion dollars alone these past several months, while properties in the Marvel and DC universes are bringing in profits to film and television studios by the millions).
Silicon Valley Comic Con returned once again to its home venue, the San Jose Convention Center. What follows below is a comprehensive review that encompasses all aspects of the convention, from registration, to the navigation of the convention halls, all the way down to the artists and the talent that were present.
This year, registration took place off site. Well, sort of. Fans (in addition to vendors and press) were asked to pick up their credentials around the corner at the South Hall Convention Center, an extension of the general Convention Center that has been used in the past for various trade shows and events (if you’ve ever driven through Downtown San Jose, it’s the locale that looks like a giant blue-and-white striped circus tent.) While the location was a bit inconvenient for those who were already expecting to check in and register their wristbands at the usual Convention Center location, the line proved to move rather quickly, and you’d be registered within about fifteen minutes (or less) after getting in line.
This year, it was noticeably much more crowded in the general convention hall, where all of the exhibitors and celebrity autograph sessions were located. While this is definitely due to the high number of passes that were purchased for this year’s con, it was generally a lot easier to navigate from booth to booth in the previous year, and this is more than likely due to the fact that the convention opted not to use City National Civic, the 2,850-cap venue across the street from the Convention Center, as it did last year for the larger scale panels and events. Last year also featured the usage of Cesar Chavez Plaza where the Rally for Science and numerous other attractions were hosted. In comparison the last year, the convention was quite a bit smaller in scale, but it still provided a number of attractions and booths for spectators to take in and explore throughout the weekend.
This brings us to another noteworthy aspect of this year’s convention: the panels. More specifically, Saturday was practically scarce of big-name panels, with the exception of FX’s Archer panel (where fans were treated to the season premiere of Archer: Danger Island ahead of its television debut), a spotlight on actress Katee Sackhoff, and the annual ‘Hour with Adam Savage’ panel. Friday’s preview night featured a Star Wars panel with appearances by Ray Park (Darth Maul), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso), Daniel Logan (Boba Fett from Episode II: Attack of the Clones), and Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett). The panel itself was moderated by Rogue One: A Star War Story’s co-writer, Gary Whitta, and was a must-see for any Star Wars fan.
Sunday provided the largest yield for panels, including Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things), David Tenant & Krysten Ritter doing a spotlight on Jessica Jones, the Netflix series in which they co-star together, Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter series), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal [TV series], Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live, A Night At The Roxbury). While Sunday provided a great day for those hoping to get a chance to see their favorite celebrities in conversation, there may have been one too many packed into Sunday. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if the panels were spread out over both Saturday and Sunday, as it often made fans feel isolated that they could only do panels, or explore the floor, but never both. There’s a lot to take in, and while the panels may have all been scheduled on Sunday due to scheduling reasons for each panelist, it’s worth noting that everything felt very clumped together. Regardless, each panel was exciting and enjoyable, providing new insight into the careers of film and television favorites.
A notable booth during this year’s convention, and quite possibly our favorite of the entire con, was hosted by The Science Fiction Outreach Project, a non-profit organization which aims to put science fiction and literature into the hands of everyone they possibly can. The booth was staffed with volunteers that only had one goal in mind: give away as many free books as possible. (editor’s note: I was able to walk away with a number of paperback Star Trek and Doctor Who novelizations, and one of my writers managed to find a science fiction magazine with an essay written ages ago by none other than George R.R. Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones. Some great finds, indeed). For more information on the organization, you can visit their website at www.science-fiction-outreach.org.