ICYMI: Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 – Recap & Review

2016_03_19_Back_to_the_Future_Panel_Silicon_Valley_Comic_Con_2016

Back this March – Friday, March 18th to Sunday, March 20th, I had the good fortune of being able to attend the first ever Silicon Valley Comic Con. I’ve always wanted to go to Comic Con in San Diego, but it seems that year-after-year, tickets for the conference get harder and harder to get. I had only heard about the event a few weeks prior to the show – applied for a press pass online, and shortly afterwards, received confirmation for press credentials.

The idea of Silicon Valley Comic Con was first conceived by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak:

“Silicon Valley Comic Con will be a show unlike any other, as we bring together the best in technology and entertainment all under one gigantic roof,” Wozniak wrote on the convention’s official page. “There are lots of fans like me in San Francisco and the Valley, and I’m excited to finally have a Comic Con with our very own flavor. When I was growing up it was hard to be a geek. It definitely wasn’t cool back then, but I am happy that things have changed because now being a geek, or being different is cool. And Silicon Valley Comic Con celebrates being a geek!””

What got me really excited was the fact that there was going to be a “Back to the Future” (BTTF) panel with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson. BTTF is one of my all time favorite movies, so I was pretty excited to possibly attend.

I was able to attend all three days, but not all day – Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Overall, I had a great time – though I thought the convention hall was a bit crowded and the event could have been a bit more organized (the organizers were aiming for 30,000 attendees but announced after the conference that there were over 60,000 attendees over the three days), but hiccups were to be expected since this was the first ever Silicon Valley Comic Con. Overall, I had a blast and look forward to attending Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017!

Here’s my brief recap…

Day 1 – Friday Evening

2016_03_18_William_Shatner_Silicon_Valley_Comic_Con_2016

I was able to attend, just barely in time, for the William Shatner  panel (video courtesy of The L.A. Explorer: video 1, video 2, video 3) and I wound up sitting behind Steve Wozniak (I was told my seat was taken by Woz’s handler, but had left a few minutes after the panel started).

2016_03_18_Silicon_Valley_Comic_Con_convention_hall

Shatner was pretty entertaining. I’d never seen him before live and was a fan of his from his Star Trek TV show and movie days. His persona is like what you’d see in a Priceline commercial or a Saturday Night Live skit … 🙂

After the panel was over, the show floor was still open until 9:00 PM, so I walked around to take a look at the different exhibitors, which included of course comic book vendors, Virtual Reality game demos, and a lot of pop culture vendors.

Day 2 – Saturday afternoon

On my way to the convention center, I saw this hilariously dressed attendee in cos play:

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General “It’s a trap” Ackbar from Star Wars / Return of the Jedi if you don’t remember …

By the time I had gotten to the San Jose Convention Center, there was already a HUGE line to wait to enter into the auditorium for the “Back to the Future” panel. A LOT of people, including myself, did not know that the panel was the only panel that one had to buy an extra $10 ticket – press included. You think with the highlight panel, this would be more prominently shown on the web site, but there were a lot of people who were surprised by this and had left. Because of the chaos and confusion I think, the panel started late. I eventually was able to get in after 10 or 15 minutes, as there was still space available, so I was appreciative since this was the main reason why I wanted to attend Comic Con. The pace was of course, pretty packed:

2016_03_19_Silicon_Valley_Comic_Con_BTTF_panorama

It was great to see  Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson. I’ve never seen them live before – though I had heard that Christopher Lloyd was at CES one year that I had attended when helping to promote some product (along with a DeLorean). I was a big fan of Michael J. Fox before “Back to the Future,” being a fan of the NBC TV sitcom “Family Ties.” The discussion and the fan Q&A was quite nostalgic and reminded me why I love the movie and the characters so much.

After the “Back to the Future” panel, I stuck around and was able to see the Steve Wozniak & Palmer Luckey, (Oculus founder) panel where they were asked about their thoughts on the future of Virtual Reality (VR)

I’d only read about Palmer Luckey and had never seen him before. According to other accounts I had read, he was a pretty casual guy – and he was for the panel since he was wearing flip flop type shoes.

Day 3 – Sunday afternoon

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The only thing I really wanted to see on Day 3 was Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee – he was part of the Closing Ceremony with Steve Wozniak.

Unfortunately, Stan Lee didn’t stay that long. He agreed to be in the final keynote as a way to gather people for the goodbye, but really wanted to spend more time with his daughter, and left early. So Jon Heder (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) filled in as “Stan Lee,” and answered questions entertainingly as Stan Lee. And then Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 was over.

 

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Author: John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)