Although official attendance figures have yet to be released, there is absolutely no question the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con was a resounding success.
Bolstered by an impressive group of celebrity guests, tens of thousands of people descended upon the crowded pop culture and technology expo held over three days at the San Jose Convention Center. Leading the list of distinguished guests were Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee, actors William Shatner, Jeremy Renner, Michael J Fox, Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd, and the creator of the wildly popular event, Apple co-founder and South Bay resident Steve Wozniak.
While only a small percentage of attendees came dressed for cosplay, a significant portion of those who did wore impressive reproductions of pop culture icons, which ran a seemingly full spectrum of pop culture legends Among iconic characters spotted over a mostly bright and sunny weekend were an assortment of super heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, the Green Arrow and Super Girl, notable movie characters like the Predator, a Minion and the Ghostbusters and a legion of Star Wars troopers. But there was so much more to the Silicon Valley Comic Con, with hundreds of vendors on hand, along with several other attractions that included rare collectibles from Rancho Obi Wan, a Stan Lee Museum, the Delorean Time Machine and a few wax figures from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, featuring the world premier of Steve Wozniak’s wax figure, which will eventually go on display at the San Francisco location in Fisherman’s Wharf.
One of the marquee events was, not surprisingly, the “Back to the Future” panel held on Saturday afternoon. But despite the large number of people in the audience, thousands of other attendees were unable to see the landmark event, which featured Michael J. Fox’s first appearance at a North American Comic Con, along with co-superstars Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd. While this must see event was publicized, not everyone who attended San Jose’s version of Comic Con were aware that the discussion panel required a separate fee, including several members of the press who apparently were unable to get in to document, film and/or photograph the discussion panel.
Yet for those who did make it in, it was a monumental treat to see the beloved stars of the “Back to the Future” Trilogy in a rare appearance together. About halfway the discussion panel, lucky members of the audience quickly formed two lines to ask a few questions. Among the most compelling questions posed was whether or not there was the possibility of making a fourth Back to the Future movie. Although the notion of a fourth film in the timeless series could possibly be phenomenally lucrative and successful, each of the stars suggested it was very unlikely. One moment when the large audience grew silent was when Fox was asked, then answered eloquently about living with Parkinson’s Disease, the progressive disorder of the nervous system he’s had since it was first diagnosed in 1991.
Other major highlights of the first ever Silicon Valley Comic Con were William Shatner’s appearance on opening night, a fireside chat with the Woz and the 23 year old founder and creator of Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, a costume contest and photo ops and autograph sessions with several of the celebrity guests, including cartoonist Stan Lee, who helped created such legendary comic book heroes as Spider Man, Thor and the X-Men and Shatner, who portrayed Captain Kirk in the classic “Star Trek” television series and subsequent motion picture empire.
Despite some confusion amongst the mega-crowd, movie fans, geeks and everyone in between seem to agree the 2016 Silicon Valley Comic Con was an experience they won’t soon forget. If after some growing pains can be sorted out and parking is a bit more organized, this will easily be one of the biggest annual events in San Jose, in Silicon Valley and most certainly in the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Advice for next year’s attendees, review the official website carefully, buy tickets in advance and consider taking public transportation or get there early.