Comic Con Day Two – Artists, Authors, and Cosplay (Oh my)!

The second day of Comic Con was spent in the exhibit hall. What started out as a “let’s take a peek before the panels get going” turned into a “oh wow, can you believe this!”

To be fair, the exhibit hall was massive. The number of vendors, artists, authors, celebrities, and cosplayers was crazy. I met with several of them, interviewed many of them (my 12 year old and 8 year old helped), and took photos of a crazy amount of them. I will be showcasing each of these as time goes by, but here are some highlights:




As you can expect at a Comic Con, there were lots of artists. We talked to several that my daughters found intriguing and interviewed them and learned more about them. These interviews will follow later (as I have time), but I wanted to talk just a bit about each of them.


Heather Ackley ArtHeather Ackley


Heather had an interesting story. She only recently pursued her dream of artwork (about a year ago) after working in the corporate field for a while. She does a lot of Star Wars themed artwork, Ghost Busters, and dogs. She spends her little spare time playing with her dogs (imagine that). She is a local to Salt Lake City. Her history and many of her works can be seen on her website:


Shelby Robertson


Shelby was an interesting fellow who did a lot of work on various comic book characters (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, DC, Marvel, GI Joe, Thundercats). He prefers to do a basic drawing then color it on computer. He spends what little spare time he has playing games such as the various Lego games (Batman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars). His artwork can be seen at his website:


JP Roth


JP Roth creates graphic novels. We didn’t get a chance to really interrogate her, but her artwork was absolutely beautiful. Many of her graphic novels are not for young audiences, but she has a very interesting twist that just sets them apart. For example, her Ancient Dreams series has a lot of roots in Greek Mythology, but these are not Homer’s tales.


To quote her website: “An epic love story set amidst the rich mythology of the ancient Greek gods, JP Roth’s graphic novel is a tantalizing fusion that boasts luxuriant visuals and deeply drawn characters—captivating mystery and unrelenting tension.”


Check out her work at




Being an author myself, I always love to meet more successful authors. My daughters are vacuums of literature. They simply cannot sate their love of good books. That said, we got a chance to talk briefly to several authors.


Tracy and Laura Hickman


Most people in fantasy literature have heard of Tracy Hickman. He and his wife Laura have been involved in the fantasy world for over 30 years. I brought my copy of Ravenloft (original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, copyright 1983) with me when I met with them (thanks for the autograph, by the way). We talked for nearly 20 minutes about gaming, literature, game design, adventure writing (my own stint into writing), and life in general. They have a new Kickstarter project that launched yesterday:


Tracy took time to explain the basic game play to my two daughters (12 and 8) and used his Kindle to handle the story and the events that happened as the game progressed. In less than a day, this project has gathered over $11,000 of the $26,000 goal. This is an interesting opportunity, check it out.


Jenni James


Jenni writes several different series of books for teenagers. One is called the Jane Austin Diaries. They are modernized versions of the Jane Austin books, like Pride and Prejudice. There will be nine books in this series.


Another series are the Jenni James Fairy Tale Collection. With a total of twenty-five series in this series, they are twists on old fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, etc. She mentioned when we talked to her that her favorite story was that of Cinderella.


Check out Jenni’s website for more information:


Teen Author Boot Camp Comic ConTeen Author Boot Camp


The Teen Author Boot Camp is a project to help teenagers who want to learn to write. We spent a lot of time talking with several of the local authors involved in this project and really had some fun talking with them and getting to know them. The three authors we spent time talking to:


Cindy C. Bennett


Cindy started writing stories for her own daughters. When her daughters suggested that she should publish her own stories, she did. Her stories are geared for young adults (some readers are as young as 10). Her website is:


Jo Schaffer and Lois Brown


These two great gals were hanging out in the booth for the Teen Author Boot Camp. Jo, dressed as Xena (complete with chakram), and Lois both talked with my daughters about writing. My oldest is a full year away from being able to participate in the Boot Camp, but that didn’t stop these two wonderful ladies from taking the time to play games with them, challenge their minds, and really have some fun. The program they are promoting includes an incredible amount of local authors and deserves more than I can possibly mention here. Check them out:





Last, but definitely not least, we had a blast with several of the cosplayers that attended Comic Con. Among them were some of the best:


Cosplay Salt Lake Comic Con 2013Leeanna Vamp


When we first stumbled across Leanna, we weren’t 100% sure she was who we thought she was. She was cordial, nice, and setting up her cards, flyers, etc. When we came back, she was in full costume and there was no doubt about it. Leeanna was dressed as the most memorable Mario you could imagine. Seriously. Check out the pic (far right). Side note: she is also involved in the Peter Mayhew kickstarter we talked about yesterday. Her website is


Nicole Marie Jean


Nicole was with Leeanna when we took the picture (Poison Ivy, far left). We didn’t have time to talk to her, but she looked like she was having a blast. I can only point to her facebook page for confirmation here:


The unknown cosplayer… (Update:  Constantine in Tokyo)


Along with the other two beautiful ladies there was an unnamed cosplayer. I will have to interrogate Leeanna and Nicole to try to give credit where credit is due. I hope to have this updated by tomorrow.  Update:  We have tracked down the mysterious Magpie.  She is Constantine In Tokyo!  Here is her facebook page:



dino Salt Lake Comic Con 2013Dino Media


We stumbled across a lot of other cool costumed fans. And I will be talking about them over the next few days. However, one group took things to a whole new level. Much bigger and bolder than most. If you spent any time in the exhibit hall, you probably ran across a pair of dinosaurs (one Velociraptor and one T-Rex) running amok in the crowd. These guys know how to rumble. Check them out at!


We will be back tomorrow after the final day of Salt Lake Comic Con with more thoughts, impressions and pictures!



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