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Salt Lake Comic Con books Darth Vader, 'Hobbit' team

Published August 9, 2013 7:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to … the Salt Palace.

The dark side of The Force will be strong with Salt Lake Comic Con, as the original Darth Vader (David Prowse) has joined Darth Maul (Ray Park) in the inaugural event's celebrity lineup. Founder Dan Farr also told The Tribune that Weta Workshops, the New Zealand company behind special effects in the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies, will be setting up a booth at the Sept. 5-7 convention.

Steady ticket sales convinced Farr to book Prowse, 78. Farr was initially reluctant to pay travel fees for the English bodybuilder — who towered above Luke Skywalker in black armor while James Earl Jones voiced "I am your father" — but he was swayed by meeting Prowse at Vancouver Comicon. "He's just a really, really nice person," Farr says.

Particularly exciting to Farr is his contract with Weta, which will bring a life-size Azog to pair with Manu Bennett, who played the character in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Farr says the Weta booth was one of the most popular at the San Diego Comic Con.

"The stuff they have is all movie-quality," he says. "If you're a Hobbit, Lord of the Rings fan, you're going to love the products that they bring."

With 30 days until Salt Lake Comic Con, Farr is still in contact with a few celebrities, but the bulk of the lineup is set. The Salt Lake Comic Con Facebook account raised a minor stir with a recent announcement that professional cosplay artist Jessica Nigri would be attending — raising the timeless question of whether or not pro cosplay artists show too much skin, if they have genuine talent, or if any of that matters.

Cosplay stands for costume play, which entails dressing up like a sci-fi, fantasy or comic book character and, to varying degrees, playing the part. Devout fans judge the pros for their efforts to craft precise replicas or creative derivatives of the original costumes, but the artists tend to be conventionally attractive women, and you tend to see a lot of them. Below a Facebook montage of Nigri, one Salt Lake Comic Con volunteer posted that she won't allow such violations of the dress code and prompted a spirited debate.

Farr says the volunteer doesn't speak for his event and that they'll let the artists decide what to wear. He doesn't want Salt Lake to be seen as a prudish comic con, but he will advise Nigri and others that there may be some people — as there would in any city, he says — who are easily offended.

"I'm certain that the people coming out will be respectful," Farr says. "That's not to say that they won't wear anything sexy."

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper —

Salt Lake Comic Con

When • Sept. 5-7

Where • Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center

Celebrity guests • Nick Gomez, Cerina Vincent, Adam West, Burt Ward, Manu Bennett, Ray Park, William Shatner, Richard Hatch, Tia Carrere, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Sorbo, Sofia Milos, Claire Coffee, Ben Hansen, Brian Krause, Dirk Benedict, Adrian Paul, David Prowse

Book authors • Larry Correia, Jessica Day George, James Wymore, Rhiannon Paille, James Dashner, Tracy Hickman, David Farland, Jenni James, Mette Ivie Harrison, Robison Wells and Brandon Mull

Comic creators • Steve Argyle, Derek Hunter, Bill Galvan, Howard Tayler, Sal Velluto, Batton Lash, Arthur Suydam, Ryan Ottley, Tyler Kirkham, Scott Harben, Daniel Presedo, Leo Leibelman, Dexter Vines, Chad Hardin and Jake Black

Tickets • Thursday only: adults $20, ages 11-16 $12; Friday only: adults $25, ages 11-16 $12; Saturday only (limited supply): adults $30, ages 11-16 $15; three-day pass: adults $50, ages 11-16 $30; VIP pass $150. Children 10 and under get in free on all days. Visit http://bit.ly/17ttJbd for information. —

Salt Lake Zombie Walk

Salt Lake Comic Con has teamed up in a cross promotion with the Salt Lake Zombie Walk, and they also announced the 2013 route on Tuesday. The event begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 11

More information • http://on.fb.me/16y3c9G