The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con got an infusion of last-minute geek cred on Wednesday.
Organizers told The Tribune that Stan Lee co-creator of most household names in the Marvel universe and the most illustrious comic book icon in our own universe will be included in the celebrity lineup on Saturday, the final day of the three-day festival at the Salt Palace.
So how did they book the likes of Lee at the 11th hour? Apparently they had a little help from The Hulk.
Salt Lake Comic Con founder Dan Farr had pressed the 90-year-old Lee for months, but when Lee presented former "Hulk" actor Lou Ferrigno into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame on Monday in Los Angeles, his inductee hit him with a final, in-person pitch.
"I could see the twinkle in his eyes," said Ferrigno, a Salt Lake Comic Con guest. "He goes, 'Let me think about it.' "
On Wednesday morning, shortly after Salt Lake sold its 30,000th ticket, Farr got the call.
"Literally for months we've wanted to have Stan come," Farr said. "He's the father of comic books. He's done so many shows for so many years I knew at some time he's going to start tapering back, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity."
Ferrigno has been a fan of comic books since his youth in Brooklyn, when one of his heroes was Lee brainchild Spider-Man. He considers Lee his mentor, and says that, even at 90, he's quite vigorous.
"He's still passionate," Ferrigno said. "For comic-book fans, he's like George Lucas. People will be so excited, it will be overwhelming."
Other late additions to the celebrity lineup include John de Lancie (Q from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), William Kircher (Bifur, from "The Hobbit" trilogy) and Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi from "Seinfeld").
Headliners William Shatner and Adam West also will share a stage for the first time ever during a special "Legends Live" panel on Friday night.
Visit http://www.saltlakecomiccon.com for information on tickets, panel times, special guests and other inquiries.