Salt Lake Comic Con urges Friday's attendees to allow a little extra Bat-time and come prepared to fend off Mr. Freeze at the door.
People waited for more than an hour outside the Salt Palace on Thursday the first day of the inaugural event as the line tested the capacity of the north-south stretch of West Temple. Eventually organizers shepherded the vast rush-hour crowd inside, but with celebrities like Adam West and Burt Ward (the original Batman and Robin) adding to Friday's showroom fray, organizers say it's important to be patient, bring the necessary paperwork and pre-register, if possible.
"Plan ahead, get here ahead of time," said founder Dan Farr, who suggests arriving an hour early. "Don't expect just to come and walk in the door."
The fan convention for all things geek had sold 39,000 tickets as of Friday morning, making it according to available figures the largest first-time comic con ever in North America. Farr said Thursday's throngs defied expectations and pleased the celebrities, who reported strong autograph and photo sales.
"I had so many people asking from other cities, 'Why are you doing Thursday? Why aren't you doing Sunday?'" Farr said. "Any comic con in the country would take our Thursday."
Taimak Guarriello ("The Last Dragon") and David Prowse (the physical actor behind Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" trilogy) said Salt Lake City made a big impression on them, and they hope to be invited back.
"And I'm not getting paid to say this: This guy Dan is such a gentleman, and Salt Lake City people are so nice," Guarriello said. "I'm coming next year, you're damn right."
Prowse shared those sentiments. A regular on the worldwide comic con circuit, the English actor says Salt Lake already ranks among the best he's ever been to. His only regret is that after the grueling flight (with a layover in L.A.), he didn't set aside more time to see Utah.
"Next time I come, I'll make a holiday of it," Prowse said. "I never ever knew just how beautiful Utah is. You can count me as a new citizen."