Pop Culture and comic book conventions are filled with an assortment of sights, sounds and activities to keep one busy for hours on end. Artists’ Alleys contain numerous illustrators and graphic artists—some legendary while others are just beginning to receive their due recognition—ready to create specially-commissioned sketches. A multitude of celebrity guests are available for autographs and photo opportunities, while vendors have a full-array of merchandise available for purchase. Fans dressed as Jedi Knights, hobbits and zombies, Ghostbusters and time-travelling Doctors are also an integral part of the experience. A series of panel discussions throughout the day round out the activities, as both celebrities and fans alike meet to converse on a multitude of Geek and Pop Culture issues and genres.
There’s even more to a modern day Pop Culture extravaganza, however, as many fan-based organizations have begun using the convention scene as a way to raise both awareness and donations for an assortment of non-profit charities. The Salt Lake FanXperience in January 2015 was no different as the vendor room contained an assortment of local fanclubs to go along with the merchandise on sale, including the Rebel Legion of Star Wars, the Ghostbusters of Salt Lake City, the Utah Browncoats, H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., the Legacy Initiative and the Kids Heroes Foundation. In addition to cosplaying for fun, members of these organizations don their capes, masks, proton packs and lightsabers for charity events across the state of Utah, combining their love for their respective fandoms with the opportunity to do some good and give back to their communities in the process.