Episode 8: Mormons at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX15
In this episode, Mormon Artist podcast host Katherine Morris interviews Mormon artists—and artists who work with Mormon themes—at Salt Lake Comic Con: Fan Experience 2015. She discusses their recent work and poses the question, “Why are so many Mormons into science fiction and fantasy?” Artists interviewed: Jett Atwood, Howard Lyon, Stewart M. Craig, David Farland, Larry Correia, David J. West, David J. Butler, Michaelbrent Collings, Richard Paul Evans, John Seuferling, Chris Hoffman, and Bree Despain.
- Interview date: January 31, 2015
- Salt Lake Comic Con website
- Note: Podcast music and sound by Saint Roxcy. Copyright © Saint Roxcy 2015. All rights reserved.
Welcome to the Mormon Artist podcast. I’m your host, Katherine Morris.
Four years ago, Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury and I co-wrote an article for Mormon Artist called “‘Is It Something in the Water?’ Why Mormons Write Science Fiction and Fantasy”. We were responding to an interview Mormon author Carol Lynch Williams did with the Boston Globe, where she talked about how so many Mormons write speculative fiction that book publishers have taken notice.
In researching the article, I learned a lot of fun facts about Mormons and science fiction and fantasy. My favorite was the connection between Ray Bradbury and Reid Nibley, Hugh Nibley’s musician brother. You’ll have to read the article for details.
Anyway, assuming it’s true that Mormons are over-represented in science fiction and fantasy, why is that? In the article we talked about different people’s theories. Does it have something to do with our theology? Is it because Mormonism is a small, tight-knit community? Is it because of our history of speculative fiction? Or is it a myth—is it simply because Mormons strongly self-identify as Mormon, so it’s more noticeable if an author is Mormon? Many people chimed in in the comments section to give their opinions, including Orson Scott Card.
Well, little did I know, after writing that article, just a few years later in September 2013, Salt Lake Comic Con was about to explode on the scene in Utah. Science fiction, fantasy, and comic fans came pouring out of the woodwork. Tickets sold out. Between 70–80,000 people attended. Salt Lake Comic Con in 2014 was even bigger, with 120,000 people attending. So many people attended, it was reported that the convention was closed down on several occasions by the fire marshal. Salt Lake Comic Con remains the largest per-capita comic con in North America.
There are two events a year, the regular Comic Con in September, and a second event in January, called “FanXperience.” I decided to attend FanX15 this year and track down as many Mormons as I could find, ask them what they were working on and what they thought of Salt Lake City Comic Con’s success, and pick their brains about why there seem to be so many Mormons who create and consume science fiction and fantasy.
I recruited two friends to help me out, since I’d never attended a comic con before. My friend Griffin has been attending Salt Lake Comic Con since it started. He was actually in the middle of constructing his costume when we talked on the phone. My other friend, Alexandria, like me, had never attended a convention before. Both were participating in this year’s costume contest. So, off we went, Saturday, January 31st, to the Salt Palace. With the help of Eric Jepson and Andrew Hall, who are Mormon bloggers, I was armed with a list of Mormon vendors and guests. ❧
- Griffin Sutherland Taylor and Alexandria Hansen (3:36)
- Jett Atwood (6:29)
- Howard Lyon (14:30)
- Stewart M. Craig (20:08)
- Life, the Universe, and Everything (23:29)
- David Farland (27:17)
- Larry Correia (28:25)
- David J. West (32:34)
- David J. Butler (35:33)
- Michaelbrent Collings (40:11)
- Richard Paul Evans (46:02)
- John Seuferling (47:12)
- Chris Hoffman (48:41)
- Bree Despain (59:31)