.The Power of Imagination

Adam Savage talks up his 3D-printed Iron Man suit alongside real-life astronauts, cosplayers and creatives at Silicon Valley Comic Con

Adam Savage. Photo by Mark Dubeau

Now in its fourth year, the Steve Wozniak-backed Silicon Valley Comic Convention is the place for nerds of all stripes to run into old friends and encounter long-time idols. My favorite moments have all come as surprises: scoring an old silver age comic book for an insignificant sum and stumbling upon an flabbergasting panel discussion. For instance: Jackie Brown star Pam Grier’s 2017 appearance and her spellbinding talk about her life.

After a previous expansion to Plaza de Ceasar Chavez made the main floor feel a bit lonely. This year’s festival will be centered on the McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose—a one-stop shop for comics and ideas.

“We listened to everybody,” says Trip Hunter, SVCC’s co-founder and chair. “We polled the audience, scaled it down, and made it a little more interactive and tight. We’re not trying to be a 100,000 person show.”

By phone from Dallas, Hunter runs down his favorite events for SVCC 2019, though it’s tough for him to pair it down. Topping his list: Adam Savage, Andy Weir, Monica Baccarin and of course the Terminator himself.

“I’m a huge Terminator fan, and it’s super exciting to have Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick here.” A late addition is filmmaker John Milius, who wrote Schwarzenegger’s early hit, Conan the Barbarian; Milius was also a key writer on Apocalypse Now, which, in a new cut, is coming up shortly as part of a series of epics at the Pruneyard Theater.

Hunter, who met Wozniak working at the Utah-based tech company Fusion-io, says his favorite characters from science fiction and fantasy are only part of the equation.

“What makes this show really different is the emphasis on science and technology,” he says. “NASA has a home at the SVCC. We have a women-in-space panel, plus Colonel Chris Hadfield is coming. I’m imagining what it’ll be like for a kid in the audience, seeing him.”

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