For so many, it has been a long time since they’ve had the chance to put on their cosplay and attended a fan convention. Probably late 2019 to early 2020 was the last time most of us had the chance to get into cosplay and attend a fan convention. While limited due to the pandemic, that is why the return of SiliCon (formerly Silicon Valley Comic Con) was welcoming to the fandom community of the Bay Area.
Under the leadership of Adam Savage, it continued the tradition of being a celebration of science and pop-culture. This was a unique convention that has performers and artists share the stage with scientists, astronauts along with tech pioneers. This is a fan convention where visitors are encouraged to not only have fun but to open themselves to an enlightened world.
From insightful panels to talented artists and creative cosplayers, these are the highlights from SiliCon with Adam Savage.
The Opening Ceremony
To commemorate the return of SiliCon, a special ribbon-cutting ceremony was organized before the start of the convention. Among the honored guests who participated in the ceremony were Lou Ferrigno, San Jose Councilmember Dev Davis (who represents the Downtown area) Adam Savage, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. Each one took the time to welcome everyone and acknowledge the challenge of trying to keep the community together during the pandemic.
After each speaker shared their thought on the return of such an event, Ferrigno cuts the ribbon to announce the start of the SiliCon weekend.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SiliCon took several precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. Guests were required to wear a mask (regardless of their vaccine status) that meet the definition of what was an appropriate face cover. The number of people allowed in the convention center was restricted while everyone attending had to undergo a temperature screening prior to entering. Booths were spread out to avoid bottlenecking while hand sanitizer stations were also set up throughout the convention center.
The Exhibition Hall
The Exhibition Hall is where guests could find all the vendors, displays, artists, and more. Here anyone could learn about the local fan clubs or purchase collectible merchandise, the works of local authors, or amazing fan art. Even if you had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists and vendors.
Among the fan clubs present were the Wolves of Mandalore, the Golden Gate Garrison along with the Rebel Legion. Golden Gate Garrison is the Bay Area branch of the 501st Legion, dedicated to accurately recreating the uniforms and armor of the Galactic Empire along with the First Order and the Clone Troopers. Wolves of Mandalore is the Bay Area branch of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, dedicated to helping fans create their own custom Mandalorian cosplay, complete with a unique artistic style and the background of their character. Both the 501st Legion and the Mandalorian Mercs also work to raise money for local charities.
Due to the pandemic, there were very few options when it came to food but thankfully Wild Bills had returned. Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda was back to quench everyone’s thirst with the best craft soda. Fans of the soda could either bring their mug from a previous convention or purchase a new one. Visitors had a variety of different sodas to chose from, each having its own unique flavor.
Dominating the convention hall once again was the team from NASA. They were back to educate guests about the latest missions and to introduce a new generation to space exploration. Visitors could learn about the many projects that NASA is working on or look back at the history of the space program with the numerous spacesuits on display.
Many notable Bay Area authors were present to meet their fans or introduce new readers to their works. Know for the Cyberpunk Saga, Matthew A. Goodwin was promoting his work at a fan convention for the first. Best known for the Flameskin Chronicles along with the Talons and Teeth series, Camille Longley was not only present with her literary works but also her many artistic works.
Cosplaying at SiliCon
Cosplaying has always been a tradition as many have worked for months to either create the best or most off-beat cosplay that will premier during this special weekend. Those who are dedicated will work to bring their favorite character to life while others will try to bring a joke to life.
Master Chief from Halo 4 and Halo 5 Captain Mexico Kid Loki and Alligator Loki Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy
Conventions are not just about meeting your heroes and making new friends, it’s also a chance to gain some insight into the culture or industry. SiliCon organized a series of panels that discussed a variety of topics given by the special guests, industry insiders, or the local fan clubs. These are some of the panels I got to check out during the weekend:
Join the Empire! was a panel that was about introducing new Star Wars fans to the community of the 501st Legion. Hosted by officers of the Golden Gate Garrison, this was an introduction to what the group is about along with the work that goes into creating their cosplay and the charity work they do. The audience also had the chance to ask their own question regarding the organization and what it takes to be a member of the community.
Hosted by Tirumari Jothi, Nerd Rage: The Great Debates! was back for another live show in which teams would debate some of the hot topics in pop-culture. Among the subjects debated during this session was MythBusters vs. Ghostbusters, Who Has the Better Gadgets: Batman or James Bond, and Who is the Best Ginger Sidekick: Samwise Gamgee or Ron Weasley. Each team debates for their side then the audience decides who had the best argument.
Meet the Original Starbuck and Face, A Q&A with Dirk Benedict was a chance for fans to learn a little about the iconic star while also asking him a question. Topics range from his work on the original Battlestar Galactica to his current work.
The last time I got to cosplay was at Sac Gamers Expo 2019 while the last convention I attended was CES 2020, since then it has been nothing but all digital events through Zoom and Discord. I say this because, despite the limitations on events and the standard activities, it was great to cosplay at a fan convention with friends once again. Adam Savage and his team did the best they could given the circumstance and they gave us one of the best live conventions in so long. I can’t wait to see his full potential unleashed in 2022.
Disclaimer: SiliCon with Adam Savage provided a media badge for the weekend.