Words & Deeds

William Shatner is coming to Boise. A competing local comic con just got vaporized

In this 2014 file photo from Tree City Comic Con in Boise, a boy hugs a “Star Wars” Magna Trooper as the child’s mother looks on. The sci-fi/fantasy convention at Expo Idaho did not return in 2015.
In this 2014 file photo from Tree City Comic Con in Boise, a boy hugs a “Star Wars” Magna Trooper as the child’s mother looks on. The sci-fi/fantasy convention at Expo Idaho did not return in 2015. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Captain’s log, Stardate July 13-15: William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame will headline this summer’s Wizard World Comic Con, a touring comic, gaming and pop-culture convention beaming into the Boise Centre.

It’s a Vulcan nerve pinch for Nampa. The competing Treasure Valley Comic Con, which debuted last July at the Nampa Civic Center, has decided to flee the galaxy at warp speed.

The inaugural Wizard World was scheduled too close to the same dates, Nampa Civic Center sales and marketing manager Roseanna Marcum said. So Treasure Valley Comic Con announced this week that it will go on hiatus in 2018.

“We were just going to stick with the first weekend of July like we had last year,” Marcum said. “... They’re literally one week right after us.”

Spectra Venue Management, which oversees the Nampa Civic Center, will reevaluate the situation in 2019.

Wizard World didn’t intend to set phasers on kill. PR manager Jerry Milani said he personally had not heard of Canyon County’s competing comic con.

“The timing is just a month we didn’t have a show,” he said. “We’ve been looking at Boise for a while.”

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William Shatner Jordan Strauss Invision/AP

Comic cons are sort of like walking into the “Star Wars” cantina scene, except in a brightly lit convention facility. More than 4,000 people attended Treasure Valley Comic Con during three days last year. Actors such as Todd Bridges and Margot Kidder signed autographs. Idaho cosplay enthusiasts mingled dressed as Superman, Groot or random video-game characters.

Wizard World will be a similar “nerd prom.” Shatner will shake hands, pose for photos, sign autographs and lead an interactive Q&A. Bridges and Kidder have been past guests on the tour. Started in 1998 in Chicago, Wizard World evolved into a national force that will visit 16 cities in 2018. Boise is the eighth.

Milani said he would reach out to Treasure Valley Comic Con’s organizers to see if Wizard World could involve them. But let’s get real. We’re talking William Shatner here. Competing Trekkies might not find much wiggle room from the Priceline negotiator. A Borg-like assimilation seems likely.

(I dare you to try to “name your own price” when paying for Shatner’s signature or photo at Wizard World.)

Besides 87-year-old Captain Kirk, other guests slated to materialize in Boise include Jewel Staite and Sean Maher of “Firefly” and “Serenity,” James Marsters of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and several more. Additional celebrities will be announced in coming weeks.

Shatner will attend for a single day: Sunday, July 15. For tickets and other information, check out wizardworld.com.

If Treasure Valley Comic Con is vaporized for all eternity, it wouldn’t be a first for Idaho sci-fi/fantasy conventions. Remember Boise’s Tree City Comic Con, which disappeared after an ambitious debut at Expo Idaho in 2014?

Marcum isn’t ready to rule out a Treasure Valley Comic Con regeneration, depending on how things pan out. With luck, maybe they can order up a similar experience from a replicator next year.

“It was awesome,” Marcum says. “It’s the largest event that we’d ever had at the Nampa Civic Center, attendance-wise.”

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