When Marvel creator Stan Lee and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak put on an event together, it’s bound to have a lot of star power. That’s what the organizers of Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 are promising for their debut convention.
The inaugural event runs March 18 to March 20 at the San Jose Convention Center, with stars including Lee, Wozniak, William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, and Adam Savage (MythBusters). It promises to marry entertainment and geeks, which these days are a potent combination.
Trip Hunter, the CEO of Silicon Valley Comic Con, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the show is a hybrid of tech, comics, and entertainment. It hopes to sell out its tickets, with a goal of 30,000 people a day.
This is Hunter’s third company with Wozniak. They previously worked together at Fusion-io, which used flash memory to replace hard disk drives in enterprise data centers. Wozniak and Lee met at one of the Fusion-io’s events. They decided they wanted to do a Comic Con together.
“Woz said he would love to do it, but we should integrate technology into it because these things are no longer be separated, and one influences the other,” said Hunter, who worked with Wozniak at Primary Data as well. “What we’re trying to do hasn’t been done before as a hybrid event. I think a lot of companies will see what we are doing and come in the future.”
They bought a comic book show dubbed Big Wow in June 2015, and they were able to secure a slot at the San Jose Convention Center, which was otherwise completely booked. They rounded up a lot of celebrities, but they also got some tech stars, including Andy Weir, author of The Martian; Janna Levin, author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs From Outer Space; Bobak Ferdowsi, systems engineer for the Mars Science Lab; and Astro Teller, who oversees Alphabet’s moonshot factory (Google’s X Labs).
“The science and tech community has embraced it,” Hunter said. “San Jose is the epicenter of Silicon Valley.”
The show will have three halls: comics, entertainment, and technology. You’ll see the DeLorean car from Back to the Future, as well as a panel on the movie that includes the show’s stars: Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), and Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines).
It doesn’t have much game content this year, as the event falls right at the tail end of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“We would want to improve and strengthen the game content,” Hunter said.
But there is plenty of virtual reality at the event. Wozniak will be on stage with Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, maker of Facebook’s upcoming Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.