I first noticed the work of John Barrowman while binge-watching Doctor Who a few years ago. His character, Captain Jack Harkness brought a level of old-school swashbuckling to the Doctor’s world of time paradoxes and murderous aliens.  His character became so well-loved that Doctor Who’s creators created a spinoff series about Captain Jack’s mysterious group of misfits known as Torchwood.  In Arrow, the actor plays Malcolm Merlin, a shady businessman who is being slowly revealed as Oliver Queen’s dark shadow.  Despite the depth of these roles, Barrowman hit the stage like a one-man Broadway show.  His energy seemed to be fueled by how much he’s loved his life and his work, and before he even began the session, he sincerely thanked his fans for making his job possible.  From there, his time on stage skated back and forth between hilariously irreverent: “Oh, a TARDIS,” he said to one cosplayer, “I’ve been in you, you know that, right?” to touching and heartfelt—when asked about his decision to come out as an openly gay man, he replied “I’m lucky to have a family who don’t care what you are, but they love you for who you are.  If a mother and father turn their back on their child, they should be the ones who go to hell.”  His positive example even inspired a local student—who Barrowman brought up on stage—to persevere with the foundation of a gay/straight alliance at her conservative school.  To top the entire experience off, Barrowman put his surprisingly impressive pipes to work by leading the crowd in a rendition of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” which was nothing short of a comic con miracle.

Check out the rest of our Salt Lake City Comic Con 2014 coverage!

Matt Brunk’s Photo Gallery

Megan Kennedy’s Photo Gallery