What it was like to be at Denver Comic Con.
Comic cons are one of my favorite uses of a weekend.
There is always so much to do and see that, by the time Monday rolls around, I am exhausted from how much fun I had. I was lucky enough to attend Denver Comic Con this year and explore for the first time. What I found was one of the most welcoming cons I have ever attended. Everyone I met was incredibly kind and extremely helpful. This con is one to watch.
Every year attendance gets larger, and every year they handle it amazingly. This year, the final numbers hovered around 115,000 people. What a testament to how much we love comics!
Let’s start at my favorite part. All the INCREDIBLE collectibles I found. I spent a lot of time sighing over vintage action figures. You know, the ones that are really hard to find and really really cool. I started to sound like Marvin the robot, but every time I looked at the prices I had to remind myself “DON’T PANIC!” The dealers room was loaded with more geek gear then I could ever fit in my suitcase. There were incredible prop stalls that would sell you the props from your favorite games and comics made out of con safe foam for a really reasonable price! (Not to mention how many hours of work and hot glue burns it will save you). There was something for every collector on the floor, from the most seasoned hunter looking for that rare hard to find score, to the new collector just starting out their hunt. Con’s are like that, and DCC did not disappoint.
As I explored deeper, I stumbled across a stall full of themed surprise boxes. I fell in love with the idea and I kept whispering to myself, “What’s in the box!?” Who can resist a good surprise? Like many savvy con goers, I walked past the stall about a dozen times before I finally settled on my purchase. We advanced con goers turn into sharks in the dealer’s room, circling for hours before we move in for the kill. If you haven’t seen it, yet check out my Star Wars surprise unboxing! It was the only box I just HAD to have. (End shameless plug.)
Artist’s alley was even better. If you have never been to a con, Artist’s alley is the place to go. You can meet many big name artists and some rising stars. Your heroes aren’t always on panels, sometimes they are sitting behind tables. Denver Comic Con filled their tables with enough big names to make my head spin, Joe Giella, J. Scott Campbell, Bart Sears, Aletha Martinez and many, many more were in attendance. My geeky heart skipped a beat when I found out Colin Cantwell, the designer for the ships in Star Wars (that’s right, the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wing, TIE Fighters, The Death Star, all those big ones you remember) was in the same room as I was. I was so excited when I shook his hand I had trouble finding the words to express how much I loved his work.
And the fun didn’t stop when you left the dealer room. There were so many incredible cosplays all over the con from Star Wars to Space Balls (Okay that’s not a big jump), Warcraft to Pixar (that’s better) you needed an extra head to catch them all. The experience of walking through so many of my favorite characters always takes me back to being five years old at Disneyland and meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time. It’s magical. You know, just looking at them, that most of these people slaved over their costumes for weeks to get the details just right. The temperatures at DCC were in the 90s this year, and people waited up to an hour to get in on Saturday, but that did not dissuade these dedicated cosplayers from wearing layers of fabric. Kudos to all of you who stuck it out. You are stronger than I am!
I attended a lot of panels, a lot of panels, and there were so many more I wish I had time for. I was unbelievably impressed with the amount of educational panels mingled into the usual con line up. There were so many that discussed science, technology, writing, and teaching that it was astonishing. Particularly to introduce these concepts, through pop culture, to children. DCC is single handedly one of the most family friendly cons I have EVER attended, and I have attended a LOT of cons. The dealers room even had a whole area especially for kids! There was face painting, balloon animals, a stage for reading stories and teaching kids the basics of art, and several tables of kid focused activities!
I know this special lineup is all thanks to DCC’s amazing sponsor, a true superhero hiding in plain sight, Popculture Classroom. They call it #Con4ACause and they work hard to help kids who are struggling to learn to read with the power of comics. These reluctant readers develop the skills they need through the stories they find in their comic books. They learn while they fight crime alongside Batman or soar through the air with Ironman. This effort is incredible and their fight to help kids read is an amazing cause. I highly recommend you check them out, see what they do, and maybe consider donating. You could be helping to inspire the next generation of people who keep comics alive.
While the con is over, and we all have hung up our capes, masks, and props until the next one, we can know our time at Denver Comic Con supported more than just our love of comics. We made some new friends, reconnected with old ones, met our heroes, and helped out a great cause. That last part makes attending DCC feel so much better. I will definitely be back next year, and hopefully some more of you will join me.