For the sixth year in a row, downtown Denver is experiencing a pop-culture invasion. Denver Comic Con started on Friday, June 30 (and will continue through Sunday, July 2), and that’s why if you're wandering around downtown you might see Deadpool, Princess Leia and the Powerpuff girls heading down to Snarf's for a sandwich.
We’ve already covered some of the best things to remember at DCC, and provided a Comic Con Bingo game to pass the time in line or at lunch. But we've also already encountered quite a few new surprises that we want to share, so that you're prepared for all of the geeky goodness this weekend. Here are the top ten surprises at Denver Comic Con 2017:
10. It’s Sort of Laid Out Backwards
We already knew that a few things were changing with this year’s DCC — the first being the date, moved from Father’s Day weekend to the end of June/beginning of July. What wasn’t clear until Day One was how the geography of the event had to change as well: This year, DCC took the other side of the Colorado Convention Center, the side facing Speer. It’s further from the light-rail stop, and if you arranged to meet anyone in the atrium — which in years past was the main entrance—you’ll have to change your plans. Organizers say the move provides DCC with more space than ever this year, but it makes the whole thing different and a little labyrinthine...and it's just disconcerting not entering next to the Big Blue Bear.
9. …And There’s a Learning Curve in Figuring Out Where Things Are
Give yourself some time to orient yourself properly once you're at the con. Fans figured it out fairly quickly, but everyone seemed to be going through the stages of Denver Comic Con grief: shock, denial, bargaining, and finally acceptance, picture-taking and merch-purchasing. The most noticeable change is that the entrance atrium that in past years was a primary meeting spot and travel avenue is completely inaccessible, and the poor volunteers whose job it is to direct people in other directions have one of the less desirable assignments around. One lady argued for a good five minutes because she wanted to get coffee “at the good place out front,” and another complained that he “just wanted to scoot through there to have a smoke,” but to no avail.
8. Not That Any of This Suppressed Crowds, or Excitement
Fans flocked to the Con anyway, and even if it did take a little readjustment, the crowds were significant even the morning of the first day, and everyone figured out how to get there from here. The organizers of DCC have been predicting record turnout, and if Friday morning (traditionally one of the lightest times of the event in terms of numbers) is any indication, they’re right.
7. It’s Still All About Art
One of the admirable things about Denver Comic Con is how much emphasis it’s put on participatory art, and not just the buying and selling of comics and comic visuals. Each year seems to offer more options for jumping into the artistic pool, and 2017 seems no exception, from the awesomeness of the Kids’ Lab (open to kids of all ages, by the way) to gigantic coloring walls just begging for you to grab some crayons and express yourself.
6. And There Are Some Amazing Artists
The comic-book industry has lost a lot of its greats, but it does a fan’s heart good to see some of the big names still making the trip out to the Mile High. From Allen Bellman to Jose Delbo to Neal Adams, there are plenty of greats who'll shake your hand and sign some of their work. And don’t forget that most of these artists come out just for the love of the medium and the kids (and the young at heart) who love it. Insider tip: Art Baltazar is about as generous and genuine as they come — take your kids to his booth, and he’ll not just sign their books, he’ll talk, sketch, smile and make them feel special.
Keep reading for more surprises at Denver Comic Con.
5. Cosplay Is Massive…and Varied
Sure, there are still a lot of fans wandering around in nerd shirts and shorts — and even a few without so much as a graphic tee — but cosplayers become more common every year. And the strange thing is that comic-book cosplaying seems to be taking a back seat to…well, everything else. Anime, television, cartoons, movies, video games, even podcasts get the “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” treatment — and sometimes even the most learned nerd won’t get the reference, but will admire the effort nonetheless.
4. Weapons Are Still a Thing
With the new cosplaying rules, there was concern in some circles that participation might be somewhat depressed…but that didn’t bear out on Friday at all. The strict new rules were in place, but exceptions were also evident. Peace binding seemed to allow a few metal sais, one pretty wicked-looking bo staff, and a lot of archers carrying full quivers of arrows. Everyone seemed to be doing their best to follow the rules, but the rule that didn’t seem to bend at all was “no guns.” Not a single gun in sight on Friday, no matter the costume. Tough to be the Man With No Name...and No Gun. But safety first!
3. …But There’s a Lot Less Skin
The rule that people did seem to take to heart was the one about what was allowed regarding nudity (or the illusion thereof). This may change as the weekend progresses and outside temps start to climb, but at least on Friday, even the scantily-clad usual suspects of cosplay (Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn — noticing a pattern here, Batman?) were appropriately and newly modest. Several cosplayers admitted some last-minute tailoring to turn strapless tops into pseudo-sports-bras. Ah, chainmail bikinis: We hardly knew ye.
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2. More Space, More ATMs, More Room for More Fans
This may become less noticeable on July 1, when attendance is likely to peak, but the upside to the new space seems to be wider aisles, making maneuverability a little easier. This will especially be true once the food court area is opened for the weekend (which is one of the reasons why some may have thought the exhibition floor looked smaller than last year — the L-shape of the floor, combined with a generous space that had yet to open, might have made it seem so, but the square footage available is actually more generous). And ATMs were plentiful and boasted no lines, even in the autograph area — maybe people are just getting smarter about bringing cash? Either way, the set-up is more comfy for attendees, which is a good thing for everyone.
1. Denver Comic Con Itself Is Becoming the Star
One of the longest lines on Friday belonged to the area selling DCC event merch — including, of course, the I AM BREWT collectible pint glass for this year. Could it be that Denver Comic Con is becoming as much a draw as the comics, artists, writers and celebs? Looks like it. Long live the Con!
Find out more on Denver Comic Con's website.