It’s official: The Denver Comic Con is no more. But fear not: The Denver Pop Culture Con will continue to be your friendly neighborhood convention for all things geeky and good.
After a major court ruling in favor of the San Diego Comic Con’s trademark of the term “Comic Con” in late 2017, the writing may have been on the wall regarding a potential name change for Denver’s own convention. But that writing was bolded, underlined and italicized this past August, when another ruling was issued awarding SDCC millions of dollars to recoup attorney fees and expert witness testimony.
So we’ll need to stop calling it DCC…but DPCC has a ring to it, too. Is the name the only change fans can expect at our own con? We asked Dr. Christina Angel, visiting assistant professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and eight-year convention director for Pop Culture Classroom, the nonprofit that runs the event, to answer those questions and more.
Westword: Let's start with the big question: Why the change? With the DCC name so well-established after the number of years it's been running and everyone working so hard to establish a reputation both here in Denver and nationally, this must have been a tough call to make.
Christina Angel: It both was and was not a tough call. We’ve been thinking about this for years now, and how the show has expanded into so many more areas than just comics. Therefore, “comic con” was not — and perhaps never was — an accurate descriptor of what we actually do at the con, which includes engagement with TV shows, movies, novels, cosplay, gaming and, of course, comics. It would be naïve to say that legal battles over the name didn’t affect our decision to do this sooner than later, but the name change has been part of a larger organizational plan for a long time.
What does the new name reflect specifically, in terms of both philosophy as well as specifics? Are comic books taking a back seat?
Comics are at the heart of what we do and always have been, both in terms of the con and our educational programming. We launched an awards program for great graphic novels last year called the Excellence in Graphic Literature award, and in 2018 we had some of the biggest names in comics as guests, and major publishers of comics on the show floor. We have no plans to curtail our engagement with the comics world in any way and, in fact, we plan to step it up a bit in 2019. Having said that, our events are more than comics, too. We focus on educational programming, family-friendly fun, celebrities and authors, and dozens of other angles. The point is to have something for everyone.
So what specific changes will fans experience on a floor level?
Honestly, no more changes than typically happen from year to year. We strive to provide excellent programming, fun exhibitors and guests, and a host of exciting activities throughout the weekend. Fans should expect the same level of show they’ve come to love over the years to continue.
And what about retailers? Any changes there?
We don’t have big plans to change this up any more than normal, either. We are always pushing to have an active and diverse show floor, with as many different and varied exhibitors and artists as we can provide to attendees.
What about all the existing back stock of DCC-specific merchandise? You must have a warehouse of bags, buttons, lanyards and more, now with the old name emblazoned upon them.
Knowing that this was on the horizon, of course, we have been somewhat conservative in our back stock, but you can look for some great deals on DCC merchandise, perhaps as soon as this week!
While we’re talking, there’s also news about a new sister convention in Reno. How did that one come about?
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We are so excited to be able to do a new event in a new city! We were not actively seeking to expand our con programming — though our educational programming is now on an international level — but Reno came up as an option, and we couldn’t resist. The opportunities to serve another growing city in terms of pop-culture education and a world-class pop-culture con are vast, and as a nonprofit, we are always seeking ways to diversify revenue streams to keep our educational work growing at the rate it is. We hope to create an event for Reno for the people in Reno — not just take what we’ve built in Denver and transplant it.
So what's upcoming for DPCC in 2019? Any details you can share as to special events or potential stars?
DPCC 2019 is shaping up to be the best yet. I can’t give you any details or hints on guests, but we have some amazing names and artists in the hopper currently. I cannot wait to be able to share it all!
The newly christened Denver Pop Culture Con will take place May 31 to June 2 at the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets for the event will go on sale November 14, 2018.