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DINK Creates a Place to Celebrate Independent Comics

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Denver’s geeky convention scene is busy, averaging a little more than one con a month. As full as the con calendar is, there’s always room for one more, especially when it sports the pedigree of DINK, or the Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo. Helmed by the same duo that launched Denver Comic Con a few years ago — Charlie La Greca and Frank Romero — along with other Denver geek luminaries such as Jeff La Greca (brother of Charlie and nerd rocker extraordinaire), Nerd Nite Denver impresario Sara Wilson and local author and journalist Jason Heller, DINK promises to bring a fresh approach to the Denver con scene.

“The pop-culture, big-box cons are amazing and incredible, and we have them in spades now. They provide such a huge array [of options],” says Charlie La Greca. “What’s cool about this is we can bring the focus back to just art and comics and the cross-pollination of what it means for art. It’s really embracing all comics genres, not [just] focused on sci-fi and superheroes and stuff like that.”

Specifically, La Greca envisions DINK, which launches March 25 of next year, as a home for enthusiasts of underground comics, from classics like R. Crumb to modern cartoonists like Noah Van Sciver and John Porcellino, and all points in between. His passion for the genre dates back to his days working for the decidedly not-underground DC Comics in the mid-’90s.

“They used to have these things called ‘bullpens” back in the ‘90s. and I was the last of that bullpen generation of cartoonists, which was amazing to be part of,” he recalls. “But being part of that mainstream [world], coming out of art school I had discovered alternative comics and art. That ‘90s movement was just starting [and] a crew of us would go down to a comic store on 34th Street and we were discovering this whole new world of DIY, handmade and self-published comics from people like Adrian Tomine and Charles Burns and Alex Robinson, people now who are pretty respected. At the time they were doing these little stapled, Xeroxed comics. That was my discovery of independent comics and art and how it was a reflection of the industry, but it was this whole subversive, underground thing.”

The convention will include both national and international guests — announcements will be forthcoming soon — but Denver itself will be firmly in the spotlight. That same focus will be evident in the sponsorships and partnerships necessary to make the show happen.

“We’re not looking for corporate sponsors. We’re looking for sponsors that are local, or true to Denver,” La Greca says. “We want to make this relatable and important to the Denver community and its art.”

The show will be held in the unique Sherman Street Event Center, an historic location that La Greca describes as looking “like something out of a Wes Anderson movie.” The venue is both more intimate and more unusual than the cavernous Colorado Convention Center that houses Denver Comic Con, which is just another way the show is differentiated from its older, bigger sibling.

“DINK is not at all Denver Comic Con Jr,” he emphasizes. “We did that. We created it. Now I’m excited to say [Denver Comic Con] is going to have a legacy of its own. It’s a big, amazing show that I intended to bring to Denver and it’s happening now. That’s exciting! Why would I want to do that again? Why not go back to my roots, back to my discovery back from the bullpen days? Just as we saw a perfect niche to fill in Denver with Comic Con, we now see a perfect niche for this, focused on the independent.”

For more information about DINK, visit the DINK website or find them on Facebook at Denver DINK.

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