The Top Ten Things to Catch at Denver Comic Con

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5. Writers Like Peter David and Terry Brooks
Yes, comic books are a visual medium — but they’re also a narrative medium, which requires more than a room full of monkeys with typewriters. Peter David, for example, is the award-winning writer of a bunch of comics that you love whether you know it or not — including his signature run on Incredible Hulk, as well as notable work with Spider-Man, X-Factor and much more. And outside the realm of comics is Terry Brooks, legendary author of the Shannara chronicles. Brooks is also heading up the new Author’s Alley at DCC, a feature produced in concert with Tattered Cover bookstores. Buy a book, get it signed, shake an author’s hand — it’s every kid’s dream, right?

4. Agent Coulson
Phil Coulson, that is, the Marvel everyman-turned-hero who took on no less than Norse God Loki and got skewered for his trouble. Currently starring in Marvel movies like Thor and The Avengers as well as ABC's Agents of SHIELD, actor Clark Gregg (sort of a superhero-y name in its own right) plays Coulson as both super-spy and administrative politico, as well as an uber-fan who collected the full set of vintage Captain America trading cards. Sure, he died, but whatever. He got better. Because comics!

3. Buy Lots of Stuff...Seriously, Just Stuff
There’s a ton of free swag at any comic con, but don’t forget all the good folks hawking their wares, too. And it’s not just comic books and related merch — far from it. Sure, there are Superman socks and Spidey lunchboxes and posters and T-shirts and various underoos. But you'll also find gaming supplies, toys of all types, replica weapons, working lightsabers and more. One tip: Don’t buy one of those expensive light-up sabers for your six-year-old, because what do six-year-olds do with swords? They fight, of course. And if you’ve ever wanted to see a nerd parent weep, see the aftereffects of a swordfight with a brand-new $120 lightsaber that is now a non-light-up stick.

2. Panels, Panels, Panels
If you’ve ever been to a convention of any sort, you’re familiar with the obligatory panels. But panels at DCC are far from the punitive bore-fests to which you might be accustomed. Want to check out the cast of the gritty Fox series Gotham? That’s at 11 a.m.on Sunday. Participate in some LGBTQ Speed-Dating, comic-con style? That’s 3:30 p.m. Friday. Meet Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride? At four Saturday. And that’s just a sampling. Panels run all day Friday through Sunday, so check your programs, folks, and hang out with some of the best creators and stars — along with your fellow fans — while giving your aching feet a rest in comfy convention stackable chairs.

1. Stan Lee
You’ve seen him in every Marvel movie worth a damn, you’ve heard his voice as the narrator of your favorite cartoons, you may even have seen his short-lived superhero game show…but nothing will prepare you to meet The Man himself. (Maybe you were planning to see him back in 2013, when he had to cancel.) Don’t miss this opportunity to get an autograph, a picture with this legend of comics, or to get a VIP package that includes both of the above and a whole lot more (and also costs a bunch, though it’s worth every penny). At the very least, get within sight of the guy at one of the panels where he’ll be presenting. Think what you will about Stan’s work with Marvel, his relationship with Jack “King” Kirby or who invented what, and when, and how. Stan Lee is a legend. He’s also 93, and sadly won’t be with us forever. Don’t miss this chance to at least be able to say you saw him, that you were at the fifth DCC and were this close. Excelsior!

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen