The seventh annual Denver Comic Con comes to the Colorado Convention Center on Father's Day weekend, June 15 through 17. DCC has been growing with each successive year in both number and reputation. Attendance has more than quadrupled, the convention is larger and draws more celebrities, creators and events, and the names that show up are more and more luminary. This year’s convention promises to be the biggest and best yet.
And with all that nerdalicious goodness right there at our fingertips, there are going to be some hard choices to make. You won’t be able to do it all, not even with a three-day pass, a backpack full of supplies and strong bladder control. So there’s nothing left to do but to make a plan and ensure that you’re hitting the highlights. But where to start? Right here, my people. Right here.
Hey, Kids! Comics!
It’s right there in the name — the reason over 100,000 of us get together for a long weekend every summer: comics. And there are tons of them just waiting to be flipped through (literally tons — those long boxes are pretty damn heavy) and appreciated, from the golden age to the modern, from the major companies to the indie stuff, from regular issues to giant-sized, treasury, digests or trades — this is a weekend that’s all about comics. Don’t leave without buying a stack, preferably from a local comic shop like Mile High (various locations around Denver) or Time Warp (3105 28th Street in Boulder) or any of the other great Colorado establishments that keep the dream alive the other 51 weekends of every year.
Between the Celebrity Summit, where you can line up and pay a bit to get an autograph or a photo (or both) with your favorite star from the screen, whether silver or TV, to the Celebrity Events, in which stars from your favorite properties gather together to dish on memories or upcoming events or their current projects or all of the above. This year’s lineup is impressive and wide-ranging, including (and these are just a few of many): a Doctor Who (David Tennant); Bran and Hodor from Game of Thrones; new Chewbacca Joonas Suotamo; Sheriff Jim Hopper from Stranger Things; and Jason Momoa, who appeared in both Justice League and Game of Thrones. Oh, and Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald, because the ’80s were super-awesome.
Also Famous: Voice Talent
Don’t forget those celebrities who don’t always appear in front of the camera (though some have effectively crossed over, like the great Alan Tudyk, also a DCC guest). Some of fandom’s favorites lend their voices to animated TV and film and video games, and deserve just as many accolades. Like Jeremy Shada (Finn from Adventure Time and Lance from Voltron), Charlet Chung and Lucie Pohl (D.Va and Mercy from Overwatch, respectively), or Greg Cipes (Teen Titans' Beast-Boy and none other than Michelangelo from TMNT). Come meet — and hear! — your favorites.
A Panoply of Panels
From Star Wars to Star Trek, from sci-fi to swords and sorcery, from cosplay to LEGOs to scale models to action figures, there are over over 600 events from which attendees can choose. This includes 72 “DCC Presents” panels about issues related to the hobby, collecting and more; more than twenty demos and workshops, mostly focused on the art and artisanship of comic-book pursuits; 100 nerdtastic educational discussions, 25 devoted to sci-fi and fantasy, and fifteen to the unity of geek culture. You can’t take it all in; best make a schedule for yourself. (And there’s probably a panel on how to do that most effectively.)
Want to get a piece of original art? A head sketch by an up-and-comer or a signature from a legendary penciller? A print of your favorite cover art, or a one-of-a-kind original page? It’s all available at Artist Valley, along with the opportunity to just say thanks for all the amazing work. Comic books, for all their flash and glossy paper and big-budget movie tie-ins, are still labors of artistic love, panel by panel. That’s worth a thank you – and maybe a few bucks.
The Bounty of Booktopia
If you like books, you owe it to yourself to check out DCC’s section devoted to the love of the written word. Authors from the sci-fi, fantasy, YA and assorted genres of awesomeness will sign books, shake hands, answer questions, and generally get all the accolades that usually tend to escape those of us who make a living writing. It’s a solitary life, y’all. We need to get out once in a while.
Once again, Colorado’s own Breckenridge Brewery created a custom brew just for this year’s convention…and allows fans to give it a suitably comic-booky name. The name gets original art to emblazon on pint glasses, which are then for sale (along with the brew, of course) at the Con. Past years have boasted such beers as Brews Wayne, Hulk’s Mash, the Caped Brewsader, and Snape-ricot. This year’s concoction is a Belgian witbier made with raspberry purée, which was dubbed “Razznarok.” This poses the question: Would Thor drink a beer made from raspberry purée?
Cosplay, Cosplay, Cosplay!
Whether or not you like to dress up, there’s enough cosplaying goodness at DCC for everyone to enjoy. As long as you follow the rules, that is, and there are a number of important ones…though they’re not really much different from last year’s. Short version: no nudity, no guns, nothing sharp or weapon-y. But despite the challenges, the work, the cost, and the courage one has to muster in order to walk around in paint and vinyl and a love for a character? It’s a blast, both to participate in and to simply witness. The creativity is sometimes stunning. Just remember: Please be cool. Ask before you take a picture, express appreciation for the effort, and always, always be kind. Nerds need to respect each other.
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Every year, there’s a comic book celebrity that sort of steals the spotlight. The opening year, it was the late Herb Trimpe; a couple years back, it was none other than Stan “the Man” Lee. This year, that title is going to go to the man, the myth, the legend: Frank Miller. Whether you know him from Ronin or Wolverine or Daredevil or Sin City or Dark Knight Returns…modern comics owes a debt to Frank Miller’s genius. Don’t miss this chance to thank him for his work; he'll only be at the con on Sunday, and the only way to see him is to buy a Fan Experience Package, which range from $100 for a simple autograph to $500 for the full-Frank enchilada: an exclusive print, five autographs, a selfie with Frank, and a 45-minute meet-and-greet. Chance of a lifetime? If you’re a comics fan, this is one of them.
All Those Wonderful Toys
If there’s anything you want that’s comic book- or at all nerd-related, then you’ll probably be able to find it from the vendors at DCC. Want a replica of Han Solo’s blaster? A Power Man pint glass? A Captain America shield keychain? A leather-bound, hand-tooled journal with a dragon on it? A vintage Voltron or anything teenage-, mutant-, ninja- or turtle-related? It’s all here, my friends — this and so much more. Take your time, stroll the aisles, find something amazing, and enjoy the bounty that Denver Comic Con brings to town every summer.