The Denver Comic Con hasn’t always taken place on Father’s Day, but it’s a good weekend to do it, despite all the other stuff going on in the city (PrideFest, Juneteenth, etc.) But what could make for a better day with your Dad than to take him out and let him geek out over some of the celebrities and comic books and TV and movie properties that he loved (and maybe still loves) and recalls fondly? Better a silver-age comic book than another tie, kids.
But what specifically could you do with your father at DCC? What would float that paternal boat right into Happiness Harbor? Here are eight things that you can do with dear ol’ Dad at Denver Comic Con 2018.
Buy a Toy or Comic Your Dad Had as a Kid
One of the great things about the nerd hobbies is how long they’ve been around. Comics as we know them have been a part of childhood since the 1930s. Toys — especially the classic plastic wonderfulness that dots the tables in Merchant Mesa — were plentiful. So embark on a quest to find something your Dad once had — maybe a random copy of a silver-age Superman, or a Star Wars action figure that he lost long ago, or a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe coloring book, or a copy of Grover’s story There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. Whatever it is, work to find it. Let him tell you stories about all the things you find. Because the prize isn’t the thing itself — it’s what you get to learn about him while you’re looking.
Get a Pic With a Celebrity
In past years, this has been a slam-dunk idea. If your Dad has even a passing interest in going to the Denver Comic Con, then getting a photo with you, him and Stan Lee a couple of summers back was just an automatic win. This year, while there are a lot of great guests coming, there’s not a major old-school star that would be great for any Dad. No, this year’s Celebrity Summit is a little more specific. So: Is your Dad big on Top Gun, Tombstone, Top Secret, Batman Forever, or Willow? Introduce him to Val Kilmer. Is he an old Doctor Who fan, or a new Jessica Jones fan? David Tennant will be there. If he couldn't stop talking about all the ’80s references in Stranger Things, maybe he’d like a shot with Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour). Whatever Dad’s brand of celebrity nerdity, there’s a memory waiting to be made.
Speaking of Making Things…Make Some Art Together
Not the professional stuff; that’s another category completely. This idea is all about sitting down and actually making something with your dad, taking part in one of the crafts available in the Kids’ Lab (it doesn’t matter how old you are — these activities are open to kids of all ages), and making something so horribly bad that you can’t stop laughing. Because you and your dad probably aren’t artists...but that’s not the point. The point is that you made that crappy art together, and you can take it home and smile at it whenever you see it. Those works of art under the fridge magnets when you were a kid? That wasn’t because you had a strong sense of composition. It was just love.
Meet Jim Davis
Is there a Dad out there that doesn’t appreciate the comic strip Garfield? Most Dads these days are old enough to remember fondly the days of comic strips in newspapers, and the Sunday funnies being something that they looked forward to reading. And maybe it’s the love of lasagna, or the consistently grumpy worldview, or the fact that he just wants some sleep (you know: the fodder of wall calendars since the early 1980s), but Garfield shares some commonalities with a lot of dads, and we mean that with all the love in Odie’s slobbering heart. And if your dad tends toward the more absurd, show him Garfield Minus Garfield. Either way, he’ll have a good time shaking Jim Davis’s hand and telling people all about it in the weeks to come.
Maybe you and your Dad are dressing up; after all, there are a ton of father/kid costume ideas out there. The Dark Knight and Carrie Kelley. Darth Vader and Luke or Leia. Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl/Oracle. Ego and Starlord. Mr. Incredible, Violet, and Dash. But if cosplay is a bit much for you and your pops, you can at least spend some time near the Cosplay Canyon Photo Stage and admire the work that goes into these things. Argue over whether that guy is one of the Venture Brothers or an original X-Man. Wonder at how hot it must be in that full Stormtrooper armor (nerd answer: Tatooine-level). Marvel at how that guy over there really looks like Wolverine (and then question whether or not that’s a costume).
Don’t Forget to Buy Dad a Beer
The 2018 DCC Brew is Razznarok, but there are a few others from which to choose, too. Might be just the thing to wet Dad’s whistle while you’re admiring the cosplay, taking a break, maybe eating some crap that your mom would definitely not approve of your dad scarfing down. But, shhh…it’s Father’s Day. Nothing’s off limits for Dad.
Commission an Artist to Draw Something for You Both
Not necessarily an established pro; that would be cool, obviously, and if you can find a legend who has time (and you can afford it), do it. But consider checking into an independent artist — or even a relative newbie, one of those artists sharing a booth with another artist or two, each of them working to show off their talent and make back the price of the booth and their ticket, just because they want to be there and be a part of it all. Reward that. Whoever you choose, have them draw something for you and Dad that means something. Maybe a Hagrid sketch, because he did that voice so well when he read you the first book. Or Superman, because he took you to see the Christopher Reeve movie back in 1978. Or Captain America, because he was in the first Gulf War, and he and Cap are both vets. You get the idea. Something that means something to him, like your Dad does to you. It just might become one of your favorite things — or at least your favorite bookmark.
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Just Spend Some Time
In the end, the Denver Comic Con is all about opportunity — to learn, to share, to celebrate, to inspire. And to spend the day with your dad. It doesn’t matter what you do, really, with that time. Collect, admire, laugh, all of it. Comics are as classic a dad thing as playing catch. Celebrate that, just the two of you, and it’ll be a Father’s Day and a DCC well spent.