The fifth annual Denver Comic Con will invade the Colorado Convention Center over Father’s Day weekend, June 17 through 19. What started as a humble hometown show (albeit one with big aspirations) wound up breaking attendance records year after year, taking off from just over 25,000 attendees in its inaugural year to over 100K in 2015. Numbers this year will assuredly be even higher — and with those sorts of crowds, you’re going to need to prepare. While all three days are full of geeky goodness, here are ten things about Comic Con you don't want to miss.
10. The Cosplay
"Cosplay" is a relatively new word, a Japanese portmanteau of the English words “costume” and “roleplay" that came into common usage (at least among attendees of comic-book conventions and the like) in the 1990s. These days, it’s no small hobby. People spend copious amounts of time and money to look like their favorite characters from comics, anime, television and film, and they like being complimented on the outfit and makeup and even voice on which they’ve worked so hard. So feel free to take pictures of cosplayers who impress you. Tell them they look amazing. Ask them how they made that costume or perfected that look. Enjoy the show...and speaking of shows, if you want to see all the best costumes all at once, get in line for the Cosplay Shindig on Saturday night.
9. Artists’ Valley
This feature takes up a major section of the convention floor, so it would be pretty tough to miss — and you definitely don't want to! Artists’ Valley is full of both aspiring and established artists, all of whom have the ability to knock your fanboy/fangirl socks off with their talent. Yes, there will be huge stars of the comic-book art world there — Tim Sale, Jae Lee, J. Scott Campbell and John Romita Jr., to name only a few — but there will also be up-and-coming artists eager to share their talents. You get something awesome for your wall or collection, they get paid for their hard work, and everyone enjoys the convention just a little bit more. Win-win.
8. Dave Acord
The only Star Wars-related guest at this year's DCC (the great Carrie Fisher had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts with Star Wars VIII — disappointing, sure, but a pretty damn good reason) is Dave Acord, whose résumé just with the Star Wars canon is pretty deep. Most fans will know him as The Force Awakens First Order Trooper FN-2199 (also known as TR-8R), but he’s also voiced characters from The Clone Wars and the medical droid Polis Massa from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, who delivered the twins Luke and Leia. If you’re hungry for some Star Wars awesomeness, there are also panels, an auction and a trivia game — but if you’re looking to expand the universe of your Star Wars autograph collection? Dave Acord is your guy behind the mask.
7. Snape-ricot Ale
Every year, Breckenridge Brewery teams up with the DCC to brew a specialty beer, offered with a customized pint glass. Year one was called “The Fantastic Pour,” followed by “Caped Brewsader,” “Brews Wayne” and “Hulk’s Mash.” This year, in honor of the late Alan Rickman and his fan-favorite Harry Potter character Severus Snape, the brew is Snape-ricot Ale, an apricot lager that also gives you too much Potions homework and sneers at your best efforts to hold your liquor.
6. The Original Cast of Karate Kid
Well, not all of the original Karate Kid cast. Pat Morita, sadly, passed on in 2005, and Elizabeth Shue was nominated for an Oscar once, and is apparently too good for reunions like this one (Sharknado notwithstanding). But Ralph Macchio, Daniel-san himself, will appear with his onetime nemeses Johnny (William Zabka) and the sensei of Cobra Kai (Martin Kove). I know they were the bad guys, but the battle cry “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy SIR” always made good sense to me. Bonus: Since Ralph Macchio will already be there, DCC also invited C. Thomas Howell, his co-star from The Outsiders. Take the opportunity to catch these ’80s legends while they’re in Denver, because after all, nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.
Keep reading for five more things you don't want to miss at Denver Comic Con.