Elliott Serrano, for Redeye
7:59 PM CDT, June 5, 2013
The city of Denver Colorado is known for many things: John Elway, the Rocky Mountains, beer, and legalized marijuana. But soon they'll be known as the home of a top-notch comic convention if the folks behind the Denver Comic-Con can keep up with the demand.
Running from May 31 - June 2, the Denver Comic Con attracted fans from all over the region. When I attended the show last year, they had an attendance of 28,000 people, and this year it almost doubled! On the first day, lines stretched around the Colorado Convention Center 3-fold, a record turnout that took the volunteer staff completely by surprise.
After speaking to several vendors, the overall mood was one of relief that there was such a demand for convention of the like, mingled with a bit of frustration that potential customers weren't able to get in and buy their merchandise. As the weekend progressed - and the crowds became more manageable - the mood lightened, allowing comic book geeks and cosplayers to enjoy the convention.
Of note was the number of people who came in costume, many in impressive, home-made outfits that challenged my nerd knowledge of fantasy and sci-fi characters. A couple of my faves were Emma Frost (who was channeling a 70's chic vibe) and Mara Jade, the former "Emperor's Hand" from the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels written by Timothy Zahn.
One of the really cool things that the show organizers put together was a "media center" made to look like a 50's classic version of The Daily Planet. Sponsored by Microsoft, media members were given access to free wifi and use of Microsoft Surface Tablet PCs to file their reports. (They were also given beer to drink, but I was told I missed it. Sad face.)
It was fun to run into local talents like Andrew Pepoy, who made the trip from Chicago to Denver to set up a booth and show his wares. I also loved spending time with "Love and Capes" creator Thomas Zahler, who had quite a few female fans fawning over him at the show.
Add to that the presence of celebrities like William Shatner, Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, and you have a comic/pop-culture convention that can grow to epic proportions!
Once they have an infrastructure in place that can handle the number of people who want to attend, the Denver Comic Con is going to be a show that people will travel from all over the country to see. I'm really looking forward to what they have planned for 2014!
Check out the gallery of pictures I took while I was there (see above). Thanks to Verizon Wireless for providing me with a Galaxy Tab 2.0 and access their 4G network that allowed me to live-tweet the event and post pics to INSTAGRAM.
You can also check out the SUPER-SIZED VERSION of my photo gallery.
Elliott Serrano is a Redeye Special Contributor and Resident Geek.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC