Catching Up on Denver Comic Con: Cosplay and Beyond
Denver Comic Con is poised to return to the Colorado Convention Center this Father's Day weekend, and now is as good a time as any to get a preview of what you can expect to see.
If you're new to the convention scene, you're likely to notice the cosplayers right away. Cosplay, short for costume play, is a huge part of any comic convention. Fans will purchase or create costumes, dressing as one of their favorite characters from a comic book, movie, or video game. During the duration of DCC, they'll flood the streets of downtown Denver, bringing traffic to local businesses as well as bringing area traffic to a halt.
For the fans who create their own cosplays, it can be an intense experience just to craft the costume. Cosplays can range from simple "closet cosplay" wherein you utilize clothes you already own to approximate a character's appearance to far more elaborate design products that seemingly require a team of engineers to create. Some cosplayers want accuracy without effort, and purchase costumes online. Find your size, make your payment, and hope that it ships on time.
Others want to experience the joy (and frustration) of doing it themselves. Tracking down the right patterns, fabric, and other materials can take weeks. Cosplay can involve sewing, foamcrafting, painting, drawing, and more. Burgeoning cosplayers may seek out someone more experienced in any of these areas. You can also find items of clothing that will suffice given a bit of modification. It's not uncommon to find a group of friends who pool their skills. The dedicated will often compete against other cosplayers, in technical realms or in brief performances as their characters. Many more simply enjoy being in costume. The critical thing to remember is that cosplay is for everyone. Don;t be afraid to be a beginner!
The point is, cosplay can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. For example, want a simple Doctor Who cosplay without deciding which character you want to be? Carry a Sharpie marker and make tally marks on your skin.
But cons aren't just about the cosplayers.
Special guests are a critical part of the convention experience too. Inviting the right celebrities can make all the difference in convention attendance. This year's Denver Comic Con guest list boasts some of the biggest names in comic books, movies, and television. Stan "The Man" Lee is slated as the 2016 Guest of Honor, with dozens of actors, writers, artists, and cosplayers also in attendance. Alex Kingston, Cary Elwes, John Rhys-Davies, Katee Sackhoff, John Barrowman, Hayley Atwell, and more are scheduled to appear (subject to change). A full guest list can be found at Denver Comic Con's website. Most of the guests offer photo ops and autographs, which can range upward of $50 apiece, so plan accordingly. ATMs are on-site, but beware, as the lines there can stretch longer than the ones for autographs.
The largest room of the convention center will be home to Merchant Mesa and Artist Valley. Here you can find scores of vendors selling licensed merchandise as well as independent artists selling their wares. Prices here will vary, but it can be the best way to bring home something utterly unique while supporting local artists and shops.
Panels are a core part of a convention as well. These are usually set up as interactive question and answer sessions, and cover an incredible array of topics. Panels are hosted by volunteers, and usually run just under an hour in length. Is there a subject you and your friends are incredibly knowledgable of/passionate about? Consider running a panel! It's a fun way to show off your knowledge and skill, and to connect with people with similar interests. All you have to do is contact the con far enough in advance with a plan for your panel. It may be too late for this year, but Denver Comic Con is an annual event. You'll have plenty of opportunities!
Food and drink are always a concern at a convention. Thankfully, the convention center is home to lots of options for both. Or, if you don't mind the walk, Downtown Denver is just outside the doors, and the possibilities are endless. Whichever you choose, be courteous. Staff are dealing with more volume than usual during a convention weekend.
Denver Comic Con prides itself on being a family-friendly convention. All programming ranges from G to PG-13. Additionally, all proceeds from Denver Comic Con go to Pop Culture Classroom's educational programming. Learn more at their website. It's a great event for an even greater cause.
And there you have it, folks. Your primer is at an end. Denver Comic Con will be taking over downtown June 17-19th.
Thank you to guest blogger, Philip Krogmeier! Philip Krogmeier is a Colorado Springs-based blogger, cosplayer, and aspiring librarian. When he's not fighting the war against ignorance from behind a reference desk, he spends his time reading all of the books. Find him on twitter at @flipwriter or at his website at https://swordsoftheancients.com/.