As a relative Con newbie I don’t have a lot to compare my experience to, but as an event frequenter I can say without a doubt that Denver Comic Con is one of the smoothest running operations West of the Rockies, especially when considering it’s massive size.
With over 115, 000 attendees (making only relatively smaller than San Diego Comic Con), the worry would be feeling like a bunch of sardines packed into a convention center, but this was far from the case. The use of 2 large stages with frequent exciting guests, a constantly moving Celebrity Summit for autographs, and four halls full of interesting panels meant that at any given time about a third of the convention was away from the merch floor, so the space never felt unbearably crowed. This was actually quite the pleasant surprise for me, as I know full well how quickly that convention center can become crowded, but Denver Comic Con did an absolutely brilliant job of arranging the convention and spreading attendees out. Even between the packed rows of merchandise booths (which stretched the entirety of the showroom), there was plenty of breathing room and no section of booths felt overcrowded. Despite this the vendors that I spoke to told me that they were receiving some of their best business, as per usual for this convention.
Adding to the excellent fan experience were the celebrity guests. I thought the lineup was great and they divided the time very well. David Harbour of Stranger Things fame and David Tennant of…. well a whole bunch of things, were the two biggest names at this year’s convention. Others included Mark Sheppard (Supernatural), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), Billie Piper (Doctor Who), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones), and a personal favorite of mine, Alan Tudyk. Tudyk really knows how to put on a show for his fans, and his hilarious gag was digging through his bag of “crap” to hand out to anyone who asked him a question. Tudyk’s crap included crumpled train schedules from his recent trip to Japan, signed photographs of various costars from a number of projects, and one lucky fan even got a shot list straight from the Rouge One set. Those that received a trinket from Tudyk will likely charish it forever, proving that one man’s trash is another fan’s treasure.
What I believe to be the best thing about Denver Comic Con is that is presented by Pop Culture Classroom, a Colorado charity that works to provide schools with classroom materials, teacher resources, after school programs, activities, and more — all with a focus on the love of learning. Pop Culture Classroom is responsible for the over 300 hours of educational panel sessions provided at Denver Comic Con. The convention gives back to this charity, and in doing so creates a community of people who love storytelling and experiencing those stories in the most intimate ways possible.
I attended many Pop Culture Classroom panels, my favorite being How to Write a Horror Film featuring Sinister & Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill. Additionally, Pop Culture Classroom integrated its Page 23 Literary Conference into the Con, which meant there was more literary panels and many author book signings throughout the weekend. It’s programs and opportunities like Pop Culture Classroom that make Denver Comic Con so unique and special, and an all around great experience for fans.
Overall I was really impressed with this convention and I would highly recommend it to any Con – lover. It’s beautiful, prime location definetely boosts its rating as well. Head up to the Mile High City for a fan experience you’ll never forget!