Jun 19, 2012

Denver Comic-Con: Fantastic Weekend Confirmed

This past weekend, June 15th - 17th, was the first ever Denver Comic-Con, which I was blessed enough to attend! As with any con I made sure to bring some medicine with me to fight off the dreaded con bug that seems to effect me immediately after any event where there are literally thousands of people in attendance. First tip I can give for con going is to drink orange juice at least once a day, and even if you traditionally don't eat three meals a day, do so, it will increase your energy levels. You will be doing an astonishing amount of walking at any con, so having ample energy makes things more bearable. That being said, you will probably be tired of walking around after the first half of the second day, so find a panel that you are interested in so you can sit for an hour.

Female Shepard we ran into at the bar Friday Night!
That being said, I don't regret a single thing about Denver Comic-Con. Friday afternoon the doors opened at 4 and the con was off to a great start! I got to meet some of my favorite writers like Jason Aaron who currently writes The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine and the X-Men, while also penning certain parts of Avengers VS X-Men. I also got to meet Gail Simone, the current writer on Batgirl in the DC New 52. While I didn't have anything for her to sign, I am going to be picking up some of her work come Wednesday when I make a trip to the comic store. She left that much of a good impression that I am willing to jump into a character that I have a passing interest in, just to see what is going on in that side of the Bat-world.

Meeting personal heroes and getting them to sign stuff is cool, but honestly, Friday night was awesome because I got to do something I rarely do: Hang out with new friends. We found a bar and started drinking and the conversation flowed in the most nerdy directions ever, giving off a taste of brief personal utopia. We talked superheroes, we talked Game of Thrones, we talked The Legend of Korra. And it was awesome. But not to be outdone we decided to head to the Rocky Mountain Browncoats party, only to have it shut down by hotel security as soon as we arrived. But that did not deter us! We proceeded to a friends hotel room and threw down a quick game of Munchkin! Friday night was easily one of the high points in the weekend.

Then came Saturday. The tossing and turning of the previous night of crashing on a buddies couch reared it's ugly head, and the liquor in my stomach didn't help, but it is Con! You have to man up and fight through! There are panels to attended! Cosplay to adore! Money to spend! I originally missed the Wil Wheaton apology video but thanks to the power of the internet I watched it last night. This in itself is a rarity, as most celebrities who cancel a con appearance don't make any effort to apologize, and Wil Wheaton was there in spirit, making sure to satisfy his fan's need to the best of his ability. Yeap, he is not the dick that he portrays to Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory. Wheaton performed in spades.

A group of friends and I caught our first panel though, Marvel Comics and the Avengers Creators, which pretty much turned into an hour of people going "You know who is awesome? The Hulk!". It was a good hour of nerding out. A quick jaunt to lunch and then we hit our next panel which we promptly left. The panel was entitled Strong Women Writers & Characters and out of the five panelist, three of them wrote one dimensional young adult vampire fiction. I cringe for the world if the future of strong female characters is the one trick pony that is undeath. That did allow us to sneak out and go to the Cartoon Voices panel though, which was flat out jaw dropping. I could listen to the dulcet tones of Billy West and Tom Kane talk about anything. The man who stood above it all though was Kharv Payton, the voice of Aqualad on Young Justice and Cyborg in Teen Titans. He came off as extremely humble and honestly happy to be in Denver with a big smile on his face and a sense of wonder around him.

The third panel we attended of the day was the best panel of the show: LGBT in Comics. Gail Simone cemented herself in my mind as not only a damn good writer but a paragon of a human being in this panel. Steven Seagle was also flawless in his appearance, showing up just a hair late but not afraid of jumping into the conversation of the recently out Alan Scott. All of the panelists seemed to hate the publicity of having an out character, simply because they hate the fact that a character that they are trying to humanize and bring to life shouldn't be reduced to a publicity stunt. It was just really interesting to see the side of a civil issue presented in such a mainstream way, and everyone seemed to be supportive not just in the topic at hand, but listening to what everyone had to say.

Captain America themed liquor in a fishbowl?! YES PLEASE!
During all of the panel hoping apparently something epic happened though. It even got mentioned in the Sunday edition of the Denver Post the next day. Comic-Con had hit capacity for about two hours. The fire marshal had to be on site waving people in one at a time when other people left the building. Exact ticket sale numbers aren't disclosed but the general consensus is 20,000+. For a first year con. If anything that just cements that this will be a yearly outing for me as long as I remain a Colorado Resident.

That night consisted of meeting more new people, which was always good, but it didn't run into the wee hours of the morning as Friday night did. I did get to drink a Captain America themed drink out of a fishbowl though, so that was pretty sweet!

Sunday was just an off day, and you could really tell. Everyone was con-hungover, but everyone still showed up with a smile on their face, not wanting the weekend to end. We caught the absolutely hilarious Aaron Douglas in a panel, and I am sad to say that I am going to start watching Battlestar Galactica just because of that man and his fantastic rapporte. I would be elated to start this en devour if we had 36 hour days though.

The long trudge back to the car reminded me of how blessed I am to have amazing friends, a great hobby, and to be a part of a community that is accepting no matter what the circumstance. And that is what Con's are about. Not about the accidental shoulder rubbings with 'celebrities', who contrary to popular belief are just people like you and I, not the signing of some four dollar comics, but about being part of something special. Something bigger. Something awesome. And I am proud to say that I belong.