Nerd and pop cul­ture col­lide at con­ven­tion

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Joella Bau­mann

With im­pe­rial storm troop­ers, a pro­ces­sion of Lego peo­ple, Pikachu, Swamp Thing and Dead­Pool rid­ing a pink and white uni­corn, the Big Blue Bear is prob­a­bly one of the least in­ter­est­ing things to see at the Colorado Con­ven­tion Cen­ter this week­end.

Nerd and pop cul­ture con­verged Satur­day dur­ing the sec­ond day of the sixth an­nual Den­ver Comic Con, which con­cludes Sun­day.

With more than 100 guest au­thors and comic cre­ators and nearly 700 ven­dors, it’s easy to get lost in the fray at an event as big as DCC. While that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing, “Con-ers” should plan ahead.

“It re­ally de­pends on what your geek in­ter­est is,” said mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Pop Cul­ture Class­rooms Tara Hub­ner. “Peo­ple come to see the big­ger celebri­ties, talk to their fa­vorite comic artist or meet their fa­vorite au­thor.”

On the main floor, Au­thor Al­ley is filled with lo­cal and guest writ­ers where pa­trons can meet their fa­vorite au­thors or pe­ruse for up-and-com­ing tal­ents. There are also pan­els and screen­ings smat­tered here and there for peo­ple in­ter­ested in very spe­cific top­ics from mu­sic to prose.

The nerd po­etry slam fea­tured lo­cal writ­ers who pre­pared po­ems specif­i­cally for DCC and also an­swered nerd-re­lated trivia. Pa­trons chanted “nerd, nerd, nerd” loudly in ap­proval when ques­tions were an­swered cor­rectly or at the close of re­cited po­ems with lines such as, “I have mem­o­rized more episodes of Sailor Moon than po­ems.”

On the up­per level, Artist Val­ley takes over most of the floor and fea­tures more than 400 car­toon­ists, comics and fine artist ta­bles and booths. Joel Adams, the artist for the first three sea­sons of “King of the Hill,” is just one of many at­tend­ing to ped­dle his goods and meet fans.

“I re­ally en­joy hear­ing the sto­ries from fans telling me about grow­ing up watch­ing King of the Hill,” Adams said.

Also on the up­per level were Mer­chant Mesa, Celebrity Sum­mit and the kids lab and lounge. At­ten­dees met their on-screen idols and bought one-of-a-kind toys, ac­tion fig­ures and comic books. Non­profit Pop Cul­ture Class­rooms ded­i­cated nearly 10,000 square feet to chil­dren and teens this year where they could learn through cre­at­ing and lis­ten to their fa­vorite comic artist or writer.

“Some­thing that makes us unique is that we are a fam­ily-friendly con,” Hub­ner said. “Es­pe­cially for teens to lis­ten to comic artists, film­mak­ers and au­thors talk about how to break into the in­dus­try and also feel wel­comed in the geek com­mu­nity.”

For John Orr and his sons, Keaton and Parker, it is def­i­nitely a fam­ily af­fair. Not only have they at­tended the con­ven­tion ev­ery year since its in­cep­tion, they dress in a dif­fer­ent group cos­tume for dif­fer­ent days. Satur­day they were “the red guy” from the YouTube series “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared,” who vaguely re­sem­bles a Mup­pets char­ac­ter. The day be­fore? “Clock­work Orange.”

The se­nior Orr said next year they would prob­a­bly come as lunch.

“Where else do you get to dress up like this?” Keaton asked.

Sun­day the event will try to break the Guin­ness world record for the most peo­ple dressed as comic book char­ac­ters, said di­rec­tor of pro­gram­ming Bruce Mac­In­tosh. A mere 1,800 would be enough.

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