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Denver Comic Con 2016: Day One

Jun 17, 2016 10:56PM ● By Randy Robinson

A T-Rex dancing bash

When I was younger, being a nerd was totally not cool. Reading comics and obsessing over anime never made me many friends, much less landed me any dates. Nerds like me got the Kick-Me-Sign treatment in school.

Today, things are a little different. And for the better. 

A Brief History of Comic Con

Comic Con (short for "Comic Convention") started in San Diego way back in 1970. Over the decades, Comic Cons sprouted across the world, and major cities from both coasts of the US to Australia to India to the United Arab Emirates host their own Comic Cons. 

Denver is home to one of the youngest Comic Cons, with the first one held in 2012. In just four years, it became one of the biggest Comic Cons in the country, with an estimated 101,500 attendees in 2015. (For comparison, San Diego's Comic Con boasted 130,000 attendees last year.)

Comic Con began as a place for comic book artists, writers, and their fans to gather, share ideas, sign autographs, and buy memorabilia. Later, guest panels featuring the biggest names in comics would headline the conventions, telling stories about their adventures in the comic book world and answering questions from the audience. As Comic Cons grew, Hollywood actors and other pop culture legends joined the coveted guest list.  

Commence the Cosplay

In recent years, the phenomenon of cosplay (a shortened version of "costume roleplay") came to dominate these events. Cosplayers, as they're called, construct costumes and paint themselves in makeup to transform in to the iconic characters they adore from comics, animation, television, and film. Cosplayers carved out their own subculture, where those who put the most effort into their cosplays became the divas of their communities. 

With time, cosplay blossomed into a new profession. Hardcore cosplayers travel from city to city, convention to convention, with followings that can reach into the millions on social media.

At this year's convention, cosplays of Deadpool and Harley Quinn easily conquered the Colorado Convention Center. Deadpool's always been a mainstay fave, but Harley's soaring popularity probably has something to do with Suicide Squad's upcoming release.

Although cosplay may seem reminiscent of Halloween, adults well into their sixties or seventies can be spotted at Denver Comic Con. Entire families will cosplay together. Just today, I bumped into one family that cosplayed the Belcher family from the TV show Bob's Burgers.

Day One

Denver Comic Con spans three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Over the course of these three days, attendees can see celebrity guest panels, get their photos taken with said celebrities (for a fee), mingle with cosplayers, or  – one of my personal favorites – sit in on a smaller panel. 

These smaller panels feature lesser-known writers, film makers, comic book artists, digital artists, musicians, and a whole slew of other professionals who work in creative media. They offer insight into their industries, give free advice, and they'll even take questions from the audience. 

Day One of most conventions, which almost always falls on a Friday, serves as a sort of "warm up" for the rest of the weekend. The cosplayers will come out in full force, but rarely do they bring their best efforts on Day One (that's reserved for Day Two). Rather, Day One is about socializing, scoping out the layout of the convention (it changes slightly every year), and getting your hands on the program schedule so you can map out the rest of your convention visit. 

Celebrity guests for Day One included voice actors from the hit show cartoon My Little Pony, Brent Spiner who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ralph Macchio of The Karate Kid series, and best-selling author Terry Brooks. 

Tomorrow's celebrity guest panels will include Alex Kingston and Jenna Coleman from Dr. Who, uber-hottie Ian Somerhalder, comic book guru Stan Lee, Haley Atwell, Cary Elwes, Katee Sackhoff, and Karl Urban. 

To get the full rundown of Denver Comic Con's events, guests, and activities, 
check out their homepage.