The First Ever Colorado Springs Comic Con
Aug 30, 2016 06:36PM
● By Randy Robinson
CSCC 2016 [6 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
The weekend of August 26-28 marked the first Comic Con in
Colorado Springs. Was it everything the nerd community expected?
As a member of said community, I can say this con was certainly different than the bigger cons in Denver. The venue was much smaller than other mainstays such as the Colorado Convention Center or the Sheraton downtown. But that turned out to be a good thing.
Smaller: Sometimes, It’s Better
The first Colorado Springs Comic Con took place at the Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center off N. Nevada. Event organizers only reserved half the center. This meant the vendor booths, concession area, celebrity showroom, and the main panel room were all located on the same floor in the same wing of the same windowless building.
“The con was smaller than the huge ones I'm used to, but I was actually very impressed,” says Sarah Shoupe, known to Colorado’s cosplayers as Cosplay Mama of Pink Unicorn Productions, a local events company. “For being it's very first year, it had a lot to offer.”
By the end of the weekend, nearly 10,000 attendees made an appearance. A smaller venue with that volume of people kept the action fairly centralized. If someone showed up in a crazy, gargantuan Minotaur cosplay? You’d catch them as quickly as anyone waiting by the entrance. If a celebrity decided to stroll through the convention? You were right there, possibly bumping elbows with them.
In fact, I spotted several celebrity guests mingling with the con’s visitors. Jason Mewes (Clerks, Clerks 2), Seth Gilliam (Walking Dead), and Peter Dante (Grandma’s Boy) chatted with local artists and bought art at the booths. Celebs joining the crowds at a Comic Con isn't unheard of, but at the Colorado Springs Comic Con, the entire affair seemed… natural. When someone recognized the celebrity, said celebrity was more than happy to say hi. Like normal people do.
Celebrity guests included the cast members of the original Power Rangers TV show, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy; Ric Flair and other professional wrestlers; and Kevin Smith’s View Askew duo Jason Mewes and Brian O’Halloran (sorry, Kevin won't be showing up to Colorado until December, at an unrelated event).
Perhaps the most unexpected guest was Dr. Dina, an LA-based consultant best known for being Snoop Dogg’s cannabis liaison. Throughout the Comic Con weekend, she acted as a ganja guide for the Hollywood elite, making recommendations for Colorado’s various cannabis products, and giving everyone sound advice on responsible use. “If you ever eat too many edibles,” she says, “just drink a glass of whole milk. The fats will slow down the high, so it lasts longer but it’s not too overwhelming or intense.”
Shane Smith, a regular convention goer, came to this year’s Comic Con specifically to meet the the big-name guests. “I loved the con. It was amazing,” Smith says. “I would so go again next year, because it’s fun to go out, enjoy what you love, and meet new people as well as celebrities.”
Smith, like Shoupe, seemed just fine with the con’s size, even though he’s also accustomed to larger events. “Everything starts out small before they grow,” he says.
Smaller: More Personable
Comic Con originally started in the 1970s as a way for comic book writers and artists to directly engage their fans. In recent times, that tradition has been muffled under the din of professional cosplay, where visitors dress like their favorite pop-culture characters and judge one another based on the accuracy and ingenuity of their hand-made costumes.
At the Colorado Springs Comic Con, cosplay wasn’t as much of a fixture as it tends to be at other cons. This one definitely had that old-school feel. Of course, meeting writers and artists happens at every con, but at the CSCC, you had a better opportunity to get to know the writer or artist. At larger conventions, there’s usually mobs of people descending on a particular comic book artist. At CSCC, even if an artist was busy at the moment, you’d eventually get your chance.
Neal Adams, an award-winning artist for Archie, Superman, Batman, and the Green Arrow, was continually flocked by fans. Joe Rubenstein, who illustrated the Wolverine and Gambit solo series, sketched commission requests from the start of the con to the very last hour.
The Colorado Springs Comic Con even had some world class talent raised right here in–you guessed it–Colorado Springs. Steven Seagle, who attended Coronado High School, returned to his hometown for this event. He's one of the masterminds behind Ben 10, a $4.5-billion franchise which won Emmys on its path to become Cartoon Network’s most successful show. But before his stint in LA, where he created Ben 10, he penned his first comic “Kafka” while studying at CU-Boulder with Daredevil artist Stefano Gaudiano.
And about Those Cosplayers….
Just FYI, the Colorado Springs Comic Con had plenty of cosplayers of all skill levels. That giant minotaur I mentioned earlier actually did make an appearance last weekend. He was joined by an assortment of other prominent pop culture characters, including Nick Fury, Blade, Shonuff from 1985’s “The Last Dragon,” Poison Ivy, Batman, and–of course–Deadpool and Harley Quinn.
Colorado Springs Comic Con apparently struck a hit before it even started. They’ve already announced their return on the same dates next year, and given this year’s success, the next one should be a blast, too.