This year, Denver Comic Con was reborn as Denver Pop Culture Con (DPCC) and the consensus among the fans was that it was the best ever! The Denver con’s exhibit floor was bigger and better than prior years, with an extensive Artist Alley of many different artists displaying their incredible artwork, comics, and other creative efforts. The vendor area was full of fans but it was still easy to navigate the floor to find a favorite or new vendor. Publishers and booksellers provided ample opportunity to obtain autographs from favorite authors. There were many stellar guests, such as fan favorites Zachery Levi, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau, George Takei, and Claudia Christian. DPCC also had great panels which covered the gamut of the pop culture genre and more.
The exhibit floor at DPCC was amazing but to get there one had to go through security. Unfortunately, these security checks will be part of con life for the foreseeable future. The team who ran security was fast and efficient but there was still a bottleneck because of the large number of fans. However, once into the convention center, it was relatively simple to navigate to a panel, an autograph signing, Artist Alley, or the vendor floor. I suspect that this year’s attendance will exceed last year’s attendance, although official figures have yet to be released.
The vendor floor area seemed larger but the aisles were definitely wider, which made it easy to walk around the floor, even on Saturday, the day with the highest attendance. The Artist Alley covered a larger percentage of the vendor area than I have seen at other conventions. The artwork was stunning, as was the breadth of the art shown here. There were comic artists alongside comic book writers, painters, and designers. It was a revelatory experience to see so much talent in such a concentrated space.
One of the best aspects of DPCC is how many authors were invited as guests to attend the convention. I was ecstatic that two of my two favorite authors in the world, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (collectively known as James S. A. Corey) were there. They, along with a number of other authors, such as Kevin Hearne and Delilah Dawson, signed books at the Tattered Cover Bookstore booth (a Denver bookstore legend). Publishers such as Del Rey had book signings, as well as free books! DPCC fared better for book lovers in direct contrast to the most recent C2E2 (held March 22-24, 2019), which had a dearth of authors.
If authors or artists were not your cup of tea, then the vendor floor offered much more. There were vendors selling everything from clothing to lightsabers to special clocks. If it was remotely part of geek fandom, it was for sale. There was a very large food court, as well as access to adult beverages. The Breckenridge Brewery made a special brew for DPCC and there was also a special beer glass for the convention too. It was truly a festive atmosphere.
DPCC did not stop with just a fantastic vendor floor. The panels were amazing as well as they were an eclectic mix of academic, socially relevant, comics-related, thought-provoking, or just conversations with favorite stars. Their topics ranged from Comics in the Classroom to Resources for Women Filmmakers in Colorado to Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Fangs in Fiction to Why Supporting Star Wars Helps the Empire, not the Resistance to a Zachery Levi Spotlight. Fans also had the opportunity to interact with the famous artists and guests at these panels.
I was fortunate, as I was able to moderate my third Expanse fan panel at DPCC, Bridging The Expanse-Cibola Burn. I believe that everyone had a great time and we gave away some great prizes, including an exclusive poster signed by the Expanse cast and the authors of The Expanse novels. Daniel Abraham (half of James S.A. Corey) attended our fan panel and took part.
DPCC also provided a large area for autographs and photos on the exhibit floor. I personally saw many stars, such as Claudia Christian (Babylon Five), signing autographs and interacting with the fans, as well as large queues to get autographs from such stars as Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Catherine Tate (Dr. Who). There was an air of excited anticipation as the fans waited for autographs and photos.
This year’s Denver Pop Culture Con was bigger, better, and more fun than even last year’s very successful con. The cosplayers were in their elements as other attendees took numerous pictures of their intricate and fantastical costumes. The vendor floor was massive but accessible and the Artist Alley was a joy to behold. The panels were entertaining, thought-provoking, and just plain fun. It is wonderful to have such an amazing pop culture con almost in my own backyard. DPCC, I hope to see you again next year.