The Denver Comic Con (@DenverComicCon) was held in Denver from 15 Jun until 17 Jun. We arrived on Friday after waiting for an exterminator to stop by the house. Well he did not show up during the 2 hour window. So we decided to say screw it, called up the company to cancel the appointment, and head on up to Denver.
Day 1 - We arrived at our hotel (Denver Hyatt Regency) and were very happy with what we saw. The first thing I noticed was that the gaming activities were being held in our hotel. This would have been made better if there was going to be some Warmachine/Hordes gaming going on, but I took care of that for next year (more on this later). You could see the convention center from our room, and once we had settled in, we walked over to the convention center. We decided not to get into costumes that night since we would not be over there very long.
Upon entering the convention center, we were greeted by a friendly faced volunteer who immediately asked up how they could help us. We asked where the VIP registration was, and she gladly told us exactly where to go. Now I know this seems mostly normal, but I think it is important to point out that all of the volunteers (except one I will discuss later) were extremely friendly and helpful. The organizers did a great job of making sure people were in the right places and that they had all very friendly volunteers. Helping people in this type of venue cannot be done by just anyone and I was happy to meet all of them. Once we got into the main area, we were greeted by some people already in costume. Members of the 501st Mountain Legion who wore some great Star Wars costumes. We took a walk around the center and really liked how the organizers laid out the booths and areas. My wife thought the full size TARDIS was great as she is a big Dr. Who fan. When we got to celebrity row, we noticed it was almost empty, but were pleasantly surprised to find Colin Ferguson (@colinferg) star of the SyFy series Eureka. Since Wil Wheaton (@wilw) dropped out of the convention (DAMN YOU WIL WHEATON!!!) Colin Ferguson was easily the person we wanted to see most there. My wife and I are both big Eureka fans and so this was great for both of us. He was really nice, and it was amazing to see how happy and kind he was. Almost the same exact bubbly personality he has on the show. This was a great experience for both of us.
Day 2 - Well it was time to get dressed up. After a wonderful breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we got dressed in our outfits. We decided to go basic but fun for this comic con since it was really our first. Our son dressed up as Captain America, our daughters were fairies, and my wife and I dressed as F-302 pilots from Stargate. We were able to get the patches over Ebay and got the Velcro done thanks to a great company call Thomas Name Tags (http://www.thomastags.com/) We had the flight suits from our time in the Air Force, so this was easy and fun.
We ventured off to the convention. We had a great time while in the convention. We saw lots of great costumes, met a bunch of people, and saw some of the most creative and spectacular artistic work I have ever seen. We ran across a group of other people dressed in gear from Stargate and decided to get a photo of all of us together.
Following this, it was nap time for the kids. So we walked out of the convention center for much needed rest. After a couple of hours, we went back to the convention center, we ran into a familiar face. It was some guy dressed in a very awesome Captain America costume. My son thought it was the real Captain America. It made it so happy to see him, my son ran up and gave him a big hug. It caused me to tear up a bit because to my son, he was meeting one of his heroes.
Once we got back inside, we went and checked out who was in Celebrity Row. First I feel really bad because we missed a chance to meet with Tom Kane. Although I knew he had done voices for the Transformer series (one of my favorite) but he also did voices on Next Avengers which is one of my son's favorite movies. If I would have put 2 and 2 together, I would have brought the DVD and asked him to sign it. Regardless, the next person we met was someone we also both looked forward to meeting. Aaron Douglas (@theaarondouglas), who we knew from Battlestar Galactica and Stargate. The first thing I noticed was that Aaron had a picture of him and Wil Wheaton. I had no idea of their past together, but I took it as a chance to pull out the #VandalEyes to take a picture (with permission of course from Mr. Douglas). I have traded occasional #VandalEyes tweets with Bonnie Burton (@bonniegrrl) and Anne Wheaton (@AnneWheaton) and I thought that this was the culmination of all the hard work trying to find the perfect place for #VandalEyes. Here it is:
Meeting Mr. Douglas was great and here is the picture we got of my wife and him.
What happened next will be one of those events that I will always remember. We walked around and I noticed a booth that identified Allen Bellman who was one of the original artists on Captain America. Although he was selling some of his works, I walked over to the people with him and asked if it was possible for me to get him to sign my son's Captain America shield. Although I know my son didn't realize the significance of this, I started tearing up seeing this very important person in the comic book world sign the shied and pose with my son for a couple of photos. I will never forget this as it will always hold a special place in my heart.
It was a short time after this that we heard Stan Lee will be at next year's Denver Comic Con. So we are planning to bring the shield back to get his signature on it as well. Until then, it will hang on my son's wall.
After coloring some shields, and face painting, we got in line for our picture with James Marsters (who was really nice when we met him for both his autograph and the picture), we ran into Thor and Sif. My son, a huge Avengers fan if you could not tell, thought this was great.
Some other stuff happened that I won't go into great detail. Meeting Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan, and getting them to autograph the same picture, was another highlight of the day. No pictures from this, but we had a nice conversation with both of them. After some more walking around, we decided to go get some dinner. While at dinner we saw the folks from IBOTKS http://www.facebook.com/IBOTKS which put together awesome Iron Man looking cosplay outfits. They had a Iron Man, War Machine, Captain America (more like Iron Patriot but we won't get into that) and actually now that I am thinking about it, they would pass for the robot Avengers from the Next Avengers movie I talked about earlier. Either way, my son was really excited so I got at few pictures.
Day 3 - We went back on Sunday, not in costume, and walked around some more. We purchased each of the kids a stuffed "squishy" toy, and took some more pictures with stuff we had missed earlier. It was much quieter than Saturday, but a really nice time to just chill and relax. We went and said goodbye to Colin Ferguson, which was nice. We picked up some pictures we had taken, and proceeded to head back to the hotel and head home.
Final Thoughts - The Denver Comic Con was a great experience. The VIP tickets we purchased were well worth the cost, and the people we met there were great. I won't go into the details about the one bad apple that we met there because it could just have been the case of poor planning. The basics of it was bad planning for the lines to take pictures Saturday with James Marsters, and how they split the lines. When I explained the error in the logic the volunteer was using in how she had people get in line, I was met with a blank face. Once one of the organizers came over and asked me what was going on (presumably she had said something to have them come over) he listen to what I had to say, and proceeded to fix the problem.
This was one of the best experiences of this sort I have ever had, and I really appreciate all of the hard work the organizers put into getting the event going. Over 20,000 people attended which was pretty amazing considering there was not a huge amount of advertising. I think with the involvement I have seen in the Twitter and Blogging community, and the additional help they will get next year, it should be able to be twice as big. I have already volunteered to help organize and run a gaming event for them, so I hope to be involved more hands on next year. See you all there next year!!