With over 9,000 square feet of labs for children and teens, 300 hours of educational programming, and all proceeds going to Pop Culture Classroom (a program dedicated to promoting literacy through comics), Denver is quickly making a name for itself as the preeminent family-friendly comic convention in America. It’s no wonder that this three-day event celebrating comics, art, movies, music, and other pop culture has grown so rapidly, from an inaugural attendee count of 27,700 in 2012 to this year’s staggering 101,500, due in no small part to the focus of organizers, volunteers, exhibitors, artists, and celebrity guests who all support the cause of making the DCC a family event. Nowhere is this dedication more publicly noticeable than in its strict PG-rating on cosplay, making the DCC a safe place for parents to introduce their kids to the geek world.
I spent 36 of the past 72 hours at DCC2015, and the only offensive cosplay occurrence I experienced was being called both Magneto and Dr. Doom.
At a con that focuses so much on the family, it comes as no surprise that there were enough tiny Wonder Women and Iron Men there that the collective “aww”s could be heard across five counties. While dressing your toddler in a Captain America Halloween costume is adorable, my favorite were the kids who had reached the age where they knew their character and obviously had a hand in design and construction of their costume. While it’s hard to be objective when it comes to your own kids, I’m going to pretend to be anyway. My youngest son not only came up with the idea and design for his costume, he completely owned the character, sometimes standing in one spot for an hour, asking passersby, “Are you my mummy?” Nothing made him happier than watching people scurry off, glancing back over their shoulder to make sure he wasn’t following them. He also had an epic staredown with No-Face from Spirited Away that lasted over five minutes and gathered quite a crowd. Kudos to Steven Moffat for creating a character that can still strike such irrational panic in people years later.
Comic Book Characters (DC)
Walk around the Con for five minutes and you quickly get a sense for what comic book movies were either just released or are coming soon. I saw more Joker/Harley couples than Batman has cool toys, and CW has definitely been good for the Arrow and The Flash titles. However, my favorite two DC characters had to be the Batgirl with a dozen perfect poses who had obviously rehearsed extensively in front of a mirror, and the Penguin who showed everyone that cosplay is not just a young man’s game.
Comic Book Characters (Marvel)
It’s been a stellar year for Marvel at the theaters as well. Avengers: Age of Ultron and the upcoming Ant Man and Captain America: Civil War heavily influenced this year’s cosplay, and Netflix reigniting the interest in a certain blind lawyer hasn’t hurt them either. While I couldn’t count the number of Hugh Jackman near (and very far) misses, there was one guy in particular whose dedication to his character more than made up for his lack of physical resemblance. I saw him Saturday morning dressed as Logan, and that same afternoon in his full Wolverine X-Men uniform. Switching your cosplay mid-day? That deserves recognition.
Anime, Video Games, and Other Stuff I Know Little About
Apparently, gigantic weapons and bright colors are popular in some kind of movie or game that I’m too old to be cool enough to know about. I can get the Portal and Mario Kart references, but that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge of games after 1999. Nonetheless, I can still appreciate the obvious skill and effort put into a costume, regardless of whether I understand the context.
Donning spandex or armor is one thing, but it takes another level of dedication to sit in a makeup chair for hours just to spend a day among a bunch of strangers for your own amusement. From body paint to zombie wounds, there was makeup artistry galore at this year’s DCC. The best of the best, though, was this Harvey Dent from Saturday night’s Cosplay Shindig.
These were people who, due to monumental effort, their ability to catch my attention, and my lack of desire to come up with more categories, earned a special place on the list, that place being the end.
Gratuitous Family Cosplay Shot
Photos by Randy Slavey. See more cosplay photos from the 2015 Denver Comic Con on the GeekDad Flickr group.