Denver Comic Con 2017 – Day 3 Report

Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Another fun year of Denver Comic Con is now behind us, with crowd totals possibly exceeding last year’s at between 110,000–120,000 guests. Read on for my summary of Day 3.

The Sunday of DCC is the least crowded of the three days. This was the one day of the event whose day-passes didn’t sell out, so last-minute attendees still had a chance to visit the festivities. The lines to enter were much shorter, not only because of fewer ticket sales, but also due to the more-spread-out entries, with the convention center not truly feeling crowded until after 1pm.

For Day 3, I came with only my oldest son, who had come in from an out-of-town Boy Scout trip the evening prior. Even though he was probably pretty wiped out from his trip, he was grateful he didn’t have to miss all of DCC! Like the day prior, we took the train into downtown from a suburban light rail station, and didn’t have to worry about parking.

Gaming Demos

As soon as we entered, we headed straight over to the video gaming area, where numerous vendors were featuring soon-to-be released games for a variety of platforms and devices. My son enjoyed trying out two games that will be launched later this summer: City of the Shroud by Abyssal Arts, available on Steam for Mac and PC, and Just in Time Incorporated, a VR game for the HTC Vive by Second Wind Interactive. We also enjoyed meeting Gaspar and Dave of JSVeterans (which stands for “Just Some Veterans”), who were testing their creation, Star Kinesis, a military strategy game. Talking to the JSVeterans folks, we learned we had served with the same Army unit (2nd Armored Cavalry), although I had served with them about a decade before they had.

My oldest son, center, works with Managing Director Keaton White of Abyssal Arts on an alpha demo of ‘City of the Shroud.’ Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

My son and I thoroughly enjoyed checking out the games; he seemed to impress the developers with his ability to pick up the VR skills so quickly. Enjoy the video below of his first VR gaming experience.

Cosplay

We continued to keep an eye out for fun family cosplay throughout the day. This year I saw some common themes among the cosplay, from Wonder Woman to characters from Overwatch and Stranger Things (including a pretty-awesome looking Demogorgon/Monster and an Eggo waffle). Here are some of our favorites from Day 3:

The young lady on the left told me folks were having a hard time recognizing her. I knew who she was right away! Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
I was sitting next to the Man in Black at the Wallace Shawn panel. Image credit: Jacob Vollmer
This young lady is only 15 years old. She designed this Maleficent costume, complete with pneumatic wings made of real feathers, on her own. I talked to her father, who helped with some of the bigger ticket tasks, but he couldn’t be more proud of how beautifully it turned out for her. The air pump was under her left arm. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
I can’t tell you how many ‘Rick and Morty’ cosplay couples we saw. This one was one of the most well-done Ricks, complete with the blue eyebrows and dribble under his chin. We saw several incarnations of Rick all weekend, from Cowboy Rick to Dungeon Rick (who was standing behind me in line at the Cyanide & Happiness booth; he was barely achieving the Denver Comic Con cosplay rules). Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
I couldn’t get enough of this 4-year-old R2D2, which reminded me of when my almost-4-year-old wore the same thing for Halloween in 2009. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
I enjoyed this husband/wife couple as Fred and Wilma. I purposefully cut off their feet in their photo, since they were wearing shoes, but I was very impressed with Wilma’s five-finger-style shoes that were the same color as her skin.

Artist’s Valley

Because the crowds were too insane the day prior, we waited until Day 3 to visit both the Artist’s Valley, where the comic artists had their booths, as well as the Celebrity Summit, which I’ll address momentarily. I had the honor of meeting Ian McGinty, who is the illustrator of the Adventure Time comics. He told us about his upcoming comic series, Welcome to Showside, coming soon. We also enjoyed browsing the hundreds of other booths in the area. The dozens of artists who drew their own versions of Steven Universe Crystal Gems certainly caught our attention.

Amy Mebberson and James Silvani meet guests at Denver Comic Con. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
Reimaginations of ‘Steven Universe’s’ Crystal Gems were a popular theme at this year’s Denver Comic Con. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Celebrity Summit

We also were able to wander over to the Celebrity Summit on Day 3. On Saturday the crowds in this area were pretty insane, with many of the celebrities having their best availability on Day 2. Denver Comic Con did a very good job making clear the availability times for the celebrities, managing the queues for each celebrity, and pushing last-minute schedule changes to the guests via the Denver Comic Con app.

To be honest, our family doesn’t have a huge desire to pay as much as folks do for autographs and photos. My oldest son has the most interest out of the four of us when it comes to meeting some celebrities, but the one he was most interested in, “Weird” Al Yankovic, whose panel he missed the day prior, had the longest line and we didn’t want to miss the Jon Heder panel (and we’re glad we didn’t, as you’ll read below).

By the Sunday afternoon of Denver Comic Con, many of the celebrities had left to get to their next obligations. This made the Celebrity Summit area much less crowded compared to the previous day. Here’s the line to meet and greet Wallace Shawn, who was stationed near other animation voice artists. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
Professional photo opportunities were available for many of the celebrities (but not all of them). This was the screen showing the times and prices. The Phelps twins, Buffy Villains, and Justice League lines were popular on Sunday. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Panels

On Day 3, my son and I attended two celebrity panels. Wallace Shawn and Jon Heder. As was the theme on Day 3, the lines weren’t super long, the auditoriums weren’t filled to capacity, but the celebrities still seemed very grateful for each and every guest who took the time to attend. I’ll write more about the panels themselves in the roundup I’m planning later this week.

Wallace Shawn told us stories of filming ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,’ as well as his experiences as a voice-over actor for ‘Toy Story.’ He made it clear the voice-over experiences in isolated sound booths aren’t nearly as fun as in-person acting. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
Jon Heder’s (in the orange shirt) panel was the most-entertaining one we attended all weekend (although I hear Nathan Fillion and Catherine Tate’s were probably just as good). Moderator Garrett Wang is kneeling down just behind the sign language interpreters, asking them to repeat their interpretation of Heder’s imitation of a local farmer’s unintelligible speech. The interpreter on the right (wearing the awesome periodic table leggings) is waving her hands in the air to signify “unintelligible speech.” I guess you had to be there. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Overall our family attended four panels, and had a decent experience getting into them with our media credentials. There were a couple hiccups with some of the panels due to confusion among the ushers who had guidance to allow the ADA, media, and Speed Pass guests in first. But for the most part, the plan that DCC had in place worked well.

Day 3 featured some pretty amazing panels, and it was a good time to try to get into them due to the smaller crowds: The Buffy: The Vampire Slayer villains reunion and Justice League Animated Reunion were both well-attended, but there was still room to get in. Nathan Fillion, which was completely filled to capacity on Saturday, took advantage of early seating on Sunday (as the first panel of the day) so guests didn’t have to stand for hours waiting to get in.

Other Observations

Food Service

This was a challenge for many of the guests. There weren’t enough on-site food vendors to help 115,000 people, so the lines to eat on-site were upwards of a one-hour wait. The Colorado Convention Center is quite literally surrounded by hundreds of restaurants a short walk away, but the lines to re-enter the convention center with the bag and prop checks were also quite long, particularly on Saturday. This made for some pretty frustrated guests on Saturday.

However, by Sunday, the lines and crowds were light enough, more people were able to head off-site, and the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian-friendly street mall in downtown Denver, had plenty of seating at their restaurants. My son and I enjoyed visiting a Japanese noodle house for some ramen, a much-healthier choice compared to the bratwursts and egg salad sandwiches we ate from the vendors on Saturday. Many other guests found their way off-site as well.

My advice for guests? Pack lunches, especially on Saturday/Day 2. If you’re local, this should be easy to do. If you’re an out-of-town guest, consider stopping at a convenience store near your lodging to pick up a sandwich to enjoy later in the day. Outside food is allowed in the Colorado Convention Center for Denver Comic Con. Not only will this save you time to enjoy more of the con itself, but it will cost much less money… money that you can later spend on comics, t-shirts, and celebrity experiences.

Some DC comics villains enjoyed ramen for lunch on Day 3 of Denver Comic Con. We discussed the difficulty of getting food on-site the day prior. (They agreed to let me photograph them eating). Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Prop Weapons Policy Changes

I might be writing another post about this, but I wanted to take a moment to point out that there was a change in the prop weapons policy that took place during Day 2. Starting on Day 2, all gun-type props were prohibited. There were guests in line waiting to enter the Colorado Convention Center with props such as these when the change went into effect, and there was quite a bit of debate, disappointment, and defense as a result. I’m still processing whether I personally think the mid-stream change was such a good idea, not because I’m doubting the focus on safety, but because I think it was something that could have been decided earlier for the sake of letting guests plan better. For now, I will point you to this Facebook post about it where you can learn more. Denver Comic Con did their best to address the comments below, so it’s worth reading.

In summary, my family and I had a great Denver Comic Con this year. Next year’s event is moving back to their traditional Father’s Day weekend time slot (June 15–17, 2018), so plan now! I hope I get a chance to attend at least one day, since my family often travels around Father’s Day weekend, but we will do our best to have GeekMom covering it for you no matter what.

Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 15. She is a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which is currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.