Denver Comic Con (DCC) is a 3-day multigenre convention held annually in Denver, Colorado, in the United States. The inaugural convention was held June 15–17, 2012, and was created as a program for the non-profit educational organization Comic Book Classroom. In 2013, Denver Comic Con was held May 31-June 2. The 2014 event was held June 13–15, 2014 at the Colorado Convention Center. And in 2015 it was held over Memorial Day Weekend, from May 23–25.
True to its association with the re-branded Pop Culture Classroom, Denver Comic Con embraces a host of popular arts including comic books, tabletop and video games, anime, manga, cosplay, horror and science fiction, webcomics, movies, television and literature.
Comic Book Classroom was founded in 2010, a Colorado charitable organization focused on enhancing and improving student’s learning experience through the use of comic book media. At the same time, the founders of Comic Book Classroom also created the Denver Comic Con event. The original founders of Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con are Charlie LaGreca, Frank Romero, David Vinson, and Kevin Vinson.
Between 2010 and 2012, the original founders were joined by accomplished educators Illya Kowalchuk and Christina Angel, and experienced event organizers Michael Newman and Bruce Macintosh, who became an integral part of organizational development as the foundations of both Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con educational programs were developed simultaneously.
The Classroom program debuted the first version of its “Storytelling Through Comics” curriculum to local area schools, and with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donations, the Denver Comic Con event became a reality on Father’s Day weekend, June 15, 2012. It was an unexpected and overwhelming success. The 2013 and 2014 Denver Comic Con’s built on that success.
Proceeds from Denver Comic Con fund the staffing, supplies and infrastructure of The Classroom program that promotes literacy through the medium of sequential art and storytelling. “Storytelling Through Comics” is a graphic literature creation program that is offered free of charge to schools, teachers and community organizations. The program currently offers students an educational experience that includes instruction in reading & vocabulary, writing stories, and eventually the creation of the students’ own comics. Completed entries are then published in a class collection.
In 2014, the Comic Book Classroom Board of Directors removed both co-founders Charlie LaGreca and Frank Romero, then voted to change the name to Pop Culture Classroom (PCC). The name change reflects the board’s broader vision for the organization to go beyond comic books. The “Classroom” program delivers tools (curriculum) and training using comic books, graphic novels, and related pop culture media to create educational engagement with students.
In 2014, Denver Comic Con’s Comic Book Corral (CBC) and 8-Bit Lounge gave more than 9,000 students the chance to meet artists, create comic book-themed crafts, and get hands-on experience with everything from stop-motion animated shorts to professional makeup jobs.
At DCC 2015, the Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Laboratory (PCC Kids’ Lab) continued building on this success. Along with the usual mix of artist discussions, arts activities and exhibits, the PCC Lab featured activities focused around S.T.E.A.M. subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and pop culture topics beyond comic books. They also expanded the 8-Bit Lounge to connect even more artists, educators and professionals with students ages 12–19.
Convention attendance continues to grow for this family friendly and kid oriented convention. First-year attendance in 2012 was 27,700. In 2013 that number grew to 61,000 and in 2014 it increased again to 86,500. The most recent event in 2015 recorded 101,500 attendees.
The Denver Comic Con executes one of the largest programming schedules of any major genre convention, with almost 400 distinct events and panels. The convention includes celebrity panels, seminars with professional creators, actors, and artists, workshops with comic book professionals, and the DCC's Reel Heroes Independent Filmmakers Series. DCC's programming and guest line-ups are unique among conventions in that they actively promote the convention's twin missions of Community and Diversity. Among the distinct tracks of programming, for instance, the convention focused on comics and media featuring or produced by Colorado-area comics creators, women, minorities and the LGBTQ Community.
Like most comic book conventions, Denver Comic Con also features a large floorspace for exhibitors. Elements of the Con floor in Denver include celebrity autographs, large areas like "Artist Valley" and "Celebrity Summit", comic book dealers and collectibles merchants, as well as fan-based organizations like the 501st Legion.
Guests have included William Shatner, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Garret Wang, and Wil Wheaton from the Star Trek franchise; Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones; Chandler Riggs, Scott Wilson, David Morrissey, and Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead; Evil Dead's Bruce Campbell; Peter Mayhew of Star Wars; a Weird Science 30th Anniversary with Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly Le Brock; Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Daphne Ashbrook, and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who; Rebecca Mader and Sean Maguire from Once Upon a Time; Alan Tudyk and Jewel Staite from Firefly; X-Files' Mitch Pileggi; Manu Bennett, Stephen Amell, and Caity Lotz from Arrow; as well as a number of famous voice actors, including Patrick Warburton, Vic Mignogna, Mark Meer, Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen.
Comics and artistic guests have included Max Brooks, Fiona Staples, Neal Adams, Trina Robbins, Carey Pietsch, Denny O’Neill, Marguerite Bennett, Chris Ware (Building Stories), Jeffrey Brown (Darth Vader and Son), Marvel legend Jim Steranko, and indie artists Peter Bagge and Jim Mahfood.
Cosplayers are featured during the annual DCC Cosplay Shindig, the Opening Ceremonies with acts and other surprises, and associated events have included the Four Color Mixer and a genre-themed concert traditionally held at the Hard Rock Cafe Denver.
Since the inaugural 2012 Denver Comic Con, Breckenridge Brewery has collaborated with the Denver Comic Con to brew and sell a specialty beer, with the name chosen by a fan contest. The 2012 beer, an American wheat ale, was named, “The Fantastic Pour.” The 2013 beer, a Belgian Wit brewed with Buddha’s Hand fruit, was dubbed "The Caped Brewsader. The 2014 beer, an amber ale, was named "Brews Wayne." In 2015, “Hulk’s Mash”, a pale ale brewed with mosaic hops and mango puree, was debuted. "Snape-ricot”, an Apricot American Lager, was voted 2016's beer name, in honor of the late Alan Rickman.
Aurora Rise, a non-profit group founded to provide financial support to victims of the 2012 Aurora shooting, appeared at the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Denver Comic Cons.
In 2016, Denver Pridefest was partnered with Denver Comic Con and there was LGBT related content at DCC.
In March 2013, Denver Comic Con was voted “Best Fan Convention” by the editors of Westword, a local alternative press publication.