Between Denver Punk Rock Flea Market, The Denver BBQ Festival, and Denver PrideFest, there is no shortage of things to do in our state’s capitol this weekend. While I’m certainly a fan of punk rock, juicy ribs, and beef-cakes, I’ll be heading to the Mile High city for 2018’s Denver Comic Con. Look through the list of celebrities and authors who will be available for photo-ops, autographs, or just to say, “Hello,” and you’ll see how impossible this event is to turn down. From former Fort Collins resident Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Justice League) to Brian Azzarello (Joker, Spaceman), even a casual fan of nerd culture will be star struck.
With over 600 events to choose from, its impossible to do everything. Before you go, its important to plan a little to get an idea of how big an event this truly is. At over 70 panels and 100 educational opportunities, one will want to make sure priorities are set as many of the events take place concurrently, all while the main halls are packed to the gills with celebrities. As I perused the list of guests, I was astonished to see there is someone from just about every stage of my nerd life. As a kid, I loved Dragon Ball Z, and the voice actors for the English-dubbed version of Vegeta and Bulma will be present this year. I briefly had a stint with Doctor Who, and by far my favorite Doctor, David Tennant, who also starred in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, will be a guest this year as well.
Denver Comic Con does an amazing job of getting a comic heavyweight every season, and 2018’s coup de gras is my personal hero, Frank Miller, who I have been reading since I was in high school and still read today. In April’s issue of (SALT) Magazine, I wrote about how comic censorship was destroyed through the hard work of artists throughout the industry. Frank Miller was not only a pinnacle figure in the battle for free speech within the medium, but he also fought for artists rights to the heroes they created. In 1976, after a meeting with Jenette Kahn, Frank Miller began working on a six-issue release of his own creation that, unlike any other major publication series, was going to have an end. Before Ronin’s release in 1983, comic artists frequently battled with publishers for copyrights to their own characters. Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel were left penniless by the time of the 1978-release of the first Superman movie. They watched in horror as a movie depicting the characters they created grossed $300.2 million at the box office. Well, Jerry watched. Joe listened as partial blindness forced him out of the industry several years prior.
For heroes of the medium like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, this was unacceptable. Frank refused to publish his work with DC unless his demands as an artist were met. Before he even gave them a rough draft, he made sure the Ronin series would end and no other artist could use their likeness without his permission. For the first time in DC or Marvel history, the creator of the characters had exclusive rights to their own characters. This paved the way for future comic artists to get the money they rightfully deserved from their hard work and made sure legends like Shuster and Siegel would never be ignored. It was Frank Miller’s work that allowed people like Jeff Smith to create BONE. As a co-founder of the ’90s self publishing movement, Jeff created one of the longest running independent series in the graphic medium. Receiving 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards, it is also one of the most critically recognized series within comic history. Jeff Smith is another guest this year as well as Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield. While the movie and television stars, like Jeremy Shada who voices Finn in Adventure Time and Molly Ringwald of The Breakfast Club, are certainly enjoyable, this year I go with the intention to pay my respects to pillars of the art form. Jim Davis, Jeff Smith, and Frank Miller live careers that changed the face of the comic medium for the better. I am ecstatic to interact with them and thank them for improving the lives of those within an art form I hold so close to my heart.
Whether its comics, movies, or cartoons that peak your interest, you’re sure to find something to cross off your bucket list at Denver Comic Con this year. This Friday through Sunday, head to the Colorado Convention Center to satisfy your nerdy needs. It’s going to be a weekend you don’t want to miss.