DCC Spotlight: Natural 20 Panel (Full)

Natural 20This year at Denver Comic Con we had the honor of presenting a panel for the first time. Together with our friends Christian and Shayla, Dungeon Masters for ATK, Inc and all around amazing humans, we led a discussion on the role that tabletop RPGs play in making the world a more awesome and accepting place, as well as how to get involved in your own tabletop RPG and find the perfect adventuring party! We had a blast, met some incredible gamers of all ages and we already can’t wait to come next year! Check it out, and make sure to give us your feedback. Thank you Denver Comic Con and Pop Culture Classroom for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s programming. See you in 2018!

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

Do Gargoyles Eat Eclairs? An Interview With Amalie Howard

Amalie Howard HeaderAnother Denver Comic Con is in the books, and once again we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our favorite Colorado authors, the award-winning Amalie Howard. We chatted about all sorts of things, including her new romance series, diversity in YA literature and, well, pastry. Trust me, it all makes sense if you just stay with me! The following interview has been edited lightly for clarity, grammar and continuity. As always, we are grateful to Amalie for taking the time on such a busy convention weekend. We spoke between signings at her booth.

Carolyn: So, how is the new romance series coming along? When does the third book come out?

Amalie: It’s going great! The third book is out on July 25th, in a few weeks. It’s been really fun to write, and of course getting to write steamy sex scenes is great. The third one is called My Hellion, My Heart, which is just great.

My Hellion, My Heart Cover

I’ll be in my bunk.

Carolyn: OMG, it really is! I drool over the new cover art. I don’t read a lot of traditional romance, but when I do, I like to read it in the bathtub with bubbles and a nice glass of wine.

Amalie: Obviously. That’s the best place to read romance.

We go on a full on tangent about custom bathtub caddies that sadly my recorder did not capture. But rest assured, it was epic. The point is, we like to drink fancy wine. While reading. If you don’t do this, you should.

bathtub caddy with wine

Amalie and Carolyn approve this bath setup.

Carolyn: Besides making for great bathtub reading, what’s different about writing romance versus YA, which is your usual wheelhouse?

Amalie: Well, there’s a lot more…freedom in the romance market. YA has a very specific set of expectations, of what they are looking for. Romance is more varied. And of course, again, writing steamy sex scenes is really fun. But YA will always be my home. I love writing for that audience.

At this point, a young woman and her mom stop at Amalie’s booth. Watching Amalie talk with her is just lovely. She’s engaged and funny, talks directly to the girl, asking questions, and giving honest answers. She doesn’t talk down to her, or over her head and encourages this fan to expand her reading horizons without pressuring her. It’s great to see. She signs a copy of The Almost Girl for her and poses for a picture. I am suffering from full on Con Exhaustion at this point and try very hard not to get all weepy about seeing young girls who love reading. Fortunately for me, Amalie makes a hilarious comment about the potentially awkward photo angle and my emotional moment passes.

Carolyn: So, your process for writing the Lords of Essex series is a bit different because you’re working with a writing partner. How does that work, and what were the challenges?

Amalie: When you are collaborating with someone the key is planning and communication. We had a very thorough outlining process. I’m talking long, dense outlines. 15-20 pages single spaced. You have to map out all the story beats because if one of you changes something on your own, everything can break down. It actually changed my process for writing my own stuff, I didn’t use to outline at all, and now I do. Much less complicated, just a couple of pages of bullet points, but yeah, writing with a partner has helped me evolve my own process too.

Carolyn: Your writing partner, Angie, also writes historical work, right? I don’t know anything about her.

Amalie: Oh she’s awesome. She writes about Paris and gargoyles. In the Gothic style. It’s awesome, and also YA. You should check it out.

Carolyn: I wonder if gargoyles eat eclairs.

Amalie: What?

Carolyn: Gargoyles. Do you think they eat eclairs? I mean, Paris has the best eclairs. If I was in Paris, I’d be eating eclairs.

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

Amalie: You ask the best questions.

Carolyn: Important questions. Deep, philosophical questions. Not but seriously, those sound really fun and I’ll definitely have to check them out.

I think about eclairs and the gargoyles who love them for several minutes while Amalie engages with fans and talks to some other Con guests who stop by her table. While not pondering Parisian pastries, I think again about how much I adore this event. I love the accessibility both every day fans and small media outlets like Sisters in Geek have here. the camaraderie of the guests, how they help each other and support each other. I try to remember the name of the author who helped me find Amalie’s table when I was hopelessly turned around and running late. I fail because I’m thinking about eclairs.

Eclairs

These eclairs have fruit on them. They are totally health food!

Carolyn: What’s it like writing both YA and this new historical fiction series at the same time? How do you switch between the two styles? It sounds like such a different mindset.

Amalie: My secret weapon is playlists.

Carolyn: Really? Tell me more! I am obsessed with playlists.

Amalie: Yeah, so I have different playlists for each thing that I might be working on. For the Lords of Essex books it’s all classical, it just gets me in the right head space for the time period and the vibe. When I’m working on the Alpha Goddess series, it’s a lot of trance and then Nine Inch Nails. And then for Almost Girl it’s dubstep.

Carolyn: Wait, Nine Inch Nails? That’s unexpected. I wouldn’t immediately associate NIN with Alpha Goddess.

Amalie: Really? It’s so perfect for me. The energy of it, and of course…

Carolyn: Identity, NIN is all about identity and the discovery of the self, yeah. Absolutely, can’t believe I didn’t think of that! I would love to listen to those playlists, I love playlists. I use them all the time in my D&D campaigns for my characters.

To her everlasting credit, Amalie does not give me a hard time for making this conversation about me and lets me ramble about D&D, the panel we presented this weekend and other nonsense for at least 3 minutes. She also keeps feeding me chocolate.

Carolyn: I’m going to have to message you for those playlists, I’d really like to listen to them.

Amalie: Oh! They’re on my site, you can listen to them anytime you want.

Carolyn: Excellent! That’s awesome. Well, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time. Any last thoughts, upcoming releases or ideas you’d like to end on?

Amalie: Well, My Hellion My Heart is out on July 25th, the next sequel in Alpha Goddess is out next year. Read more books, and remember that healthy sex is important and women need to be able to ask for it! That’s what I learned from writing Regency Romance.

I collapse into helpless giggling.

Carolyn: Well, that’s the perfect way to button up this interview. Thank you as always Amalie!

Carolyn and Amalie

No, but seriously, what do gargoyles eat?

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of My Rogue, My Ruin in the historical romance series, the Lords of Essex. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. She is very active on social media and we highly recommend following her for shenanigans and adventure.

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

Pop Culture Classroom Logo

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

Shannis Reacts: Denver Comic Con 2017 Diary – Day One

 DCC17 Day One Collage

3:52am Whaaaaat? Why am I awake? Roll over, close eyes.

4:18am Obviously it is time to get up. Since it is Friday, and a vacation day, and I don’t need to be up for another two hours.

4:36am My head hurts. Shower should help.

4:52am Hmm. Head still hurts. Caffeine? Maybe? Dress in comfy yoga pants and a long fancy t-shirt I like because it is super soft. Feel like this outfit is closest thing to wearing pajamas in public so I should be pretty comfy.

5:11am Sip diet Coke, stare at computer screen reading things on Facebook and Twitter. Wonder if I have my passes. Remember I don’t have my pass yet. Is why I am meeting Carolyn and Megan for breakfast. For passes.

5:38am Debate: Should I bring my entire wallet, or just tuck my credit card and ID into a little change purse I have?

5:43am Shove entire wallet into bag. Will regret this later.

5:44am Ready. But don’t need to leave till 6:30 or so. How to kill time? Don’t even have passes to check for. Carolyn is bringing passes to breakfast!

5:45am Stare vacantly out window. It looks super cloudy outside. Like Vancouver on a summer morning. Wonder if I could handle ever living in Vancouver again. I mean, if we weren’t poor. Poor people can’t live in Vancouver. Unless they want to live, like, under a bridge or something.

5:56am Still though. Not everyone I know in Vancouver area makes a ton of money. Maybe we could live in Surrey. Or Burnaby. Or Coquitlam. No. Coquitlam kind of blows. Let’s not live there. I know! We could move back to Britannia Beach. Evil Rob would like it there because no one else lives there.

6:04am I swear that Arrow-Flash-Supergirl crossover episode part with the aliens in the weird building was filmed in the old mine building where my dad worked when I was a tiny child. Honestly I can’t believe that thing is still standing. But I guess it’s nice for when film crews need a weird old building with a lot of glass for a scene with aliens.

6:10am Why is it ALWAYS aliens?

6:12am I wonder why they never made a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Man, that mom was a terrible mom. It’s almost like she didn’t even care that her kid got kidnapped by aliens. He’s literally running around in the yard at 3 in the morning and she just stands at the window and goes, “Oh hey, come back.” But not very loudly. Weak, bad mom. Very weak.

6:22am The aliens in Close Encounters don’t even seem that creepy or cool anymore. Like, we’ve all seen so many aliens in pop culture by now, the Close Encounters ones are just quaint and practically cuddly.

6:26am Still. A sequel would have been cool. Like the little boy is all grown up and played by Ryan Gosling and something bad happens up in space and the aliens come back to ask for our help but humans are too stupid and cynical and only Ryan Gosling can save the day along with the aliens. And only the really smart people get to leave and go to space with the aliens.

6:30am Making list of people I would take to space with me.

6:32am Oh shit! I gotta go!

6:33am Black Birkenstocks! Proper con footwear!

6:34am CRAP! I forgot my portable charger. Run back to get it.

6:35am And the iPhone cord! This is going poorly.

Gross weather

Is it Vancouver, or is it Littleton?

6:37am Seriously though, why is the weather so dreadful?

6:45am Stop at convenience store for beef jerky and small bottles of Diet Coke. Convenience store clerk tells me my hair looks really great. She is now my all-time favorite morning person.

6:57am Park at Light Rail. Watch commuters rushing to catch train. Judge them for their fashion choices.

6:58am I mean, for real, this one lady is wearing a shirt as a dress. How do I know it’s a shirt? Because I own the same shirt. And trust me when I tell you, it is not a dress.

6:59am I also don’t get these women who carry two purses, a large tote bag, and a giant Dunkin Donuts box. Why not just put all your stuff into an even larger tote bag and just carry that plus the donuts?

7:00am Or just prioritize the donuts. Really.

Tired on train

Tired. So, so tired.

7:01am On train. Damn, I am SO tired. Better take a selfie!

7:18am Commuters are not morning people.

7:19am Except this old dude across the aisle from me who greets each person who sits near him with a quiet, “Good morning.” Guy in seats in front of me turns around to glare each time this transpires.

7:27am Arrive at convention center. Not much of a line yet. Someone is dressed as Pikachu and train commuters all look puzzled. I would explain but is not yet 10am so I can’t speak to other humans. Especially ones I don’t know.

7:35am Meet Carolyn at Sam’s No. 3 Diner. There is apparently a notary public available in this place.

This'll come in handy if we need something notarized.

This’ll come in handy if we need something notarized.

7:45am Our waiter pours coffee before Carolyn even finishes asking.

7:48am Menu seems confusing. Like, a lot of info for it being so early and my head hurting so badly. Carolyn points out something called the High-Maintenance Dairy Free, Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet. SOLD! To the super tired lady with ten million allergies.

8:05am Megan arrives. She is also confused by menu. I feel less alone now.

8:08am FOOD! OMG. This is the best High-Maintenance Dairy Free, Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet EVER.

8:10am Listen vaguely as Carolyn and Megan discuss the panel they are doing later in the day. Carolyn is super nervous. Reassure her that it will all be fine. Promise I will take video of the whole thing.

8:40am Walk back over to convention center. Line is getting longer now. We have to locate the media entrance. Everything is in different place than years past.

8:41am Ugh. Am not a fan of change. And it is SO humid outside. Why. WHY!

8:42am And they still won’t let the Blue Bear in! Why. WHY!

Let him in!

Let him in!

8:45am Line confusion.

8:46 am Volunteer confusion.

8:47am Convention center staff confusion.

8:48am SURPRISE! No one knows where we are really supposed to go.

8:50am Get sent back to Lobby B entrance. Convention center staff lets us in even though is clearly not the right place.

8:57am Carolyn stands in line for badges for her other panelists. Megan heads upstairs. I watch volunteers try to coordinate other volunteers. Lady comes up and says, “I need two of you.” Three nerdy dudes try to follow her. She says, “Just two. You stay here.” They look super sad to be separated. It reminds me of the two super nerdy kids in Just One of the Guys who speak a fake alien language and get upset when they are separated in gym class.

9:15am We head upstairs to show floor. We find Megan fangirling out over Jody Houser, the writer for the Faith comics and the Rogue One comics. Faith is one of Megan’s favorite comics right now so this is a big moment for her. Jody is super nice and has brought her parents along to help her out. Her parents are also super nice. Go figure.

This is Megan's fangirl face.

This is Megan’s fangirl face.

9:25am Drag Megan away to visit with Ben Byrd, one of our favorite artists who always has a booth at Denver Comic Con. He and his wife are just finishing their set up and take some time to talk to us while we squeee over new things – especially his new Wonder Woman piece! I drop $45 on art and it’s not even noon.

Ben Byrd IS a morning person.

Ben Byrd IS a morning person.

9:38am Stop to talk to a lady who crochets tiny dolls of, like, Baby Groot and Cthulhu and stuff. They are super cute.

9:45am Find Meg McMuffins’ booth but she is not there yet so we wander on to find Monkey Minion Press.

9:47am Find Monkey Minion Press and they are home, so we stop to talk and look at things. I find a print of a sloth. And make this face:

IMG_5428

Cute sloth? I have no chill.

9:50am Have now dropped $50 more on art and it’s not even 10am.

10am Carolyn and Megan both have other places they want to be and I want to go over to Celebrity Summit to see if I can pay onsite for the photo Pook and I want to do with the Weasley twins, and then eventually head down to the Bellco Theatre area to line up for a celebrity panel, so we split up.

10:11am Oh my. It is already getting crowded in here. People are doing the thing where they stretch their group all the way across the aisles so no one else can get through. Why. WHY???

10:18am Celebrity Summit on site purchases are cash only and about $10 more expensive for each photo op listed. I will take my chances and do this online tonight at home!

10:19am I see this good-looking dude in an orange volunteer shirt walking right towards me, smiling. Realize is our friend Todd. THE TODD! We hug and make brief chitchat. He has an hour to kill and wants to wander around and look at stuff.  Wandering already sounds like torture and it’s not even noon. I send him to find Megan and Carolyn back in the artist area.

10:25am Heading out of show floor finally. Bump smack into my friends Ashten and Kyre, who are just arriving for the day. They look so happy. I am already exhausted and have only been here for basically an hour. Maybe THIS is why waking up at 4am is bad, BRAIN. I’m just SAYING.

Happy con-goers. I bet they didn't look like this 9 hours later though.

Happy con-goers. I bet they didn’t look like this 9 hours later though.

10:45am Make my way downstairs and to the area where line entrances begin for the two main stage theatres. This area is a total and complete shit show (spoiler: it will remain thus all weekend long).

For some reason, Denver Comic Con was once again unable to book the entire convention center, and once again, another convention is taking place at the same time as comic con. This other convention has booked the entire front end of the convention center, where the usual main entrances and exits are. So DCC has had to move the entry points all the way to the Speer Street side of the convention center, right next to where lining up has to happen for the theatres where the celebrity panels are held. So over here we’ve got an endless stream of crowds coming in through the main doors, and over here we’ve got giant clumps of people trying to figure out where to get in line for the panels. And in the midst of it all we’ve got a bunch of super overwhelmed volunteers trying to manage all of these crowds. I don’t pretend to have any solutions for any of this, other than it worked way better when the main line to enter con was a literal half mile away, on the other end of the building. But there has to BE a solution, or people are going to stop coming to con.

10:50am I find a chair and sit down to regroup for a few minutes. I have scheduled my day using the Denver Comic Con app but I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed and confused and have to look it over to make sure I’m still on track.

10:53am Plus this way I can see all the cosplayers coming in from the main entrance. Bonus!

10:55am Except so far, there is nothing good. I bet all the really good cosplayers have Apparated straight onto the show floor.

11:00am Anyway. Time to locate the media line for the Khary Payton panel!

11:06am That went smoothly, if incorrectly. This year’s media guidelines say we will be lined up “next to the Speed Pass Holders”, but the volunteers back here send us to the ADA line, as in years past. Spoiler: This will cause a great deal of confusion for both volunteers and media members all weekend long.

11:08am Chat with a couple of other media pass holders while waiting, comparing entry experiences from this morning. Watch a super jerky guy with a Speed Pass berate the clearly disabled man guarding the doors for not allowing him to line up with the ADA line. He keeps insisting it is the SAME THING. We all jump in and point him to the actual Speed Pass line. He tries to insist it is for the other theatre. We point out the actual sign saying it’s for this theatre. He finally marches off in a huff. This happens four more times before the doors finally open.

11:30am Garrett Wang comes out to introduce Khary Payton! I’m very excited about this. Khary Payton plays King Ezekiel in The Walking Dead, which makes him third only to Carol and Daryl as my favorite character. ALSO, he is super good looking in real life. ALSO also, he does a ton of voice acting in various Justice League/Teen Titans cartoons.

11:31am Khary Payton is less than ten feet away from me!

Left: Khary Payton. Right: King Ezekiel. Barely any difference.

Left: Khary Payton. Right: King Ezekiel. Barely any difference.

He is hilarious right off the mark. He is asking if there is a dispensary inside the convention center (I mean, it IS Colorado). Then he tells a funny story about the first time he met Mark Hamill in person (because they both had voice parts on the same show) and how he was just staring, awestruck, as Mark Hamill did his line readings, and everyone laughed at him for staring, and then when he was able to introduce himself, all he could manage to say was “I’m Khary Payton,” and Mark Hamill was like, “How nice for you!”

He also talks about doing all his own stunts, because it’s fun. Someone asks who his favorite Walking Dead castmate is, and he won’t outright say a name but it’s totally obvious that it’s Melissa McBride, who plays Carol. He says she’s a great acting coach. And he also talks a bit about Norman Reedus and how greasy his hair is.

At the end of the panel he jumps down off the stage and high fives the whole front row, which includes ME, and he smells really nice, like cinnamon and clove and other spices. I don’t know. This seems weird now. I made it weird. I’m so sorry.

12:25pm Find room for next panel. It’s a small room and filling up fast, and I’m in the back having trouble committing to a location. Finally I decide on an end seat in the second to last row.

12:29pm Super tall dudes sit right in front of me. I move to the very back row.

12:30pm Panel begins but everyone is still talking and shuffling around because moderator is speaking so quietly. Then a video is playing on a screen situated near the front, but volume is down too low and people are still talking. This is so confusing.

12:32pm Apparently the moderator has pre-taped interview segments with the subject of the panel and is showing those instead of asking him questions in person. Even though he is sitting right here.

12:38pm This… is too quiet. I have no idea what is happening.

12:45pm This is not getting better. I have to escape. Except now the room is super quiet because the panel is super quiet and everyone will notice if I leave.

12:46pm But I can’t stay here and miss something else that might be pretty great for something this dull.

12:47pm Person nearby coughs. OMG. That’s IT! I’ll fake a coughing attack and leave!

12:49pm Honestly I’m still kind of patting myself on the back for that acting job.

12:52pm Take seat in front row of panel room right next door. This has to be better!

12:55pm Megan shows up! Yay!

1:00pm Panel begins. Topic: Can Men Write Women and Women Write Men? It’s a comics panel featuring writers Amy Chu (Red Sonja, KISS, Deadpool, Ant-Man, and ten million others), Kyle Higgins (Nightwing, Batman Eternal, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and ten million others), Jeremy Whitley (Princeless, Raven: The Pirate Princess, The Unstoppable Wasp), Ian Flynn (chief writer of the Sonic the Hedgehog series for Archie comics), Crystal Skillman (award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays include Geek, Cut, King Kirby, and Rain and Zoe Save the World), and Jody Houser (Faith, Rogue One, Mother Panic, and Megan’s new BFF). Pretty stacked with amazing talent.

Right off the bat, the writers let us know that they think the panel title is kind of bullshit and that the question should really be SHOULD men write women and women write men? The general consensus is sure, but only if they’re going to do it well.

1:18pm I am in my own little heaven of hearing working creative people talk about creative work. This is what I love about con. Sometimes I forget.

1:22pm Amy Chu is kind of hilarious, especially when she talks about writing KISS and meeting Gene Simmons.

1:28pm Kyle Higgins has feelings about fans who send him death threats about the direction he took Power Rangers.

1:35pm Much talk of how often comics get the look of women wrong, and how there are artists out there drawing for hugely popular titles who literally draw the same face on every single woman they have to draw. There is gentle mocking of a male artist who gives every woman the same upturned nose. Megan and I giggle because we know exactly who they are talking about. Hint: check out some X-Men titles.

1:50pm Panel ends and Megan and I check schedules to see where we are going next. Here! We are going here! To this room! Yay! Jeremy Whitley is also on the next panel and doesn’t have to leave his seat either. Honestly, I would love that if I were a panelist. I bet there is a lot of running from one end of the convention center to another for panelists.

1:51pm Ugh. Running.

1:52pm I have spread my crap out across three seats, trying to get organized. Megan is eating a Lara Bar.

1:56pm Megan is eating a banana.

1:57pm We live here now.

1:59pm Seriously I have never see anyone consume a banana slower than Megan.

2:00pm Panel begins. Topic: Not Just Angry Supermen: Comics Young Women Can Identify With. The panelists are artist Erica Henderson (Jughead, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), artist Carolyn Nowak (Lumberjanes), writer Jeremy Whitley (see above), and writer Sam Sykes (comic series Brave Chef Brianna, fantasy series Aeons’ Gate and Bring Down Heaven, son of Diana Gabaldon… but he doesn’t mention this).

2:06pm Megan: still eating a banana.

2:07pm Sam Sykes makes snarky comment about how he, as a 34-year-old white man, has his finger on the pulse of what young women want to read.

2:19pm Then Sam Sykes makes Megan and I a tiny smidge weepy because he says really all that young girls and young women want out of their reading is to feel like they are recognized – like someone sees them. And he is SO RIGHT.

2:20pm So I guess Sam Sykes really does have his finger on the pulse of what young women want to read after all.

2:26pm Carolyn Nowak is one of the all-time best snarky bitches. I wonder if we can bring her home with us.

2:50pm Panel ends. Somewhere along the way Megan has finally finished her banana.

3:00pm I decide to try and figure out where I go to exchange the tickets for Pook’s Saturday and Sunday passes for actual badges.

3:06pm Entire front of convention center is blocked off so it can’t be here.

3:12pm Wandering.

There must be, like, a line I can join. Somewhere.

There must be, like, a line I can join. Somewhere.

3:20pm Still wandering.

3:25pm Have ended up back where we entered in the morning so I go ask volunteer at the Information desk if she knows where I exchange tickets for badges. She babbles at me but the gist is, “Not here.” I attempt to say, “I know it’s not here, I’m asking if you DO know where.” But her blank face is not encouraging.

3:28pm Helpful convention center staffer is able to point me in correct direction and opens a rope so I can bypass going outdoors and coming back inside. Thank you, helpful convention center staffer.

3:30pm It takes two seconds at the Registration booth to exchange my tickets for badges. Now I have an hour to kill until Carolyn and Megan’s panel.

3:33pm Stop at cafeteria and pay $11 for a soda and a bottle of Gatorade.

3:35pm Honestly this corridor outside the hallway of panel rooms looks pretty comfy. I’m going to charge my phone and take photos of cosplayers if I see anything fun.

3:38pm Take to Facebook to whine about lack of fun cosplay today.

3:46pm Megan appears but immediately abandons me to go talk to some people she sees in line for a panel.

3:54pm See epic Silent Hill – Pyramid Head cosplay.

Silent Hill - Pyramid Head

Silent Hill – Pyramid Head

3:55pm Lady THOR! Things are looking up!

THOR!  Man, THOR! is the best.

THOR!
Man, THOR! is the best.

4:09pm And then I see what will be my favorite cosplay of the entire weekend. Check it out.

Is it Yondu? Or is it Mary Poppins? You decide!

Is it Yondu? Or is it Mary Poppins? You decide!

Get it?

I know. A lot of people don’t get it.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet? You won’t get it if you haven’t.

It’s Yondu Mary Poppins!

He’s my fave.

4:18pm Follow Megan and Carolyn and their team into panel room. “I’m with the band,” I tell the volunteer guarding the door. He looks confused.

4:22pm Carolyn’s face is turning red. She is very nervous. “What if it’s just a bunch of fanboys and they hate us?” she asks. I mean, we’ve been to con a few times, so this fear is not entirely unfounded. But I think everything will be fine and tell her this.

4:30pm Panel begins! Topic: Natural 20: How RPGs are Changing the World. The panelists are Carolyn, Megan, and Christian and Shayla Gentry, the Dungeon Master duo for their Dungeons & Dragons group. I sit near the front and take video.

4:38pm Room is actually pretty full. Things are going great. They have made an effort to involve the whole room in the discussion and people are responding.

4:50pm Carolyn’s face finally stops being bright red.

4:52pm I realize this is that one panel that I go to every year that’s on a topic that I don’t really know much about or doesn’t even interest me all that much, but I go to learn something new and maybe have some fun outside my comfort zone. And I’m super excited that it’s my two best friends putting on that panel this time! Because how cool is learning something new from people you actually adore?

5:20pm Panel ends. Everyone has survived and the audience seems pretty happy with how it went down. I’m so proud of my friends!

I'm with the band.

I’m with the band.

 

5:25pm People have followed panelists into hallway to continue discussion.

5:38pm Eventually we make our way back to the Bellco Theatre to get seats for the James and Oliver Phelps panel. Because Weasley twins!

5:50pm Megan and I are saving a seat for Carolyn, who went to grab a beer and a water.

5:52pm I see Carolyn coming down the staircase inside the theatre.

5:54pm Carolyn has disappeared.

5:59pm Carolyn reappears and takes her seat. “They said media can’t bring alcohol into the theatre, so I had to go chug my beer real quick.”

6:00pm WEASLEY TWINS! Er… I mean, James and Oliver Phelps, of Harry Potter film fame.

6:01pm Claire Kramer starts taking audience questions almost straightaway. James and Oliver are both so funny, and play off one another in a fun brotherly way.

Weasley twins! Gred and Forge! OMGSQUEEE!

Weasley twins! Gred and Forge! OMGSQUEEE!

Some highlights:

Someone asks if they ever switched roles on set and Oliver says he tried to play Hagrid once.

James’ favorite movie to film was Goblet of Fire.

(I get distracted here and have one of those fan moments where I realize I am in a room with real Harry Potter people and I don’t hear what Oliver says in response to this same question.)

Oliver tells story of everyone leaving for lunch after filming Fred’s death scene and leaving James strapped to the stretcher.

Kids ask the best questions. “How old are you?” James: “He’s 31 but I won’t tell you how old I am.”

James says he’s a space nerd and collects guitars.

Oliver geeks out over sports.

Someone always asks the famous guests to pick cast member favorites! James is like, “All of them.” Except naming names. And also says “Dame Julie Walters.” And tells a nice story about Michael Gambon helping him prepare for another role.

Everyone wants to hear about behind the scenes pranks!! And James says they can’t tell about their favorite because the person still doesn’t know.

“What was it like doing Quidditch?” Oliver: “It was long, and it was painful for a boy.”

“Did you take the Pottermore Sorting and if so which houses did you get?” Oliver: Gryffindor. James: Hufflepuff.

“What is your favorite memory of Alan Rickman?” James says the scene where he whacked Ron on the head in Goblet of Fire. This is also mine. Twins!!

Someone asks if there is scene from the books that they are disappointed didn’t make it into the films. Oliver says it was disappointing that Peeves wasn’t in the movies so they could say “Give her hell for us, Peeves!” when they left Hogwarts.

Oliver’s favorite book is Goblet of Fire. James’ is Prisoner of Azkaban. Because of how it smelled the first time he opened it. OMG. SAME!

6:50pm The panel ends and the whole audience makes that disappointed “Aww, man” sound, but then stands to cheer. I would be sadder, but they are appearing again on Sunday and doing photo ops.

6:55pm Besides, I am dead tired now and ready to head home. I trudge up the stairs of the theatre behind the crowd, wondering how I will manage to walk all the way back to the Light Rail stop.

7:14pm Somehow I have managed and a train is supposed to arrive in two minutes!

7:15pm Some people next to me spot a kid in Ravenclaw robes on the other side of the train platform and start shouting “Ravenclaw pride!” A bunch of other people join in. It is moments like this that are some of the best parts of con.

7:40pm Aaaaand there is a parking ticket on my car because I accidentally parked in a reserved row. Oops. But they let me off with a warning! Yay!

8:02pm Drive past Chinese restaurant where I was planning to stop for takeout and go straight home to call for delivery. Because I am too tired to get in and out of the car twice.

9:13pm Crash.

Stay tuned for Day Two, in which I take two teenagers to con! Will they be cranky? Will Megan slowly consume another banana? Will I spend more money on art?

 

Pop Culture Classroom Logo

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

DCC Last Minute SQUEEEEEEing

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE DENVER COMIC CON AND AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE… SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Alright, I don’t have time for a fancy organized post. So here are some random last minute con prep thoughts!

1. You, fellow nerd-person, are formally invited to attend our Denver Comic Con panel Natural 20: How RPGs are Changing the World on Friday 6/30 (TOMORROW! OMG!) at 4:30PM in room 607. It’ll be D&D story time, and we’d love for you to come and tell your own D&D stories on the positive theme of how D&D helps us all with team building and making friends and joy and story telling and snacks. If you haven’t played pen and paper RPGs, come anyway! We are fun people.

We’ll also be giving out a few things because why not? Critters, we love you. Please come and say hi! OMG can you believe that last episode? EEEK!

2. Jody Houser is coming. JODY HOUSER IS COMING TO DCC! 

She’ll be in Artist Alley at booth O-01. Faith, guys. Not Buffy Faith, but flying super sarcastic superhero faith. If you aren’t reading it you should be. It just won some fancy award. It is hilarious. FAITH! JODY HOUSER!

DCC17_JODY-HOUSER (1)jody houser

3. Carolyn Nowak is also going to be there. LUMBERJANES! It is such an oddly cute and deep comic. Plus they DCC17_CAROLYN-NOWAKhad a crossover with my other favorite cute and deep comic Gotham Academy! So much love. She has some really great comics up on her webpage too. One is about almost astronauts and evil bitches next door. I just started it and want to read it instead of typing this sentence. You can find her in Artist Valley Table N-26! Or at these panels: Creating your own Independent Comics Friday at 12PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab, Not Just Angry Superman – Comics Young Women Can Identify With Friday at 2PM Room 503, Boom! and Kaboom! Saturday at 1PM room 503 (also includes Sam Sykes, Jim Campbell, and Ian McGinty), Comics Writing Careers for Young Women Saturday at 4PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab.

 

DCC17_GEORGESJEANTY

 

4.   Georges Jeanty (artist for Buffy Season 8, 9, Firefly comics) is back this year for the 20th Anniversary of Buffy! He’ll be at Artist Valley, Table A-02. He has the party table. Last year there was music, and people were just hanging out talking nerdy stuff. It is a very entertaining place where you can feel free to discuss if that big thing that almost ate fake-buffy at the beginning of season 8 is a dragon or not. He’ll also be on these panels: Diversity in Comics I – Are Things Really Changing? Friday at 1PM DCCP6 Coast City Room, Buffy Comics 20th Anniversary Creator Celebration Sunday at 1:30PM Room 501.

 

5. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed at Comic Con. Since it may reach temps that put wookiees in danger, you should think about bringing some. Snack bars! Dried fruit! Undried fruit! Trail mix! Put some snacks and water in your bag right now before you forget!

6. Oh wait, that was it. I’m going to go back to reading this comic about the bitches next door to almost astronauts. It is pretty vital for my con prep right now. HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND, CON PEOPLE!

DCC 2017 Preview: Authors!

Comic Cons are always a series of difficult nerd choices. Who do I meet? Which panels do I go to? What do I do when I’m not buying more art than I have wall space for. (I’m considering putting art on my ceiling now.) I’ve been studying the Denver Comic Con guest list and panel schedules. Here are the authors I plan to attend at least one panel for. They’ve written some pretty amazing things, and if we all sit very quietly in a room as they talk, maybe we’ll hear something incredible, funny, true, and/or insightful.

(Updated, sadly, to remove Bonnie Burton. She had a last minute emergency and can’t make Denver Comic Con this year.)

Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times Best Selling and award winning fantasy and scifi author. She’s written a lot of things,DCC17_CATHERYNNE-M-VALENTE-New but my favorite so far is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making which starts out wonderfully: “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday.”

Catherynne M. Valente’s DCC Schedule:

Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402),               The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Start Short, Get Good (Saturday 7/1 5PM Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room  402), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 (11AM-1pm Author Signing Booth 2), Saturday 7/1 (1:30-2:30pm Tattered Cover Signing Booth), Sunday 7/2 (12-2PM Author Signing Booth 1).

 

DCC17_CHARLIE-JANE-ANDERS

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won a Nebula award. She’s also co-founder of i09, and has published a lot of short stories. All the Birds in the Sky is pretty hilarious, but a heart breaking kind of hilarious that most of us nerds understand. Based on her writing she may also know how to program spells. I’m going to all her panels just in case.

Charlie Jane Anders DCC Schedule:

Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk (Friday 6/30 12PM Room 407), Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Representing Gender Non-Conforming People in Fiction (Sunday 7/2 11:30AM Room 402), Writing Strong Women in Fantasy and Scifi (Sunday 7/2 1PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab).

She also has signings on Saturday from 11AM-1PM at Author Signing Booth 3 and Sunday from 4PM-6PM at Author Signing Booth 3.

 

DCC17_CORY-DOCTOROW

Cory Doctorow is the award winning scifi author of Little Brother and Homeland. Books that delve into protecting our privacy and personal freedoms against a surveillance state. He’s also a co-editor of Boing Boing, a journalist, an activist, and has a mention in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline as a geezer who “had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade.”

Cory Doctorow’s DCC Schedule:

The Future is Here (Friday 6/30 1:30PM Room 402), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407), Urban Science Fiction (Sunday 7/2 3PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room)

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 2:30-4:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 4:30-6:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-2:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth.

 

DCC17_DIANA-GABALDON

Diana Gabaldon is the best selling, award winning author of The Outlander series that is now a TV series on Starz. There time travel. There is action, doctoring of gross wounds caused by the action, and sexy times with kilts. What more do you need?

Diana Gabaldon DCC Schedule:

Young Women – Write Yourself a Novel Career! (Friday 6/30 1pm 8bit Stage @Kids’ Lab), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Outlander – with Diana Gabaldon & Andrew Gower (Saturday 7/1 11:30AM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events), From Page to Screen (Saturday 7/1 1PM Room 407), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 11AM-12:50PM at Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 2pm-3:50PM at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 12-2pm at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_FELICIADAYFelicia Day is an actress, creator, and writer of the web series of The Guild, and author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost). She’s also a co-host/creator of the web series Vaginal Fantasy Book Club.

Felicia Day’s DCC Schedule:

Felicia Day (Saturday 7/1 4:30PM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events)

She also has photo ops on Saturday 7/1 from 12-12:30PM and Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-1PM at the Celebrity Summit that require tickets.

 

DCC17_JOHN-SCALZI

John Scalzi is the author of many fun Scifi books with some serious bits. He likes to pull you in with silliness and sarcasm then break everything and get serious. He’s known for his series Old Man’s War and Hugo award winning Red Shirts. He’s also hilarious on twitter and his blog.

John Scalzi’s DCC Schedule:

Laughter in the Face of Disaster (Friday 6/30 11AM Room 407), Military Scifi an Institution (Friday 6/30 3PM DCCP4 – Keystone City Room), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), The Hardness Scale – Is Fiction Better Squishy or Solid? (Saturday 7/1 3PM Room 407), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407).

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 1PM-2:50PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Saturday 7/1 from  10:30AM-12:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2PM-4PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_KOWAL

Mary Robinette Kowal is an award winning author of the Glamourist History Series, which is like Jane Austen with cool magic. She’s also an award winning puppeteer, and has cool picks of dragon puppets and weirdo creepy hearts on her webpage.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s DCC Schedule:

Kicking Butts in Corsets (Friday 6/30 2PM Room 407), The Past is Here – Writing Romantic Fiction with an Historical Backdrop (Friday 6/30 5:30PM Room 402), Let the Wookiee Win! It’s Okay to an Uplifting Story (Saturday 7/1 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 10:30AM-12:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2:30PM-4:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_ROBINHOBB_2

Robin Hobb is an award winning, best selling fantasy author known for her Farseer Trilogy. From her writing, I assume that she possesses all the writing secrets in the world. I’m so glad she’s coming to Denver Comic Con. I can’t wait to hear her talk.

Robin Hobb’s DCC Schedule:

Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), But is it Epic Enough? (Sunday 7/2 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 4-5PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 11AM-1PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2 and 2:30-3:30PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 4-6PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

Finally, some of our favorite authors from previous years are returning to Denver Comic Con to impart more of their writing wisdom, including: Amalie Howard, Kristi Helvig, Sherry Ficklin (Booth D12 and D14), Corinne O’Flynn, and Sue Duff. Also, Callie Bates has her debut book The Waking Lands due out tomorrow! Possibly not enough time to read it before DCC, but it has some great early reviews so it might be worth catching some of her panels too!

Download the new 2017 Denver Comic Con app to view the full schedule and add these and other panels to your schedule!

Ermergerd It’s Almost Time for Denver Comic Con

DCC is only a few days away, and we can barely contain our excitement here at SiG headquarters. I want to see everyone and everything and talk to everyone and buy all the art, but I am an adult gods damn it, and I know there are limits in life. Of time, of energy and of money. I’ve got to prioritize. So, I made a list. 

Top Ten Things I am the Super Most Ever Ever Excited About for Denver Comic Con. 

1. Clare Kramer moderating on the main stage again. Clare is a genius host and really elevates the main panels at DCC to the highest levels. She’s witty, open, gracious and generous. She gets great stories and epic laughs. I hope she is having as much fun as she is giving the audience. This year, I am specifically excited for the Buffy Villains Reunion and the Art of the Voice panel.

2. Felicia Day. Felicia is one of my heroes, and the absolute hands down number one reason I am brave enough to have started this site with my friends, among many other things. Her honesty is refreshing, her comedic timing is absurd and her talent blows me away. I can’t wait to hear her speak. It’s gonna be amazing.

3. Art. Artists. So much creative goodness. I’ve already covered the many returning guests we can’t wait to see, but the best part is discovering new artists!

4. The cosplay. DCC is stepping up their game this year with a ton of focus on cosplay. Panels, special photo ops and more await this year’s talented cosplayers!

5. Meeting the #critters. Despite the lack of Critical Role cast members attending, I believe that the critters will be out in force! Look for me in my MegMcMuffins original Life Needs Things to Live shirt and let’s hang out and spread some Team Hooman love. #lessthanthree

6. Nathan Fillion’s solo panel. He is hilarious, he is generous and it seems to me he always brings his A game to Con panels. I hope to hear about what’s next for our favorite captain! 

7. I AM BREWT! Theme beers are fun, Groot is adorable and after a long day of talking, walking and squeeing, a girl needs an ice cold beverage. 

8. Meeting…well….everyone. We have made some great connections at DCC over the years. Being amongst your fellow nerds, while exhausting, is also incredibly fulfilling. The geek community is amazing, and this weekend I am super excited to make more new friends.

9. Hovering somewhere between excited and terrified about #9. This year, we are hosting our first panel at DCC! I will be talking about tabletop RPGs and how they are making the world a better place! We hope to see you there! Even if you’re not a D&D player, just stand in the back and give a thumbs up, would you? I need the moral support. 

10. Just being with my fellow Sisters in Geek and seeing their face splitting grins. The memories are worth every aching joint.

What are you most excited for at Denver Comic Con? See you there! Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram all weekend for live panel coverage, photos and more!

DCC 2017 Preview: Artists

Because it's all about the art.

Because it’s all about the art.

It’s almost time for Denver Comic Con fellow geeks! You know what that means, it’s almost time to spend all your money on amazing art to adorn your walls. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Many of our favorite artists are returning to DCC this year, and we can’t wait to see what they’re bringing. And of course, we know that new artists await us on the Con floor, and we’ll tell you all about them too, don’t worry.

But for now, here’s our list of artists whose tables you absolutely MUST visit during DCC.

Credit: Atomic Pixies

Credit: Atomic Pixies

Atomic Pixies – Booth C07

We are so happy that Atomic Pixies will be back at Con this year. If you think I’m not picking up some awesome Stars Wars pieces this year, you’re insane.

 

Credit: Ben Byrd

Credit: Ben Byrd

Ben Byrd – Booth M17

We buy all the Ben Byrd every year. Because every year he has more adorable, wonderful and whimsical art. I, personally, don’t have all of the dragon pieces yet, so I’m excited to finish out my collection.

 

Credit: Elisa Wikey

Credit: Elisa Wikey

Elisa Wikey – Booth M04

I love Elisa’s stuff so much that I want to hug it! Witty, adorable and perfect, this year I’m hoping to stock up on stickers and pins.

 

Credit: Jeannine Schafer

Credit: Jeannine Schafer

Jeannine Schafer – Booth 659

Hands down the best creator of ridiculous cat art on the planet. She does other animals too, but her cats are the best. Plus, she also has t-shirts that are so soft you will weep.

 

Credit: Jenny Parks

Credit: Jenny Parks

Jenny Parks – Booth Q07

OK, OK, maybe Jenny Parks has the best ridiculous cat art on the planet. Don’t make us choose! It’s impossible. I for one am definitely picking up her Wonder Woman cat this year.

 

Credit: Karen Hallion

Credit: Karen Hallion

Karen Hallion – Booth G19

If loving Karen Hallion is wrong, we don’t wanna be right. Her art is beautiful, powerful and awesome. Be sure to take one of her pieces home, won’t you?

 

Credit: Katy L Wood

Credit: Katy L Wood

Katy L Wood – Booth E17

Katy’s work is sometimes dark and gorgeous, and sometimes whimsical and bright. It’s always lovely. For bonus points, Katy hails from Colorado, so show some support for our homegrown talent!

 

Credit: Meg Kirkpatrick

Credit: Meg Kirkpatrick

Megmcmuffins – Booth F05

Meg is the absolute best, and I’m not just saying that because she brought my halfling Bard Portia to life. Her art honors a lot of fandoms, from Critical Role to Supernatural to Hamilton. She’s also hysterically funny and has Blucifer pins available! ALL HAIL BLUCIFER, Lord of the Airport.

 

Credit: Monkey Minion Press

Credit: Monkey Minion Press

Monkey Minion Press – Booth E13

Books! Prints! Magnets and posters! Amazing, beautiful work from the ridiculously talented hands of Dane and Ashlie, Monkey Minion is a can’t miss stop at any Con. Plus, they like space! Space is awesome.

 

Credit: Ryan Cain

Credit: Ryan Cain

Ryan Cain – Booth O23

We love Ryan’s clean style and top notch attention to detail. Also, he’s for sure a gamer nerd, which grants bonus points!

 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all our DCC coverage! We’ll be posting live from the Con floor, sharing favorite moments, panel highlights and chance encounters. And of course the best cosplay. Don’t miss a moment! Find us for free stickers and other Con fun!

Denver Comic Con 2016 Cosplay Pt. 2

More cosplay photos from Denver Comic Con! These people work hard so we can enjoy their nerdy dedication. In fact, my own nerdy dedication insisted that I go watch every Fionna and Cake Adventure Time episode, then go read every Fionna and Cake comic book, because look how cool this cosplayer is!

adventure-time-cosplay-fionna

Fionna and Cake!

She’s cosplaying as Fionna in the dress Fionna’s creator, Natasha Allegri designed, which led me to go through Natasha’s whole tumblr, where I found her cute dress art for this! Also, after watching the Fionna and Cake Adventure Time episodes, I love love love Fionna and Cake, and can’t believe the regular show is allowed to go on with Finn and Jake, even though Jake is Bender, and they are funny too.  I’d absolutely deal with my cat allergies to go on adventures with Cake. Also, I bet there is a magic potion for pet allergies!

cosplay-captain-america-civil-war

Civil War!

Next up, is our friends Julio and Russ cosplaying as Ant-Man and Captain America. Ant-Man and Cap decide to take a break from fighting their friends to take a selfie! It’s history yo!

squirrel-girl-cosplay

Squirrel Girl!

The unbeatable Squirrel Girl! I think the only thing that could’ve improved this cosplay if she could’ve somehow designed a dress train behind her filled with a squirrel army! That seems involved and everyone would’ve stepped on it, but she really looks like she deserves a squirrel army.

If you haven’t given this series a try, you absolutely should. It is exactly the kind of silliness that more comics should be brave enough to try. I’m over super serious comic books. Good luck getting my money when there are FUN comics like this, Girl Genius, Rat Queens, Chew, Faith (not buffy faith), Gotham Academy, Lumberjanes, Adventure Time, and Over the Garden Wall. There should also be more Fionna and Cake comics. A mini-series really wasn’t enough.

 

beauty-tangled-cosplay

Belle and that Tangled guy!

cosplay-last-airbender-uncle-iroh

Uncle Iroh!

Punk rock Uncle Iroh and his Jasmine Dragon tea shop.

little-mermaid-cosplay

Land Ariel!

Ariel gets ready for her smoochy boat ride! I tried to break up the Disney pictures, but I’m realizing there is a lot of Disney in this post!

all-doctor-who-cosplay

Doctor Who!

This is obviously a future Doctor, who was going through the Tardis’ huge closet and found all the great Doctor stuff from previous regenerations. This is bound to happen some day. I’m sure when not saving the universe, the Doctor does some very silly things.

bb8-cosplay

BB-8!

olenna-cosplay-game-of-thrones

Queen of Thorns!

Olenna Tyrell looks so sweet represented by this cosplayer! The Queen of Thorns is at her daughter’s wedding and just wants to make sure that everyone has a good time!

Denver Comic Con 2016 Cosplay Part One

Cosplay at Denver Comic Con this year was inspired! Marvel, DC, Adult Swim, Game of Thrones, and more were represented. I hated to leave all these beautiful costumes against a crowd or concrete background. I decided these cosplayers needed to have a more appropriate background. This is only part one, because photoshopping takes time. More to come next week!

If you have any pictures that you’d like to have the background nerdified, email sistersingeek@gmail.com. For a $10 paypal payment, we’ll give you the background you want!

 

Diary of a Comic Con Veteran: Day 2

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Day 2, Saturday

5:10am Wide awake. Know I set alarm for 7. Why can’t I sleep in? WHYYYY?

5:17am Get up. Brush teeth. Sinus rinse. Shower. The usual.

5:38am Dress with care in Tee Turtle Rey and BB-8 shirt and brown pants.

6:12am Ramen for breakfast again.

6:28am Need smaller bag for today. Larger bag was too heavy after about hour 6 yesterday.

6:40am Finish parsing down bag items to fit in small purse. Check for passes. Select dark brown Birkenstocks for today’s proper con footwear.

6:42am Realize I still have an entire hour to kill.

6:48am Read Facebook “On This Day” in its entirety.

7:30am Check for passes.

7:45am Message friend in Ontario to see what she’s up to. The usual: eating poutine and riding moose like horses.

8:10am Head upstairs to wake up teenage boys.

8:12am So. Much. Muttering. And groaning. And grumbling.

8:25am Teenagers sit in kitchen enjoying breakfast of Snickers and Root Beer. Hope son’s friend does not report to his parents on what I feed children for breakfast in my house.

8:38am Check for passes. Get in car.

8:44am Driving to train station. Teenagers express wish that “Maybe we’ll see those girls from yesterday.” Maybe. Maybe we will.

8:56am Inexplicably long line at one of the train ticket kiosks. Glare and huff and skirt around these people to empty machine.

9:03am Catch the 9:03. Tell teenagers not to talk to any weirdos on the train this time. Son says, “What about you? Can we talk to you?” Feel I have walked right into this one.

9:28am Arrive at Convention Center. Bring teenagers with me to media entrance, bracing myself for third degree by security at door (I am permitted to bring my minor children inside with me regardless of their ticket type, but son is always perceived as being older than he is due to tallness and his HANDSOME FACE, so last year I was given a hard time by misinformed door people each day, and it kind of stresses me out). But I needn’t have worried: There is NO security at the media/volunteer/guest/exhibitor entrance this morning. Literally no one checking badges or monitoring the doors.

9:36am Really, anyone could just come in this way. And they are – regular pass holders flowing off elevators from parking garage.

9:38am They are at least guarding the doors to the convention floor with some degree of strictness.

9:45am Carolyn meets me. We have a hot date to see the Lena Headey panel first thing. Ask where Megan is. Carolyn hasn’t seen her yet. Suggests a hangover might be in play. They were out till all hours the night before carousing with writers. You know how writers are.

9:50am Watch people coming up escalators. See a guy in a combination Green Lantern- Captain America costume. Debate ensues: Is this inspired or weird? Also why are he and his cohort carrying four different shields in all different colors? Teenage boys come down on cool side. Carolyn and me come down on “What is the point?” side.

9:53am Oooh, someone’s made a lifelike Artoo robot!

9:54am Lifelike Artoo robot. Heh.

10:00am Doors open. We rush through. We are on a mission to beat the lines for the Main Event stage.

10:04am Are now 41 minutes early for panel.

10:06am Leave teenage boys to the regular pass holder line.

10:45am Room is filling in. Panel not starting. Is fine. We are chill. Totally chill.

No. We are not remotely chill.

No. We are not remotely chill.

10:58am Lena Headey! OMG you guys. I am 10 feet away from LENA. HEADEY. CERSEI LANNISTER. OMG.

11:00am Control my fangirl squeal and take my seat.

11:02am Guess what Lena Headey is wearing, you guys? BIRKENSTOCKS. Proper con footwear. Sparkly black and white Birkenstocks.

11:04am OMG she is adorable. And British. And sassy af.

11:06am Of COURSE Cersei is my favorite character on Game of Thrones. What other characters are there???

11:08am OMG.

11:10am Okay. Just breathe. It’s fine.

11:11am Someone asks Lena Headey what her favorite thing about playing Cersei is. “The long blonde hair, “ she says. “And… erm… I don’t know… so many things…” Questioner: “You can just say it: You like to be bad.” Lena Headey smirrrrrrks and says, “I like to be baaaad.” I turn around to see who has asked this question. Is my friend CJ. Yiiiisssssss. (Edit: CJ has informed me that I have this wrong and his question was actually at the end, and he asked “If you could play any other character, which one would it be?” and Lena’s answer was “Ramsay Bolton” and everyone died. Maybe next year I will take better notes.)

11:15am Lena Headey tells funny story about grabbing ass cheeks of Cary Elwes as he made his way into the convention center in front of her that morning.

11:18am I’m in love with Lena Headey, you guys. Whatever. It’s fine.

11:24am Carolyn goes all Hermione on me and flips out because I keep sneaking photos when we are not sure we’re really allowed to be taking photos (spoiler alert: We are allowed to take photos, just not block anyone’s view with taking of photos). I roll my eyes and tell her to simmer down. Just like a sister would.

11:45am Lena Headey leaves and my life is sadder now. But I feel really good knowing that she agrees with me about proper con footwear. Obviously we would be best friends if she got to know me.

11:52am Whoa. Terrible traffic jam of people trying to leave theatre. This seems like a bit of a crowd control fail.

Oh. Whoa. That's... people.

Oh. Whoa. That’s… people.

11:58am Walled in by people. Starting to panic.

12:00pm People start exiting the building instead of sticking out horrible line. We have bright idea to follow.

12:04pm Being outside with personal space feels good for three minutes. Realization that it is almost 100 degrees outside already hits quickly. This was maybe a terrible idea.

12:06pm So hot.

12:07pm So much cement.

12:13pm Ahhhh front doors. Hello, air conditioning.

 

12:15pm We decide it’s lunch time and then I will go get in line for Stan Lee panel, which is not till 1:30 but I assume it will be full.

12:20pm Purchase terribly mediocre turkey sandwiches and expensive drinks and commandeer a table in the café. Commence people watching. Text friends Russ and Julio to ascertain their whereabouts. They say they’re coming to find us.

12:35pm No sign of Russ and Julio. Whatever. Sitting is comfy.

Heroes gotta eat too!

Heroes gotta eat too!

12:45pm Still no sign of friends. Carolyn has an author interview to get to and I need to join media line for Stan Lee. We split up with plans to meet up for John Barrowman panel later.

1:00pm Oh. Whoa. Line for Stan Lee is out of control.

1:02pm They are not letting anyone through the line to get to ADA and Speed Pass waiting area, which is also designated media waiting area.

1:04pm Is fine. I met Stan Lee last night. Will go find friends instead.

1:09pm Have text from Russ: They are up in food court area. I head that direction, pausing to take lots of photos.

 

1:18pm Food court area is scene from apocalyptic nightmare. So many people. So much concrete. So few places for sitting. So humid.

1:22pm There is no way I am finding friends in this place. Tell them to meet me at Hayley Atwell panel and beat it on out of there. Horrifying.

1:30pm Cue frantic texting from teenage son. His friend’s parents want him home by 6:30pm. We have no plans to even leave con before 7:30pm, let alone be home that early. Do not wish to make complicated parenting decisions for other people’s children in midst of 80,000 people. Tell him to find out if friend’s parents are okay with us putting friend on train by himself (they are 15 years old) and picking him up at the station close to home when he gets there.

1:35pm Friend’s parents are no longer answering his calls or texts. I now have all kinds of thoughts about these people. Tell boys to keep trying.

1:39pm Since midday yesterday, we have noticed that we are not alone in the convention center – by which I mean there is another convention going on besides Denver Comic Con. Keep noticing stuffy-looking people in business attire. Pass by large group of them on my way down main concourse. They look confused. I smile to myself as I walk by. Then I decide to go ask them what they’re thinking – I’m wearing a media badge, after all, so they’ll assume I’m official in some way. Walk up to woman and man who seem to have the most open-minded expressions on their faces. Greet them by saying, “Hey, you all look super confused!” Funny conversation ensues in which they all insist that seeing cosplayers and con-goers is “cool” and “awesome”. One guy says, “I never knew something like this even existed.” I ask them what their conference is for. Awkward silence and sheepish looks. “You don’t want to know that,” a couple of them insist. Automatically I’m assuming they’re either contract killers or undertakers. But it turns out they are all in collections. I make sympathetic noises then take my leave with an awful joke about how I better hide now. Like they’ve never heard that one before.

1:42pm Seriously though. That must kill every party they ever go to. I would just lie and say I’m an undertaker or a contract killer.

1:53pm Reach theatre. Volunteer is sneaking a bunch of late arriving media people into the Stan Lee panel via the side entrance and asks if I want to go in too. I decline, because I do not feel that my media badge entitles me to special treatment.

1:54pm Find nice spot to sit and wait near ADA line. There is an air conditioning vent. I check in with teenagers and friends, and review my photos. It is silent here except for the occasional burst of cheering or laughing from inside the theatre. This is bliss. I love con but it’s hard for an introvert. I’m sure you understand.

2:15pm Stan Lee panel ends with him shouting, “EXCELSIOR!” to the crowd. People start spilling out doors. All are steered left. Bottleneck happens almost immediately.

2:18pm I get some good crowd photos though.

2:28pm Am allowed into theatre to sit down. Sitting down is one of my favorite parts of con.

2:35pm Get text from Russ and Julio that they are here too. Tell them to stay put when panel ends so that I can come up and find them.

2:38pm Son texts to let me know that his friend’s parents are fine with him riding train home alone and will pick him up at station at other end. I tell son to make sure he makes sure his friend gets on the right train.

2:45pm Hayley Atwell! Agent Peggy Carter! OMG! She is ten feet away from me! And she is just as adorable and lovely in real life!

Hayley Atwell, talking about the responsibility of being a role model. Or something cool like that.

Hayley Atwell, talking about the responsibility of being a role model. Or something cool like that.

2:55pm My favorite thing about this panel is all the young girls getting up to ask questions, mostly of the “What’s it like to be such a good role model for girls and young women?” variety, and how genuinely Hayley Atwell responds to them. Even a little boy gets up and asks what it was like to get to boss all the Army men around (referring to the first Captain America film), and she says it was “Quite fun, actually, and a bit empowering.”

3:10pm My least favorite part about this panel are the two fanboys sitting at the end of my row in the media section, muttering under their breath about how stupid “all this girl power crap” is, and scoffing every time another girl asks a feminist-themed question. For real, men of the world: If your manhood is so fragile that it’s somehow threatened by young girls finding power and meaning and representation in a movie character, you have some serious issues that need to be examined.

3:25pm They can’t ruin this for me though. Hayley Atwell says she is fully up for another season of Agent Carter if it somehow gets rescued by Netflix, and believes a series of Agent Carter films would be a fantastic idea too.

3:35pm I finally find Russ and Julio! They are cosplaying as Captain America and Ant-man. We spend some time bashing the jerky dudes who were sitting by me during the panel. Russ goes to find us some water. Julio and I are entrusted with his shield while he is gone.

Ant-Man and Cap... erm... Julio and Russ. I think.

Ant-Man and Cap… erm… Julio and Russ. I think.

3:45pm Russ comes back with water. I decide to hang out with them for the Cary Elwes panel. The theatre is getting packed. I didn’t realize Cary Elwes was so popular but Russ and Julio explain about The Princess Bride. Confession: I have only seen The Princess Bride in its entirety once. It is a phenomenon I don’t really get. I don’t connect with that movie at all. But I do enjoy Cary Elwes!

4:00pm Cary Elwes! The crowd goes wild.

4:10pm Damn, Cary Elwes is funny. He has spent the first ten minutes telling a story about this epic fart that Andre the Giant let rip while they were filming a scene for The Princess Bride, and no one in this room will ever watch that scene the same way again.

4:30pm Fan in the audience asks Cary how it felt to have his ass grabbed by Lena Headey. He just gives us all a devilish smile.

4:45pm Russ and Julio leave me and I go back down to media seats to wait for Carolyn and John Barrowman.  Is clear I have priorities: I will sit up in the cheap seats for people other than John Barrowman. But for John Barrowman, I am all about the media seating perk.

5:00pm There is some sort of drama happening involving the ASL interpreters who are working Denver Comic Con. Lots of huddling up and whispering and switching of places and stuff. Is oddly fascinating to watch in close proximity as it is difficult to imagine what sort of drama there could be.

5:02pm I would be remiss to not give a shout out to the ASL interpreters. They are AMAZING. Our media seating is directly behind the ADA rows and the grouping of seats reserved specifically for those in need of sign-language interpretation. The interpreters at this year’s Denver Comic Con are with Rose Interpreting, a Denver-based agency. I assume a lot of us think having sign-language interpreters present at public events is over the top, just a concession to political correctness, but as I’ve learned with this weekend’s panels, there are around 20 or so people in need of visible sign language interpretation in each of the larger event rooms. And what’s fantastic about these interpreters is that they aren’t up there just signing, but mimicking the entire tone of whatever’s happening onstage with their facial expressions and body language. It’s almost like acting! And that way, the hearing impaired fans at this con are right in on the jokes with everyone else. Anyway, I could go on for days about just this, but let’s leave it at Carolyn and I are super impressed. Kudos to Denver Comic Con for bringing on board such a great team of interpreters, and many kudos to Rose Interpreting for being so awesome.

5:15pm OMG it’s JOHN BARROWMAN! In a DRESS! And a WIG! He is dressed like Castiel from Supernatural!

5:16pm The crowd goes insane!

FAAABULOUS Castiel cosplay.

FAAABULOUS Castiel cosplay.

5:20pm I can’t even – it’s JOHN BARROWMAN. He’s HILARIOUS and awesome.

5:23pm John Barrowman teases the sign language interpreters a bit – they are not remotely phased — and asks for a show of hands from the crowd to indicate who all is need of the interpreting. Way more people than I would have expected. See?? He talks about one of his philanthropic projects in which he’s worked with deaf and hard of hearing people.

5:26pm Then he just gets silly. And takes questions from the crowd. And acts silly.

5:38pm John Barrowman climbs over the seats in the front to go take a question from someone sitting right behind us. I can see it in Carolyn’s eyes: Grab him? Don’t grab him? She goes with “don’t”, which is good because a little kid nearby is gripping his leg for dear life and for a second John Barrowman looks a bit panicked.

He needs to be close to his people.

He needs to be close to his people.

5:46pm John Barrowman tells funny story about his parents sharing Tim Tam biscuits with Lena Headey. Lapses into Scottish accent every time he addresses his parents directly.

6:00pm John Barrowman leaves us and now everyone’s life is sadder.

6:06pm Oh god with the crowd control issues.

6:08pm Still, it turns out this is better than walking outside.

6:15pm Consider going to a panel that starts at 6:20 since I have to wait for my son to finish his last panel, but having to visit the ladies room and then get a snack wins out over one last panel. Am worst reporter ever.

 

6:28pm It is a sad time in the convention center: They have run out of hot pretzels. I settle for peanut M&Ms and a diet soda, then look for a place to sit down. We figure we’ll just hit the floor again like yesterday but then I see my friend CJ manspreading on a comfy couch. He’ll totally let us snuggle up so I drag Carolyn over there instead.

6:35pm Aaahhhh couch life is the best. We can sit here and watch everyone walk by and talk about things and eat snacks.

6:40pm CJ is confused about Donald Trump cosplayer. I look where he is pointing. I laugh and laugh. Is not cosplayer. Is participant from that OTHER conference, with the bill collecting.

6:44pm Other friends come over to meet up with CJ. Kyre is dressed as Ariel and her brother Gib is cosplaying as a punk rock version of Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender. My friend Ashten shows me his Stan Lee photo and admits that he almost started to cry when he met him. He looks even more insane in his Stan Lee photo than my son and I look in ours, so I feel less alone now.

L-R: Punk rock Uncle Iroh, rabid Stan Lee fan, Ariel, rabid Lena Headey fan.

L-R: Punk rock Uncle Iroh, rabid Stan Lee fan, Ariel, rabid Lena Headey fan.

6:50pm Husband texts to see if we’ve eaten dinner yet. We haven’t even left con, let alone eaten dinner. He wants to go to Illegal Pete’s with us and decides he will drive downtown to pick us up. I assume he remembers that both PrideFest and Comic Con are happening and don’t try to talk him out of this plan.

7:02pm Megan shows up. She has been upstairs on the convention floor all day talking to artists and authors and taking cosplay photos. She looks exhausted. We make room on our couch for her.

7:22pm Teenage son shows up. He is all happy from being in the hyper-nerdy VERSUS! panel just now. It is his favorite thing from last year, in which fictional characters are put against other fictional characters in a hypothetical battle and the audience gets to argue for or against one of the characters winning or losing.

7:28pm As son tells us about some of the battle scenarios and their results, boys sitting next to us jump in to share their thoughts. It is the nerdiest conversation I’ve heard so far this weekend and I love it. This is the best part of con: Making friends with random geeky strangers.

7:35pm Megan and Carolyn finally call it a day. Son and I have to wait for husband. We watch the dudes running around in giant inflatable T-Rex costumes tease and chase people.

7:40pm I tell son to go provoke the T-Rex so I can get a chase scene on video. Said video is priceless. Here… go ahead and watch it:

 

8:00pm Husband picks us up. Attempts to drive through a route that is blocked off by PrideFest in Civic Center Park. I guess he didn’t remember after all.

8:15pm Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway. Taquitos, beer, and hipsters playing bocce. Son is all, “Why are grownups so chill?” In unison, husband and I say, “Legal marijuana, son. Legal marijuana.”

Aaaaand scene.

Stay tuned for Day 3, which I promise will not take me as long to post as Day 2!

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