DCC was held in the Denver Convention Center, in downtown Denver. The parking and traffic is a little crazy, and if you want to park in the Convention Center (CC) itself, you had to get there no later than 9 a.m. (doors opened at 10). And using GPS, the CC says to use the 1104 Champa address, but my GPS took me through some weird “dogleg” through the side streets where I ended up in the adjacent Denver Performing Arts parking garage. No. Don’t do that. Sure, you can park there, it’s a short walk, but, if you’re lugging books and gear, you don’t really wanna do that—just get on Speer Blvd (it doesn’t matter which direction)–just get on Speer and stay on Speer. You’ll see all the appropriate CC signs once you get there, and look for the huge “P” for “Parking” on the CC building. There is also a sign that tells you if the parking garage is still open for parking.
Denver Comic Con
I did a book signing on Saturday, my first day at DCC. It was at 11 a.m. MT. I must have handed out 200 bookmarks. “Hey, howyadoin?” or “Too late—you made eye contact—here’s a bookmark!” and “Hey—get back here, I have something for ya!” I talked to a couple brave souls, met some people I know, didn’t know, and wondered if they were human at all….
My table was right across from an Avatar booth. A makeup woman was applying the signature blue face paint to a guy. It must have taken better than an hour for her to apply it all, but in the end, the guy’s face looked just like one of the Na’vi clan leaders from Pandora. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the end result.
After my hour—it was actually two. I was able to get in before the public was let in to set up, so was really there from 10 – noon. Talked with some fellow book signers. After my stint, I was able to wander the rest of the day on my own, exploring all that was DCC 2016, and it was simply amazing! There were three levels to the place: the topmost level where I was, was the main show room: all the goodies were there…absolutely anything you wanted to buy was on sale…the floor below that were where the sessions were held…and the level below that was where all the Evil Dead, Warrior Chicks, and Science Fiction monsters hung out. Okay, not really (I don’t really know…), but I think that was the ballroom area. I didn’t go there, but saw signs to the effect. One other thing that really stood out was that while being immersed in the sea of flesh (120,000 people were said to have been in attendance—don’t know if that included the presenters), was the sweat.
Yes, you could actually smell the sweat on people.
It was that packed, that close-quartered. That intimate. And it was also 900 degrees outside, so with a small town’s population packed inside one building, you know the HVAC system was working overtime. But, all things considered, I think it was amazing it was as “cool” as it was and the HVAC system remained up and running. Kudos the the facilities staff!
My friend, Jan C. J. Jones, was working the Con and twice she managed to just “find me”; it was like some weird Jedi “locator” power she possessed (or those damned implants….). Twice I’d gone looking for her in her assigned area, and twice I came up empty. Yet, on two consecutive days I’d just be hanging out, talking, and twice she came right up to me.
It was like she just materialized out of thin air (pardon the pun—Denver’s altitude).
On Sunday, I was no two panels: at 12:15 MT I was on the Dealing With Discouragement in Writing and Publishing, and at 2:15 MT I was on Why We Write Short Stories. I love doing panels, interacting with fellow writers and artists and anyone else in the biz. Love interacting with the audience. Talking about writing! Both were pretty well attended, I thought, given the focus of the Con was not so much books…but it was cool that books were made a part of a Comic Con.
I attended a few other sessions that some of my writer friends were on, such as Monsters: Not Just For Horror Anymore, Self-Publishing: Is It For You?, Can’t We Get Along?, Cultural Exchange vs Appropriation in Writing, and Diversity in SciFi and Fantasy Literature. I tooled around some more…took in an act where a guy promoting his web comic (I believe it was) did a balancing act atop stacked chairs. That was neat and pretty funny. It’s one thing to watch it on TV…another to stand 10 feet from the person actually doing it! There really are no nets…but there was a gym-mat-like padded floor. It would have reduced bruising, but that’s about all, had he really fallen.
I first met Kevin Ikenberry at a Denver MileHiCon. Kevin is retired Army (I won’t hold that against him) and has written two military SF novels and some short fiction. He’s now an “active duty author,” and boy is he creating his own “shock and awe”! The man is apparently unstoppable! As of DCC his Amazon.com numbers were staggering, and he sold out his DCC stock. That’s the way to do it, Kevin! I keep running into him at every author/literary event I go to, and we usually end up seated/standing/tripping over each other. He has an infectious smile and an outgoing manner. I bought his Sleeper Protocol and am currently reading it. Of course he jabbed the Air Force in his autographing of it…but he does have to remember that to the Air Force…all the other services are beneath it (“Aim higher,” yourself, buddy!)….
Aaron Michael Ritchey
And then there is the amazing Aaron Michael Ritchey.This photo says it all. I really have to do something with it…and I think I know exactly what. Aaron (in a word) is a trip. He gives caffeine a run for its money. Gives “personality” a whole new definition. And talk about ubiquitous. Name one place Aaron Michael Ritchey isn’t. You can’t. It’s impossible. He warps time. He’s standing behind you right now. But when you turn around—he’s gone. Off to be somewhere else—or is he (have you checked the kitchen)?
If you ever get a chance to meet either of these two guys, go do it. Buy their work.
I really hope I didn’t embarrass myself on any of them! I did three podcasts while at DCC, but it was so loud and crazy, so many incredible COSPLAY walking the Con…so much exposed skin of both men and women…so many really neat and ingenious costumes of both men and women—well, in one of my interviews a sword-wielding barbarian chick with a nice smile stood not four feet in front of me. She was quite…fit. And I was not looking at her…but a couple times while I was not looking at her I might have uttered something like “tomato juice” when asked about my favorite books, or “yes” when asked about what got me started at writing. So, forgive anything stupid that may have come out of my mouth during these interviews. It was loud. It was crazy. It was DCC.
One thing really warmed my heart in particular: a COSPLAY woman had walked by up ahead of me and had dropped her iPhone (or similar). I went to go fetch it and flag her down, when another guy between me and Ms. COSPLAY also saw it. He picked it up and gave it to the girl. I was so impressed! He could have walked away with it, cause the girl had no idea she’d dropped it, and had kept walking. I didn’t think of this until Monday, but I should have gone up to the guy and applauded him for his actions! Whoever you are, way to go, dude!
Denver Comic Con was utterly incredible. Amazing. Expansive. Diverse. Freaking FUN. People were there to have fun…and it felt so good to see everyone behaving and having fun. I’d heard larger (Really? Larger?) Comic Cons weren’t so, well, “nice”…but DCC was. It really was family friendly and I saw a lot of family there. People were well-behaved. I was so honored to have been asked by Eneasz Brodski, who handles the literary portion of Comic Con. I can’t thank you enough, Eneasz—and Angie Hodapp, who introduced us! Hope to attend next year!
- MileHiCon47, a Knot, and a Head (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- MileHiCon46…or This Blog is Really All About Aaron Michael Ritchey (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)