Written by John Edward Betancourt
I've seen it all when it comes to conventions. In the last couple of years working for Girls of Geek I would like to think I've explored the worlds of close to every fandom out there. I've been introduced to genres and fandoms that I never knew existed thanks to this site and I am proud of the fact I have been able to open my horizons by covering these wonderful events.
But there is one convention that always holds special meaning for me. Simply because you always remember your first convention and mine was StarFest. Growing up it was something I always wanted to go to, because mailers arrived every year at my home. I had no idea what a con was at the time, but the fact that my favorite sci fi actors were going to be in town was enough, so I asked my dad if we could go.
Sadly, the chance to head out to this awesome convention never quite worked out and that's okay, because everything happens for a reason and well, thanks to my brother I was able to enjoy StarFest properly. He snagged me a pair of VIP passes a few years ago and I was finally able to take it all in and quite frankly I was hooked.
I've attended StarFest every year since simply because man...it's fantastic and on a personal level, it goes beyond the incredible guests that arrive year in and year out. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing the guests speak. I love the incredible stories they have to tell, I love the intimate setting the fans get when meeting these wonderful people and heck, if you haven't had the chance to experience the Meet and Greet, do so.
But past that, it's the people that are equally as important to see. There are some amazing people that I've met at this convention. People that I likely walked by or sat in close proximity to that first year I attended, since they attend the con year in and year out and I'm proud to call many of these folks my friends and well...this is the only time I get to see them. Some of them live far away where it isn't easy to just hang out and grab some lunch but here...we can finally catch up.
This is where my love of conventions all began and next week, I'll step through the doors of the Denver Marriott DTC and say hello to old friends and new ones, create new memories and share in old ones and flat out have a good time and I cannot wait to see all of you there.
Written by Mattie
Ladies and Gentlemen, StarFest 2014 is coming up in two weeks on May 2nd – 4th at the Denver Tech Center Marriott and Hilton! StarFest has been around since 1977 and I have been going to this convention for several years now. It’s amazing how it’s grown and I look forward to it every year.
StarFest isn’t just a single topic convention, It now has many different activities and festivities to offer such as ArtFest, ComicFest, DrWhoFest, GameFest, HorrorFest, KlingonFest, MediaFest, ModelFest, RoboFest, StarWarsFest and SteampunkFest. ComicFest as a heads up is at the Hilton Garden Inn this year for all your comic book needs! StarFest contains a little bit of everything that your average con goer could ever want!
StarFest also has a great line up of guests that will be here for the 2014 convention season. They have Amanda Tapping who is known for her role in Stargate SG1 and Atlantis. She was also the Angel Naomi in one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural. There is also Giancarlo Esposito who was in the first season of Once Upon a Time and played the Magic Mirror or was known as Sidney the reporter in StoryBrooke. He in the show reported back everything to the Evil Queen, Regina. Then there is Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrissian from Star Wars.
The guest who I am most looking forward to is Nichelle Nichols. She played Lt. Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series. She is a woman who became a historical icon if you ask me, who was praised by Martian Luther King Jr. and it was he who convinced her to stay on Star Trek when she wanted to leave and go back to Broadway. She also made history when she was the first black woman with a major role on prime time and shared the first interracial kiss on television. She is truly one of the most inspirational women out there and it would be an honor to meet her.
Over all, I am excited for StarFest this year. Not only is there so many things to do but I’m excited to see and spend time with my convention friends at the place where we first met, StarFest. I can’t wait to see you all there!
Written by Mattie
For all of you who got up in the wee hours in the morning (yes, any time before ten a.m. falls into this category) to hear Denver’s Channel 2 news announce the latest Denver Comic Con guest, I joined you in not knowing anything about who it was going to be. Imagine my surprise when they announced that it was Stephen Amell, someone I’ve been hoping to see at DCC for a long time.
I must admit, I did call my mom and cried out of joy at the announcement of this wonderful guest.
Stephen Amell plays Oliver Queen in CW’s hit show, Arrow. Now Arrow is based off of DC Comic’s Green Arrow, which is about a spoiled playboy billionaire who gets shipwrecked on a hellish island for five years. He finally gets rescued from the island and comes back to his home, Starling City a changed man. To protect his city he has to become someone else, he has to become something else. He battles with the ghosts of his past in order to become the hero that Starling City deserves.
It’s a series jam packed full of action, character development, plot, and awesome fight scenes and I have recommended it to my family and friends hence the reason I called my mother. She was quite excited about it too.
Now Stephen is a wonderful actor who loves his fans. He almost updates his FaceBook and Twitter pages daily with fun interactive posts. He loves hearing feedback on the show and even though he gets a ton of replies, he tries to answer as many of his fans that he can. He also is a fan of Arrow inspired memes. He also played the voice of Arrow in the video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us and has been in other shows such as New Girl, Vampire Diaries, Heartland, Private Practice and many more.
I hope you all are super excited of Denver Comic Con’s latest guest announcement, Stephen Amell! It’s going to be a fantastic time with him there! For all you Arrow fans out there you can always ask him, “What color are your shoes?!”
Written by John Edward Betancourt
If you're a fan of comic books, you're undoubtedly a fan of motion pictures as well. In fact you've probably sat in the theater, watching your favorite comic book come to life and once in a while wondered what it might be like to get into that industry yourself, or know that there was a flaw that you could have fixed or done better.
Or you may simply be in love with the idea of filmmaking period, taking the time to sit down to pound out a screenplay or make movies on the weekend with your friends. Yet, you wonder more about what the industry has to offer. You wonder what it will really take to get into the film industry or where you can showcase your latest work.
Well have no fear, because Denver Comic Con is here to help with its "Reel Heroes" programming block. DCC will be offering a slate of programming based around filmmaking by featuring quite a few professionals from the industry to talk about their experiences and educate those looking to break into film. In fact here are some of the professionals you'll be able to learn from:
• Alexandre Philippe – Philippe is a writer, director and producer known for “The People vs George Lucas,” “The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus” and “Left.”
• Greg Weisman – Executive Producer of the newest entry in the animated Star Wars Franchise, Star Wars: Rebels, was also the producer and writer of Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Gargoyles.
• Make-Up Professionals – Hollywood make-up artists from the SyFy show “Face Off” communicate their process in panels and hands-on workshops for teens. Also, walkers from “The Walking Dead” will share their experience with attendees.
• Mark Grove – Grove is a stuntman, actor, director, producer known for his work on “Gathering of Heroes: Legend of the Seven Swords,” “Spin” and “Brother Tied.”
• Vincent Gonzales – Gonzales is the second assistant director on “The Walking Dead” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
• WETA – WETA is a five-time Academy Award-winning conceptual design and physical manufacturing of film-ready weapons, armor & chainmail, specialist props, vehicles, specialty costumes, models and miniatures, special makeup and prosthetics and public art and displays.
If that isn't enough for you, know that Denver Comic Con is currently accepting film submissions from filmmakers to allow them to showcase their work, which the deadline for submissions online is May 1st. Those who submit and are selected do need to be ready to participate in a Q&A regarding their film and if by chance you have a diverse resume based around film and filmmaking, you can also submit panel suggestions for DCC 2014.
Either way, this is a fantastic fold to add to Denver Comic Con's already incredible slate of programming. It will truly give anyone a chance to learn more about film, or help someone enhance their filmmaking skills. For more information in general, and to submit your film and see the complete list of programming please go to: http://denvercomiccon.com/dcc/reelheroes
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Finding a superhero on television when I was growing up was nothing short of a rare treat. In fact, they rarely had legs when it came to television. There was a short lived version of The Flash years ago and Superman stories came and went since the Man of Steel that everyone wanted to see was on the big screen when Christopher Reeve donned the cape.
It was nothing like now, with Arrow, Smallville and in a way, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but there was one show growing up that certainly stood out above the rest of the superhero shows that were coming and going back in the day, there was the always awesome The Incredible Hulk.
The plot of the show was pretty simple, Doctor Bruce Banner was on the run and in search of a cure for the creature that lurked inside him...a 7 foot green monster known only as The Incredible Hulk. Truth is, you didn't really watch the show for the stuff about Banner, at least I didn't. I wanted to see the transformation into the Hulk because well...at the time special effects wise it was amazing. It was just so well done, to see Bill Bixby become this believable massive creature that I often recall doing more good than harm.
The Hulk was played by a bodybuilder named Lou Ferrigno who looked the part week in and week out and well, Denver Comic Con has announced that he is coming to DCC 2014. This is another huge guest announcement for DCC if you ask me. Simply because Lou became an instant pop culture icon for his work on the show and the fact that he left a generation in awe of his performance as the Hulk and holy cow...we all get to meet him!
I tell you, if there is one thing Denver Comic Con continues to do in the three years of its existence...is that they bring our childhood back to life and this announcement is no different. In a few short weeks I'll have the chance to stand before Lou and shake his hand and thank him for his contribution to the comic book world. What an incredible moment that will be. But don't worry...I'll be sure to do it in the most polite manner possible because I don't want to make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry...
I had to think long and hard about what to say about last weekend's Anomaly Con. Not because the con was awful, far from it. But because, well...I've covered a lot of cons in the last two years. In fact I'm pretty sure I've seen all that our lovely city has to offer when it comes to conventions. I've been introduced to new genres I've never seen before all thanks to conventions.
Anomaly Con is one such convention. I knew OF steampunk a year ago, and I knew nothing of it until I set foot in Anomaly Con. It taught me just how much of a beloved fandom this truly is and how it will continue to grow. Everyone at these conventions is happy to educate you, guide you because it is their passion and there is nothing they won't do to share the wonder of what they love most.
That's the first thing I saw this weekend. So much passion and joy revolving around the genre. Everyone wearing their 19th Century best with pride and taking every moment they could to share the genesis of their costume or why they love steampunk.
But there was something else that Anomaly Con taught me this past weekend that quite frankly, I wasn't expecting. You see, all weekend long, I ran into people I knew. Staff from other conventions, artists and people that I haven't seen since a particular con. I saw familiar cosplayers, faces that I've met over the last two years covering conventions when it finally dawned on me.
There's a reason we have so many conventions in Denver. There's a reason that many of you reading this article go to them...because they connect every last one of us in their own special way and quite frankly we need them. Let's face it, three days is not enough time. We get to see some old friends sure. But sometimes these weekends are the only time we get to see them.
Conventions are in their own special way, a surrogate family reunion. Doesn't necessarily mean we are all being jerks to one another because we don't always hang out. Some folks live far away where it isn't easy or work wild hours and request the time off for these things. That's all okay. The important thing we get to see one another again. I think now about how many times I say to my team "we need to go say hello to..." because this is where we all belong. These conventions bring our con family together and it was great to see everyone again and Anomaly Con adds to this. Sure it isn't something we see on television every single day, but we all believe in the passion and we all believe in sharing in it. It was a joy to be a part of another fine convention filled with such dedication and I cannot wait until the next one to reunite with all of you and share the next one.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Whenever I think of Denver Comic Con, joy is the first emotion that I feel and for many reasons. The fact there is an awesome Comic Con in my home town is one part of that. The fact I've met some incredible people both on the celebrity side and on the staff side add to that as well, but on a personal level, there is one thing that brings me the most joy when it comes to this convention, Comic Book Classroom.
I've had the opportunity to step inside these classrooms and quite frankly it blew me away. To see those children so engaged in reading and art, well it was quite a moving experience and an honor to be able to document it for Denver Comic Con TV. It's that unique experience that made me realize just how important this convention is, and how it is truly changing lives.
So it pleased me to no end when I saw a press release come across my desk today that Denver Comic Con will be releasing 200 Friday single day passes to educators. Why do this? Well because Comic Book Classroom works in a simple manner, it takes the power of pop culture and puts it into the classroom.
So if you're a teacher, paraeducator, administrator, PTO representative, education student, professor or a scholar, you have the opportunity to sign up for this unique opportunity. Of course, there is criteria that comes with this, educators will have to attend at least three hours of education tract programming at the convention on Friday, June 13th. Once these courses are complete, the educators will all receive the CBC unit of study, “Storytelling Through Comics” and a gift bag of CBC/DCC merchandise.
So what kind of programming can be expected for educators? Here is a preliminary listing that is of course, subject to change: “Introduction to Comics, Graphic Novels and Pop Culture”
– Basic anatomy of comics and graphic novels, what is pop culture, and why they are important“Top 15 Graphic Novels and Comics for the Classroom”
– Resources and suggestions on how to identify and select material for instructors who would like to include them in their classrooms“Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Video Games”
– Using video games to teach and support critical thinking and problem solving skills“’Cult’ Culture”
– Using popular television shows to discuss themes, universality, and characterization)“Using Comics and Graphics Novel in the Special Education Classroom”
– Specifically to support reading and writing“Carving out a Career in the ‘Geek’ Industry”
– How to make a career as an artist, writer, designer in comics, television, gaming, etc…
This of course brings us to the most important part of all, how does an educator sign up to obtain one of these passes? First and foremost, follow this link: http://svy.mk/1dNIA3x
and fill out the application. The application process for this will end on May 1st.
This is an incredible way to not only experience Denver Comic Con, but allow educators to discover a new way to integrate pop culture into their curriculum and do what they set out to do, teach and inspire children.
As Anomaly Con has come and gone in Denver once again, I am left in awe. Being pitched as one of the largest Steampunk cons in Denver may leave several people from wanting to attend but they pull it off for fans of Science Fiction as well. With panels galore, Anomaly Con does not disappoint with all different types of topics that can tickle anyone’s fancy.
The dealer room was something else with everything that was put on display. From a great collection of Sci-Fi and Steampunk literature, several titles that I have been lucky enough to read to some fantastic creations that have come from the mind of the mad scientist Gary Alan Weston who had just put the finishing touches on his new R2-D2 unit that houses an ice bucket. With anything and everything that the heart could desire being put in front of you, it is next to impossible to leave the vendor room without something in your hands.
I managed to work my way over the Artist and Author valley and that is for some reason where I always end up spending most of my time and money at any con these days. I had a fun discussion with author Mark Everett Stone about how the con was treating him and how some of the topics in the panel rooms can go a completely different direction than intended left a smile on our faces. Moving over to one of my favorite artists, Robert Elrod, I ended up purchasing one of the pieces I have been pining over for the past couple of months.
With everything else that was going on, the largest pull of the day had to be the costume contest. When anyone puts their mind to it, they can come up with some of the most amazing get ups imaginable. This contest should go down as one of the finest that I have seen in recent history. Plenty of originality and shorter catwalk times made this very enjoyable and fun to watch. As night started to move in and the valley started to clear out, the guests of started to move over into the more interesting panels and keep their nights going.
A very enjoyable con, this being the first year I have attended Anomaly Con and not being disappointed as I am slowly starting to learn about the Steampunk culture and find the highs that go along with it. Everyone was in high spirits and seemed to be enjoying themselves and everything was running like clockwork. This was a con that had in attendance some of the nicest people that were willing to educate you on what you might have missed from the genre and not make you feel like an outsider while doing so.
There are lots of Cons out there, plenty to choose from for sure, all across the nation the nation in fact, but I am starting to believe there needs to be a level assigned to them. The term convention can be a wee bit misleading in this new age of pop culture as it continues to grow, the reason I say this is simple. It is going to be damn hard to beat or top this con! I would have to call it for what it is; A Super Convention, (They like premier but I think that still falls short) like omega level mutants out of the X-Men, some have reached a status that is all most incomparable to any others. Using a term because it’s more user friendly sucks because there needs to be a scale of some sort and I may not be the right guy for this job but I do offer my services to sit on the board to figure it out.
Emerald City Comic Con has, in every way, exceeded my expectations yet again by delivering on so many different levels of entertainment. It’s more than just the guest they bring in; it’s more than the location of the Con. Today was just good old fashion geeky fun from start to finish that was only limited by how involved you wanted to be. Today was talk with everyone you could and get everything signed without holding up the line too badly. This too has been raised to an all new level as the next generation of creatures step up to the plate being more interactive with the fans than I have ever seen. Not only by chatting about the project they are working on but asking what else that fan is reading, what they like about that book, even sat for 15 minutes listening to a conversation about last year’s con. In this age of easy access and media interaction it would appear the new creative teams are far more comfortable in this environment. How they sign the items has even been raised to an all new level, refusing to be out done by the other talents in the room. For example one of the best moments was at the Sex Criminals table and how they (Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky) signed the exclusive hard cover edition for the con. It involved a glob of whiteout to look like something on the cover page then slam the book shut, absolutely blew my mind. Granted that one is hard to top and Fraction being the energetic live wire he is, but he wasn’t the only one going above and beyond this is the first time most of the artists that signed my books took the time to do a sketch on the cover or on the first page. Above and beyond; I would have to say so.
The approach of everything and everyone intermingled throughout the entire con floor I thought was madness but after making my way around…it’s brilliant. At first I thought I didn’t like it, and then it occurred to me, what better way to get people to see everything…force you to walk through it. Around every corner something or someone different, no retailers fighting for the best spot by the door or right in the center even the publishers were all in different areas. No specific dealer’s room, no artist alley, everything was mixed and full of energy of course the area for the stars was set aside for signings but that can be expected for easier crowd control. The ECCC crew was great and accommodating for guest and attendee alike wanting the best of times to be had by all, even the little ones who had their own area with interactive booths games including the biggest area just for Lego’s I have ever seen.
Day two comes to its inevitable end and none too soon; I don’t think my bag could have held one more item and I still feel like I have missed something. Nothing a cocktail and dinner with a few friends couldn’t fix and help prepare for the third and final day.
Anomaly Con was this past weekend at the DTC Marriottt off of Belleview and I-25. The DTC Marriott is host to many wonderful conventions and Anomaly Con looks like it is starting to make its home there. I had never been to Anomaly Con before so when I walked in, I didn’t know what to expect.
Anomaly Con is on its fourth year and people buzzed around the con in their Steampunk gear. There was even a Steampunk Deadpool walking around the convention doing what Deadpools do, having fun. It was a laid back convention so you can sit and talk with the vendors and the artists. I finally got to meet Robert Elrod, an artist we have featured on the website. I got a drawing he did of Cthulhu and drawing of Deadpool with the Predator’s head on the ground. These two pieces are pretty fricken’ sweet.
It was cool to see the costume contest. I had two friends who were in it, so I cheered them on and got to see their amazing costumes. One category in the costume contest was for those who mostly bought their costumes. At that point in time Shae and I turned to each other because we could have entered our feminine Castiel and feminine Gabriel costumes from Supernatural. We should have since we looked awesome, but we didn’t.
I really enjoyed seeing the art room as well. There were these really awesome Steampunk inspired objects including an HG Wells Time Machine and a Dalek all made by the same person. There were also Steampunk inspired clocks that were neat. Sadly, I couldn’t afford to purchase any of them.
In all, Anomaly Con was a good time. A time to catch up with friends, make new friends and a time to look at some very well crafted objects. I look forward to the next one.