Written by John Edward Betancourt

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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

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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...

 
 
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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 

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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.  

 
 
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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.


 
 
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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. 


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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.

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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.

 
 
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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. 

 
 
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The Denver Marriott Tech Center  has a reputation for being my personal favorite hotel to host conventions. And this year, they hosted Anomaly Con! Prior to this weekend, I have never been to Anomaly, but I have heard of it. Once held at the Tivoli at Metropolitan State College of Denver; Anomaly is a a relatively new convention to the Colorado con scene. The beauty of growing is being able to move. I had no idea what I was really expecting when I heard about this con. All I really knew was that it was supposedly primarily Steampunk. Never believe everything you hear from the grapevine though. Because this convention is more than just Steampunk. It is quite accepting of all genres with a plethora of costumes that ranged vastly. 

Surprisingly, there were some Doctor Who cosplayers, bringing to life the earlier incarnations of our favorite Timelord. Of course it was a con, with cosplay, so of course Mattie and I had to dress up (totally her idea and there was absolutely no pressure from me to do so.) and that's exactly what we did! Neither of us had anything Steampunk related, but we do always have some costumes on hand. 

With our Supernatural costumes on, we hit the con and weren't disappointed by what we saw. The dresses and costumes people were wearing were utterly astonishing. The craftsmanship that goes into the amount of detail a lot of these people put into their cosplays was utterly amazing. The costume contest featured many of these wonderful people, two of whom I actually knew personally! Everyone was fun to talk to and this con had that really nice family feel to it that we have all come to love about conventions.

Of course, costumes were not the only thing about the convention that were amazing. The Dealers Room was pretty sweet! There were plenty of vendors with a lot of really cool stuff. We ended up getting Meg and Mattie pins! I regret not buying anything, but I had fun nonetheless. Artist Alley was where it was at. Authors, artists, and craftsmen had the most unique original work I've ever seen! One of the artists, the amazing Robert Elrod, was kind enough to talk with us for some time. Everyone was kind and the arts of their trade were equally stunning and amazing.

There were also panels for all types of interests! Many of which continued on into the late evening. This convention, for my first time going, was memorable and I had so much fun. I hope this con continues to grow and spread its awesomeness.

 
 
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It starts like any other day; well it starts with coffee and a deep breath. This is my first major con of the season and one you should never take lightly and the fact that I all most killed Josh walking to the convention center the night before to scope things out. I am not embellishing when I say it’s an uphill battle to walk there but well worth the hike. After last night’s mixer and hanging out with comic writers and artists I was a little bit spent. Waking with a slight rain outside and enjoying my coffee on the balcony breathing deep the cool crisp air….I am ready, commence la festival!

This is the first year that ECCC has opened the doors at 10AM for Friday and thank God they did because…holy crap Batman it was wall to wall people. Never in my Con going life have I ever seen this large a group on a Friday open and at 10AM, unheard of. It’s fantastic, not even the now increased rain storm deterred the eager fan and Cosplayer alike to reaching the glowing gem in the center of Seattle. Rule number one of a Con experience, go with a buddy! If you don’t have one, get one! So I got a couple as we assaulted the floor, objective, to hold on to your money the best you can as you try and do a full lap scoping out who to hand my cash over to first. Yea, I lasted a whole two tables and couldn’t resist the shiny objects in the case. It’s like the Vegas rule, never gamble on the first day and here I find myself breaking my own rule (a couple of times).  The whole point behind the first day is to get the lay of the land, figure out where and what you want to do the next day and just soak in the vibe of the con itself. The people watching and just catching up with some of the vendors and other friends that you haven't seen since the year prior. Even here I have ran into people I haven't seen or talked to in a while and it’s great to catch up, and once you get all of the gossip and where everyone is you feel a little more sure footed for the long walk ahead.

So back to the wall to wall people, this was nuts even my talks with the vendors said the same thing. With Saturday sold out I wonder how many people they are going to fit into the Convention Center. I am amazed at the layout of the whole thing as every nook and cranny is filled with some sort of vendor or presenter. The only dedicated area is the autograph’s line where all of the stars were set to be on Saturday. Other than that there are artists and writers mixed in with vendors and retailers even the publishers were scattered throughout the center. So we navigated the best we could in some spots and loaded up on the exclusives the best we could working out just where everyone is….still didn’t find the Lego display but I guess that leaves something for me to do on Saturday. In our wandering I did get to sit down with a fellow podcaster and share the day’s events and put a face to the name. The Meaner Geek, who is based out of Connecticut, had a table set up ready to delight his faithful fans with updates and his point of view of the goings on. So Josh and I sat down with him for almost an hour with our recap of the day, can’t wait to hear out that turned out. Just be sure to stay tuned as I bring you more from Emerald City Comic Con, until next time.  

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt 

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Spring has officially arrived at last and with the (somewhat) nicer weather comes with it the wonder of convention season. Many a hotel has opened its doors to welcome fandom after fandom in to celebrate their favorite genres and reunite with old friends and this weekend is no exception as Anomaly Con kicks off later today.  For those who have not yet had an opportunity to attend this convention, well first and foremost, now is your chance, especially if you are a fan of all things steampunk.  

Yes, that is Anomaly Con's specialty niche, the chance for everyone who wants to break out their incredible 19th Century duds and celebrate an era that they have never had the chance to with others.  Or perhaps you're simply in love with the look and concept of modern day technology designed to look as though it comes from an era gone by.  

Of course, Anomaly Can has plenty more to offer than just steampunk in the convention universe as it also celebrates the wonder of science fiction and alternative history and there is plenty of programming for everyone. You'll find everything from Doctor Who trivia to tea dueling to concerts, and that's on today's schedule alone!  

Expect more incredible variety of entertainment all weekend long.  In fact Anomaly Con will be holding many a contest for attendees this year, including A LEGO Contest, Costume Contest, Mixed Drink Contest and even a Mustache Contest. Either way you can expect plenty of fun at Anomaly Con.  We had the opportunity to cover it last year and it was absolutely a good time.  

So by all means, swing by the Denver Marriott Tech Center off of I-25 and Belleview and settle in to enjoy the festivities.  If you've already snagged your tickets, pre registration starts at one p.m. today and regular registration kicks off at two, prices for the weekend at the door are $35 for a three day pass or you can buy single day passes as well.  For a single Friday or Saturday ticket, the price is $15.  A single Saturday pass is $20.  Kids under 8 will attend for free and children 8-13 can get in for half price with a paying adult. 

It should be another fun weekend for what is now the fourth year for this convention and we hope to see all of you there!