Examining a local comic con

There are two reasons why I chose to review this YouTube video about comic con in Denver this year.  Number one, it fits in perfectly with what we have been reading and two because I really wanted to go this year.  I was eating breakfast at a small dinner in downtown Denver when I noticed people were wearing what looked like Halloween costumes. I quickly made the connection to comic con when I started to recognize Zelda, Joker and various anime characters amongst the masses.

My brother told me he had gone to comic con last year and had an amazing day.  I was disappointed that my roommate had no interest in going this year.  While searching YouTube I could not find a video that focused on one person engaging with other people in cosplay attire.  The one video I did find of group participation was from a person dressed in his regular street clothes.  I watched several cosplay/comic con videos from this year but chose to only post one.  The one I chose best represented the amazing range of costume ideas that people had.

According to Denver comic con’s website “What we’re about: Denver comic con and Literary Conference (DCC) is a three-day family friendly, pop culture fan convention.”  This is a nice way to sum up what this group stands for.  Below I have listed some interesting facts straight from their website.

More than 75% of its merchants are Colorado-local, and showcases various local artist talent.

  • 2014 – Third year attendance was 86,500.
  • We are the first fan or comic book convention to collaborate with a local brewery (Breckenridge Brewery) to brew and sell a specialty beer, with the name chosen by a fan contest.
  • Every year we have 300+ hours of educational programming.
  • We host a Literary Conference during DCC and offer graduate credits to our educator friends who want to learn how to bring pop culture into the classroom.
  • We couldn’t possibly pull off this event without the assistance of our volunteers! In 2014, a total number of 668 volunteers contributed a total of 11,887 hours of their time.

With statistics like this it is easy to see why this is such a popular event.  I reviewed this YouTube video using L&K’s literacy dimensions for cosplaying/ live action role playing.  I used two dimensions from the cosplay category and one dimension from the creating fan art category (because I saw both as being a valuable contribution).

1. (Cosplay) Enjoying developing ad-libbed narratives during cosplay: Coordinating with other people and their characters within a cosplay session.

comic con 2

This dimension was readily seen when characters (who I assumed did not know each other) engaged in sword play and other “battle” related fantasy play.  There were various sections where people would formally fake fight each other.  It was interesting to see the interactions of people who dressed as similar characters either on purpose or by coincidence.  No matter who you were or what character you represented everyone seemed warm, friendly, and accepting.  How many places can you see 80,000 people gather and get along so well?

comic con 3

2.  (Cosplay) To express a fan identity: Designing a costume that recognizably ‘belongs’ to the character being played.

There was no shortage of amazing costumes at this event. I couldn’t give specific statistics on how many of the costumes I saw were homemade or how many were bought, but they all looked well put together.  There was certainly no shortage of creativity when it came to make up and props that people used to create their outfits.  I have posted a few of my favorites.  I was surprised to see “Spy vs Spy” (one of my favorite games as a child.  It was great to see the diversity between cartoon, video game and imaginary characters.

3. (Fan Art) Expressing an identity as an artist: Being able to draw/paint.

Fan art was present at several stations across the convention. There was Lego towns that were interactive, paintings/drawings of original art, sculptures and other costume items for sale.  As it was stated above on the DCC website, most of the business’s there were local, which is indicative of how large of a fan base Denver has.

comic con 5

Typically, I would rate each of these categories from 1-10.  I was unable to use a grading system because at comic con conventions you are 100% immersed in the cosplay culture.  It would be difficult (and pointless) to assign an arbitrary number to reflect people’s personal work (whether it be in costume or art form).  The one thing that is obvious when looking at an attendance of 80,000+ people is there is a huge fan base for this form of artistic expression.  I look forward to next year’s comic con. After doing this much research into it, I would love to be an active participant in it (and maybe even attend it in some sort of simple costume).

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