Denver Comic Con '15: What to Expect When You Don't Know What To Expect

By Madison Vankuren

In the world of fandoms, there is one event in particular that is considered especially compelling.  In the city of Denver, the dedicated followers who attend these anticipated festivities are members of an elite squad known as the Denver Comic Con Goers. These are their stories.

IMG_0698My name is Madison, I'm 23 years old, and this is my first Comic Con. In the days leading up to the event, my apprehension was ramping up.  I received a lot of questions and odd looks in response to my Memorial weekend plans, but easily the question most asked was a simple, "Why?" I found I couldn't really answer their question, as I didn't know what it was that I loved so much about comics, video games, anime, and manga. I was, however, optimistic that I might find the answer from the attendees of the Convention themselves! I was not disappointed.

What is most invigorating is how both the cosplayers and the people normally going about their business react to the costumes.  Not once did I hear a negative comment, or harassment of any kind. It was incredible to see the artistry and attention to detail that went into the costumes, and the love that the wearers had for their character really shown through their dedication.

One of the best experiences was the improv meetings of two characters from the same universe, or even from a different world. The justice of the planets being dealt by the Sailor Scouts, the reuniting of Jon Snow and Ygritte, and a fierce crossing of swords between Ryūko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryūin, to name just a few. I was beginning to see what was so addictive about DCC, but I needed to ask to be sure! So I went in with the questions of who, why, and what was enjoyed most about DCC ready for anyone who would answer, and there were plenty willing!

One of the first people I met on the train was Jim Soiland.  He said:

I went as Tidus from Final Fantasy X. Why? It's unique and fun! I enjoyed FFX and it's a visually striking franchise. Definite nerd appeal! My favorite thing at the convention was mingling with other cosplayers. Even if they weren't into the same thing I was, it's cool to see people that are independently passionate about there own thing. What's more, most people are supportive of that diversity: I'm into Mortal Kombat, she's into Kill La Kill. Cool.

Shortly after, I spoke with Julia Van Steenberg, who had this to say:

I chose Clover from the Zero Escape series largely because I enjoyed that, depending on other choices made in the game, she could either become a murderous psychopath, or the main character's greatest ally. Additionally, despite knowing that the death of one or more of them was possible, she still managed (more or less) to keep her cool and think logically in order to solve problem. I also have a tendency of wearing/making cosplays from lesser known series as my way of supporting the series and hopefully getting a few other people to check it out.

Probably my favorite part of Comic Con was meeting people, as cheesy as that sounds. There are so many people from everywhere, who have gather together over a common interest, it is rare to not find something to talk about. It also gives me a chance to geek out where people might actually know the thing I am referencing.

A theme seems to be emerging.  Conner Cordova dressed as Flynn Rider and answered:

For me, cosplay is the chance to bring a character you love, and identify with, to life. I've wanted to cosplay Flynns Rider for years, and finally getting the chance was everything I could have hoped for. We're both a bit snarky, spontaneous and kind of full of hot air at times. The best part of cosplay though, for me, is seeing people's faces when you smolder. And nothing beats a good smolder!

I followed up with, "So having other people recognize your character and share in your excitement over them is the most gratifying?" Mr. Cordova agreed.

IMG_0670If I had to use the science of deduction, it would be to observe that the greatest joy for the cosplayers of Comic Con would be in the celebration of a character that they admire, respect, or identify with, and the instant bond that forms when they meet someone who shares in their love of a character. The Denver Comic Con is a chance to transcend who you are and, in doing so, find kindred souls.

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Hannah Means ShannonAbout Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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