2015 Denver Comic Con becomes 3rd-Largest in US

denver-comic-con2I spent my Memorial day weekend going to the fourth annual Denver Comic Con, and since it started in 2012, it has grown by leaps and bounds. The DCC is not just fun and successful, but has become the third largest comic convention in the United States. Besides Denver, only San Diego and New York are bigger annual draws for the fandom, and DCC’s growth isn’t done yet.

The Denver Comic Con’s attendance has grown from a very impressive starting point of nearly 28,000, a number that made it the second biggest inaugural opening for a comic book convention. That number rose to 61,000 in 2013, and just over 86,000 in 2014. The latest projections have this year’s attendance pushing over 91,000 attendees, an extremely impressive feat in the world of comic book conventions.

To me the Denver Comic Con validates what I’ve been saying my whole life. Comics, sci-fi, and its related genres are not just for kids. The crossing over of geek culture into the mainstream has finally allowed the masses to enjoy what a niche has always enjoyed, and they come together at comic conventions to celebrate it.

The big thing that sets the DCC apart from its two biggest rivals in California and New York is the fact that the Denver con was set up as a nonprofit, a driving force of the Pop Culture Classroom. Here’s what that means, as detailed on the Denver Comic Con’s own website.

Pop Culture Classroom was founded in 2010 as Comic Book Classroom, a Colorado-based charitable organization focused on enhancing and improving students’ learning experience through the use of comic book media. At the same time, CBC founders Charlie LaGreca, Frank Romero, David Vinson, and Kevin Vinson also launched the Denver Comic Con event.

The Classroom program debuted the first version of its “Storytelling Through Comics” curriculum to local area schools, and with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donations, DCC became a reality for the first time on Father’s Day weekend, June 15, 2012. It was an unexpected and overwhelming success; one that was to be surpassed in every year that followed.

Proceeds from DCC fund the staffing, supplies and infrastructure of the Classroom’s efforts toward literacy outreach. “Storytelling Through Comics” is a graphic literature creation program offered free of charge to schools, teachers, and community organizations. The program currently offers students an educational experience that includes instruction in reading and vocabulary, writing stories, and eventually the creation of the students’ own comics. Completed entries are then published in a class collection.

As a reader of comic books since I was a wee small one, I have always credited comic books as the gateway drug that turned me onto reading more, and onto books of all types. It fostered in me a love of reading that has carried on into my adult life, and ultimately led me to writing.

My mother once told me, that she encouraged me to read comics, because after reading a couple of the ones I so enthusiastically hoarded, she realized the messages in them were strong and positive. Now, I’m not going to say that every comic is full of nuggets of moral wisdom, because not all of them are, but I did learn a lot from the spandex-wearing crowd in my youth. I learned that the good guys always fought the good fight, no matter the odds. I learned that they fought for truth and justice, and championed the weak against the strong evildoers of the world. So in the end, they were a hugely positive influence on me.

Being a parent myself, I have turned my son onto comics too, in the hopes that the same love of reading, and the ideals that come through in so many stories of all genres, will be passed on to him as well. It does my heart good to see that my beloved comic books are finally getting their due. If you’re a fan of comics, I highly suggest that you go to a comic book convention, the ultimate celebration of the medium, and of the culture that has built up around it. If you go to the Denver Comic Con, know that you’ll be supporting the next generation through the Pop Culture Classroom.

William Henry Dvorak
About William Henry Dvorak (87 Articles)
William Henry Dvorak has grown up around comics his whole life. He's worked in a comic book shop, owned a comic book shop and has been writing off and on his whole life. Over the years William has tried his hand at a number of different careers, from acting, to being a private detective, but always came back to his first love, comic books and writing. Starting in 2011 William got serious with his writing and founded Wicked Studios LLC, a sequential art and entertainment company and began work on his stories and novels.

6 Comments on 2015 Denver Comic Con becomes 3rd-Largest in US

  1. You might want to double check your facts. Even at 100,000 Denver Comic Con would still only be the 4th biggest convention. Salt Lake Comic Con had over more 125,000 guests last year.

    • William Henry Dvorak William Henry Dvorak // June 1, 2015 at 5:25 am // Reply

      Hi David,
      You would be right to an extent. Here is how the Salt Lake city Con breaks down.

      Salt Lake Comic Con is a biannual comic book convention held in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. It is produced by Dan Farr Productions in partnership with MediaOne of Utah. The first convention took place at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. The second event was called Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience and took place on April 17–19, 2014. The third event, Salt Lake Comic Con 2014, took place on September 4–6, 2014. The event was sold out with over 120,000 attendees and was closed down on several occasions by the fire marshal for safety reasons. The fourth event, the second annual FanXperience, was called Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2015 and took place on January 29–31, 2015. Ticket sales were capped at 50,000, with attendance measuring just above that, ensuring a more “streamlined” event. The fifth event, Salt Lake Comic Con 2015, is scheduled to take place on September 24–26, 2015.

      So there is room for them to beat Denver’s numbers in September for the year of 2015, which I hope they do, because larger COn numbers, regardless of where they are held, is great for the industry. Thanks for bringing up the inccrediable numbers being generated there.

  2. i haven’t seen anything on the con actually utilizing their program In Schools. Have they even started it in schools? And I think they also need to look at the way they treat the people that come and set up for the con and bring displays and such. I know other cons show appreciation snd it doesn’t seem that DCC is even wanting to thank people that participate.

    • William Henry Dvorak William Henry Dvorak // June 1, 2015 at 2:21 pm // Reply

      Hi Jacque,

      Well, it sounds like you had a bad experience. I have met with several of the administrative people connected with the Con, and I can assure you that they do take your concerns seriously. Which does not mean that you did not have a bad experience and met with some bad people connected with it. I would recommend that you take your complaints higher up the food chain, I’m sure you’ll find some people that will help you out with your concerns.

      As for the Pop culture classroom, they are very active in implementing programs in schools, and it’s not just a gimmick. Here is just one example for you, taken from the news.

      http://photos.denverpost.com/2015/05/19/pop-culture-classroom-in-fairview-elementary-school/

      Will

  3. Isn’t it true, SDCC and NY are 4 day cons? Therefore, apples to apples, wouldn’t that make DCC number 1?
    I heard Salt Lakes numbers are inflated and incorrect.

    • William Henry Dvorak William Henry Dvorak // June 2, 2015 at 3:56 am // Reply

      Hi Ed,
      It is true that both the New York, and the Sand Diego cons are both 4 day events, where the Denver one is only a 3 day event. I wouldn’t say that makes them number one, but you do raise a good point. As for the Salt Lake con numbers, I can only go off of the official numbers that have been reported. That does not take anything away from the Salt Lake con, it’s a great con, and has a huge pull. I think it’s great that such strong showings are happening outside of the two major cons.

      Will

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