Normally a hot bed of bustling activity, the 16th street mall is deserted, quiet, and calm. It’s Sunday morning and only few shops are open, mostly the ones that serve coffee. Walking this calm mall, with the sun peeking between the buildings, has become a welcomed part of my Denver Comic Con experience. I even left for the con early this year in order to experience this longer.
As I slowly made my way toward the convention center, I thought about the past couple of days. Comic Con always makes me happy, and because I can’t just accept happiness, I had to try to figure out why this was. What is so great about Comic Con that it keeps me coming back?
It starts in the pre-con line. You’re waiting to get in. The anticipation hits its peak. You start to make new friends. I talked with a couple about tacos as they remarked how the convention center food court should have a Torchy’s. What a brilliant idea. I listened to other nerds have dumb conversations. The sort of conversations that would make me angry in most other situations. But in comic con line, it’s welcomed.
Then there’s the parade of people walking by to get to the end of the line. A taste of the costumes you’ll see throughout the day. You get judge the people who half-assed their costumes, only to remember their half ass attempt is more than you put in, so don’t fault anyone for trying. And you can yell out a line to match their costume and they’ll respond in kind. Unless you ask the Bob Belcher what the burger of the day is and he did not prepare an answer. Such a tease. There are a bunch of options, like the Super Gyro Burger (comes with tzatziki sauce).
All of these people, despite having to wait in line as the warm summer sun starts to heat the day, are in good spirits. They’re happy and having a good time, and the con hadn’t even started yet (technically). This sets the tone for the whole con. It’s such a joyful and welcoming place. Everyone is having a good time. Seeing all these people enjoying themselves, and their enthusiasm is contagious and just watching them brought a smile to my face. It was such a wonderful and pure feeling, to the point I said to myself, “I am so happy to be here.” Which I don’t say enough in my life.
In addition to being surrounded (and I mean surrounded) by such wonderful people, I am also engulfed by things I love like comic books, and super heroes, and pop-culture galore. Things I seek out anyway to make me happy. Just cranked to eleven and centralized.
At times, it’s almost too much. A sensory overload. But there’s a simple solution to that. I just wander away. I can find a seat away from the action and people watch, or read a newly purchased comic (I have tradition of always buying a Tick comic). Or wander into one of the many panels going on.
Which brings up another reason I love Comic Con so much. I always come away feeling more inspired and more ready to create. I attend many of the panels geared towards writing, which covers a variety of topics. There are ones on character development, others on publishing, others on comedy or race or whatever. It’s people with some level of success offering pointers and encouragement. I have always been a proponent of more people creating more things. And championing those people when they do. These panels operate under that same ideology. We’re all in this together.
Or I wander through “Artist Valley” and see all this great and fun art (not just comic art, but mostly comic art) and I just get excited. A new light is sparked and a desire to create grows inside of me. I want to stay and take everything in, but also I want to rush home and write something, anything.
It’s not just the encouragement and inspiration fueling the desire to create. During Denver Comic Con I am able to get out of my head for three days. I’m not sure if it’s because of the sensory overload, or the story I’m writing in my head about the WWII era African-American Captain America, or what. But I am able to just exist in the moment. The mistakes of my past aren’t picking away at me, and my unknown future isn’t nagging at me. Nothing matters except for the world inside the convention center.
Being in the moment and getting out of my head has been a focus for me this year. Improv has been huge for that. Denver Comic Con helped harness it more. I just have to keep it going, as the present moment is the only moment that matters.
So it’s for all these reasons that I love Denver Comic Con. And it’s all these reasons why I will buy my three-day pass every year, and wait in line, and sit in panels, and gawk at art, and just be happy. My wish is for you all to find your own Denver Comic Con. Something that allows you to feel great excitement, encouragement, inspiration, and of course pure joy.
Here’s to another wonderful Denver Comic Con weekend, and I’ll see you next year.