Denver Comic Con ’16, presented by Bellco, took place at the Colorado Convention Center this past weekend. Created by Pop Culture Classroom, a Colorado charity organization whose mission it is to ignite a love of learning, increase literacy and celebrate diversity all while building community through self-expression and pop culture. This was the DCC’s fifth year and the convention keeps on growing. With so much to do and see and learn, there was something for every fan in almost every genre. Artists, authors, celebrities and educators all came together to give Denver, once again, one of its biggest events of the year. 303 Magazine was among the many attendees and grabbed some highlights for those who missed out on this great event.
Spotlight on Stan Lee
“When asked about any new characters that he had in development, Lee responded with “I have one. You’ll see him in a year”
Stan Lee may be everyone’s most beloved cameo appearance in Marvel’s movie franchise, but he is so much more than an Easter Egg to be found in cinematic films. Lee has created many characters for Marvel in his career, not least of all, Spiderman. Spiderman’s beginning was a little shaky at first. Lee regaled the audience of his panel at DCC with the creation story of the famous wall-crawler. Lee had just finished Fantastic Four and the publisher asked him to come up with another superhero. Lee went home and began a brainstorming session. He saw a fly on the wall and began thinking that it would be cool – “I probably didn’t say ‘cool’ back then, I probably said, ‘groovy’,” he injected into the story – if men could climb walls, maybe shoot webs. He wanted to make him a teenager because no other superheroes were teenagers. And he decided to give him a lot of personal problems as well. The publisher’s response was that it was the worst idea ever because people hate spiders and teenagers could only be sidekicks. At that time, Amazing Fantasy was being ended by the publisher. Lee put Spiderman into the last issue and on the cover as well.
“It was the best selling issue,” Lee stated. And the rest is history. Lee’s panel was filled with laughter and story telling in only the way Lee could present it, with humor and humility. “I’ve written so many things. This will come as a surprise to you, I am my biggest fan. I love everything I’ve written,” he said with a smile. When asked about any new characters that he had in development, Lee responded with “I have one. You’ll see him in a year. He’s called The Annihilator. So remember, The Annihilator.” He exited the stage to a standing ovation and a chorus of thunderous applause.
Pop Culture Classroom Lab
The Pop Culture Lab provided 9,000 square feet of convention floor where kids were engaged in programming and varied activities that allowed them to create and learn from professionals in the comic book and animation industries. With new and engaging events and crafts almost every hour Pop Culture Classroom provided activities to keep little hands busy and young minds educated.
Spotlight on Lena Headey
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones. 303 Magazine captured some interesting questions and answers from her panel at Denver Comic Con.
Q: Who do you view as the villain in Game of Thrones?
Headey: Well… the undead as a collective group.
Q: What is your favorite quote from Game of Thrones?
LH: I will burn their cities to the ground. (applause)
Headey: (to an audience member) Are you wearing a kilt?
Audience member: Yes.
LH: Are you wearing underwear?
AM: I am non-traditional.
LH: [That’s a] shame.
Q: Who do you predict will end up on the Iron Throne?
LH: Podrick Payne.
Spotlight on Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder is the bad-boy brother, Damon Salvatore, on the CW’s drama Vampire Diaries based on the novels of L. J. Smith. On day one of filming season one of the drama he said he heard that Paul Wesley was driving out and so he decided since Wesley was going to be his little brother for a while, he should prank him. He pristinely placed saran wrap over Wesley’s toilet seat and tampered with the AC. Moments before Wesley arrived on set, Ian decided this might be a bad note to start their relationship on. He chickened out and fixed what he did. However, he does plan to attempt that again in the near future. In response to the love triangles involving the character of Elena, played by Nina Dobrev, and fans interest in her ending up with Damon, Somerhalder said, “I’m like, why? He killed her whole [expletive] family! People look past the uncomfortable age difference. If you’re dating a guy who’s killed your brother twice, something’s wrong.”
Spotlight on Paul Wesley
Paul Wesley plays Stefan Salvatore, the younger brother to Ian Somerhalder’s Damon Salvatore, on Vampire Diaries. Where Somerhalder’s character is more devil-may-care, Wesley’s character is more empathetic and attempts to contain his bloodlust in the hopes of finding some redemption. He described his relationship with Somerhalder saying, “He is like a brother in that I have a love hate relationship with him. I love him, but sometimes he drives me crazy.” Wesley was asked what he enjoys doing at work. His response was, “I like to do a couple of things. I do love to eat. God, I love to eat. When you’re not in your 20s anymore, your idea of a great time is, like, a documentary and food.”
The Voices of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman first appeared in DC Comics All-Star Comics, Issue Eight in 1941. She is the ultimate feminist icon and still endures to this day. This Amazon princess has taken many forms throughout her prolific career and inspired generations of women. Two of those women are voice actors, Shannon Farnon and Susan Eisenberg. Farnon was first to voice Wonder Woman in a multitude of episodic adventures bringing a self-assured demeanor to the role fit for the princess born of the suffragette era. “You put your boots on and just do it,” said Farnon of giving voice to the icon. In contrast, Eisenberg has portrayed Wonder Woman after growing up with the influence of Linda Carter’s incarnation of the heroine. “I tried to bring elegance to her. I love bringing the flirty to her,” said Eisenberg. Wonder Woman’s latest incarnation is in the film, Batman Versus Superman, which has brought her into the spotlight once again for yet another generation of women. “It was Wonder Woman’s time,” said Eisenberg. Fans around the world are waiting in excited anticipation to see where DC takes their beloved princess in the future.
Spotlight on J. Scott Campbell
J. Scott Campbell is best known as co-creator and artist of Gen and Danger Girl comics and for his cover art on Amazing Spiderman. He sat down with fans and began sketching while he shared his experiences as a comic book artist.
“All of us in art start off by copying and imitating other artists. It is important to veer away from that as soon as you possibly can. It’s in your best interest as an artist to push yourself to have a unique style,” said Campbell. He elaborated by stating, “Really put some thought into what your identity is going to be. You want to grow as an artist but not so much to where you lose your identifying trait.” Campbell’s unique style has taken him on a journey throughout the comic universe and made him one of the most successful artists of his time.
John Barrowman Extravaganza
John Barrowman came out onto the stage wearing a dress. Yes. A dress. He was paying an homage in cosplay form to Misha Collins from Supernatural, one of his favorite shows. And he worked that dress and wig as he vamped across the stage much to the audience’s delight. Barrowman is best known for his roles as Captain Jack Harkness on both Dr. Who and Torchwood as well as his role as Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow. It was a one-man extravaganza once Barrowman hit the stage. He played and bantered with the audience and even climbed over seats to bring the microphone to eagerly waiting fans in order to answer their questions. When asked what his favorite moment on Arrow was Barrowman paused and then laughed saying, “I can’t tell you that one.” Much tongue-and-cheek dialogue ensued, full of wit and Barrowman’s Captain Jack-like sense of humor. Barrowman excited the audience even more as he sang, I Am What I Am, from the musical La Cage aux Folles. He ended what was the most entertaining of panels with a teaser telling fans to keep their eye on his Facebook and Twitter as he is about to launch something big just for them.
Spotlight on Carey Elwes
“As you wish,” said Carey Elwes looking directly into the camera that projected his image on the big screen overhead to a packed audience. Elwes’ most famous line from the movie, The Princess Bride, precluded an uproarious reaction from Comic Con goers. Audience members were treated to hugs and Elwes’ signature smile a la Westley style during the panel. And they were also treated to a story regaling Andre The Giant’s epic, 22 second fart that shook the set during the filming of the bridge scene that takes place right before himself, Elwes and Mandy Patinkin were to storm the castle. Elwes recounted, “There was a long, quiet, serious silence and then Rob Reiner said, ‘Hey, Andre, you okay?’ to which Andre responded, ‘I am now, boss.”
Spotlight on Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a fan favorite as he portrays Neagan on The Walking Dead. In his panel, Morgan spoke about his experiences playing Neagan. “The role is so different than anything I’ve been able to take in my life, but I have to tell you, I’m having a great time,” said Morgan. He also let the audience in on a few pranks that have been played on the set of The Walking Dead, telling the story of how Norman Reedus put live chickens in the bathroom of Emma Bell’s trailer. When asked if he could give any details about the cliff hanger ending to Season 6, Morgan said, “You’re going to regret wanting to know what happened. Be careful what you wish for.”
Spotlight on Clark Gregg
He brought the Avengers together in Marvel’s film, The Avengers, with his death and he’s the most beloved agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is Agent Coulson as played by Clark Gregg. Gregg’s role in the Marvel films was initially a nameless agent, but due to his popularity and persistent, educated inquiries, he gained larger roles for his character in the films which eventually led to the television show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which he plays the lead. After his death in The Avengers, a hashtag was made that quickly spread around the world, #coulsonlives. Marvel took note. “The next thing I knew, I got a call saying we think you might not be so dead,” elaborated Gregg.
The Women of Dr. Who
“I don’t think the Doctor should be female. The Doctor is a Gallifreyan Time Lord and I don’t think he should change gender.”
“Hello, Sweetie!” River Song’s famous greeting so vibrantly said by Alex Kingston in many episodes of Dr. Who has become a bit of a tag-line. In the British television series she plays the Doctor’s enigmatic wife who can fly the T.A.R.D.I.S. better than the Doctor himself. When she first appeared on Dr. Who she didn’t know her character would be returning. The journal that her character had on set was filled by the props department, with help from writer-producer Steven Moffat, with all of her adventures. Most of those have been played out, but there are still some that haven’t. “I’ve never been a companion, I’ve only been a wife,” said Kingston. But one of the Doctors’ companions was there—Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald. Coleman said of her experience on Dr. Who, “It’s a unique adventure that bonds you to the people you are working with.” An audience member asked if Coleman and Kingston would be interested in seeing the Doctor played by a woman. Kingston responded, ” She’s [River Song] sort of the Doctor already. She was a Time Lord until she gave her last life to save the doctor. I don’t think the Doctor should be female. The Doctor is a Gallifreyan Time Lord and I don’t think he should change gender. Could there be a new character? A new Time Lady? Sure. Don’t change the format to do something new. He sort of embodies the male and female both anyway.”
Denver Comic Con’s Cosplay Shindig on Saturday night saw some of the most unique and talented cosplayers strut their stuff across the Bellco stage. Anime, video game, film and television series cosplays were all on display created by some of convention’s best costumiers.
Author’s Note: Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley and Lena Headey were covered by Abigail Asadi.