FAN EXPO Denver, previously known as Denver Pop Culture Con and Denver Comic-Con, is more than a swarm of cosplayers and comic savants gathering to see their favorite celebrities and new limited edition merchandise. FAN EXPO is the largest comic con event producer not just in the United States, but in the world, with events across all of North America and year-round operations taking place to ensure things go as smoothly as possible. Andrew Moyes, Vice President at FAN EXPO HQ, talked about some of the work that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to setting up such a colossal event, as well as highlights for this year’s event at the Colorado Convention Center.
“FAN EXPO doesn’t focus on just one form of media. It’s a multi-genre event meant to have something for everyone, whether you’re a horror fan, a comic book fan, or an anime fan,” Moyes said. “Like, this year, we have Jim Lee attending, one of the greatest minds in comics on the planet right now, but we also have a maid cafe.”
While major celebrity appearances are a major component at conventions like this — Director Sam Raimi of The Evil Dead and Steve Burns from Blue’s Clues just to name a few — several independent panelists also pitch their projects in hopes of filling up space as well, and an entire team narrows them down. Moyes mentions that having everything come together successfully is a relief and that getting it to run smoothly is like having the stars align. Getting major A-listers is always a plus, but that heavily depends on factors like their popularity, nostalgic appeal, availability of working actors and flight schedule.
“I always tell my team, something is going to happen,” Moyes mentioned when asked about any hurdles that come along with planning out the convention.
It goes beyond the convention halls though and is a spectacle for the city too. In addition to participating local vendors, areas like hotels, breweries, restaurants and several more anticipate an influx of people and business that drives up more foot traffic. In addition to the main events featured, there are also several afterparties like a beer crawl with Breckenridge Brewery and a Cosplay Cantina Afterparty at Coyote Ugly Saloon, to name a few. Pop Culture Classroom, who ran the event between 2012-2021 before being acquired by FAN EXPO, is also still heavily involved with the event, with their Kid’s Lab Activities and Educator Panels.
“It was a mutual opportunity between FAN EXPO and Pop Culture Classroom to really enhance the experience for everyone,” Moyes spoke regarding the change of ownership. “They still work closely with us and they are the main charity involved, giving so much back to the community.”
FAN EXPO is this weekend, June 30-July 2, with a full list of exhibitions and events online. Swap into a secret identity, skulk along the convention halls on your own fan-filled journey and make the most out of this once-a-year experience in the heart of Denver.