Interrupting my usual weekend of seitan wings and cheap beer was the inaugural Colorado Springs Comic Con. While I am not usually one to break my habits, I was easily swayed when I saw an ad for this in the local paper. It had all the makings of a good con: local vendors, quirky actors, and plenty of commission artists. How could I say no to a couple of press passes to kill the weekend with my girlfriend? So when the day finally came, we saddled up and hit the road.
After a two and a half hour drive in traffic, a pack of smokes, and plethra of terrible pop music later, I have to admit that I was skeptical when I first arrived to the front doors. There was hardly anyone in line, and the staff was in a chaotic state of panic and anxiety. Following the instructions from the email, I went to the ticket booth to check in as press. Unfortunately for me, they had misplaced the press badges and the guest list. My girlfriend and I waited around for a couple of hours and watch the queue expand with an almost laughable quantity of Harley Quinn and Deadpool cosplayers. Just as everyone started to shuffle in, we were pulled aside by one Jesus, who apologized profusely and gave us a badge substitute. As annoying as that all was, I would like to note that this was their FIRST con. So expecting anything, short of a disaster, was my fault. Not to mention the fact that the staff was extremely polite, and struggled to help us out in any way they could.
Finally we were inside, mingling with all of the other fanboys and fangirls. Despite the small size of the floor, I was amazed at how much they managed to squeeze in. There was indeed tons of artists in the artist alley, plenty of room for the actors, and many a peddler of trinkets. It was immediately clear that everyone attending this event came to have fun, making the con far more enjoyable than it had been. As stated earlier, the floor was tiny. We were able to span the entire event in under 20 minutes. That is when I noticed something peculiar… something lacking. Comic books. There was only two booths that sold comics, and only four artists. Not including Neal Adams. How funny is that? A comic con without a substantial amount of comic books. It was fine, though. Especially since I do not really buy books from cons unless they are from local/indie creators. Instead, my girlfriend (Paige) and I made some friends with a few really impressive line and watercolor artists and bought a few of their prints.
A couple of hours of wandering around and people watching had gotten us hungry. Thus, we decided to call it early that Friday night, and head home to meet some out-of-town friends for a beer. Not before grabbing some surprisingly delicious jack fruit BBQ sandwiches from a nearby brewery. Which has no pertinence to the story, just thought I’d give this whole tale some more depth.
The next morning, I was rudely woken at 5am by Paige’s obnoxious work alarm. My head was pounding, and I reluctantly had to take her to work. Which ended up being perfect, since I needed to get started on the day early. I grabbed another pack of cigarettes and a gallon jug of water, only to be greeted with four hours of traffic on my way to the second day of the con. Without boring you all with the detail I did eventually arrive, but sadly I missed the only panel I was excited for, View Askewniverse with Jason Mews and Brian O’Halloran. Pulling into the parking lot, I noticed that the crowd had grown substantially! So much so, that I had to park across the street. And not only that, but the staff had magically become organized, immediately ready with my actual pass along with my set of Do’s and Don’t’s. It blew my mind and expectations away.
At this point, I had missed my panel, and I had already met all the artists and vendors. So I decided that Saturday was going to be my cosplay and celebrity photo montage. Following the press rules of conduct, I patiently waited for the general admission to peter out before approaching the talent.
First I met Brian O’Halloran. Super awesome dude. He told me that him, and two of the actresses, were the only auditions for Clerks; the rest of the cast being friends from childhood, high school, and college. We talked about how awesome that movie’s soundtrack was and the stress of being an adult. At the end, he signed my VHS of Clerks, leaving me with a note “I’m 37?”. Like I said, fucking great guy, and he was one of the most personable celebrities I have ever met. Sadly, among all the small talk, I forgot to ask him for a picture. Easily being the biggest regret of the event.
Next I met with the four cast members of the hit show, Sons of Anarchy. They were all super busy, so I awkwardly hung out for about twenty minutes or so, playing solitaire on my phone. Finally Emilio Rivera, who played as Marcus Alvarez, called me up to his table. I told him that I represented Comic Crusaders, and asked him for a picture. To my surprise, he happily agreed. My first attempt was not the best photo in the world, which you can see below, but then Emilio asked me to step behind the booth with him, and he took my camera so we could take an “old school selfie” together. Lo and behold that another member of the cast, and big star of the X-Files, Mitch Pileggi, a.k.a. Ernest Darby, photo bombed us. Both of these men were fun, genuine and it seemed to me that they really like their jobs. After that I went to meet up with Tommy Flanagan, who played as Chibs. This guy had the second busiest booth of the show, next to Jason David Frank (Green Power Ranger), so he was not quite as friendly as Emilio and Mitch. We chatted for a second about his work with S.O.A. and Sin City before I was cut off by customers, and I did not get the time again to ask for a picture. My last stop on the Sons tour was at Michael Beach’s booth; who some fans might recognize as T.O. Cross. Just like Emilio, this guys was warm and friendly, and he gladly agreed to take a photo with me. After seeing the picture, he also asked me to take one on his phone. I really hope I didn’t disappoint, seeing how I am not a photographer in any shape or form.
Last on my stop for celebrities was Jason Mews of Jay and Silent Bob. This line had been decently long the whole show, but I must have caught him in the eye of the storm because I was able to walk right up to him. I said, “Jason?” and he immediately brought me up to his booth. Being extremely courteous, he let me take a bad ass picture of him, which I was surprised, after giving him the wrong name of our company the first time.
“Comic Book Crusaders.”, I said. Sometimes I can be such an idiot.
Anyways, he also talked to me a bit about the rumored Mallrats 2. Apparently there was some conflict between the studio and Kevin. Universal Studios refused to fund another movie, but instead Kevin pitched the idea of a TV Show instead. While it isn’t set in stone, Jason told me that it is still in the works and to keep my eye out. With that, I packed up my camera, said goodbye to my new artist friends, and hit another three hours of traffic on my way home. I did not return for the Sunday events, for I had seen all that was to be seen.
All together, I have to say that I really enjoyed the Colorado Springs Comic Con. Being just two months after the fifth annual Denver Comic Con, which boasts an attendance well over 100,000, this group of pop culture enthusiasts had some pretty big shoes to fill. Was it large enough to sustain weekend pass holders? No. Was it riddled with popular comic book creators, or local artist/writers? No. But was it still a lot of fun? Yes. There may be some flaws, but keep in mind that this is only their FIRST year. The upcoming events are almost guaranteed to beat this one; my big suggestions to the proprietors is this: GET ACTUAL COMIC BOOK VENDORS AND CREATORS! It is a COMIC con for shits sake. Either way, though, the vendors were interesting, the celebrities were fun, and the print artists were crazy talented. I cannot wait to see what they can pull off next year. I give this convention 3.5 out of 5 stars.