As regular readers know, I’ve been pretty pumped about the Denver Comic Con (two words, thank you) and Literary Convention, set to come to the Mile High City in June. We got the chance to chat with Matt Deragisch, DCC’s Social Media Coordinator, to talk about the con, the literary conference, and try twisting his arm into giving us a guest exclusive.
L.E.M.U.R. – There have been plenty of hotel cons and indie gatherings in the Denver area, but as far as I know this is the first time anyone has tried to put together something of this size and scope. Why is now the right time for a large-scale convention in Denver and how did DCC come about?
Matt Deragisch – Now is the right time for this kind of comic convention because the comic scene in the greater Denver area and Colorado at large has been brewing. It’s time to showcase that body of interest. There’s so many different angles and interests that come from the people organizing this convention, yet they all share the same passion for comics. That’s the place this convention is coming from as it’s all to support the Comic Book Classroom.
L.E.M.U.R. – Since the con is a fundraiser for it, what is Comic Book Classroom?
MD – Comic Book Classroom is a 6 week curriculum where students learn to read or advance their reading proficiency through the use of comics then are tasked to create a comic themselves. CBC uses state standards and has put together a curriculum that is being asked for across the state, and starting to be asked for outside the state faster than materials and teachers can be tapped. There’s clearly a need and a desire for this program and part of Denver Comic Con is to showcase that.
L.E.M.U.R. – Comic conventions are no longer only the province of San Diego or Chicago. Other than a good cause, what will DCC offer that no other con has?
MD – Passion. We’re not another ReedPOP convention, or a simple vendor floor convention now in Denver. Those cons are great as well, but at the end of the day everything they’re doing is to throw a great show and make some money. We also want to have a great show, but we’re raising money for Comic Book Classroom, nobody behind this con will directly make any money from Denver Comic Con. We care about comics, we care about the program we’re promoting. We care about putting together the best show we can possibly give Denver. I think our attendees will feel that difference come June.
L.E.M.U.R. – Most people think of comic cons as just a fun weekend, but there’s also a literary conference attached to this one. What was the motivation behind adding the literary component, and what is the goal of those three days? Is it a lit conference attached to a con or is it the other way around?
MD – The Literary Conference is its own animal. It takes place June 13-15, Wednesday through Friday, while the Convention will 15-17 Friday through Sunday. Dr. Christina Angel has been the real heart and soul of the Literary Conference. I think it’s great that we can have this component as well, to show the literary potential held in comics. With this conference in one hand and supporting the Comic Book Classroom in the other, all being headed by Denver Comic Con, we really embody this full argument that comics are a noteworthy medium. We can get people reading with comics, they can be great forms of entertainment and fanfare, then we can show that they have the same potential for artistic and literary creativity as any other medium.
L.E.M.U.R. – What kind of community/retailer involvement do you have lined up?
MD – We are working very closely with local retailers to make sure this convention will be as successful as it can be. We know that our first line of interest, and our most vocal supporters will be all the local comic book stores. Ideally we can make a big enough spark locally to garner some new customers as well, and that’s what the retailers are hoping for, it creates a great synergy. We’re even working with locally started Drawer Boxes to make the most of what the local scene can offer.
We’re tied to the community beyond that though. We have ties to the Denver Drink and Draw, and to Homebrew Comics from Boulder. There’s a lot of different people from different walks of life working to make sure this convention succeeds.
L.E.M.U.R. – Which panels are you looking forward to the most?
MD – I’m going to break form on this question and answer this personally, as we’ll be covering so much fandom between our animation, media, and comic guests. If you look closely we have an amazing line of Vertigo talent and seeing if we can fit all of that talent in one room would be a blast. Also Zach Howard who’s a local talent did the art for an amazing IDW mini, “The Cape” and having the opportunity to hear him talk about that process is something I’m looking forward to.
L.E.M.U.R. – What kind of experience can fans expect on the convention floor? Publishers? Retailers? Pros?
MD – You’ll see the Retailers, Pros, local artists, and a little bit more. Despite everything we’re still a first year con. We’ve had a lot of interest and it’s been one of our hardest struggles to try and get publishers on the floor. We have a great deal lined up and are fitting in everything we can, I feel positive that we’ll have something lined up by the convention weekend. Something you can expect to see is the graduates of the Comic Book Classroom on the floor signing their work side by side with the pros.
L.E.M.U.R. – What are you most looking forward to showcasing?
MD – The community. Having lived in Colorado my entire life it always felt odd that Denver didn’t have a big comic convention. Having the chance to show that there is a community and there is an interest here in Colorado is huge, and it feels like a victory to see this whole event coming together.
L.E.M.U.R. – There have been several big-name guests announced from all areas: Jason Aaron, Mike Allred, Billy West, Wil Wheaton…Can we convince you to tell us someone who hasn’t been announced yet?
MD – I wish! I really do, but when we announce and how we announce guests can be ‘a thing’ with agents and contracts involved.
While he’s already been announced I can say our most overlooked guest is Noah Van Sciver He has a graphic novel about Lincoln coming out soon called, “The Hypo”. He also has an amazing indy comic series named “Blammo”. He’s even still turning out weekly strips for the Westword, well worth your time to check out his work.
Denver Comic Con runs June 15-17 and the Literary Convention is June 13-15. Tickets, guest lists, and more info can be found at denvercomiccon.com. For the latest breaking info, follow @DenverComicCon on Twitter and hit their page on Facebook.