Denver Comic Con 2017 brought nerd culture fun to 115000 fans — but not without some frustrations – The Know

April Moo, dressed up as Cat Woman, left,  takes a selfie with her friend Mulania Bathin, who is dressed up as Wonder Woman, outside of the Convention Center after taking part in the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Capt. America aka Brendan Allison poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Jacob Robinson, dressed up as Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, shows off his look at the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)O-52 aka Eddie Quam poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Dressed up as Vegas DC Villan show girls Terra Murray, left, as Harley Quinn, Allison Eberhardt, middle, as the Penguin,  and her twin sister Ashley Eberhardt, right, as The Riddler, pose for people inside the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Katrina Goldsmith, with her eyes closed, shows off her look inspired from the new movie The Mummy at the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver. Her face was painted by face painter and artist Sue Buckner at the convention. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Ian Onstott, 6, checks out his Spider-Man face paint with his mother Jenn, second from right, and his aunt Sarah Onstott, middle, after having it painted by face painter Abbie Lawrence, left, at the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Jenn is dressed up as Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and her sister-in-law is dressed up as Saria. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Tiffany Nemer shows off her Wonder Woman outfit inspired by the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman from 1975 during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 at the Convention Center on July 2, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Nicole Grosjean dressed up as Red the protagonist from Transistor during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 at the Convention Center on July 2, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Grosjean made her entire outfit by hand. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Batman aka Kevin Meeks poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Dressed up as Vegas DC Villan show girls Terra Murray, left, as Harley Quinn, Allison Eberhardt, middle, as the Penguin,  and her twin sister Ashley Eberhardt, right, as The Riddler, pose for people inside the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)Zelda and Link aka Morgan Danielle and Sam Britz pose for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Samurai Boba Fett aka Chance Potter poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Betamax aka Janel Johnson poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post) A Splicer from the game Bioshock aka Ryan Martinez poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Frankenstein aka Daniel Angeiano poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Maisy aka Summer McGuire poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Vampichaun aka Arthur Hedin poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Nathan Sanders poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Captain America aka Gambit the Dog poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Female Bowser aka Drisana "Drizzy" Litke poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Harley Quinn aka Larina Campbell poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Blood Angel from Warhammer aka Felixx Welliver poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Lorde aka Adriana Huebner poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Jorden Livengood and Kevin Detlefsen pose for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Cookie Fortuna poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)A satyr aka Eric Martin poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)The Penguin aka Jarrod Edwards poses for a portrait during Denver ComicCon at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2017, in Denver. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Kevin Meeks, left, as Batman, Kelsey Meeks as the Mad Hatter, Jarrod Edwards as the Penguin and Casey Webb as Robin, put the finishing touches on their costumes before heading inside during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Casey Webb, as Robin, helps Jarrod Edwards put the finishing touches on his Penguin costume before they head inside during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Chad Patten, dressed as the Flash, checks the daily schedule during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Cory Helie, dressed as Bane, hands out fliers to passers by during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Liliana Benzel, dressed as Bonnie from Five Nights at Freddy's, browses the Human Tree Robot booth during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)A pedicab driver dressed as Duff Man from the Simpsons looks for passengers during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Michael Wooten dressed as Nightmare Batman poses for a portrait during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Comic Con attendees line up for entry during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Comic Con attendees take a break during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Comic Con attendees browse the selection of comic books at a booth during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Clyde Colbert browses the selection of comics at the Comic Book College booth during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Cookie Fortuna poses for a portrait during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Oona Williams, 19 months, rides on her dad, Hank Williams', shoulders as they walk the floor during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Emma Glennan, dressed as Sadness from Inside Out, browses the selection of comic books at the Comic Book College booth during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Luke Combs makes his way inside during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Sara Stewart holds her daughter, River Stewart, 8 weeks, dressed as Dot and Hello Nurse from Animaniacs, as they take a break during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Mike Doody, dressed as Darth Revan from Star Wars, has his caricature drawn by Ryan Secora during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Karl Owens, dressed as the Mad Hatter, takes a break on the smoking deck during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Jordan Peters sports Green Lantern rings as he browses the selection of comics at the Comic Book College booth during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Gus Turk, dressed as a character from the Sims, poses for a portrait during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Jaime Drake, dressed a character from Twin Peaks, lies on the ground during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)A pair of Pikachu's make their way down 14th street during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Dai Russell sit on a giant rock outside during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)Heather Hallman, dressed as Mega Girl, poses for a portrait during the first day of Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center on June 30, 2017, in Denver.  (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)
Ian Onstott, 6, checks out his Spider-Man face paint with his mother Jenn, second from right, and his aunt Sarah Onstott, middle, after having it painted by face painter Abbie Lawrence, left, at the Convention Center during the 6th annual Denver Comic Con 2017 on July 2, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Jenn is dressed up as Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and her sister-in-law is dressed up as Saria. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

With three days of fandom, workshops, celebrity panels and cosplay, Denver Comic Con brought an estimated $10 million economic boon to the city and 115,000 mostly satisfied attendees.

The sixth annual convention, which took over much of the Colorado Convention Center from Friday morning through Sunday night, matched last year’s record-setting attendance, making Denver’s Comic Con the third largest in the country.

But the high attendance also led to long waits to enter, particularly on Saturday. A newly implemented bag-check policy slowed entrance queues, requiring some attendees to wait more than an hour to enter. A last-minute ban on all props resembling guns — announced on Comic Con’s Facebook page a few minutes before 9 a.m. on Saturday — further slowed entry and drew rebuke from cosplayers.

The blanket gun ban expanded on an earlier prohibition on “realistic-looking guns” announced in the fall.

But consistency seemed to be an issue. “My son was sent back because he had a bright orange Star Lord Nerf gun that didn’t look realistic at all,” Lorelei Bowman of Lakewood said, “while other seriously realistic looking guns slipped in.” Bowman also blasted the long wait to enter the convention hall.

Many attendees took to social media to voice their frustrations over long entrance times and inconsistent bag checks.

“This decision probably should have been made before the con even started,” Chad Eshelman wrote on Facebook in response to the prop gun ban. “You will most likely face a backlash from those people that were cleared yesterday and now have to face a change. A lot of the cosplay folks went out of their way to make sure they were following the rules and then those rules are changed on the morning of the second day.”

The official account from organizers, who responded directly to all frustrated patrons on the Comic Con Facebook page, was that they realized “that many people will be upset. But safety is a top priority for us, and after hearing from many attendees about the inconsistency around prop check, we felt the need to make this change.”

Other attendees criticized the changed entrance locations, which forced many —  including those with disabilities — to walk around to the side doors of the convention center.

Sam Fuqua, executive director of Pop Culture Classroom — the community nonprofit that organizes Comic Con — said that due to third-party event bookings, Comic Con did not have access to much of the convention center, including the front lobby entrances, which forced patrons to use side doors to enter. Fuqua said organizers have pre-booked the front lobby for Comic Con in June 2018 to avoid the problem.

While there may have been issues outside the Convention Center, once inside, many patrons and businesses praised the professionalism of the 700 volunteers.

“Once we got in the door, the crowd seemed pretty reasonable,” Bowman said. “I could tell the volunteers were trying their best to keep everything organized.”

Matt Greer of The Wizard’s Chest in the Baker neighborhood said that his costume shop appreciated the revised floor plan. “Our situation was better this year because we weren’t split up as we usually are,” he said. “Overall it was a little more organized, a little more professional, and a little bigger than before.”

Organizers will begin soliciting feedback online from this year’s convention this week, Fuqua said. An evaluation form will be emailed to attendees and posted to Denver Comic Con’s Facebook page in the coming days.

Proceeds from Comic Con support Pop Culture Classroom’s education initiatives, which include literary programs and education initiatives that teach school-aged children about diverse figures from local and national history. Organizers estimated that the 2017 convention brought in roughly $4 million in revenue.

“That’s what makes us different than other comic cons,” said Fuqua. “We have educational components. We’re not just a commercial venture.”

He added that security missteps will be addressed and reviewed for Denver Comic Con 2018, scheduled for June 15-17. “We felt good about our security plan this year, but we re-evaluate it every year. We’ll re-evaluate the security plan again next year to make sure it works for everyone.”

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