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The Mighty T

Jake has always been a comic book guy. He worked for Dark Horse Comics in college, and has just never really let the passion die. Years later, a firefighter with a family of his own, Jake found out that Denver had its very own comic convention. He decided to go, but he made it a family affair by bringing his kids, including his youngest daughter, Taylor.

“She was 4 years old and she loved it. We dressed her like Supergirl,” said Jake. “She was just blown away by the spectacle of it all.”

Soon, Taylor was a full-fledged comic lover just like her dad. Owly, Spider-Man, Tiny Titans—she loved them all. But her favorite heroes were Batgirl, Supergirl and Thor. Denver Comic Con quickly became an annual event for Jake and his family. And 2016 was a year like any other—they had purchased their tickets and were getting excited for June. Then, out of nowhere, Taylor got sick.

“On June 13, Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia,” Jake said. “She had to be hospitalized for two weeks.”

While in the hospital, Taylor realized something. She wouldn’t be able to go to Denver Comic Con.

Heartbroken for his daughter, Jake mentioned Taylor’s crushing realization on Facebook. And that’s when the geek community came to the rescue. Immediately, friends started to share Taylor’s story to try to figure out a way to bring Denver Comic Con to her, even creating the hashtag #SendTaylorHeroes to get the word out far and wide. Soon, they had recruited two cosplayers to come and visit Taylor in the hospital.

On Saturday afternoon when Thor—her favorite super hero—walked into the room, Taylor was stunned. He was larger than life, fully decked out in a flowing red cape, with a massive hammer and huge smile. The two hit it off right away. They talked about the “Ironman technology” she was wearing and he even wrote a note in her secret journal using her invisible ink pen that has an attached black light to read the messages with.

Then as he began to leave, Thor handed her his hammer.

“Taylor, this is Mjolnir,” he said. “Only the worthy can lift it. Because you are mighty and because you are brave, I wish for you to have it.”

Taylor was amazed. And her family was over the moon with gratitude.

Later that day, Taylor had another surprise visitor—Ms. Marvel. Before long, the two were discussing costume design, colors, superpowers and how cool it would be to fly. Taylor decided that not only did she need wings, but ice powers and the ability to make rainbows. Before leaving, Ms. Marvel had Taylor get up and show off some fighting poses with her—then she offered her the handmade mask she was wearing for Taylor to fight crime with.

“While Thor and Ms. Marvel were in her room, Taylor did not hurt. She did not feel sick or tired.” Jake said. “The geek community stepped up and had our back. The fact that there are selfless people out there, folks who will go out of their way to help someone they don’t even know, it’s truly inspirational.”


Gamers Giving is hosting a 24-hour gaming marathon on October 8-9, 2016 at Total Escape Games in Broomfield, CO to benefit the Burgess family while their daughter Taylor (age 7) fights leukemia. If you are interested in playing, you can pre-register for your seats at www.warhorn.net/events/thanksgaming-2016

If you don’t want to participate in the gaming marathon, you may also donate here: https://www.crowdrise.com/thanksgaming-for-the-mighty-taylor-vs-cancer/fundraiser/gamersgivinginc

 

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Denver Comic Con Announces 2017 Event Dates

Denver Comic Con (DCC), Denver’s largest consumer convention and program of education-nonprofit Pop Culture Classroom (PCC), announces the dates for the 2017 convention as June 30 – July 2, 2017 at the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets will go on sale this fall.

In 2016—the 5th year anniversary of the event—Denver Comic Con saw attendance of over 114,900, making it one of the largest comic conventions in the nation. Guests like comic book legend Stan Lee, Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and 80s icon Ralph Macchio, helped Denver Comic Con become one of the most attended pop culture conventions in America.

“2016 was a blast, and of course the growth of the event is exciting. It’s an honor to be able to bring such popular guests, comic artists and programs to the Denver community. We’re already working to make the 2017 line-up the best yet,” said Christina Angel, Convention Director.

Denver Comic Con’s popularity is also due in part to its robust schedule of programming—more than 300 hours of panels during which artists, creators, celebrities and industry experts talk about their craft and their creations—as well as its family-friendly mission and environment. The largest portion of the show floor, more than 9,000 sq. ft., is dedicated to teens and children with activities designed to engage kids in education through pop culture.

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LEAD With Comics at Sterling Correctional Facility

LEAD (Literacy Education in Adult Detention) With Comics is Pop Culture Classroom’s ongoing project in jail systems and detention centers across Colorado. It’s a six week course for incarcerated adults, with the goal of helping to improve their literacy and art skills using comics and graphic novels. Current research shows that inmates who receive literacy education have a 16% recidivism rate, while those that don’t are over four times more likely to end up in jail again. LEAD was developed as a creative way to reach struggling readers and help them find a positive way forward.

In May, Pop Culture Classroom began a partnership with Sterling Correctional Facility to bring the LEAD With Comics program to their library as an opportunity for the inmates in the “incentive unit.” The course includes reading materials, interactive activities and comics-based literacy and art lessons designed to help students investigate storytelling and the creation of story. Erin Boyington, Library Supervisor at Sterling, was the lead teacher in the course, and was joined by Renae Kubitz and Brett Hodgins. Dion Harris, an art instructor provided by Pop Culture Classroom, also taught art workshops as part of the program.

“I loved getting a chance to talk about graphic novels, literature, and let the participants engage with books in a way that they might not be familiar with,” Boyington said. “My favorite part was discussing the books, asking questions and getting sometimes surprising answers.”

All instruction is designed to ensure that everyone in the class, from pop culture fanatics to first-time comic readers, can be engaged and find new ways to express themselves. After discussing how art and words work together to tell a story, students are given the chance to create comics of their own.

“It was rewarding to see how much work they put into a class that wasn’t even graded or part of a parole plan,” Boyington said. “Many of the final projects were 20+ pages of closely drawn art.”

On July 8, Sterling had its first graduating class, with 14 out of 15 students completing the course. All of them produced comic books that were incredibly ambitious in scope, and received a certificate of completion.

“Many of the students have stopped by to thank me,” Boyington said. “Men in prison don’t always have a way to get constructive criticism of their creative endeavors, so LEAD is a unique opportunity. They got to show off their hard work and artistic ability, even the ones who started out thinking they didn’t have any!”

Click here to learn more about LEAD With Comics.

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Opening Ceremonies 2016

DENVER COMIC CON OPENING CEREMONIES – FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2016 – 7:00 PM, MAIN EVENTS/BELLCO THEATER

Denver Comic Con Opening Ceremonies is taking place Friday night after the main floor closes in the Bellco Theater Main Events hall. The event will open with guest speakers and special videos produced just for the occasion, featuring celebrity guests and special 2016 anniversary celebrations for Star Trek, Wonder Woman and Comic Superstars of the 70s, 80s & 90s!

Then, courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse, the humorists from Mile High Sci Fi will provide commentary on the 1984 film, The Karate Kid, MST3K-style. If you’ve never seen it, you’ll want to check out why this cult classic made Denver Comic Con guest Ralph Macchio a teen heartthrob and embedded him into the American lexicon with such unforgettable phrases like, “Wax on, wax off” and “Sweep the Leg!” If you do remember it from way back when, you’ll see it in a whole new light as MHSF provides well-timed gags and commentary during the film. The event will be appropriate for all-ages and is free to anyone with a 3-day or Friday badge. 

Plus, we’ll even have a few surprises. Guest Manu Intiraymi (Star Trek: Voyager) will announce his latest project, “The Circuit” and how you could be a part of the filming next year at DCC 2017!

Don’t miss this year’s Opening Ceremonies with Karate Kid or, as DCC Guests Martin Kove and William Zabka would say, we’ll show you “No Mercy!”

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Art Demos and Workshops for Artists and Teachers Presented by Copic Markers

Imagination International, Inc. & Copic Markers presents several panels for the aspiring artist, the experienced artist exploring Copic Markers, and educators wanting to bring Copic Markers into their classrooms. Designed around audiences for all ages, join Terryl Whitlatch, creature and concept designer whose work includes Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm Ltd., Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PDI, Entertainment Arts, LucasArts, Chronicle Books, and various zoos and natural history museums, as she instructs attendees with hands-on instruction and techniques. Copic will teach you basics of the art process and provide live demonstrations of their artist preferred markers. And Marianne Walker gives Teachers hands-on demos and instructional guidance to best introduce these great markers to your students!

Having your own supplies is encouraged, yet we will provide pencils and paper while supplies last. So bring your pencils and your imagination and arrive early as participation is limited. 

 

Art Demos and Workshops

 

Creating a Creature Mash-Up with Terryl Whitlatch & Copic Markers
Friday, June 17, 1:00 PM 1:45 PM, Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Lab, All Ages Stage

Creature Draw-Along Workshop w/ Copic Markers
Friday, June 17, 2:15 PM 3:05 PM, Room 402

Developing the Artist Process Workshop w/ Copic & Terryl
Saturday, June 18 3:30 PM 4:20 PM, Room 402

Copic Markers in the Classroom – for any teacher!
Sunday, June 19, 11:00 AM 11:50 AM, Room 303

Let’s Draw! Workshop w/ Terryl & Copic
Sunday, June 19, 1:00 PM 1:50 PM, Room 402

Let’s Draw Manga! with Copic Markers
Sunday, June 19, 1:00 PM 1:45 PM, Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Lab, 8-Bit Stage

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Valiant Comics 101

If you’re not familiar with Valiant Comics, DCC ’16 is a great place to dive in. Valiant has been steadily gaining in popularity since the company re-booted in 2012, and two of their comics (BLOODSHOT and HARBINGER) are heading to the silver screen starting in 2017. Valiant’s characters may not have the name recognition of Superman or Captain America, but they are just as engaging, and don’t have the baggage of decades of storylines to dig through.

Valiant’s shared universe has something for everyone and is incredibly diverse. Looking for a female superhero who isn’t a size 2? Check out Faith Herbert. Looking for racially diverse characters and comic book creators? Then look no further than SHADOWMAN, THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE, and DIVINITY (to just name a few). The storylines of Valiant Comics are also incredibly diverse. Different Valiant Comics have political themes, comedy, time travellers, and run-ins with the supernatural, to just name a few story elements.

In the end, Valiant Comics are worth checking out because they aren’t trying to be the new Marvel or the DC, they are striking out on their own and making themselves a magnet for comic book creators and fans looking for something new.

 

Don’t miss the Valiant Comics panels!

 

Valiant 101: New Fans Start Here!
Saturday, June 18, 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Room 401

Valiant Comics: Summer of 4001 A.D.
Sunday, June 19, 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Room 401

 

 

Amy Richau is a Boulder-based freelance writer who writes about Star Wars on FANGirl Blog.

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DCC’16 ARTIST SPOTLIGHT — GEORGES JEANTY!

Denver Comic Con would like to thank Georges Jeanty for donating his time to provide us with a playful spin on our mascot, Captain Colorado. His wonderful art can be seen in our advertisements and will be featured on DCC’16 exclusive t-shirts, bags, posters and other collectables. Be sure to purchase these items at the DCC’16 Main Merch Booth and visit him at Artist Valley table AV062 to have these items signed.

Jeanty also supplied art for our souvenir program cover (with color by Monte Moore) and worked with Hard Rock Cafe Denver in designing a DCC’16 Limited Edition pin set, available exclusively at Hard Rock Cafe. 

We recently spoke with the Buffy the Vampire and Firefly/Serenity artist to get an update on what other things he’s been working on since his DCC’14 appearance.


 

Your work on Buffy and Serenity comics has made you a noted “Whedonverse” artist. Will you be revisiting that universe anytime soon?

I will! Joss announced a new Serenity mini-series at last year’s San Diego con, and I will be drawing it. The first issue comes out in October.

Before “Buffy” you were a regular Marvel X-Men artist, but more on the “outer fringes” with Bishop, Deadpool, Gambit and Weapon X. What was it like working on the “Merc with the Mouth,” Deadpool?

Yeah. It’s weird. I never drew one of the X-books, but I was all over the perimeter with the single mutants. Deadpool was a book that I didn’t think I would like when I got the assignment, but I quickly understood the character and treated the book as a black comedy. So most of my focus on the book was setting up the “jokes” and seeing how I could draw a particular scene for laughs. It’s funny how much stuff I drew back then that has found its way into the movies.

You were in Denver last year for a “Think Tank” project. Could you tell us more about that?

That was a surreal experience. I was asked to join a focus group who invited some of the great thinkers of the past few years to sit in a literal tank that they constructed in Downtown Denver. It had glass walls on all four sides so you could look inside at everyone thinking for a few straight hours, with the goal of discussing what will Denver look like in the coming future. I was tagged to illustrate some of their visions. It was a very unique evening.

What was THE comic book or comic book character that inspired you to draw comics?

There really was no one defining book or character. I fell in love with the Fantastic Four as a kid and embraced them totally. I think I would have drawn comics regardless. Drawing was always like an itch that I had to scratch as a kid, and thank god to this day I still feel itchy!

In your past interviews you mentioned your experience in acting. Do you rely on these skills when drawing comics?

I do! l treat a comic script as I would a movie script. You have your scene and your characters in that scene. You think about what they’re doing, even if they’re not the focus of that panel. I try and treat my characters as actors, because when you’re in drama you’re taught to stay in character even if your character is not the focus. So you can imagine how tough it is when I’m doing a book like Serenity where often there are 8 characters in the scene talking or just sitting around. Easy, it ain’t!

Georges Facebook page: facebook.com/kabalounge
Georges Twitter page: twitter.com/kabalounge

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Women Working in the Comics and Animation Industry Today

“Women Working in the Comics and Animation Industry Today” returns to Denver Comic Con for another year, as part of our continuing Unity Mission to provide quality programming to our attendees, regardless of gender, color or sexual orientation. The panel will take place on Friday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m. on the xFinity Stage. 

This is the first major session in our Main Events Halls in the Bellco Theater, so plan on arriving early so that you can see the first of many sessions at DCC’16 featuring women comics creators and pop culture professionals, including content from the last 40 years all the way to the latest comics hitting the stands this month! The panel will feature animator Jennifer Shiman (30-second Bunny Theater), Barbara Randall Kesel (Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman), Cat Staggs (The Vampire Diaries), Mindy Newell (Wonder Woman), Trina Robbins (first woman to draw Wonder Woman comics), Marguerite Sauvage (Valiant’s Faith and DC Comics’ Bombshells), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Chrissie Zullo (Fables: The Wolf Among Us), and will be moderated by Hannah Means-Shannon (Dark Horse Comics Editor).

After you see this session, check the schedule for the many additional sessions featuring your favorite female creators, who will speak to their experiences, share their opinions and answer your questions. For example, “Womanthology – the Comics & Creators” on Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m. in Room 607, will focus on the many DCC 2016 guests who contributed to the landmark women-only anthologies. (Including Chrissie Zullo, Cat Staggs, Marguerite Sauvage, Barbara Randall Kesel, Mindy Newell, and Trina Robbins.)

Also, don’t miss “NASA: Women in Science” (Room 601, Friday June 17, 11:45 a.m.), “Women in Game Design: Empowering Young Artists & Designers” (Room 601, Friday June 17, 2:15 p.m.), “Women In The Geek Industry” (Room 607, Friday, June 17, 2:45 p.m.), “How Comics are Focusing on Women Characters to Encourage Female Readership” (Room 303, Saturday June 18, 2:45 p.m.), “Widows, Witches, Women: Female Representation in Pop Culture” (Room 301, Sunday June 19, 10:30 a.m.), and the Keynote Address to the Page 23 Literary Conference by comics veteran Trina Robbins, entitled “Here are the Great Women Cartoonists” (Room 301, Saturday 5:00 p.m.).

If you are interested in programming by and for women, there are many more examples on the DCC panel schedule again this year. Just make sure to read the panel descriptions to see what’s right for you, and then then enjoy the work of all the convention guests and volunteers who are excited to present these offerings.

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You could be in Manu Intiraymi’s newest movie project, “The Circuit”!

Manu Intiraymi (Star Trek: Voyager, Producer of the recent films “Benjamin Troubles” and “5th Passenger”) will be at Denver Comic Con to announce his newest project, “The Circuit: The Last Con Movie to Meld Genres to Tell Ultimate Convention Stories”. Be here with Manu in “The Circuit” panel, preview and Q&A on Saturday, June 18, 1:30 p.m., Room 505 and YOU could be in B-Roll for the film in 2016. Then, return in 2017 as Manu, the directors, actors and crew, will be FILMING AT DCC 2017!

More about “The Circuit”

Every convention has a story to tell, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” and the pop culture science fiction convention phenomenon comes “The Circuit”. This will be a multi genre anthology feature that is a cross genre of Hollywood style production and fan fiction, where fans write the rough draft and professionals craft it into a final draft. The setting of the stories will be any pop culture science fiction convention in the past, present, or future. Some of these stories come directly from our actors who have been at conventions for decades and are based on true stories, and to help us bring this story to life we have signed luminary actors such as Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Olivia D’abo, Rene Auberjonois, and Doug Jones. (Not appearing at DCC 2016.)

Web: http://www.thecircuitfilm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecircuitmovie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecircuitmovie

About Manu Intiraymi

Manu Intiraymi is known for his role as Icheb in Star Trek: Voyager, and with Intiraymi Films is producer of the recent films “Benjamin Troubles” and “5th Passenger”.

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Denver Comic Con Adds Jeffrey Dean Morgan For Sunday, June 19

Denver Comic Con (DCC), Denver’s largest consumer convention and a program of education-nonprofit Pop Culture Classroom (PCC), today announced it is bringing Jeffrey Dean Morgan to this weekend’s event at the Colorado Convention Center on Sunday, June 19.

Morgan has played a number of notable pop-culture roles in his career, including John Winchester in the CW’s “Supernatural,” the Comedian in the film adaption of Alan Moore’s “Watchmen,” Negan in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” and most recently as Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, in DC’s “Batman v. Superman.”

Morgan made his appearance on as Negan in the The Walking Dead’s season six finale and will be playing the primary antagonist during season seven.

“I can’t remember a more anticipated character in television than The Walking Dead’s Negan,” said Christina Angel, Denver Comic Con director. “I also can’t imagine anyone else playing him, and we’re delighted to be able to bring him to Denver Comic Con on Sunday.”

Morgan has also had roles in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Wife,” “Magic City,” “The Losers,” and an uncredited role in “Jonah Hex.”

“Morgan is a last-minute addition to the line-up—the con starts on Friday, June 17 and tickets are already in short-supply. If you’re a fan and want to see Jeffrey, you’ll want to move quickly on getting a Sunday pass.”

Tickets can be purchased at http://popcultureclassroom.org/dcc/tickets/

Morgan joins previously announced guests in the 2016 Denver Comic Con lineup including Stan Lee (Marvel Comics), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD), Karl Urban (Star Trek, Judge Dredd, Thor), Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid and The Outsiders), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), William Zabka and Martin Kove (Karate Kid), and Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who), among many other comic book creators and pop culture celebrities.