Denver Comic Con 2017 - The Good and The Bad

Alright folks, time for my last article on DCC 2017. Now that I have had a bit of time to fully digest the three days of super geekdom I want to bring up I felt was done well, and what could have used a bit of improvement.

The Good

The show floor had a new setup this year. In previous years you would walk into the show floor and immediately run into Merchant's Mesa. From there if you made it past the merchants you would find Artist's Valley and then the celebrities. This year Artist's Valley lived up to its name and was a literal valley between Merchant's Mesa. I felt this brought more people into the area that was dominated by artists and writers allowing more exploration. I spoke to a few of the exhibitors on the floor, and for the most part people felt they were doing well. The only complaint, and I could feel this while exploring, was that it was easy to get lost. Since the floor plan was such a large departure from previous years I had to re-train myself how to navigate back to certain tables and booths.

The area downstairs was also put to better use. I spoke to Colorado Movie Cars and they reported that before the doors opened on Saturday morning they had more foot traffic then all weekend of 2016. This same area was now dominated by most the fan groups. The 501st, Star Trek, Colorado Ghostbusters and more where all in the entrance hall. This was also a great place for some photography as people would lounge down there in the "relative" quite compared to the show floor or wait to find friends. But it did not seem to get super crowded in this area either despite the large crowds. People kept a steady pace and the flow just seemed to work, once you got inside.

The Bad

OK, overall I had a great time and I really had to look at what to complain on. And after some thought, despite knowing how necessary it was, the new security for getting in needs improvement. Now before I start criticizing this lets look at some numbers. DCC 2017 was expected to have 115,000 attendees this year. That is equal to about 16% of Denver's population (Source: Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and then I did math, I know shocking). That is not a small number. But since that was most likely based on badge sales it was expected. And if you were there on Saturday morning and you took 2+ hours to get through a line you don't care about expected numbers. From what I could piece together there were a few things that brought this storm together.

  1. Less entrances post badge. In previous years there where several places to get into the convention center itself and you were badge checked as you went to places like panels or the show floor. This year, unless you bought a coveted speed pass, you went in at the Bellco Theater entrance. This bottle necked entry for most people, causing it to take more time.
  2. Minimal organization of the line at a distance. There were supposed to be two lines, one for people with bags and one for those without. That split did not happen until well into the completion of the line. There was also minimal volunteer presence deeper in the line until later in the day. This reduced the control and organization.
  3. People that picked up their badge on the same day ended up in front of those that already had their badges. What I heard on this is, that if you went in the shorter line to pick up your badge, you where then put in near the front / middle of the main entry line. The one filled with people that got their badges a day or so before. This kinda irritated those that had to start on the back of the line because they planned ahead.

These three things just kind of show balled into a storm. But before you get too angry please remember that this is the conventions first year having to deal with the reduced entrances and enhanced security. At least it was no Anime Expo with their miles long line and multi-hour wait that went to 9:00 PM (Source: Anime News Network). Yes it is sad that some people missed their panels, and really sucks that some missed photos or signatures. But do I have faith in DCC to improve this process for next year? I do.

So will I got to DCC 2018? Does a fish swim? Or course I am going to go. I looking forward to next June 15 - 17 with great anticipation. DCC has proven that they can continue to be one of the premier geek conventions in the state, and I look forward to seeing what they continue to do to improve the experience for all!