By comparison, San Diego Comic-Con had about 130,000+ attendees last year, New York Comic-Con 116,000, FanExpo Canada had 91,000... And then you're getting to events like Dragon*Con, which just brushed 52,000 in it's 26th year; or this weekend's HeroesCon, a fan favorite that still only draws about 12,000 attendees. Even San Diego Comic-Con's little sister WonderCon only had 40,000 attendees.
Point being, this is big. To find out more, we chatted with Dr. Christina Angel, Convention Director for Denver Comic Con:
MTV Geek: Congrats on the big attendance! How's it feel, and what do you credit the upswing to?
Dr. Christina Angel: What’s become abundantly clear to us is that Denver was well-primed for a large-scale comic con. Last year, we honestly expected a turnout of about 15,000 and would have been over the moon with that number because it was so far beyond what we planned for. When the traffic turned out to be well over 27,000, we were simply stunned (and thrilled, of course).
So, with this year’s 61,000, I am all but speechless. Our 2013 presales were incredibly strong, and we knew that we had tapped into a powerful fan base and interest. We attribute this largely to the unique blend of people who live in Denver – there’s a strong sense of community and geek culture here, but also, the comic con “thing” is hot all around the country right now. I don’t have statistics, but I know that cons everywhere are experiencing record turnouts. I think nerd-dom has really gone mainstream in the last few years.
Geek: What was the response like from vendors? We certainly heard about good sales from the comic book folks, but I'm curious to hear from your perspective.
Angel: The responses I got from vendors was overwhelmingly positive; most of them sold the bulk of what they brought (many reporting selling out their inventories) and the presales for next year’s vendor spaces are through the roof, with many folks securing their space for 2014 already.
Geek: It also seemed to be the most "family friendly" Con I've been to, at least... Do you think that affected the size of the crowds?
Angel: We’d like to think so, yes. Because we are an educational nonprofit for children, it’s very important to us that we include kids’ activities and programming and make the experience one for the entire family. Additionally, because we’re all nerds too, we know how crucial it is that places like comic cons are as inclusive as they can be – all are welcome. I don’t have numbers yet on the under-10 crowd, but I know it was quite high and they are definitely a factor that affects our attendance numbers. We couldn’t be happier to be helping parents raise a new generation of comics and pop culture nerds!