Note: this post is almost as much a tale of classy people as it is an open letter to Ted concerning how my nerd is stronger than his nerd. He does still have a Tesla, however, so I’m starting from a deficit.
My family had a great weekend lunch meetup with Chris Angel, her husband Jamison and daughter Sami. Chris and Jamison do a LOT of great work with the Comic Book Classroom and Chris has just the most awesome doctorate ever in Medieval Literature. When she started waxing poetic on Chaucer I swooned.
Not all nerd is Sci-Fi and fantasy. Pete has a fondness for 14th century blue humor.
I was fawning only in part because she was able to smack me down when I put Chaucer in the 17th century instead of the 14th. The rest was because I admire the family’s work with CBC and the fact that Chris is the Director for Denver Comic Con. The entire family is engaged here, mind you. All three of them volunteer and support the Comic Book Classroom and the Con with monstrous hours of effort every week. They were all so friendly and open I was blown away. They took every one of my “have you ever met…” questions in stride and with nothing bad to say about anyone. Class.
I asked Chris how they manage to attract so many great guests and she answered
We treat them like people.
I was more than a little shocked. The guests are treated like, well, guests. That this somehow sets DCC aside from other Cons just knocked me out. I’m not traditionally a convention-goer, so this invalidated some of my assumptions. The Con is a non-profit and they do a lot of work with schools to make sure the Con supports the CBC. They therefore don’t have a budget to pay top dollar just so an A-list star can sign autographs for a few hours. The artists, actors and authors are there to see the fans who support them and to support the Con’s work. All it takes is a little effort to be nice? Who knew?
As you’d imagine, their knowledge of the content is encyclopedic. Sami is a “Walking Dead” dictionary. I thought I was a fan but she’s practically the keeper of the Canon. My son was enthralled. Then came the Dr. Who references and my daughter lost it. Shaking the hand of someone who has shaken the hand of multiple Doctors is like…shaking the hand of multiple Doctors, apparently. Jamison finally tells me there is a Pink Floyd cover band playing at Red Rocks that week. I had an aneurysm on the spot. Now I can only speak in mumbled sentences that sound suspiciously like “one of these days…”
I asked Chris about two people not on the guest list, after which she was furiously taking notes about them. It’s hard to imagine someone that busy taking the time to listen to anyone on the subject of their guest list, let alone me. This is just another example of why they are successful: the folks that run Denver Comic Con listen to their community and are great ambassadors. I’m impressed. In just their third year they are expecting some 60,000-70,000 visitors. Attitude has to play a large part.
I’ve never been able to get tickets to the event here in San Diego but I’m going to Denver Comic Con in June. The kids are thrilled and no, I will not be doing any Cosplay. I hope to meet an author, astronomer, an artist and Arrow. Next year I’ll focus on the letter “B.”
Brony. I’m happy to support these folks and cannot wait to roam the halls. We should have a great time. Get there; the event supports a good cause and I’m sure the candids of other people’s costumes will be hilarious.