Are we witnessing the revenge of the comic book nerds? As comics-inspired movies continue to rule the box office—Iron Man 3 recently broke the billion-dollar barrier worldwide (the second consecutive Marvel Comics film to do so)—fan-driven events like Denver Comic Con (DCC) may just become the cool place to be.

Upwards of 35,000 cosplaying Stormtroopers, Dothraki warriors, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are expected to attend the second-annual extravaganza, which runs from May 31 to June 2 at the Colorado Convention Center downtown. Fans will enjoy autograph signings with their favorite creators, films, gaming, panels, and more—and maybe run into Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. I’m looking forward to meeting fellow Star Trek alumni George Takei and Wil Wheaton and longtime comics writer Denny O’Neil and artist George Perez.

Of course, there’s more to DCC than just costume contests and rubbing shoulders with the industry elite. Proceeds benefit Comic Book Classroom (CBC), a local nonprofit that uses comics to help teach kids how to read. The after-school program, offered in a handful of Denver and Boulder schools, has graduated 400 students in its first three years. Profits from DCC will go toward hiring staff and expanding the curriculum. (Parents interested in having CBC in their kid’s school can email

CBC is certainly a great cause, but for many fortysomething enthusiasts like myself, Comic Con is also an excuse to re-engage with the hobby and maybe pass it along to our children. Here are three kid-friendly ideas for moms and dads to help make the show a family affair:

1. The Comic Book Kids’ Corral: Located at the center of the show floor, the corral will cover the biggest area at DCC. Kids can get hands-on and create lightsabers, replicas of Captain America’s shield, and Tribbles (furry creatures from the Star Trek universe that purr like cats).

2. Artist Alley: Special guests are obvious crowd-pleasers, which translates to long lines. Instead of waiting, spend $20 to have an original drawing of a favorite character made by an up-and-coming artist.

3. Bargain Boxes!: Most exhibitors will have 50-cent boxes of comic books for sale. Don’t leave without taking a look. Last year, I spent $5 to get 10 Green Lantern comics for my youngest. He’s still reading them.

Heads Up: I’ll be writing about the local comics scene and what’s going on at DCC on throughout the event. Be sure to check back.

Tickets are $55 for a three-day adult pass, $35 for a teen three-day pass, and free for kids 10 and under. (Day passes are cheaper.) Purchase online or visit an authorized comic book retailer for a 20 percent discount.

Image courtesy of Denver Comic-Con (art by Scorpio Steele)

Follow Tim Beyers on Twitter at @milehighfool.