Suit up, Denver. The Denver Comic Con (DCC) is returning to the Mile High City this weekend. The relatively new DCC (this will be its sixth year) is already among the largest comic conventions in the United States, and event organizers say they expect this year’s fest to be the biggest yet.

For newcomers as well as veterans, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the intricate (and oh-so-realistic!) costumes, crazy long autograph lines—with the likes of Mike Colter (the actor who plays Luke Cage) and Finn Jones (star of the Netflix show Iron Fist)—and, you know, the possible “Weird Al” Yankovic sighting (new for this year). In order to make this weekend go smoothly, take some time to plan ahead. To that end, we’ve narrowed down some of the larger categories into our top picks from panels and local comic book artists you won’t want to miss.

Burning Metronome
The cover of Burning Metronome, Volume 1, written by R. Alan Brooks. Image courtesy John Forquer / The Khaos Experiment Photography

Local Love

What really makes this festival unique to Denver are the local cartoonists, comics, and fine artists who fill up Artist Valley. R. Alan Brooks, a local comic writer, will be returning to the convention with a debut release his graphic novel The Burning Metronome. For lovers of fight scenes, visit Anubis Heru, a martial artist and author of Acid of the Godz. And Morgan Beem, a Denver-based comic artist, writes, pencils, and illustrates her own comics.

Our Pick: R. Alan Brooks, author of “The Burning Metronome”
When: All three days
Where: Center of Main Show Floor; second floor of Colorado Convention Center

For Hardcore Geeking Out

We get it, between to the eye-catching cosplay and appearances from celebrities such Oliver and James Phelps (Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter film series), the kids from Stranger Things, and even Lou Ferrigno (the Hulk!), it’s easy to write off panels as a waste of time. But that would be a huge mistake. DCC Program Director Bruce MacIntosh and his team have worked for more than a year to bring in some true giants of the comic book industry, such as artist Joe Giella, who originally created the art for some of DC Comics’ most iconic characters, including the Flash, Batman, Superman, and more.

Our Pick: “Precious Metal: Golden/Silver/Bronze Age Comics Creators,” a panel featuring Giella and other renowned comic artists.
When: Friday, 4–4:50 p.m.
Where: Room 503

Straight Off The Silver Screen (Or Your Living Room TV)

OK, so maybe you prefer live-action to the comic strip. Not a problem, says MacIntosh. Check out DCC’s Reel Heroes Filmmaking Series, during which a plethora of directors, voice actors, concept artists, and more share behind-the-scenes experiences that went into blockbusters and indie films alike. These 50-minute-long discussions are perfect for anyone who fawns over outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, a.k.a. anything on “disc 2.”

Our Pick: “Art of the Voice (Actors).” Check out Colorado’s own Dee Bradley Baker (Spongebob Squarepants, Phineas & Ferb, Avatar: The Last Airbender), Phil LaMarr (Pulp Fiction, Samurai Jack), and Khary Payton (The Walking Dead) as they talk about what it takes for be a professional voice actor.
When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Room 504

If you go: Denver Comic Con is June 30–July 2 at the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets are $38.50–$44 at