The second and third floors of the McNichols Civic Center were packed this weekend with sci-fi and fantasy characters from modest and demure to political and outrageous. They were drawn in every style on the covers of comics and graphic novels, enticing visitors walking by to pick them up and give them a read.
MSU Professor Jeremy Stoll stood quietly behind the table that displayed several samples of his comic book creations on April 8 and 9 at DiNK, Denver’s Independent Comic and Art Expo. In only its second year, DiNK was created by brothers Charlie and Jeff La Greca. Charlie La Greca was one of the founders of Denver’s Comic Con.
Stoll explained explained that the brothers had wanted to move away from that.
“They wanted to do something for local creators and really bring together an alternative scene that’s not Marvel or DC. They wanted to especially highlight feminist creators, queer creators and non-white creators,” Stoll said. “People who are more political than your standard superhero writers and artists.”
Tabling next to Stoll, independent comic creator Andrew M. Jackson displayed his work. Jackson is the writer of the science fiction comic book called “Half World the New Pioneers.”
“I started about two years ago,” Jackson said, “I’m not an artist, but I have friends that draw.”
Jackson was developing a screenplay a while back and realized comic books have writers that don’t necessarily draw. He currently works as an instructional designer, but a career as a comic book writer is the dream.
“I love writing comics more than anything else I’ve tried to write,” Jackson said.
Jackson has been to quite a few local cons, but said DiNK is awesome because it’s comic-centric and has a lot of independent comics.
Comic book creator Melanie Gillman has been making comic books for about nine years.
“When I was growing up there weren’t really any women or LGBT people working in comics, so there wasn’t much published that actually appealed to me,” Gillman said.
In college, she started reading web comics that were made by women, people of color, queer and trans people. That inspired her to start creating her own work and creating comic books have been her fulltime job for three years now.
Gillman and Stoll met through the Denver Drink and Draw. “I’ve known him a couple of years now,” Gillman said of Stoll. “I’ve only read a few of his comics. His work is very detailed and he puts a lot of the emotions into his stories. They tend to be kind of quiet and introspective, but very layered, very intense emotionally.”
Gillman said that Denver has vibrant and growing comic book scene. She said, “If you live in Denver see if you can get involved in it, especially at one of the Drink and Draws. There’s a lot of resources here in Denver for local comic book creators.”