Denver Comic Con has made the record books for the fastest growing con in American history and is now one of the largest cons in the country after staging its second year. The con is closely affiliated with the educational charity Comic Book Classroom bringing school curriculum and after school programs to the Denver community, and CBC has also expanded rapidly to enormous impact on the young people of the Denver area. In the first installment of this interview with Christina Angel, a founding member (along with Bruce MacIntosh, Michael Newman, Illya Kowalchuk and founders Frank Romero and Charlie La Greca,) of Denver Comic Con, and Illya Kowalchuk, Executive Director of Comic Book Classroom, they spoke about the challenges they faced just launching these events and stabilizing their dream to make comics a big part of Denver’s culture. They gave insights into the kind of strategies they developed that enabled DCC and CBC’s first year to be record-breaking, but in this second, final installment, Angel and Kowalchuk address the monumental “Noah’s flood” they encountered this year when both events met increasing demand well beyond expectations. It was thrilling for them but also a monster of a year to learn quickly how to grow and sustain their dreams. Here’s what they have to say about this game-changing year for their organizations.
Illya Kowalchuk: A great example of this was our second year of piloting the curriculum! Our goal was to triple our outreach and successfully run three programs. We did not advertise at all, and we wound up with 14 classes and over 250 graduates! All this happened from word of mouth. So, we creatively scheduled when our teachers and reference libraries could be in different places over the course of each semester. Another asset to this expansion was that several classroom teachers wanted to use our curriculum as part of their school day curriculum. That way, all we needed to provide to make this happen was a copy of the curriculum and a reference library.
We look forward to expanding in this manner – providing curriculum and content as a free digital download for anyone who wants to use it! This way, we aren’t limited by geography, numbers of volunteers, or libraries.
HMS: What kind of impact have you seen CBC make in kids’ lives so far in Denver? What kind of impact do you want to have in the future?