What’s the story?
Together, we’ve achieved remarkable success with Fort Collins Comic Con, uniting thousands of geeks, pop-culture enthusiasts, gamers, fans, artists, writers, creators, cosplayers, and more at the Northside Aztlan Community Center. Since 2015, we have collectively donated $120,000 to the Poudre River Public Library District to support youth literacy events, materials, and programming. Additionally, our diverse events, including the Kessel Run 5k, Kessel Runners Couch-to-5K, and Create Your Own Superhero Day, have been instrumental in promoting physical, mental, and creative literacy skills for all ages.
In 2023 alone, we raised $20,000 for mental health initiatives through the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County. This achievement reflects our commitment not only to fostering a vibrant community through our convention but also to contributing positively to broader societal needs. Led by a passionate team of super-geeks, Fort Collins Comic Con delivers a full convention experience on a smaller scale, with an average attendance of around 3,000 and over 150 vendors in the Vendor Hall and event space.
What’s the goal of the Con?
Simply put: A fun, locally-organized, affordable Con experience in Northern Colorado to encourage children’s literacy and increase access to art, culture, and local creators in our community.
Fort Collins Comic Con is meant to encourage youth literacy through comic books and other pop culture mediums. We also created the Con to fill a void for Northern Colorado geeks, who normally have to drive 2+ hours to attend huge events like Denver Pop Culture Con and StarFest, typically at great cost for attendees and vendors alike.
Our goal is to bring together geeks of all ages and types into an affordable Con experience. Whether you appreciate comics, Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Buffy, Harry Potter, zombies, gaming, steampunk, or something else – we’ve got something for you and you can have a great time near your hometown.
How has FC3 grown over time?
- September 12, 2015 at the Northside Aztlan Community Center
- A sell-out crowd of 1,800 and $15,000 raised for Poudre River Public Library District
- Featured on 9News, CTV, in the Coloradoan, in the Wyoming Tribune, the
Loveland Reporter-Herald, podcasts like Thinking Outside The Long Box and even
some vlogs – including InvestComics and EVE DRAWS!
- Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up and declared September 12 “Local Heroes Day”!
- August 27-28, 2016 at the Northside Aztlan Community Center
- A sell-out crowd of 2,500 and $30,000 raised for the Library District.
- Three guest stars in attendance: Gigi Edgley, Richard Hatch, and Robert Meyer Burnett.
- Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up and declared August 27 and 28 “Local Heroes Weekend.”
- Other geeky events held: First annual Kessel Run held on 5/4 with 150 attendees raising an
additional $1,000 for the Library District, along with Nerd Prom and Teen Nerd Prom.
- August 26-27, 2017 at the Northside Aztlan Community Center
- A total crowd of 3,200 and $30,000 raised for the Library District.
- Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up and declared August 26 and 27 “Local Heroes Weekend.”
- A revamped costume contest into a Cosplay Catwalk with record participation.
- Notable guests included Disney animators Greg Guler and Michael Toth and showrunner Victor Cook.
- A T.A.R.D.I.S. was built on-site by the Local Makerspaces!
- Other geeky events in 2017: The 2nd annual Kessel Run was held on 5/4 with 300 attendees, 1st annual Harry Potter Weekend, 2nd annual Teen Nerd Prom, and 1st annual Back To The Future Geekend for a Cause.
- August 25-26, 2018 at the Northside Aztlan Community Center.
- A total crowd of 2,800 and $20,000 raised for the Library District.
- Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up and declared August 25 and 26 “Local Heroes Weekend.”
- Notable guests included Disney animator Greg Guler, Erin Macdonald PhD, Val Hochberg, Gordon Purcell, and Rob Davis.
- The Con’s very first wedding ceremony during the Cosplay Catwalk
- Other geeky events in 2018: The 3rd annual Kessel Run on 5/4 with 350 attendees, 2nd annual Harry Potter Weekend, 3rd annual Teen Nerd Prom, 1st annual Create Your Own Superhero Day, and the 1st annual Kessel Runners Couch-to-5K Program.
- August 17-18, 2019 at the Northside Aztlan Community Center.
- A total crowd of 2,800 and $25,000 raised for the Library District.
- Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up and declared August 17 and 18 “Local Heroes Weekend.”
- Notable guests included Robin Shelby, Disney animator Greg Guler, Erin Macdonald PhD, CC Petersen, Thomas Estrada, Nicki Rapp, Rich Fogel, Cachet Whitman, and more!
- Other geeky events in 2019: The 4th annual Kessel Run on 5/4 with 300 attendees, 3rd annual Harry Potter Birthday Bash, and the 2nd annual Kessel Runners Couch-to-5K Program.
- Fort Collins Comic Con celebrated the first ever Virtual Fort Collins Comic Con, showcasing 8 recorded-live panels including a Q+A with guests Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche (the voices of Pinky and the Brain).
- Fort Collins Comic Con established the first-annual Streaming Science Symposium featuring 5 panels from scientists in a wide array of fields.
Who’s behind Fort Collins Comic Con?
In August 2014, Nick Armstrong and Nathan Scott met over at Crooked Cup and began plotting. Nick’s background in organizing events like TEDxFoCo, Ignite Fort Collins, and Fort Collins Startup Week combined with Nathan’s background as Director of the Fort Collins Zombie Fest fueled the desire for a large-scale pop-culture event for geeks.
Paula Watson-Lakamp (Communications Director for the Poudre River Public Library District) joined in shortly thereafter – with serendipitous timing; the statewide Summer Reading Program theme was Superheroes! They began to organize Fort Collins Comic Con in earnest.
A team of volunteers was recruited to be Coordinators, and each year new attendees have stepped up from volunteering to coordinating. You can explore the current team here.
In 2020, a new non-profit Howdy Neighbor Events was formed to provide operational and logistical support for Fort Collins Comic Con, Founded in FoCo, and a number of other events aimed at bolstering literacy in Northern Colorado.
How do the Poudre Libraries benefit from FC3, beyond the monetary donation?
The Library District sees immediate and sustained impacts on library services that benefit library customers and the community:
- A boost in overall circulation (materials checked out) immediately following the Comic Con each August which is maintained for the rest of the year.
- An increase in the number of comic books borrowed via hoopla specifically. For instance, from 2016 to 2017 the Library District had a 41.5 percent increase in comic book circulation through hoopla.
- New comic books and graphic novels purchased each month and added to the in-library reading racks.
- Multiple books added to the collection featuring do-it-yourself costume design and cosplay.
- The purchase and addition of self-publishing tools and content discovery resources to support local creatives: SELF-e, Pressbooks, and Biblioboard with “Indie Colorado.”
- Unique “geek-friendly” events and programming at the libraries with mixed audience interest and all-ages participation.
- New partnerships and collaborations with local businesses and organizations that began at the Con and evolved into other capacities like summer reading sponsorships and our Flash Your Card program participation.
- When is FC3?
FC3 2023 is August 26-27th at the Northside Aztlan Community Center from 9AM to 7PM on Saturday and Sunday, with Vendor hours from 10AM to 6PM.
- Are there any special guests?
Watch our homepage for ongoing updates.
- Can I take pictures with guests or get them to sign things?
This varies on a guest-by-guest basis.
- How much are badges?
Ages 13+ Badges: $25 advanced purchase / $30 day-of-event purchase
Ages 6-12: $10
5 and under: Free
Psst: you can also volunteer for a 2-3 hour shift and get in for the rest of the weekend for free!
- When do badges go on sale?
July 7 at 7PM. Badges can ONLY be purchased on the Fort Collins Comic Con website but can be picked up from a few participating local geek or comic book stores.
- When do Vendor Booths go on sale?
Early May (usually 5/5 or thereabouts) and when we run out, we run out. You can ask to be put on a waitlist, and we do sometimes have to reach into the waitlist to fill last-minute no-shows.
- When can I pick up my badges?
Badges should be ready to pick up from the comic book store you specified within 48 hours of your order, if not earlier. If you purchase your badge fewer than 2-3 days out from FC3, you will have to pick up your badge on the day of the Con. Take your receipt with you and TREAT YOUR BADGE LIKE CASH. Badges will be available for pickup from the store until ONE WEEK BEFORE THE CON, after which point you must pick up your badge from the Attendee Check-In booth at the Con.
- Will badges be available at the Con?
- Can I volunteer to get a badge?
Yes, absolutely. As long as there are volunteer spots open. Volunteer spots are announced on or around the same date that Badges go on sale.
- When does Cosplay registration begin?
No registration required!
- Have the Cosplay rules changed?
- What is a Cosplay Catwalk?
In our early years, we hosted a Cosplay Competition. We found that the competition format just did not work for our kind of convention, so we abandoned that in favor of a runway-style Cosplay Catwalk. Newbies don’t have to feel bad about errant stitches, established Cosplayers can enjoy the fun of the show, and everybody gets love, appreciation, and awesome photographs.
- Can I buy my badge at the store or another website? Can I buy additional badges from the store or another website?
No, all badges have to be purchased from the Fort Collins Comic Con website. Anyone trying to sell you a badge other than us is most likely scamming you.
- What happens if I don’t pick up my badge?
Badges will be available for pickup from the store until your venue of choice closes on the Thursday before FC3! You can pick it up on the day of the Con. We don’t recommend this, as you’ll probably have to wait in line. We’ll have it at the Attendee Check-In booth for you on the day of the Con.
- Can I pick my badge up on the day of the Con?
Yes, just come straight to the Con and pick up your badge from the Attendee check-in booth. We highly recommend advanced pick-up, as you’ll probably have to wait in line the day of the Con.
- Will there be child-friendly activities?
Absolutely! For our youngest superheroes, there will be a Ghostbusters and superhero training camp hosted by the Fort Collins Ghostbusters and other great groups. For older kiddos, we have a video game lounge and table top gaming area, and panels specifically for kiddos who want to learn how to create something of their very own.
- Will there be panels and vending hours on Friday?
No, here’s the rough schedule:
Friday: No panels or vendor hours.
Saturday: Vendor Area + Panels + Cosplay Catwalk
Sunday: Vendor Area + Panels + Cosplay Catwalk
- Is there going to be food at the Con?
Yes! Our list of food trucks can be found here.
- Is there alcohol sold at the Con?
No alcohol will be sold or allowed at the Con.
- I’m coming from out of town, is there a hotel rate?
Not yet. Should we look into that? Let us know.
- Will there be an ATM?
Not on site. The closest ones available are in Old Town.
- Where do I need to park?
That’s tricky, as with any event in Old Town we have very limited parking. We highly recommend parking in the Old Town parking structures.