Fanboy friendly ventures like Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries and Zachary Levi’s Nerd Machine have made their presence felt at Comic Cons across the country for years. Now Dorkly, the website run by Barry Diller’s Electus Digital, is ready for what it calls “a coming out party” at this weekend’s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as C2E2.
Dorkly has paired up with ReedPop to produce the Dorkly Fan Art Expo at C2E2, its first event at a Comic Con since launching out of CollegeHumor.com in 2010.
ReedPop produces C2E2, as well as New York Comic Con, Penny Arcade Expo, Star Wars Celebration, Oz Comic-Con and the UFC Fan Expo.
Dorkly will use C2E2 to bring fan art to life through its multimedia experience, which will include a display of 40 pieces (including Anthony Hall’s “Help a Brother Out” below), illustration demonstrations, interviews and other activities. The expo will take place inside C2E2’s Fan Village April 25-27.
Over the past four years, Dorkly has focused more on retro videogames and comicbooks. But as Diller’s Electus Digital (formed in January) aims to put more of a spotlight on its portfolio of websites, it wanted Dorkly to be more present at Comic Cons across the country that attract its core audience.
Dorkly, CollegeHumor and WatchLoud are all managed by Electus Digital, which is owned by Diller’s IAC.
Timing of Dorkly’s trek to C2E2 also comes as the site is about to undergo a redesign to better package its expanded coverage of all forms of fandom, including comics, movies, television, boardgames and videogames.
C2E2 is “where we’re planting our flag,” Andrew Bridgman, editor-in-chief of Dorkly.com, told Variety. “We call 2014 the year of Dorkly around here. We felt it was time to stand out from CollegeHumor and stand on our own for once. Fandom and geek culture has grown more mainstream, and Dorkly has grown with that. We’re as much fans as the fans that make up our audience. The way we talk to them is the way we talk to each other.”
The convention’s art exhibit is “a natural extension of the online conversation we have with fans everyday, plus as some of the biggest and best comic artists of today began their careers creating fan art,” Bridgman added. Showcasing that art at C2E2 also marks “the first time we’ve done anything on this scale for Dorkly,” he adds.
Dorkly’s coming-out party, of sorts, is also taking place as its traffic has grown. It currently attracts more than 15 million visits and 40 million page views each month, growing more than 160% over the past year in terms of unique visitors.
To curate its art exhibit, Dorkly asked for submissions through its website. Those chosen were printed by thePrintful.com.
C2E2 will be held inside Chicago’s McCormick Place April 25-27. It follows this month’s WonderCon in Anaheim and is often seen as the precursor to San Diego’s massive Comic-Con in July.