The lead up to leaving town can always be stressful but this particular trip has me a bit more stressed than normal. Luckily it’s all for the greatest reason I could think of, Rose City Comic Con! The south is being pounded by hurricanes and my heart goes out to all those in harm’s way but over here on the west coast pretty much everything is on fire. We have had wildfires raging from Canada to Southern California and everywhere in between. I only mention this because the massive amount of smoke blanketing Western Washington and Oregon has made it hard to breathe, see, and live normal, not to mention travel. Luckily we have had some rain and an overall temperature drop that has helped to subside the tide of campfire smell and ash that has been falling for nearly a week. Part of the planning that goes into a trip, even if it’s only a few hours away, is usually pretty hectic so I’m always happy to leave all of the important planning to my wonderful girlfriend. She has a knack for finding great Airbnb places to stay so all I really have to do is find my trusty Deadpool and Green Arrow shirts to last the few days I will be away. The drive down wasn’t horrible and the worse part of traffic was in the normal areas of Washington, getting into Portland was actually a breeze. We made it to our destination in time to get a good night’s sleep, knowing what Portland’s con is like we knew we would need it.
We were up and at it pretty early but we got stuck in a bit of traffic on the way in and didn’t make it into the con until about 10:30am, about thirty minutes after they opened. We spent most of the first day walking around and taking everything in. We were only able to make it for the weekend so we had to catch up and this con has become so big that it takes half a day to see everything. I love looking for deals on books while my girlfriend prefers pretty much everything else but one thing we both agree on is artist alley and helping out people with purchases of indie and lesser known books. For me, one of the highlights of the day was stopping by the Stranger Comics booth and talking with Sebastian Jones and Daryl Mays. We ended up filling our Niobe and Dusu collection with awesome variants and con only buys. Seb and Daryl are always excited about their product and love to talk to folks so needless to say they have passion for the product and passion for the fans of their product. Inspiring to see and infections to be around. I truly hope to see some Niobe film or TV in the future considering she is a positive character of color as well as a woman, something that is greatly needed in film and television. Seeing all the little girls dressed as Wonder Woman makes me hope for the day little girls get to dress as the Asunda savior, Niobe.
After finding indie creators and wondering artist alley I look to the booths and sales on things like con only books. Image is my favorite big company but I also like older books from the big two so I look for not only the company booths I look for the local shops that set up. I ended up picking up a strange mix of stuff that includes some trades and hardcovers but what I was really excited for was this booth called I love Cons, one of the largest brick and mortar stores in Vancouver Washington, where they had box after box of floppies that were packaged into arcs and complete runs. I’m a little OCD when it comes to missing issues so packaged runs are amazing to me. A complete arc like Sword of Azrael by Dennis O’Neil and Joe Quesada; or Beta Ray Bill Godhunter by Kieron Gillen, Jigoro Kano, and Dan Brereton is like sweet music to my ears. All told I picked up about five packs ranging in size including the two aforementioned.
Even after all the good I have to admit that there were a few things that I didn’t enjoy. I only went to three different panel and two of them suffered from technical difficulties. I know that I’m not into the most popular stuff like others are but when tech isn’t working and/or isn’t working promptly and people have to put the panel on hold it doesn’t seem very professional. Most panels are only an hour so when they spend ten to fifteen minutes messing with tech it really takes away from the meat of the talk. When I’ve been walking for six hours adding books to my backpack that has been getting consistently heavier the last thing I want is to sit down and watch people fumble with tech. By the end of the day I was so tired, my legs and shoulders were killing me, and I sat down to a panel that was fifteen minutes late with no power point because of tech issues. On the plus side there were so many good panels that I couldn’t even choose which ones to go to and when I did make it to a panel the presenters were well versed in their fields and aside from the technical difficulties they were very informative and fun. Because of writing about a lot of Kickstarter’s and talking with comic creators that use it a lot I happen to know a lot about Kickstarter and during the Kickstarter panel I attended the panel was well versed and understanding. They were board game creators but nearly everything they talked about was something that can transfer to the comic community and comic Kickstarter’s.
The final gripe that I have was the amount of people. I know this isn’t the glory days when patrons had the ability to stop and talk with a creator without being ran into and pushed into the booth but clearly these days are over. Like Emerald City Comic Con, Rose City Comic Con has become so large that people pile in nuts to butts and shoulder to shoulder making navigation through the show floor pretty frustrating. The good part of the Oregon Convention Center and what makes it so much better than Emerald City is the fact that all of the show floor is on one level and they have a really nice and large area outside of the show floor that allows for more room to take pics and rest. Whenever I found myself tired of walking I went outside of the show floor and took a seat on the ground or if I was lucky a seat. While outside of the show floor there were pics a plenty, in fact, why don’t you have a look at some of these pics!