I absolutely love Cons, probably a “duh” statement, but I think it must be said because Cons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Rose City is a large con, probably the second largest in the Pacific Northwest, and it certainly lived up to that title of one of the biggest. The Oregon Convention Center in Portland is a very nice venue with a lot of different little shops and eateries that help to stem the tide of cosplayers and convention goers while still leaving room for people to mingle and take pictures. Being a Seattle/Tacoma Washington native I hate to jump ship and back another con over my hometown con but I truly feel like Rose City has over taken Emerald City Con for my favorite in the Northwest.
Rose City Comic Con had several things that I liked about it but I suppose I should start from the beginning. Even though I had to get a hotel, or Airbnb in my case; it was still cheaper for the tickets, I paid slightly more for the two day pass than I did for a Saturday pass for Emerald City so right off the bat I feel like I already got a deal. With Cons this large I feel like two days is almost mandatory but with Emerald City I couldn’t even afford it and truthfully I don’t think I would have wanted to be at that con for two days. Portland is a large city but it still has some free parking and reasonable rates for the pay parking. I was able to find a parking spot not even two blocks up from the convention center and only paid five dollars for three hours. Considering I paid about forty to park in Seattle for Emerald City and the fact that there were paid spots for twenty and up makes me feel like I hit a deal before I even stepped foot in the con.
As I said the convention center itself had some little coffee shops and eateries that were nice to see because it gave options for people and provided the much needed beverages and tables to rest at. The space between where everyone congregated was nice and big enough for pictures and sitting on the ground but even at the high of the show it was manageable to walk around and find a spot to sit for a minute. Compared to Emerald City this was a relief because there were times when I was nuts and butts to people and we had three different levels where we were cramped up stairs and escalators, Rose City was crowded but not to the point of rubbing elbows at every single moment of the day. The most crowded part was the convention floor where artist alley and vendors were set up. This is to be expected but unlike Emerald City I was never pushed and even though I was close to people most of the time I wasn’t rubbing elbows or being pushed into display tables. There was room to move around and room to talk to vendors.
The displays were all arranged as expected and the artists set their little areas up as they saw fit. The arrangement looked exactly like every other con but it was the lack of big booths that I enjoyed. Being an indie first type of a guy I don’t really care for the big two and I don’t need to see a ton of their stuff or see a large booth with their wares, they were pretty much only represented by the artists that have worked for them which doesn’t bother me because these same artists had creator owned titles as well. I like Image, probably the most out of the other big publishers, but I don’t think they need the exposure either. I was pleasantly surprised to see a large Dark Horse presence, which shouldn’t be that surprising because their headquarters are in Milwaukie Oregon, just a little southeast of Portland. It wasn’t just Dark Horse either, Oni Press had a large booth with a ton of books for sale, so did Valiant, and other small press comics. I nearly lost it when I saw Stranger Comics book and the creator team behind titles like The Untamed and Niobe but that is hopefully going to turn into an interview and possible reviews of some of their books because I went ham and bought nearly EVERYTHING they were selling. I feel like there was a mix of everything, a little something for all sorts of people and all sorts of fans. At this point the presence of toys, trinkets, and stuff outside of the norm has actually became the norm but I enjoy seeing things like that. The diversity in booths and artists/art in artist alley have become the norm and Rose City has lived up to the expectation of diversity in booths and artists presence.
This may not be the general consensus within the con going community but I feel like the panel talks are what really help make the experience worth wild. I’m not just a fan, a reviewer, or pseudo journalist, I’m also a want to be creator and getting to listen to creators talk about their experience is more valuable than words can express. I attended one of the talks with Dark Horse editors and got to hear from them how they handle books from script to print. The information these people have is literally years and years of experience so getting to listen to them talk is worth the ticket price probably twice over. I got to hear Dark Horse editors and creators talk about writing editing, and artistry; all for the price of admission. What can be better than having all of the fun of the floor with the professional feel of panel discussions. These were just the panel discussions that appealed to me, there were plenty other discussions ranging from Celebrities talking about their experiences to cosplayers talking about how to cosplay for cheap and stay realistic. Diversity is always the name of the game and the panels were very diverse, not just in content but with presenters as well, the panel with Dark Horse editors just happened to be all female. Normally I wouldn’t feel the need to share such a detail but I feel it really shows the commitment to a better more diverse community not just on the convention scene. And by the way, the panel rocked and these women were professional and knowledgeable beyond their years.
Overall I feel like the experience was top notch and more than worth the money I spent on not just products but lodging and gas and all the little things that add up on a short trip like this. Portland is a wonderful city and the Rose City Comic Con has to be one of the best in the US because it is certainly one of the best in the Pacific Northwest.
Here are some cosplay pictures to enjoy and I hope you would consider visiting me in the Pacific Northwest and having a blast at one of our cons!