Every time I write about a Portland con I have to preface the fact that I live in the Seattle area, which for me is about two hours of a drive, that way the gravity of the situation is understood. I’m in love with the Portland area. It’s always fun to go to the cons and a large part of that is the venue, the Oregon Convention Center. It’s a nice size, most of it is one level, and the second level is easy to get to. One of my pet peeves about the Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con is the fact that there are multiple levels with tons of stairs and escalators to get stuck on with little room and long lines going up and down. The open space of the Oregon Convention Center and specifically around the exhibit hall makes it really easy to find as spot to sit and take pictures or read comics. While the exhibit hall is generally packed to the gills it’s still easier than normal to stop and patron a booth while not holding up a huge line of folks. Overall I enjoy the Oregon experience and being away from home helps to justify the expenses because it’s nearly as much money to go my own state’s biggest con as it is to travel to Portland.
The first thing I do at any con is a full scan of the show floor. I make mental notes of the booths I want to check out and the artists I want to see. It’s much easier for me to go about it that way because I usually know what talks I want to go to before showing up to the event. I usually plan my exhibit time around the panels and talks I want to see. I digress, this year was much more floor time and after my first go round I noticed that there were only a few people I was dying to meet.
First and foremost, I had to meet Garrett Gunn with Source Point Press. Gunn is a Facebook friend for whom I have followed and had the pleasure of watching some of his projects come to life, most notably Franklin and Ghost for Source Point Press and Go West for Alterna Comics. Gunn was a lot of fun to talk too and because of Facebook and the indie comic community we already felt like we knew each other. Sometimes there can be an awkward moment as you meet someone for the first time but with Gunn it felt like we were old friends meeting up again after a while but picking up right where we left off.
We chatted about his move to Source Point and the creative process behind his books. I ended up getting a copy of all the Source Point Press books he had at his table, not just his books but all of them, and he was generous enough to give me some original art of an upcoming release. The print is for Beardzilla, written by Gunn, and art and letters by veteran indie comic creators Stan Yak and HdE respectively. The promo art in the picture is done by Justin Mason. No matter what people say the experience of talking with creators is part of what gets people excited for a project and I can say for sure that I’m excited for anything Gunn does in the future as well as anything Source Point Press. It was a wonderful experience to meet someone I felt like I knew already but it was also fun to see all the Source Point books and hear first hand accounts of how much fun all the Source Point creators are.
Second person I wanted to meet was Felipe Cagno who is running a Kickstarter for Few and Cursed #4. I have been a backer of Few and Cursed since the first issue and I couldn’t buy anything because I own it all and already backed his project but it was certainly nice to put the face to the name.
Finally I was super excited to meet Ashley V. Robinson and Jason Inman. Robinson and Inman are frequent guests on my favorite YouTube show Collider Heroes where they talk everything comics, and comic book movies/TV. The show is super fun, and again, it feels like I know them already from all the times I’ve sat and watched this show. Together they wrote a really amazing comic, Jupiter Jet, from Action Lab Comics. I didn’t get in on the Kickstarter, nor did I see it at my LCS, so it was actually very convenient for me to grab them all while at the con. When I first walked up to the booth Inman was nearest to me and Robinson was off to my left talking to someone else but Inman noticed and pulled away to engage me as I was grabbing all of the Jupiter Jet books.
As I chatted with Inman he noticed that I grabbed a variant cover of something I already had and tried to point it out, which was very nice, but I informed him that I wanted at least one copy of everything they had including the variants to which his reply was very endearing. “Wow really? That’s so cool.” He was genuinely surprised and happy that I was excited about his comic and he was truly surprised that I wanted the variants and the regular covers. Even as I was checking out, Robinson stopped what she was doing to be courteous and introduce herself and say thank you for the purchase. They were very nice folks and their passion for comics was very apparent.
I haven’t had a bad experience in Portland yet, knock on wood, and as I think about this fact I’m considering applying for a press pass for the Rose City Comic Con so I can bring exclusive coverage of the next big Portland con.