Rose City Comic Con 2013 Impressions
Hey folks, Nick here. On September 21st and 22nd, Rose City Comic Con took place at the Oregon Convention Center and guest writer/artist Kathryn Perkins and I were there to check it out. Below we have both posted pieces detailing our impressions of the convention. So, without further adieu…
After putting on a small, but successful inaugural show at the Doubletree Hotel in 2012, Rose City Comic Con has grown by leaps and bounds in the convention’s second year. After partnering up with the Emerald City Comic Con organization earlier in 2013, RCCC not only moved to a bigger venue (the Oregon Convention Center), but boasted a much larger guest line-up that featured everyone from actress Jewel Staite (“Firefly”) to comic book legends like Kurt Busiek (“Astro City”). In fact, it’s safe to say that the two-day RCCC had something for everyone this time around.
Upon entering the show room floor, con attendees were immediately overwhelmed with a layout that featured exhibitors, the 60’s Batmobile, celebrity autograph booths, a picture booth section, food carts, a kids area, board and card game demo tables (including one for the great card game “Smash Up”), a mini-arcade (courtesy of Stryker’s Arcade), a writer and artist gallery (comprised of indie and mainstream talent), and yes, even a pet adoption area that promoted Hannah the Pet Society. Among the most frequented hot spots (from my observations at least) were comic artist Katie Cook’s both (which had “My Little Pony” fans flocking to it), Rainy Day Games, David Ginutoli, Jewel Staite and John DiMaggio’s booths, and Comic Collector Shop.
As one walks the floor, you expect to see local mainstays like Cosmic Monkey and Things From Another World, but discovering new local businesses (or talent) is what these cons were made for. Had it not been for the con, it’s possible most people (including myself) would have never known about Amlowi’s ultra cool crocheted hats ETSY shop or Oregon City’s Stryker’s Arcade (which features classic and modern pinball and arcade games). RCCC definitely proved to be a great venue for self promotion to be sure.
Aside from shopping and meeting personal heroes, one of the major components of any comic book/pop culture convention is the cosplayers. People watching and photo taking has become nearly mandatory at conventions as fanboys and fangirls dress up as their favorite characters from TV shows, comic books, movies and video games. It’s always heartwarming to see people let their geek flag fly and it’s even more exciting to see the amount of work and skill that people put into their costume (see the incredible Dr. Manhattan and Gem cosplayers below for reference).
Lovers of “Adventure Time,” “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” “Mass Effect,” and “Firefly” seemed to be the most popular cosplay choices here, but “Doctor Who” costumers were far and away the most commonplace. Despite there being a “Whovians United” fan panel, the con strangely did not have any guests from the long running sci-fi series (which seemed like a major missed opportunity).
Outside of the show room floor, convention goers had the opportunity to see some of their favorite celebs on a panel in the large Ballroom Lobby panel rooms. Among the highlights were Avery Brooks (best known as Captain Benjamin Sisko from the criminally underrated “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) and Jewel Staite (best known for playing Kaylee in Joss Whedon’s cult hit TV series “Firefly”). Brooks waxed poetically about race, “Star Trek,” “The Captains” documentary, and music and even treated fans to a jazzy song at the end of the panel. It was a strange panel to be sure, but it was undeniably different from the usual fare. Immediately following Brooks in the Panel 1 room was fan favorite Jewel Staite. In case you hadn’t noticed from the strong presence by the PDX Browncoats group, “Firefly” (and “Serenity” for that matter) have a very dedicated following in the Portland area. The Browncoats came out in full force to see Jewel and she captivated and charmed the audience for the entire 60 minute panel as she told truly hilarious stories about Nathan Fillion, cheeseburgers, Christopher Judge, Joss Whedon, and “Firefly” (of course). To say she won the convention is an understatement.
Celebrities weren’t the only individuals to have panels, however, as the convention offered a wide range of programming involving podcasters (including the giant monster centric Kaijucast), comic book writers and artists (Christopher Yost, Matt Fraction, Ethan and Malachai Nicolle, and Greg Rucka to name a few), musicians (like geek favs “The Doubleclicks”), comic book companies (namely locally based Oni Press, periscope Studios, and Dark Horse Comics), and informative panels about creating monsters, writing, cosplaying and a whole lot more.
As I departed the convention, a random attendee’s squee of “This is sooo much better than last year” kept ringing through my head. That certainly seemed to be the general consensus this year and I can only imagine that RCCC will get bigger and better with each passing year.
Nick and I entered Oregon Convention Center just after Rose City Comic Con opened its doors at 10 am. We followed the map to the way downstairs, and as we descended the stairs, I looked to my left at the escalators and saw a fellow in a very nice Fifth Doctor costume. My hopes were lifted for this convention.
We picked up our Media passes and Dark Horse Comics lanyards, and were ushered quickly onto the main floor. I was happy that we had arrived early as we were actually able to take long looks at booths and merchandise without peering over (or in my diminutive case, between) shoulders. Nick and I ambled through the many aisles and took in all the amazing artwork (and even the 1966 Batmobile in all its yacht-like glory). I myself am an artist, but I am incredibly jealous of those who can design their own characters and have wonderful styles all their own – I only seem to be capable of copying things and people from photographs.
The place had a wonderful amount of Doctor Who merchandise spread over several booths, so my budget was spent fairly quickly on an adorable die-cast metal K-9 keychain from the Everett Comics booth, a vinyl Weeping Angel figurine and a 3D glasses Tenth Doctor tee shirt from the Comic Collector Shop booth, and a beautiful mirrored Dalek necklace from a local jewelry maker (who can be found at http://amerystudios.etsy.com).
After a quick lunch of chicken strips and fries, we decided to take pictures of some great costumes. Nick found an amazing Doctor Manhattan, and then we noticed that the Fifth Doctor was next in line to meet Jewel Staite, so we waited around for him so we could get photos of his lovely cricket outfit. The fellow was very friendly, and had the Fivey poses down quite well! As we were finishing up our pictures, an Eleventh Doctor complete with fez and string mop came along, so we got more pictures of the two Doctors posing together with their Sonic Screwdrivers. Whovian heaven! We saw several other Doctors, male and female, that afternoon – including a Two in a fairly messed-up wig. We also spotted a Clockwork Droid and, of all characters to cosplay, the blue maintenance girl (Raffalo) in the Ninth Doctor “The End of the World” episode. I found a Guy Montag in his Fire Brigade 451 gear, playing a pinball machine. He appeared to be by himself, and after he finished his game, I asked if I could get a photo of him. He seemed incredibly surprised that anyone had recognized his “Fahrenheit 451″ cosplay, and was happy to pose for me. I later saw him sitting down at Infinity Tattoo’s booth – I wonder what he got inked on his shoulder?
At about 1:15, Nick and I headed upstairs to Ballroom 101 to catch the panels for Avery Brooks and Jewel Staite. I must say, I love miss Staite even more now after seeing her talk. She is gorgeous, talented, and hilarious. By the end of the hour, everyone in the room was crying with laughter, and the mood in the place was up to the clouds. I left with sore cheeks and a spring in my step… and even more of a need to rewatch Firefly.
We went back down to the booths so that Nick could do his shopping, and I continued my people-watching. There were many, many amazing costumes to be seen, and lots of geeky t-shirts. By mid-afternoon the place had become too crowded for me to see any more merchandise booths without crawling under feet, so I tended to stay at the edges and just observe.
The two of us left the convention having thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I certainly look forward to next year’s Rose City Comic Con – and I think I will try my first ever cosplay as the Eighth Doctor.
Note: Kathryn Perkins is a local Portland artist who creates custom guitar pendants which are available at her ETSY shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/frenziedsilence