If you want a really laid back, quirky, and open introduction to what comic book conventions should and can be, look no further than good old Portland and its offering of Rose City Comic Con (RCCC) to draw you in and make you a fan for life. Going strong in its fourth year, RCCC has a small yet plucky vibe that permeates the Oregon Convention Center with an inviting nature that’s sure to put any first-time or seasoned veteran at ease. The offerings of Media Rose-City-Comic-ConGuests, Exhibitors, Panels, and Artist Alley are no different than your typical con, but when these familiar staples are mixed in with a Retro Arcade (complete with old furniture and TV for your Nintendo Entertainment System needs), replicas of the Delorean and 60’s Batmobile, and elaborate spaces celebrating the University of Oregon’s football team you get the sense that Portland is injecting itself right into the heart of geek culture and we’re all better off for it.

For me, the floor of the con and its smattering of artists, writers, and talented craft-makers is the heart and soul of the two-day event. Admittedly, I’ve fallen off of waiting in line for panels mostly because I always feel like I’m missing something amid the exhibitors and artists. I like walking around and exploring the layout of the convention center. Undoubtedly, I always find something new – an artist, a writer, a comic, a thing – and I’d rather spend my time on the discovery instead of waiting in line. But that’s my preference. RCCC offered an amazing spread of panels this year that highlighted the history of comic books, representation in comics, geek culture, and spotlight celebrations of some kick-ass creative teams pushing the comic book industry forward. The panel schedule, however, was still light in comparison to other conventions, which allowed people the luxury of walking the floor (should the fancy strike them) with the chance of making those same discoveries.

This year, I had a lot of conversations with first or second-time exhibitors and it really started to hit home how important smaller conventions like RCCC are to creators trying to find an audience or in bolstering the confidence of artists struggling with the decision to pursue their art full time. It’s incredibly important to foster not just new fans but new creators to fill in the ranks for the next generation. And as vital as the internet and social media have 20150919_100558[2]become in distributing new voices, conventions are just as important in emphasizing the personal relationships built over love of a shared thing. Getting to meet your favorite artist, writer, actor, etc. and actually tell them, in person, is an incredible experience that allows us to put faces to names we only ever see on the cover of a book or the occasional article. It’s one of my favorite things to do at a con, talk to people who make the things I like. Granted, I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years but I’ve found that a lot of writers and artists are just as open and nervous as I am, though the Artist Alley section felt suspiciously easy-going this time around. Probably because a majority of the people there were from the greater Portland area, taking the travel stress levels down immensely.

But I digress, I could wax poetic about the significance of conventions and their importance to fandoms for a lot longer than anyone would want to read about so here’s a quick list of highlights from the show!

Artist Alley – Like I said, this is where I spend most of my time at any con, but it was great getting to reconnect with people I’ve become friendly with via the website and podcast while meeting a lot of new artists as well. See the gallery below for websites and examples of their work!20150919_103752[1]

Retrocade – This made my little retro-gamer heart soar! I swear they pilfered the television and couch from my grandparents’ basement! I had a lot of childhood memories rushing back! The wide array of pinball machines brought me back to those days hanging out in the local pizzeria with my cousins begging for quarters.

Costume Contest and Concert – While I understand putting the two together, it might be best to separate them in the future. I say this with a lot of love and respect for The Slants and Kirby Krackle because Lord knows the energy levels they want for their performances weren’t exactly being returned by the tired masses of geeks who just wanted to sit and look at some costumes. That said, wonderful performances all around! As for the costume contest it’s always a highlight of a con to see so much love and support given to people who put a lot of time and effort into expressing their love for a character or a particular fandom. Plus, I’m a sucker for fun, whimsy, and surprised faces on winners.

Media Guests – Carrie Fisher! Carrie Fisher! Carrie Fisher! Take the journey with me people! Friggin’ Princess Leia was right there! SQUEEEE! Ahem…moving on…(Carrie Fisher!)

Gallery – Gaze at the wonder of the art I procured!

 

"Doctors" by Chris Anderson

“Doctors” by Chris Anderson

 

"Monica" by Andy Fisher

“Monica” by Andy Fisher

 

“Big Barda” by Mike Henderson

20150928_173558[1]“Spider-Gwen” by Rico Renzi

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“Persephone” by Sara Talmadge

20150928_173708[1]

“Luci” by Robert Wilson IV

20150928_173740[1]

“Coffee Owl” by Jillian Lambert

20150928_173913[1]

“Judgement/Disappointment Owl”

by Jillian Lambert

20150928_173926[1]

“Delirium” by Chris Anderson

20150928_173938[1]

“Cowgirl” by Alisa Bishop

“Mie” by Emi Lenox

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