“Rose City Comic Con 2019” by Richard F. Yates

This year’s Rose City Comic Con ran from Friday, Sept. 13th to Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Several months ago, my wife (Mariah) and I bought tickets for Sunday the 15th for us, our older daughter (Frankie), and her husband (Alec). (We bought the tickets for Frank and Alec because THEY had bought Mariah and I tickets to go see Adam Savage a few months ago, which was a great time, and we wanted to pay them back. We bought SUNDAY tickets because we’re cheap—even though Sunday has reduced hours (it was only open until 5:00 P.M.) and there are fewer folks in costume, fewer celebs in the house, fewer panels to choose from, and people’s energy levels are generally lower—but there are also less people to bump into, which is essential if you’re rather neurotic and not comfortable having people touch you… (I admit, a lot of the time we spent looking at the various booths was just me running from crowded areas into less crowded areas. We window shopped at a LOT of the less busy spots just because there were fewer people at them for me to avoid!

So early Sunday morning we got ourselves all dolled up (Mariah wore her kitty-themed Supernatural shirt, and I put on my Mr. Flibble Red Dwarf tee and my Bigfoot short-sleeve button up—stylin’!), and waited for Frankie and Alec to arrive and grab us. (They also brought baby Felicity—it was her first con—who was wearing a Star Wars themed onesie…) Once they arrived, we piled in the vehicle and headed south towards Portland (stopping only once, to get coffee—of course…)

Traffic on that rainy Sunday morning was light, until we got to Portland, where traffic is ALWAYS bad. (Not Las Vegas or L.A. bad, but pretty bad.) Parking is also always an issue in P-Town, but I thought, MAYBE, since it was Sunday, we’d be able to park at the Convention Center…but no. That lot was sold out—and the one across the street, which was charging $25.00 to park!!!!, was ALSO full! We drove around for a bit, and finally found a lot a few blocks away that was “only” $20.00 for the day—which is still insane JUST FOR PARKING! (We spent more money to PARK than we did buying things at the con!) Once we’d got ourselves parked, we hoofed it, in the rain, with the baby (although newer strollers have things, like a ROOF, that the strollers that we had when our kids were little didn’t!) the couple of blocks to the convention center, AND, because we were with a baby in a stroller, we got ushered into a side door instead of having to walk through the whole line like the normal folks! (It pays to know the baby!) (By this time, we were all very wet, and neither Mariah nor I have fancy shoes with things like water-proof-soles, so our feet were wet for the rest of the day…)

BUT WE’D ARRIVED AT RCCC!!!

We hit the restrooms, Alec grabbed some programs, and we got to work figuring out what we wanted to do first. Mariah and I are big Harry Potter fans, and we noticed that a panel, “15 Potter Topics in 50 Minutes,” was going to start soon, so we basically ran (I don’t really run—I shamble somewhat quickly) through the main exhibition hall—INSTANTLY becoming overloaded by all the sights and costumes and foot-traffic and booths and merchandise—to get to the other side of the convention center, where the panels were being held. We got seats just as the talking began, and we sat back and enjoyed being NOT-the-most-nerdy-people-in-the-room (for once) for a little while. About five minutes into the panel, which was about how wizards are basically crazy and the Harry Potter universe makes no sense—but in a good way—the baby decided she was offended by all the negativity directed against Hogwarts and got grumpy. Frankie and Alec tried to quietly slip out of the room (not entirely successfully), and Mariah and I were mostly on our own for the rest of the day. (Frank did send us notes and pictures, every once in a while. She went to a panel with Wil Wheaton and was excited that she got to ask him a question, and she sent some photos from a Star Wars photo-op where she and Alec and the baby were in a trash compacter. Those were pretty funny!)

After the Potter talk, Mariah and I decided to just wander for a bit. Honestly, these conventions are so big and there is so much to look at and do, it can be completely overwhelming. We looked at a bunch of booths, wandered for a long time, and saw a million things that we wished we’d had enough money to buy—but we were REALLY good and only spent THREE BUCKS all day! (We found some vintage looking Halloween postcards! We love Halloween.)

We were also quite entertained by what looked like a DROID PETTING ZOO!

In fact, there were several places that were set up as photo-op spots, with clever backdrops and even character actors, like Thor or Captain America or various Star Wars characters, who you could have pose with you. We saw one area that had a Ghostbusters theme… (I love Ghostbusters…)

We kept wandering—looking at artist booths, occasionally writing down names of folks in my little notebook (I always carry a notebook) or grabbing business cards… When we’re rich (which should be pretty soon), we’re going to order a bunch of artwork and prints from various folks that we saw and add to our (somewhat small) art collection. We don’t collect art for INVESTMENT purposes—we buy stuff that we LOVE and want to SEE on our walls! It makes us feel good to have stuff we like around us, AND buying from independent folks, artists who are just trying to make a living, also makes us feel like we’re helping THEM. Mutually beneficial. Mariah saw one lady who paints with various TEAS, Melissa Pagluica, and we wrote her name down to look her up online later. Maybe order something from her, once we get paid again… And, I always stop to talk with artist, Jimmy Mahfood, whenever I see him at a convention. I always love his art style!

As we made our way across the universe, my shitty back started to hurt, so we went to look for a place to sit down, maybe eat some crackers that we’d brought with us, and take some pain pills! (Always plan ahead and bring what you’re gonna need!) What we FOUND was the Portland Retro Gaming Expo room where they had a bunch of old console machines hooked up to television sets that people could just sit at and play. I eyeballed an old Genesis machine and took a crack at Sonic the Hedgehod 3—which was released in 1994 and MUCH harder than I remember it being! We sat and rested and snacked, and Mariah and I each had some ibuprofen, and chilled out for a bit, while I banged my head against Sonic for a few minutes. It was pretty fun. There were quite a few people in this area, lots of kids playing old games, which was cool to see.

Just outside the door of this console gaming area was the Ground Kontrol retro arcade room, with all the games set to “FREE PLAY,” and while Mariah went off to find a restroom, I played a little Battle Zone. I WANTED to play Donkey Kong, but the machine was always busy… Then—I found LADYBUG!

I destroyed the previous high score, more than doubling it! (Are you impressed by my skills on this weird Pac-Man knock-off that almost nobody remembers?) And I always use “DAD” as my initials when I get a high score—but that’s only because I can’t figure out how to make GRANDPA in three letters. I’d use “GPA,” but then everyone would just think I was super proud of my grade point average. (I DID graduate magna cum laude when I got my degree, by the way, but who really cares about THAT stuff… {cough}.)

Once we were done saving the digital universe (I only played one game of Ladybug, and although Mariah wanted to play some pinball, all the machines were constantly busy,) we headed back towards the main exhibition hall—but bumped into Frankie and Alec on the way and talked for a few minutes. They seemed to be having a good time, and the baby was doing well. Then we went our separate ways again, and it was back into the CRUSH for us! We moseyed around the killing floor, looking at more fun stuff, spotted the Art Horse / Bonemill booth (run by a couple of friends of ours—they comped me a copy of their new penny-dreadful / pulp style BOOK, which I’ll be reviewing in the near future), and we eventually made our way back towards the side of the building for the next panel discussion. (It was time for another Harry Potter talk…) We spotted a few great costumes on the way.

The second panel we attended was called “DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?!?,” and it was a discussion of the differences between the Harry Potter BOOKS and the FILMS. There are a LOT of differences. One of the interesting things about these fans, though, is the arguments they get into over which version was BETTER! Fun talk. Very spirited!

Directly after that panel was one, called “Pop Art, High Art, and Comics,” about how famous artists, particularly Roy Lichtenstein and sometimes Andy Warhol, would “borrow” comic art for their work—and how these artists would make MILLIONS off their paintings, but the original artists who created the original images often remained completely poor and, even worse, entirely uncredited for their creations! Interesting topic. Sad, but interesting…

By this point in the day, almost 4:00 P.M., Mariah and I were getting tired. We half-heartedly headed back into the main exhibition hall, then tried to get in touch with Frank to see where her group was. We decided to meet them by the video game area and call it a day. While waiting for the kids to arrive at the Ground Kontrol room, I snapped this image of a cool dragon boat hanging from the ceiling, although to be fair, I THINK this is ALWAYS at the Oregon Convention Center, so it wasn’t really, “officially,” part of the con…

And that was our trip to RCCC! We slowly hobbled our way back to the street, walked to the parking garage, and then fought traffic until we got out of the city. As we were all hungry, we swung by a Mod Pizza in Vancouver on the way home and munched, then headed north on I-5 until we landed back in our town. (Did you ever read that play, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder? It a good one. I’ll have to review it one of these days!)

Mariah and I had a great (but tiring) time, and we decided that the next comic convention we go to we’re going to be SURE that we have extra spending money with us. We both saw a great many pieces of art that we would have loved to buy—but we just didn’t prepare for it! I, personally, was looking for more old school trading card packs to buy (like the ones that I got at the Cowlitz Gaming Expo—and then DESTROYED for a post!) However, the only trading cards that I saw were Magic the Gathering, and that wasn’t really what I had in mind. (I was thinking more like Mork & Mindy or Goonies or Weird Wheels, but none of the booths that I looked at had anything even CLOSE!) To be honest, there weren’t even THAT many booths selling comics at this comic convention. Lots of folks selling t-shirts and cell phone cases, Funkos and prints or original artwork—but the conventions these days just aren’t like the ones that I used to go to back in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, which were mostly comic shops and vendors who brought a bunch of books in and sold them at a slight discount, with maybe one or two big time celebrities or well known creators who you could get autographs from, but mostly they were just folks buying and selling comics!

Still, we DID have a great time—but that’s easy to do when you’re with funny people who you enjoy being around, whatever the occasion! (It’s why Mariah and I get along! We’re both laid back and chill, most of the time, enjoy a good laugh, and we’re both super-nerds, who will go to not just ONE, but TWO Harry Potter fan discussions! Mariah is even thinking about going to a Harry Potter themed Yule Ball being held in Portland this December… I’m not 100 percent sure about that one, personally, but if she thinks it will be fun, I’ll go with her!)

[A rare image of me and Mariah. I’m not very photogenic, so I usually just POINT the camera at other far-more-interesting stuff, instead of making people look at my ugly, gray-bearded mug!]

Not sure what our next big adventure is going to be—maybe a trip to a pumpkin patch?!? Whatever it is, I’ll try to get some exciting action photos and then tell you folks all about it! Deal? Okay. We’ll see you later!!!

[P.S. – This post originally appeared on my Steemit blog on 16 Sept. 2019!]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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Published by richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)

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