Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wizard World Portland - My Experience

The weekend of the 1st ever Wizard world Portland has come and gone. I was able to partake in the Friday festivities... to a small degree. Unfortunately, do to my schedule I wasn't able to sit down with anyone for an interview as I had hoped. We'll try again later. Here are my experiences from my time at this con.

The traffic was horrible, as to be expected, but fortunately parking was not an issue as there was plenty in the underground parking structure for the Oregon Convention Center. I arrived around 3:30pm and registrations was quick and easy since I had purchased my ticket via Groupon at 50% off. I got my swag bag and was on my way in.
I was kind of sad that they used bracelets instead of badges, but oh well. The bag included a small selection of swag pictured above and below.
When I finally entered the actual convention hall, I took a moment to take it all in.

Having the most experience at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Wizard World seemed quite a bit smaller. This wasn't a bad thing, I was just expecting that with the Wizard World title there would have been more. As it was, I was very pleased with the layout of the booths and I appreciated the positioning of the artists and media guests.

The one thing that struck me as odd was that there wasn't horribly huge lines for the media guests like there were at Emerald City. Perhaps this is by the design of selling tickets in advance. I found this to be very refreshing and almost made me want to get some autographs.

My first stop was to make sure that what I had brought with me to get signed got signed, so it was off to artist alley for me. My first stop was at Gail Simone. This was my first chance to actually meet her, but I have been following her on Twitter since I joined a few months back. She is a peach and very nice to talk with. I look forward to continue reading her books. As I didn't bring too much for her to sign, I kept my time there brief. I look forward to having another opportunity to see her again.

Next, I went looking for Scott Lobdell. As an old school X-Men fan, I am a fan of his writing and had a few items for him to sign. I met him a couple years ago in Seattle and was looking forward to another meeting. When I found his table, it was bare without a writer. I came back a few additional times before I left, and he never showed. What really disappointed me was that Chris Claremont, who was only scheduled to appear Saturday & Sunday, was there on Friday. Again, I mention that I am an old school X-Men fan and have several items that I would have loved Claremont to sign... but I didn't bring them since I was only attending Friday. Fortunately, this would be my biggest disappointment.

After finding that Scott Lobdell was a no-show, I then went to find Joe Keatinge who is currently writing the new Morbius comic for Marvel. When I first arrived at his table, it was setup, but with no Joe. I was very hopeful because he had a few variants of Morbius #1 that I didn't have in my collection (see my Variant Covers post to learn about my fixation on them). It only took a few second before I was greeted by Joe Keatinge himself where we spoke about our mutual desire to see Marvel publish trades of the Midnight Son's material. I didn't realize that he was a local writer from Oregon, but when I got home I made sure to follow him on Twitter so I can keep up-to-date on his writings.

Now that my quest for signatures was at an end... yes, I didn't have much to bring for others to sign... I went to Arthur Suydam's tables where I was met with a multitude of prints for sale. The guy who was helping to run the table informed me that there was a buy 5, get 2 free sale. I couldn't pass on that. I picked my favorite 7 and had Suydam sign them.

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I then decided to wander to see if I could find some good books to add to my ever-growing collection. Even though I had (kind of) promised I would add to my collection of trades and graphic novels until I had significantly reduced the number in my "to read" AND "to review" piles, I couldn't pass up a chance to add more when I came to the I Like Comics booth. They had their trades at 60% off, so I couldn't turn away. I limited myself a bit, and here's what I picked-up:

I also bought a copy of Marvel Zombies 3, but when I got home, I found that it was already in my collection. These things happen when your mobile database doesn't account for graphic novels in your wishlist.

As I continued to look, I found a couple other items that screamed "Must Have" for my collections:

Jabba the Hut (top) completes my non-exclusive collection of Star wars Funko bobbleheads. I couldn't pass this up.
Walking Dead #100 SDCC variant signed by Robert Kirkman. I found this for a very reasonable price, so it had to go into my collection.
And then I came to the CBLDF booth where I picked-up these 2 wonderful trades to add to my collection. Of course, from CBLDF, they were also both signed. I am proud of myself that I didn't go overboard while I was at their booth as there was so much wonderfulness to choose from.

Another wonderful thing happened while I was waiting for my debit card to be charged for these trades. I was mentioning that I didn't receive the Walking Dead #1 Michael Golden variant cover that was exclusive to Wizard World Portland attendees. I guess that you actually had to buy a VIP ticket to receive one. A gentleman overheard my conversation and proceeded to offer me his copy as his would likely "just end up in a box somewhere". I expressed my gratitude (THANK YOU again, if you happen to read this) and once my transaction was completed with CBLDF, my course was set to Michael Golden.

When I arrived, Micahel was just opening-up his Subway sandwich. I asked if he wouldn't mind signing once more before digging into his Subway. His handler/assistant informed me of the signing fee and that if I purchased one of his prints, this fee would be waived. I agreed to that, and this is what I have to show for it:

I'm a sucker for G.I. Joe prints. :)

This isn't the actual copy of Walking Dead I got signed. At the time of this writing, I hadn't scanned it yet. Once I do, I will replace this placeholder for an image of the real deal with Michael's signature. :)

I guess the theme for me for this convention was about artist prints. I've never been an avid collection before, but I do have a small collection. If I were to have stayed for Saturday, I probably would have found myself pawing through longboxes to fill the holes in my collection of comics. I would have also been able to take part in some great panels.

I did make a major rookie mistake by not eating before going to the show. After 3-hours, my stomach was telling me to eat and the rest of my body was telling me to rest. I took their advice and made my way back home. I look forward to next year, but now my sights are on Stumptown in April.

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