Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rose City Comic Con 2016 - My Experiences
September 10-11, 2016

For the 5th year, we have been blessed with a one of the best (IMHO) comic events in the PNW. I am proud to say that I have been in attendance to every single one of them. I still have my paper bracelet from the first year when it started in a crowded hall in the Double Tree.

As I've noted before, this event just gets bigger every year. This year will be Stan Lee's final appearance to Portland. I noticed that they gave him a ton of space on the floor.

Last year, I was honored to be a member of the press to help provide coverage for the event. This year, the wonderful folks at RCCC graced me with another set of press passes for my crew and I to attend. Thank you specifically to Ron and Paula Brister for allowing me the opportunity to come and provide a non-biased point-of-view to your growing event.

I had our photographer lined-up to help take photos... because my faithful readers all know that I rarely take good pics myself. Unfortunately she had to cancel due to an issue at home. You're stuck with the photos I took, I'm afraid. Don't worry. I think you'll be surprised at what shots I did get this year and how well they turned out.

Last year, we learned that arriving even an hour after the con opened was a costly mistake. This year, we got there around 9am and we weren't the only ones waiting. Fortunately since we were apart of the media, they allowed us early access at 9:30am.

When I talk about "us" or "we", I did have a friend with me who helped with the experience. He goes in for getting signatures and photos from the celebs. His primary focus was getting a signature from Jon Barenthal and photos with Summer Glau (JEALOUS) and Ming-Na Win. Our first stop was to make sure he was in-line for the 10:15am Jon Barenthal signing... which was not a problem since we were the first ones there.

At this time, I should mention that last year my friend purchased a very special copy of The Walking Dead #115 from Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer. This specific cover had been donated by our wonderful supporter and artist, Paul Rowden. Paul donates to #CBC4C in the memory of his adoptive father Francis Joseph Bernauer, who died of colon cancer. He was able to get the autographs from a variety of cast members from the show. Scott Wilson, Chad L. Coleman, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Kyla Kenedy, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Michael Rooker.


His goal is to get as many cast signatures as he can on it. This year, he added Jon Barenthal.

After leaving him to get his autograph, I went on the hunt for my personal autographs and to meet with several friends who were at the show. While leaving the celeb area, my first stop was to make sure that I knew where Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner were going to be. As I approached, walking towards me was none other than Jimmy himself. We said hello to one another, I shook his hand as he kindly greeted me and I asked when they would be ready for fans. He let me know that Amanda was planning on arriving around 10am, so I thanked him and we parted ways. Very nice guy, I must say.

As I did a walk-through of the show floor to get my bearings on where each artist and vendor I had planned on visiting was, I stopped in on my friend Benjamin Kreger of Warrior Innkeeper Creative. We spoke for a minute as he was on his way to meet with another friend who was having an early morning panel discussion. He then gifted me with a copy of the Black Suit of Death #1: Convention Special.

I have been a fan of Ben's work for quite a while, and Black Suit of Death is my favorite work of his. When his had his first Kickstarter last year to get this book published, it was the first time I had ever supported any KS campaign. I was very bummed when it wasn't successful, but I think that worked for the best because he doubled his efforts on the 2nd campaign... and it paid-off. Fortunately, I was able to pledge more the second time around than the first. If you're not familiar with this book, I encourage you to take a look for yourself.

After I had made my first walk-around the show floor, I came back to get in line for Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. I had brought a Harley Quinn cover that was donated to #CBC4C by artist Tom Campbell to have both Jimmy and Amanda sign. They both loved the cover and I hope this will help raise some good $$ for the American Cancer Society. Of course, I also got some of my own comics signed as well as pick-up a great print for my collection.

Before I left my home, I was considering taking all of my unsigned Hellboy trades with me to get signed by Mike Mignola. I know that every time I have met him before, his wife insists that he's trying to get away from signing events, so I never know when my next chance will be. When I realized how much extra weight that would have put on my backpack, I decided against it. I'm glad I did because there was a perpetually unending line of people that were waiting on a chance to meet him.

I did bring my copy of Words for Pictures for Brian Michael Bendis to sign, but unfortunately he too had an unending line of fans.

As with last year, I reached-out to several of the attending artists to see if any of them would be able and willing to donate a cover to my non-profit, Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer. This year we were able to receive donations from Chrissie Zullo, Jeff Parker, Keith Tucker and Ben Hansen. Unfortunately I forgot to stop by Jeff's table to pick-up the cover he's donating to #CBC4C... but he'll be shipping it to us and I'll post the scan of it on our FB page.

I also couldn't walk away Chrissie's table without adding some more of her amazing prints to my collection.

I did manage to make sure I took some photos of some of the great cosplays I saw this year.

The Catwoman in the last photo is actually a friend, Allison. She has some pretty amazing work available at Isles of Day. That guy she's "threatening" happens to my friend I spoke about earlier, Scott.

It wouldn't have been as great of a show if I didn't stop by to see my friend and biggest #CBC4C supporter, Tony Grove from Tony's Kingdom of Comics.

Not actually my photo.
Even though my family has imposed a purchasing freeze on me this time of year because of my birthday in October and, of course, Christmas, I indulged myself to get a new Funko Pop for my collection from Tony.

The biggest highlight, for me, is when I find vendors that have great deals on trades to add to my collection. When I find these deals, I try to take as much advantage as I can out of them. Ever since Tony recommended I stop by their table at the very first Rose City Comic Con, I have always made it a point to hit the I Like Comics area as they typically have a great selection of trades at a considerable discount. When I arrived, there were several others taking in the selection available at 70% off. Unfortunately for me, many of the titles were either ones I already had in my collection or titles I didn't feel like trying to read just yet. Here's what I walked away with:

Just before leaving the event, I did manage to find Gem City Comics that had a huge selection of trades available that they were selling for $5 each or 5 for $20. I limited myself because I knew my limits, but I could have easily bought more than this.

I absolutely love this years event, and I can't wait until next year. I'm hoping that I can actually get some table space to help promote #CBC4C at next years RCCC.

The air was electric, and you could feel that everyone was enjoying themselves. It seemed as though the supply of volunteer henchmen was lacking. There was a time where I was needing help locating a specific artist, and I walked around for several minutes before I finally found a red shirt to help. I hope that next year they will put the call out for volunteers a little sooner or hopefully there will be more of a response to the call.

Something that was brought-up on several of my talks with people around the event was the question of why this wasn't 3-days. I feel that RCCC can easily fill at least a half day on a Friday opening. With the recent announcement that Image is moving to Portland, I also expect that the pull of artists and creators will also increase the demand for Rose City. As I told my friend, with Image coming to Portland, there's a bigger chance of getting Robert Kirkman to come to RCCC. To that he replied, "That would probably be the only non-cast member I would have sign my Walking Dead cover!" (I hope someone imparts this information to Ron, Paula and Image.)

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