September 10-12, 2021
Oregon Convention Center
After the total $#!+show that 2020 was, I was conflicted about going to RCCC this year... but I'm glad that I did!
While I am fully vaccinated for Covid-19, I haven't completely lost touch with the news about the variant along with the increasing numbers of new reported cases in the Portland area. On top of that, I had also learned of friends who were also vaccinated who then contracted Covid. I'm not one to play into hysteria easily, but with the information I was presented with, it gave me a little bit of anxiety. It doesn't help that this just exacerbated my normal social anxiety.
But, since I was given another opportunity to attend as a member of the press, I couldn't turn it down and felt that I should just swallow my anxiety and push through it.
Parking was not a problem but there was initially a long line to get through security/vaccination/negative Covid test verification line to get to the elevator and into the actual convention center. Thankfully, this line moved through fairly quickly and by the time I got inside, the event had already opened and there weren't any lines to stand in. I also noticed that there were a number of hand sanitizer stations strategically placed throughout the building. This helped to settle much of my initial anxiety.
As part of the vaccination verification/screening process, people were given a wristband to signify that they have been verified. This also helped to set my mind at ease.
Because of the timing of when the event was coupled with how late I was advised that I received my press pass, I didn't have much in the way of time to devote to the show. I knew that I had time on Friday, but my Saturday was unfortunately booked with other obligations and Sunday was the only other day I would be available to attend.
When I made it into the main hall, I could feel the difference between this and prior years. While there were fewer people, and there seemed to be attention to the layout of the tables/booths to be able to provide people additional space to move about and still maintain some sense of social distancing. And in the celebrity area, there was a lot of extra room. (I'm certain that was also due to the fact that the number of celebrity guests was quite reduced from prior years.)
As for me, the feel of the event was a lot better than I was afraid it might be. I did hear the same from a number of other people who attended. The organizers did a great job of ensuring peoples safety. As of this writing (a little more than a month from the actual event) I haven't heard of any Covid break-outs associated with the event.
With my schedule being limited, I wanted to get in as much as I could in my limited time on Friday, and work to making it back on Sunday to get the additional visits accomplished. With this in mind, I had a few items I was specifically looking for and started my hunt.
For my Funko Pop collection, I was looking to complete the Star Wars: Bad Batch with both Echo and Hunter being elusive to find. Fortunately, Matt's Cavalcade of Comics was where I found them both at a reasonable price.
As my loyal readers know, I also run a non-profit to help raise $$ for the American Cancer Society called Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer. While we have quite a number of blanks to offer the number of artists who help us out, I'm always on the look-out for special blanks that aren't readably available through or normal channels. In this case, I had to hit-up the Boom! Studios booth to pick-up some Rick & Morty blanks.
I also picked-up some gifts for my roommates in the form of some gamer themed coffee cups from Level1Gamers. I got the "Resting Lich Face" & "You Jelly? Gelatinous Cube" mugs for them. There are also a few other gifts that I picked-up, but they are for later so I don't want to spoil the surprise.
After a few hours, I realized that I had already spent my entire budget for the day, and was starting to get hungry. While I had budgeted $500 for the entire event, I had placed the money in 2 different locations to try to curb my initial spending. I thought I had put $300 in my wallet and the remaining $200 was in my reserve location. When I noticed I only had $5 left in my wallet, I knew that I needed to go onto the quest for food and look forward to coming back on Sunday.
On my way out, I decided to stop into the arcade setup to play a few games before actually leaving. I miss being able to go to an arcade on a regular basis to play my favorite games. As luck would have it, one of my favorite arcade games was there; Tron. Unfortunately, the controls were not in the greatest of condition so my play was quick and poor.
I did manage to get some photos while I was there, which is very uncommon but welcome.
Here are my hopes for next year:
- I hope that scheduling and announcing of guests will be more like years prior than this year. I know that this was put together at the last minute (all things considered) and getting everything planned ahead of the event must have been difficult at best. As it was, I don't think there were many of the comic related guests that I come to see (save for those artists that have donated to #CBC4C.) [I am truly sorry I didn't take more time to come visit you.]
- I hope that the announcement of whether or not I was going to receive a press pass or not. I received the notice that I wasn't going to be getting a promotional table rather quickly after the application process was closed.
- I hope that we are finally through all the Covid problems by next year. While all safety precautions were taken by the event, I didn't find it very comfortable wearing a mask the entire time I was there. (I guess that means I'll never cosplay with a mask.)
- I hope to have a better handle on my time so I can make sure to not only make the purchases that I want to, but also visit the artists I want to converse with.