I’d never been to Rose City before this year, despite only living three hours away. It’d been on my list for years, but given it always falls in September, it was difficult since it clashes with back-to-school time. However, with my youngest turning eighteen, this year was the perfect year to start, so off I went!
RCCC was also the first con I’ve ever attended by myself, which was … a strange experience. I typically visit them with my husband, and it’s become one of those couples things that we do, to the point where could literally feel his absence as I walked the con floor—I constantly wanted to turn to him and say, “Ooh, look at this,” but couldn’t. Is there a term for that? The Phantom Spouse?
At any rate, once I adjusted to that, I found RCCC to be a lot of fun! It’s easy to tell how it and Emerald City Comic Con used to be sister conventions; they have very similar vibes. Where ECCC leaned into upward mobility, though, growing larger and larger every year to the point where it strongly threatens to overload the Washington State Convention Center now, RCCC instead maintains the feel its former sister con had about a decade ago, with a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and plenty of room to move around. That last point is crucial—I have made use of a Quiet Room on multiple occasions while attending cons because I have social anxiety and because the press of crowds can be incredibly difficult for me to process. At RCCC, though, I didn’t need to, and the largest part of that was simply having the room to step out of the way whenever I desired to. It was easy!
The vast majority of my time outside of that was spent just wandering the floor, seeing the sights. I bought a few prints for my X-Men Wall, and spotted a few rare things like some old Shocker Toys action figures (which I did not buy any of, though I was tempted). I also connected with fellow WWACers, Kate Tanski and Paulina Przystupa, and met a few new friends as well!
I attended a couple of panels while I was there. The first, on Saturday, was an Image Comics panel titled We Believe In Disruption. I walked into the panel with no information about it except that name, and folks, I was nervous. Given everything that’s gone down with Image over the last year, and their steadfast support of the antics of people like Howard Chaykin, I was very unsure as to how this panel would go. Imagine my surprise when I instead sat for a pleasant panel featuring a lot of Image creators: Joe Casey, Joe Keatinge, Greg Rucka, Chelsea Cain, David Walker, Christopher Sebela, and Dustin Nguyen. The panel was moderated by Image Brand Manager Sean Edgar, and while it certainly was largely pleasant, I was unimpressed by the general topic of discussion. There was very little about the idea of disruption in art, or in comics; if anything the panel was more about each creator talking about projects that they have coming up. I expect a certain level of that, but to have it take up the entire panel felt a bit … pointless? I can read a press release without it tying up an hour of my time. Still, it was a chance to sit and listen, and I took it gladly after a few hours of walking around the con floor.
The second panel, on Sunday, was called The Fine Print Crew: We’re Not On The Cover, But We’re In The Comic! I found this one to be quite a lot more informative. It’s a regular panel hosted by award-winning translator Zack Davisson with a rotating cast of professionals who do the work that isn’t writing or drawing comics. This time around, the guests were Ariana Maher (Letterer), Brian Hanzel (Flatter), Katie Bednark (Convention Organizer), Molly Muldoon (Editor), and Kelly Fitzpatrick (Colorist). I really enjoyed listening to this panel, and hearing each professional hold forth on their given profession, how it interrelates with the others, and how they each entered the comics industry in unconventional ways was fascinating. Fitzpatrick talked about starting as a flatter and then being an assistant colorist for Jordie Bellaire, before having to be pushed out of the nest and accept that she was every bit a professional colorist in her own right. Brian told the story of how he used to be just a fan, and how his first time on Davisson’s panel was as a con attendee, asking questions about breaking in, before going after flatting jobs anywhere he could. Maher talked about how she taught herself lettering from YouTube tutorials, before sharing examples of her work and talking about the thought process that goes into each choice of balloon, font, even texture behind each bubble. Each panelist had incredibly insightful, educational things to say, and I highly recommend attending if you happen to see this panel at a con near you.
RCCC is a full day shorter than Emerald City, and yet by the end of it I felt the same—as much fun as I’d had, I was exhausted. Still, it was every bit as great as I’d hoped it would be, and I honestly can’t wait to go back again next year.