After enjoying myself last year, I’d been looking forward to this year’s Rose City Comic Con. It’s a show I enjoy in a town that’s fun to visit, and while I went last year with no plan, just wanting to experience things, this time I was more prepared. Sort of.
Y’see, I went with my husband. My husband had to work the Thursday evening prior to the convention. So, as a result, we were up late doing the last minute packing and preparation things, and then woke early to start heading down. Conceptually this plan was fine; functionally it meant that we arrived when the doors opened Friday afternoon (the first day), feeling the way one generally feels at the end of a convention. It was, in short, quite the experience.
Friday was mostly that couples experience that I mentioned missing last year, we walked the floor, got a feel for it, and just took our time appreciating everything that was on display. We didn’t buy a lot that day–Alex commissioned a small Lucius Malfoy sketch for his planned meeting with Jason Isaacs, and I mostly picked up business cards of artists I wanted to follow, though I did find an old Simonson/Mignola Wolverine book that I paid a whopping two dollars for. Well, okay, I bought dice. Like, real made-out-of-amethyst dice. They were too much, and also they were worth it. I can’t wait to use them.
Saturday was for panels! I was, in truth, not super jazzed with the panel line-up this year, but that’s because I am a boring nerd who likes deep process stuff, and RCCC had a lot of panels about fandom and cosplay. I don’t want to denigrate those because modern fandom is a huge thing, and I’m certain that they were very enjoyable for their attendees. They’re just not my kind of thing, and that’s fine! I attended three panels total:
The first, Superhero Theory, where three professors who teach locally in Oregon spent some time examining heroes through an educational lens. This wasn’t a bad panel, but it was plagued by technical issues that cut into the time, and further by repeated apologizing for those issues, which cut into the time further. Addtionally, one of the panelists came without notes, declaring that she was going to “wing it,” which made her section seem weaker, more unfocused. Truth told, I feel like the other two would’ve had adequate time to examine the subjects they were discussing had that time not been devoted to her. As it was, even their presentations fell a bit flat–one presenter provided a broad overview of the relationship between heroic comics and fascism, and the other had a prepared discussion of Jane Foster’s tenure as Thor and the overt feminism of it. Her work was the strongest and most specific, but it did unfortunately fail to address that this supposed work of feminism, notable for planting a woman in a central role traditionally occupied by men and then lampshading it, was entirely produced by men. While it’s certainly not a bad thing that male creative teams are able to provide strong pro-feminist work, it’s also telling that only they are allowed to. Marvel has very few female writers, and I certainly can’t remember one of them in recent years with a multi-year run on a single character, much less in the vein of Jason Aaron, who has had multiple high-profile books.
The second panel was Image, which was in the same vein as last year’s We Believe In Disruption, albeit smaller. In it, David F. Walker, Christopher Sebela, Leila Del Luca and Sloane Leong discussed some of the process of making their work, as well as their upcoming books. I really enjoyed this particular panel–while last years was overcrowded, having just the four this year meant they each had time to contribute meaningfully to the discussion. I liked the highlight on each of their different perspectives, and what it means to tell stories about marginalized experiences from those perspectives–Walker’s specific mention that he wanted to teach the world about the legacy of sundown towns, and specifically to say that in Oregon State, known for its own racist history–was enough for me to make checking out Bitter Root a priority.
The last panel I went to was the Dark Horse one, which was moderated by Dark Horse PR Manager Megan Connor and featured other Dark Horse employees (Randy Lahrman, Maria Saracino-Lowe, Jessica Clark, and Jenny Blenk) discussing their different roles in the company. This was easily my favorite panel of the day; everyone is familiar with the roles of writer, artist, letterer, editor, etc., but there’s a lot of work that goes into producing comic books (and other associated product) that happens behind the scenes. I particularly enjoyed Randy’s discussions of what it’s like to work with stores that order product, and the actual process of coordinating a book for release. It’s sort of a missing gap between the idea of creating a comic by one’s self and the mass releases you’ll see on shelves; all of these logistical tasks that have to be accomplished first. I’m honestly looking forward to delving deeper on this subject!
Sunday? Sunday I bought comics. I always save my longbox-diving for the last day of a con; you’ll get the best deals those days, because the less vendors have to ship home, the better. Combine that with the 80s comics boom and there’s a wealth of Bronce and Copper Age stuff to be had for cheap. I added about 75 issues of various X-books to my collection for about 75 cents an issue and walked away feeling just fine. I actually plan on reviewing some of my finds soon, so keep an eye out for that!
All in all, RCCC lived exactly up to the reputation it set for me last year; it’s a hybrid of a show, bigger than most local cons but more relaxed than major ones like SDCC or ECCC. All of that plus it being a day shorter makes it a really nice con for your average attendee–less focused on huge important exclusives and more on an overall quality show.