September 30, 2013

Return From Rose City: A Comic Con Recap

Normally Monday is an opportunity for me to break out the stack of low-cost, low-quality comic books I've accumulated over the years and write up a comedic and entirely opinionated comic book review which I then proceed to post for the whole internet to glance over and not actually read.

However, I spent not this past Saturday but the Saturday before with my dad at Rose City Comic Con, and had decided that an account of my adventure into nerd heaven and all around geek ecstasy would be a more than appropriate replacement for two weeks worth of our weekly comic book review. It's a little late coming to you as life has a tendency to happen whether or not you've set deadlines for your blog entries and planned to set aside time to type, and it doesn't always give you the chance to spend those entirely necessary several hours writing up something you'd feel is at least semi-acceptable to share with the rest of humanity. It may be a week late, but I managed to put together a little revisit of the awesomeness that was Rose City Comic Con for you guys, complete with pictures. So grab some Doritos, pop open a can of Rickey's tea, pause whatever game you're currently playing on an emulator, and get prepared to enjoy a little geek culture.

Now first things first: Our objectives on this trip?

One: To locate a handful of decently priced comic books essential to collectors--often referred to as "key issues"-- depicting the initial appearances of specific characters, deaths, or the introductions of important story arcs or scripts. My dad collects valuable comic books, so RCCC was a great opportunity to pick up some must-have issues he's been dying to get his hands on. 

(Check out our list!)

Two: To meet see some of the amazing comic book artists in the industry today and to not only get to see their work in person but to ask their advice about cons, comics, getting started in the business, techniques, and everything in between. 

Three: To find some awesome stuff to bring home that'll make all my fellow geek friends jealous. Merch is a must have.

Anybody around here a fan of cosplay? There were hundreds of costume donning fans attending the second annual RCCC, so many in fact, that documenting them became something of a chore. So as much fun as it was to "ooh" and "aw" over every Poison Ivy and Deadpool that walked passed us, we saved our lens for those that we adored above all else. I got a chance to share the spotlight with a couple of fellow fans dressed as some of my personal favorite characters, which was a lot of fun.

Sheesh, what a day. Nightcrawler insisted on taking a stance that seemed more natural to him, crouching like a demon devil creature, so that it was necessary for me to lean over awkwardly beside him to stay in the frame. Link had no qualms about getting up close and personal, but apparently I forgot that the point of taking a picture was to actually smile. I look super uncomfortable and awkward, which wasn't how I felt at the time at all. But so what? I'm a real person with a real face who has the terribly real weakness of looking really awkward in photos half the time. It doesn't bother me any. I don't have anything to hide from you guys. Plus, no matter what my face looks like, my new haircut looks pretty darn sweet. So there. Oh, and the girl wearing the blue fairy costume? I've got to give credit to the girl who pulled off Navi like a boss.  "Hey, Listen!...I like your costume!"

Now, It's a common misconception that comic con is a place for comic book geeks only, which is entirely untrue. Comic cons are more accurately pop culture conventions. If you're obsessively passionate about a book, movie, television show, toy, brand, podcast or game, you're most definitely going to find a representation of it somewhere at comic con. 

Whovians and trekkies run amok at conventions like this, and if I didn't spy a few handfuls of full-on bronys and furrys conversing with a couple of Game Grump lovelies, then I don't know a thing about geek fan group stereotypes. Most cons run a full floor of exhibitors and artists sharing and selling their crafts, wares, and merchandise, and RCCC was no exception. CD's, books, jewelry, prints, T-shirts, plushies, pillows, key chains, bookmarks, leg warmers...Almost any type of merchandise you can imagine is being held hostage by a nerd franchise vendor, awaiting either your dearest payment of cold hard cash or a breezy credit card swipe in exchange for their immediate release.

The guy running the booth where this mock NES game cartridge pillow was being sold flat out insisted that I at least take a picture with it since I looked like I was going to pass up the purchase. Sure thing, since I had no intention of dropping all the cash I brought on this one item. Sorry unicorn pillow. When we walked back past the booth later, they were completely sold out of ironic NES pillows. Darn.

If you thought we'd come home from the con with toys like this, you were terribly mistaken. I don't even want to know how much these guys are going to cost when they're officially released (but I looked i up anyways--a whopping retail price of $425. Yikes!) The displays for these guys was impressive ; half a dozen or more tall glass cases housing 1/4 inch to scale Iron Man action figures standing at eye level, lit up by strategically placed lighting, the whole thing surrounded by a rich square of red carpet? No wonder it took so long to work our way up front where we could get a good look at the Iron Patriot.

My dad struck up a conversation with some exhibitors who put together and sold custom lego sets. The idea is to prepare boxed sets for characters and scenes lego doesn't have readily available in their retail collections available for purchase: for example, a model of the original 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Wagon, complete with April O'Neil, The Ghostbusters Ecto-1 vehicle, or a scene from AMC's hit television show, The Walking Dead. So, these guys make their own set using pieces that lego as already made and sells the set as their own with customized packaging. My dad asked them how lego felt about it, and as it turns out, they had contacted lego about what they were doing, and they didn't mind in the slightest. "The way they see it, lego building blocks are like paint. The person who makes the paint doesn't sue an artist for painting a masterpiece with their product and selling it." That's not an exact quote, but it is essentially the gist of what he explained to us (I didn't have my notepad out and at the ready to jot down quotable moments). I found their work notable, and definitely worth a mention.

If you had your quarters at the ready (or were willing to use the conveniently close by coin exchange machine), you could play retro arcade games to your heart's content in an area set up for that precise purpose. I'm not sure which exhibitor set this up, but the fact that the Portland Retro Gaming Expo is right around the corner could possibly be a contributing factor to this awesome addition to the expo floor. Classic games like Mrs.Pacman, Tapper, and Tetris, as well as less conventional classics like CarnEvil made an appearance. Did I mention there were pinball machines? And holy comic grader batman! A super convincing Batmobile replica vehicle was on display nearby, which we didn't hesitate to photograph. Let's be honest here, whether it was screen used or not, a Batmobile is a Batmobile and is just plain cool.

Artist Alley is what they call the section of the con dedicated to artists and creators of every skill level and artistic style. I spoke to a comic book penciller who worked on Spider-Man, as well as an artist who worked on the Mega Man comics and got to browse through the original inked pages that he worked on from the Mega Man / Sonic the Hedgehog comic book cross over. I had an enthralling conversation with Jimmie Robinson, the author, artist and creator behind The Adventures of Evil and Malice, a short comic series about twin daughters of a super villain who aim to be superheroes. I conversed with sketch artists who went into hosting a table at cons initially as a way to get their portfolios reviewed by professionals only to stumble upon their future career paths as comic artists and regular con attendees and artist alley hosts. I met a man who illustrated these fabulous images depicting distorted perspectives of Portland coffee shops. Stunning! A man who once worked on older style cartoons and their comic counterparts such as Pinky and the Brain and the Animaniacs.

If there was one piece of advice that I could share with you that seemed the most integral to everything everybody mentioned to me when I talked to them it was this: If you want to get into something, just do it. If you want to start making comics, just start making them. Nobody's going to offer you a golden opportunity without seeing what you've done on your own, and experience by attempting and failing and tripping up and making mistakes is half the journey towards making something spectacular. The more I browsed the art being sold and struck up conversations with all sorts of creatives, I realized that I could be doing this. I could be the one on the other side of the table, offering my art to the world, making a little money, but mostly gaining experience and doing what I loved. I was inspired, to say the least.

I really wanted to purchase some artwork of my own to have, original and prints. I picked up three well-priced prints from Mika Darling, a young female artist like myself who attends Savannah College of Art and Design, pictured below. 

I wish I remembered the name of the man who illustrated this awesome sticker! His work was absolutely gorgeous, and I wasn't passing up the offer to buy this sticker when it only cost a dollar.

I nearly laughed out loud when I saw this colossus artist trading card-- and not at the artist's expense, but with pure enjoyment and intrigue. Nightcrawler may be one of my fave X-Men, but I couldn't pass up the hilarity of the pose Colossus was striking here. This is a sheet of canvas/cardstock the artist actually worked on, a one of a kind artwork, pencils, ink and everything...And now its under my watchful possession.

Look at these super cute and cuddly chibi key chains I found, $3 for one or two for $5. I got two as you can see-- Nightcrawler and a humanized version of LSP, the Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time. Mathematical.

I picked up this custom made notebook from Skulltastic at the con for only $5-- You pick a cover (there were dozens of awesome nerd designs to choose from, my favorites being a parody school book cover with a bottle of "Elm Street Glue" and the "Mathter's of the Univerth" set depicting both He-Man and Skeletor), choose a binding (A rainbow of colors to choose from), choose the type of interior paper (lined, blank, comic page), and determine whether you want it binded on the left hand side or right hand side, or from the top like a notepad. Once you've made all of these important decisions, they process the pieces and put your cover and bits in a machine, and momentarily you've got yourself your own custom spiral bound notebook. I can't wait to put my new notebook to use by sketching new ideas and scripts for FRIENDZONE (Installment #2 is in the works, btw! Hint, hint)!

And of course, I'm sure you're all wondering the same thing: "Did dad get his comics?!?"
Well, let's take a look...

...The Uncanny X-Men #142 and #141, the introduction to the Days of future past story arc and the deaths of Wolverine, Storm, and Collosus.

...Marvel Premiere #47 and #48, the 1st appearance of the new Ant-Man.

...A replica of Action Comics #1, for display purposes.

...The Amazing Spider-Man #135, the 2nd full appearance of The Punisher.

...Giant Size Spider-Man #4, the 3rd full appearance of The Punisher.

...Yeah, I'd say he definitely got what he was looking for. 

Now, tell me: who doesn't love freebies? Every Exhibitor and artist had a stack of business cards on hand, making keeping track of artists and their sample work and contacts a cinch! I scanned my favorite business cards so you could get a glimpse at the diversity the con had to offer. All art pictured below is representational of the artist's actual work. Cool, huh?

Something like 10,000 people were expected to attend this years convention. Instead, there was a whopping 17,000 people that gathered on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd in Portland Oregon. Now, I'll let you all in on a little secret...Wizard World is coming to Portland January 24th-26th in 2014. And that is a comic con I'm not going to miss out on.

Alright, well I hope everybody enjoyed this little recap. If you've got questions, insights, feedback or criticism, feel free to leave a comment. I'm more than happy to answer questions and have discussions, so feel free to talk to me. You can also tweet me or post on my face book wall, all the links are posted below.

Also, look out for a series of brand new artworks, being posted this week on all of my social media pages. Like, retweet, share, and all that jazz. I've got more work to attend to, so I'll end it there.

With all sorts of nerdy well-wishes,
Krystal Dawn

Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
DeviantART: kekei94


Post a Comment



Looking for Something?