By Dakky Comics
In case you didn’t know, Portland is a very important comics hub. Dark Horse, Image, Oni Press, Top Shelf, and Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Inc. are here, among others (I’m probably missing a bunch). We have the PDX Harry Potter Alliance, some super sweet comic book shops in town, and overall an artistic community that is…incredibly introverted? Yes, that, but also so talented it makes you wanna cry.
So our city’s convention was pretty sweet! I met people who came from all around the country to get to this event. A couple friends drove up from LA, I met some people from Canada, and I even made friends with a girl who flew in from New York! I met some comic creators who worked for Marvel, and I know some employees from Image who were partying all weekend at a sold out homecoming!
Many new anthologies were out, as well as high quality prints, indie comics galore, magnets, swag—so much swag of every genre. A huge selection of queer media, too.
I also noticed a major emergence of enamel pins this year! They’ve always been around, but they got more numerous, more diverse, and incredibly fashionable. I saw these gold badges sported proudly during and after the con.
The cosplay was pretty on point this year too. I spotted Steven Universe, DC, DC’s Milestone, Pokemon, Persona 5, Saga, Mary Poppins, Dream Daddy, Curious George, Spy vs Spy, Adventure Time, FMA, Disney, Overwatch, Powerpuff Girls, Metroid Samus, Marvel, Adventure Zone, Little Witch Academia, Star Trek, Star Wars, Gravity Rush, The Dark Crystal, Harry Potter, Furries, Rick and Morty, Gravity Falls, and the inevitable Homestuck cosplayers. (Sorry if I missed your fandom! I only recognize so much.)
Growing up, black women were seldom a love interest in the media that I consumed, but in indie comics nowadays, that has flat out changed.
Weird Al was in attendance this year, as well as Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time, Voltron), Troy Baker (Call of Duty, Persona, Final Fantasy), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob, Ice King), Burt Ward (DC’s Robin), Carlos Valdes (CW’s DC shows), Brent Spiner (Data), James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley twins, HP), Peter Capaldi (12th Doctor Who), Ming Chen (Comic Book Men), and Felicia Day (The Guild).
What I liked most about the Artist Alley (for those of you not familiar with the scene, that’s where artists display and sell their work at comic cons) was that there were so many gorgeous depictions of people of color. Rose City Comic Con probably has a higher rate of PoC prints per artist than even San Diego Comic Con. Indie comics do a gorgeous job of representation nowadays. Marginalized groups—people of color, queers, disabled people, fat people, neurodivergent people, all body types and shapes, people of all religions can find themselves present, desirable, and badass in modern indie comics. Growing up, black women were seldom a love interest in the media that I consumed, but in indie comics nowadays, that has flat out changed. Many contemporary artists are working hard to be inclusive, and the collective shifting tastes of media creators are influencing the cognition of the public.
Agents of the Realm! (Mildred Louis) I wish I had a swole girlfriend like Jade!” who is a queer, muscled person of color and is a love interest. I just enjoy the idea of watching the media giants, who often perpetuate hate and homogeneity, get overshadowed by bitty queers with inking pens and open hearts. I feel like indie comics can save the world.
I enjoy the idea of watching the media giants, who often perpetuate hate and homogeneity, get overshadowed by bitty queers with inking pens and open hearts.
Friends, if all you read is DC and Marvel (affectionately called the Big Two), while they are good, they’re not terribly inclusive. I suggest you pick up some indie work or read some web comics! It’s sexy, fun, refreshing (especially if you love comics but need a break from overpowered superheroes), and quite often effortlessly inclusive. Especially if you’re into queer comics.
The con’s panels were fun and creative. I saw quite a few, but I think the real MVP was Kelly Sue DeConnick talking about the issues and benefits of racial inclusivity in comics (for instance, people of color being freely omitted from the fantasy genre or period pieces for “historical accuracy,” but then placing dragons and laser guns in the same work—being more comfortable with demons and future tech than a PoC supporting character), and how “fighting hate with hate” or “fighting violence with violence” isn’t real, and that phrase is used to further demonize the oppressed. In actuality the latter parts of those phrases are usually wrongly used to describe self defense. If someone is violent toward you, you should be able to defend yourself without it being hateful or violent. It’s self preservation, and completely okay. Really. This woman gives me life.
There is a comic called Bitter Root (Walker, Brown, Greene) coming out next year that I’m super excited for, and I heard that Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) is going to start a comic book publishing company called Level Next! So, yeah. Things couldn’t get any cooler.
Rose City Comic Con was pretty dang fantastic, although next year I sincerely hope there will be signal boosters for inside the exhibition hall, am I right?