Rose City Comic-Con: Portland Enters the Fold

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Can you believe that before this year, Portland, Oregon was lacking a Comic-Con? From the Emerald City to New York to, of course, San Diego, Comic-Cons have been cropping up the world over. Originally a niched convention for dedicated fans, Comic-Cons have become events of national appeal and acclaim; they’re an overall celebration of what it means to be a fan. In under two weeks — September 8 and 9 — Portland gets their own.

Comic-Cons, traditionally, feature tables full of comic vendors where you can meet artists and presses (often with specials!), panels of industry greats, and incredible workshops, and the Rose City’s is no exception. We got a chance to speak with intrepid Rose City Comic-Con organizer Ron Brister about some of the geeky staples in his own backyard, comics in Portland, and taking on the incredible feat of organizing a festival while still having a day job.

Describe the Portland comix scene and why you felt you needed to bring it a Comic-Con.

The comic scene in Portland is pretty vibrant. We have many artist and writers that live in the area, Dark Horse Comics is head-quartered here, and the largest independent studio, Periscope, are all located in the metro area. Based on all that, we felt that Portland was missing something, a more mainstream convention that celebrated all things Pop Culture. The events that we had in town either were stagnant, catered to a small subset, or where narrowly focused on one subject. Plus, we travelled to the conventions up and down the west coast only to run into all the same people from Portland. It was then that we said, “Hey, why don’t we do something like this in Portland?”

Of course, there’s a wider scope of pop culture than just comics — as is the nature of the modern comic-con. Is there still an emphasis of comics themselves, or is this about a wider landscape?

Rose City Comic-Con is a comic convention at heart. With that in mind we have focused our efforts on comic artist, writers, and vendors. However, comics these days have a massive crossover into other genres such as sci-fi and fantasy. Many of our guest are not only comic folks but they are also novelists, screen writers, musicians and actors. But I think the foundation for all those other creative mediums is comics.
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