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Artists, Fans, and Cosplayers Define Another Successful Year at Rose City Comic Con 2023

An overhead view of RCCC guests near the floor entrance, many of them on their way to pick up convention passes on Sep. 23, 2023. (Photo/Dash Pinck)

Rose City Comic Con (RCCC), hosted at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, brought together pop culture fans nationwide to cosplay, meet independent artists, and interact with their favorite actors and comic creators from Sept. 22-24, 2023

Upon entering the show floor, attendees were met with RCCC’s artist alley, a designated space consisting of hundreds of booths run by artists, both local and international. Jae, an artist from Los Angeles, travels around the country to sell their artwork at conventions. Jae runs an online shop called Gryphll, selling plushies, keychains, and drawings inspired by popular TV shows and movie characters.

“I just draw whatever comes to mind. [It’s] shows that I like or games that I like, and sometimes original stuff that makes me happy. I try to make other people happy, too,” said Jae. “It’s nice to be able to talk to people and meet other artists and to meet other people with similar interests.”

The Artist Alley held a variety of sophisticated methods of art, such as artwork from local illustrator and Webtoon artist Leslie KC, who displayed their artwork in a quarter-top view. This perspective is commonly used in voxel-style art or video games. These top-down views blend complexity and eye-candy scenarios through a poppy anime style.

“I'm a video gamer. I like to play a lot of games, so that's kind of the angle I do,” said Leslie. “[My art] looks [like a] video game, top-down, quarter top-down view. So, I just really wanted to explore that idea with anime and other video game characters to share this little slice of life of each of the different worlds that I draw.”

Two cosplayers inspect toy replicas of Star Wars characters, including Ewoks and Wookies. (Photo/Dash Pinck)

While intrigued shoppers filled the artist alley on the show floor, cosplayers took the time to interact with each other to display their costumes inspired by pop culture characters from a multitude of shows, movies, and anime shows. With the cosplay community in mind, RCCC created dedicated areas for cosplayers to meet up and take photos with each other.

Chris Davis, a local from Salem, Oregon, dressed up as the character Garnet from the Cartoon Network show, “Steven Universe.” With bright pink paint coating his arms and face, puffy style afro, and Garnet’s signature visor Chris played the part.

“Me, my girl, and our kids. We decided to buy tickets a little bit ago,” said Davis “and we had an idea to all dress as Steven Universe characters.”

Rose City Comic Con gave the chance for cosplayers such as Davis to also take the opportunity to make it a bonding moment, expressing the same interest for him and his family.

“I mostly just watch it because the kids watch it, you know? But it's grown on me. And with my hair. I was the only one that could pull off Garnet,” said Davis

As for much of the younger audience attending, the convention held Rose City Jr., where numerous events were held for children to have fun and open their creative minds at RCCC. Wanted to make slime? The Portland Ghostbusters held a mini-event for children to learn how to make slime, make a mess, and have fun. The younger cosplayers were granted a mini kids costume parade led by Eli Ebberts, who runs a blog all about cosplays, crafting tutorials, and cosplay-related guides. You could’ve even been trained to use a lightsaber or the ways of The Force by taking part in the Lightsaber training and learning the way of the wand through the Harry Potter and the Way of The Wand experience.

Attendees didn’t hesitate to explore RCCC’s plethora of interactive fandom activities. The Star Wars Fan Experience was an immersive pull within Star Wars’ wide and stellar world through props and sets such as the Mandalorian Throne or an X-Wing cockpit. The event allowed Star Wars fans with like-minded interests to meet, allowed cosplayers to dress in the titular, iconic characters of Star Wars, and could show off to their friends and family with photos, posing with these canonical props.

For all the bookworms, attendees were welcomed into the vast sea that was the book fair. Get signings from well-known authors such as Terry Brooks, famous for his “Shannara” fantasy book series. Yet, It wasn’t just meeting well-known authors and book signings at RCCC; there were even panels and Q&A. If readers had a dire question for an author, Travis Baldree, Fonda Lee, Seanan McGuire, and Courtney Gould could help answer that. The convention held many panels of discussion where attendees were able to join famous authors and discuss various literary topics, from how to write a novel to digging in on what makes a suspenseful mystery book, holding tons of events just for the page-turners.

Attendees stroll between two columns of booths, observing the wealth of goods on display on Sep. 23, 2023. (Photo/Dash Pinck)

Convention-goers piled in long lines at the convention prepared to get a poster or maybe even a comic signed. Celebrities were also present to get involved with their audience, offering signatures, and photographs, and even holding events and panels. Take Zoe Saldana for example, who’s most notably famous for her roles in the “Guardians Of The Galaxy” as Gamora, “Star Trek” as Nyota Uhura, and “Avatar” as Neytiri who attended the event for fans to purchase a signature. The long lines to these signing were one of the most notable things one would notice when walking through the artist alley.

While there were jam-packed, fun-filled events mentioned here, it doesn’t account for the sheer amount more that was held that made sure to consider every nook and cranny of both the wide scope of the geeky fandom and its multitude of art. Not only did it leave attendees with a fun weekend to remember but it created special, core memories of bonding for those arriving with family, and friends, or to scope every inch of Rose City Comic Con’s eleventh successful event. Only spiraling more excitement for next year's convention.


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