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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Northwest Comic Con 2017 - My Experiences

March 18-19, 2017

Over the past several years, I've been privileged to be able to cover several local comic events. When I heard there was going to be another event starting in 2017, I was eager to visit. Thankfully, I was provided the opportunity to come and partake of the 1st annual event known as Northwest Comic Con.

I had never been to the Tillamook fairgrounds before, so I didn't know what to expect. I have been to the Oregon State fairgrounds on several occasions for a variety of events, so I figured it would probably be a bit scaled-down from the buildings I was familiar with. My imagination was not too far from the truth.

I wasn't sure what to make of it when I first arrived, but when I entered the main building, I could tell that I have arrived and that this was going to be fun.

The largest comic con's I've been to have been Emerald City Comic Con, Wizard World Portland and Rose City Comic Con. The last few times I was at Emerald City Comic Con, I felt overwhelmed and crowded. It soured my experience and I'm not sure I'll be going back. Rose City Comic Con is getting bigger every year, and I hope it never suffers the same feeling.

To give a different perspective on what this more intimate venue means, I have a review from my friend and photographer Rita Upton:

I am a reluctant con goer. I will be up front about that,
but the Northwest Comic Con is my favorite by far. Why? It isn’t over reaching!
There are not 20 actors roaming around that have very little connection if any
to comics, superheroes, or iconic movies. There is not floor upon floor of
artists trying to stand out. It is small and honest. It is a budding project
that provides an interesting snippet into a con experience for a family of
geeks without getting lost in the fandom.

I enjoyed meeting artists and people watching, but I also
enjoyed something I have never seen before at a con... Customer service. When
areas got crowed and people needed a place to site reps brought out tables and
chairs. Rest breaks are under achieved at larger cons. You can spend a whole
day trekking from the Avengers to Zootopia with nothing but the floor as a rest
stop. After a full con you will be too tired to even notice Zootopia shouldn’t
be a part of the con experience.

I loved the benefits that were represented at this con,
everyone from The 501st Legion to Outer Rim Collective, and that is
so often over looked. The overwhelming appeal of comics and the like are the
hero and heroines of the story. They bring the fight and that’s what these
groups are doing here. They are bringing the fight and working for a cause
under the comic con banner. I salute you.

Damsel in Defense -

Outer Rim Collective -

501st Legion (Cloud City Garrison & Kashyyyk
Base) -

Mandalorian Mercs (Concordia Clan) -

The first item on my agenda was to make sure I visited the attending Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer contributing artists, Robert "Floydman" Sumner, Neil Jorge, Keith Tucker and Corveaux Millions. I missed visiting Corveaux, but I was able to touch-base with everyone else.

The energy of this event was palpable and wonderful. I didn't see or feel any negativity during the event. I'll admit that when I have to wait in line for a long time for a signing or to make a purchase, it irritates me. The flow of this event allowed for everyone to get around easily and even though there felt like a good turnout, it never felt crowded.

My loyal readers will know that if I am left to my own devices, I don't typically take many (if any) photographs. I'm fortunate enough to have a great friend who also happens to be a photographer. All photographs are courtesy of Rita Upton from {Chrysalis Rising Photographic Studio}.

To that end, I wanted to present a couple of photo's that she caught while we visited the Temperate Sage booth.

I don't typically take notice of the fashion or costuming items at comic cons, but this Wonder Woman piece caught my attention. Very beautiful work.

Being a member of the non-profit/charity world, I have a very healthy respect for events that make sure they have at least a few vendors that are there to help support some charities. As mentioned earlier, there were several in attendance for this weekend. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to run events of this nature to take notice and follow suit.

One of the huge misses that other events have had is the lack of good and affordable food. Being on the Oregon coast, you would figure that there would be some kind of seafood offered... and there was! Sea Baron Fish & Chips were in attendance, and the smell of deep-fried fish drew me in, and I was not disappointed. For the $10 I paid, I not only had lunch, but something to eat the following morning. At most events I've attended, for that same $10 you would probably get a hot dog and some chips.

And what comic con would be complete without some cosplayers? We were able to get a few photos of some great costumes.

For me, the biggest highlight of this event was finally getting to meet author Timothy Zahn.

Not a photo from Chrysalis Rising Photographic Studio.

I have been a huge fan of Zahn's for many years. He caught my attention with what is commonly know as the Thrawn trilogy, a that's exactly what I brought to have him sign.

While waiting for him to be free, I overheard the conversation he was having with the fan ahead of me about the (what is now know as) the Legends for Star Wars. I had read several articles of what was happening when Disney took control of Star Wars, but listening to Zahn explain it made everything more clear to me, and hopeful for the future. There is hope that some of our Expanded Universe favorites could possibly some into the Star Wars universe as canon.

Northwest Comic Con was a well put-together event, and I look forward to next year. I hope that now that the 1st year is in the history books, artists and vendors will be more interested in coming to this event.

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