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Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019 Outlook

Last year there were a great deal of ups and downs for me personally. I'm hoping that 2019 will play out better and I wanted to give my loyal readers an idea of what's coming down the pipeline.

As I had mentioned towards the end of December, I'm considering making some major changes to how I broadcast information on both of my blogs (Zanziber's Point of View and RPG4EVR). Because I find difficulty finding time to be able to sit and write, I am thinking of moving towards a podcast based system. I have no problems at all talking about my viewpoints and opinions, and this would also open-up some opportunities to include people outside of myself to add content to what is brought here.

As of this writing, I am still working on getting the right equipment and learning more about how the process actually goes. When I begin, I plan on making the podcasts around 45 mins to 1 hour in length and will be more than just reviews. I will incorporate some additional opinions about the state of the comic book industry, role playing games, cons and other events as well as local items within geek culture. I also look forward to doing some interviews with artists, creators and people I happen to meet at events I'm attending.

On that note, I should make note of the various upcoming events that are coming to the Pacific Northwest in 2019.

We just had Fandom PDX up in Portland not too long ago. This is the second year, and I haven't gone once. For me, it's scheduled way too early in the year and all the advertising I saw was primarily anime based. Since my anime tastes run to the old school (Robotech), and I don't understand many of the series that have cropped-up over the last 2 decades, I have decided to give Fandom PDX a pass.

I recently learned that I Like Comic Con is taking a year off in order to make the next event in 2020 even better than the inaugural event in 2018. I wasn't able to go last year, which I really wished I had been able to attend, because there was some serious talent I would have loved to meet. I'm eager to see what they'll have planned for 2020.

As my loyal readers know, I was able to attend 2018's Oregon Coast Comic Con and had a fun time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances behind the scenes, it seems like that was the last time we will see Oregon Coast Comic Con. I don't want to bring-up sore issues, nor do I want to open old wounds so I will not post the information that I have learned through various sources since I have not hear the other side of the story.

And that segues into Cherry City Comic Con. It doesn't look like there will be another Cherry City Comic Con any time soon. There was a big issue with being able to actually hold the event soon after Oregon Coast Comic Con. One day, the promoter posted a video declaring that the event was cancelled, and the very next day it was miraculously saved; although many of the guests that had been promoted to be attending would not be able to.

While I'm uncertain about the actual circumstances behind this cancellation and resurrection, on the face of it there seemed like a ploy for marketing and trying to get everyone's attention to possibly motivate people to actually purchase tickets. From what I saw when I attended, and the information I have received from people who were either also attending or even a guest/vendor there, the entire event was incredibly lackluster. From what I saw personally, there were not nearly as many people attending as in years past. Also, there were many of the booths that were empty and vendors there that had no real connection to comic books.

It's very unfortunate that Salem has not been able to keep a decent show alive; between Cherry City Comic Con and Northwest Comic Fest. I know that the Facebook Group "Pop Culture Northwest" has been holding small events in Salem. Maybe if these were expanded, held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, and received additional outside promotion, these events would be akin to the old Portland Comic Book show that used to be held at the Memorial Colosseum. IMHO, it doesn't actually have to be too fancy and have a ton of Hollywood guests to be good.

Since I am on the topic of events that have been cancelled, there has been some news that the once cancelled Walker Stalker Con for Portland will be returning later in the year. The event was scheduled for February (I believe), and I had seen many people making posts about their eagerness to attend and making plans. Then... for some reason... they cancelled. Just this past week, it was announced that they are trying to work with the venue to come back to Portland in November. We'll see how that plays out.

As much as I would love to go back to Emerald City Comic Con, it seems like it is being managed poorly. The last year I attended, it was more crowded that in years previous; and that was somewhat unpleasant to me. It seems that it has grown even more, to the point that they have moved the celebrity area and main stage has been moved to a hotel that is about 4-6 blocks away from the convention center. I understand that Seattle is working on building a new convention center (or modifying the existing site), but this level of expansion and inconvenience to the con goers is not sitting well.

The biggest issue with having the main stage and celebrity area away from the area where the other panels, artists and vendor are is the fact that there are always so many people outside of the event either trying to sell you something, scalp badges to the event, or potentially mug you. This will create an even more unsafe environment for people who simply want to go to the event and have a good time. They have already paid so much for badges, travel and other related expenses and now they're being told that they will need to go to a remote location in order to get the full experience of the event. I look forward to the new convention center opening in 2021.

For the first time, I have submitted my request to be part of the media for this years Wizard World Portland. This will be February 22-24 and should be a fun event. If I'm approved, I hope to bring my photographer friends from Chrysalis Rising Photographic Studio to help document the experience. Perhaps I will have transitioned to the podcast format by then as well and I can get some great interviews recorded. I'm very excited.

You can bet that I am looking forward to Rose City Comic Con, running September 13-15. As my loyal readers can attest, this event is my favorite from all the events in the Pacific Northwest. Early last year, I was hoping that I could get a table or booth for my non profit; Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer. Due to circumstances, I was unable to commit to this level of attendance. There are several factors that are in play for the likelihood of attempting this for 2019, so I am uncertain at this time. You can bet that it I am unable to table at the event, I will make sure to submit my application to be able to cover it again as in years past.

I am so happy that I have not only attended every single Rose City Comic Con, but that I have been blessed to be a part of the media for the past several years. If I end-up going as a member of the media again, I will work to schedule some interesting interviews with a variety of guests.

While I wasn't able to attend EUCON last year, I hear it was a blast. At the time of this writing, there has been no official announcement on when the next event will be held. When dates are announced, I do plan on requesting a table/booth for Comic Book Cover 4 Cancer. I feel like Eugene may be an area that needs to learn about our fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society.

As of right now, the next series of auctions are scheduled to begin March 2nd. We'll also have our annual Free Comic Book Day series of auctions in May. The dates for the remaining 2 series of auctions are TBD and dependent on getting more covers from artists. If you, or somebody you know, would like to donate to Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer in our effort to raise $$ for the American Cancer Society, please contact me through our Facebook page. To date, we have raised just over $9,200 for cancer research since 2013.

For those of you who have blank covers that we have sent you, please
let me know what the status is for receiving them back to us. There are
a handful of artists who have had their blanks since 2017. We can't
continue without covers to put up for auction.

If you have covers you have already worked on that you would like to
donate, please PM me and I will give you our shipping address. We are
also branching-out with sketch cards as well. All donations are greatly

For those that need blanks to work on, we have
plenty; unfortunately our financial situation does not allow for me to
ship anything right now. If we were to receive some donations through
the "Donate" button on our FB page, we would be able to ship some.

I will continue to post reviews here for trade paperbacks and graphic novels. I have a large section of shelf of trades that have been read, but now need the reviews to be written. Finding time to do the writing is the biggest difficulty right now. Changing to the podcast format would help greatly. If anyone has suggestions on equipment to use or best practices, please feel free to comment.

Oh.. and yesterday I picked-up 40 new trades to add to my collection. Here's what the "To Read" pile looks like at the moment:

I'm looking forward to sharing more updates, reviews and information when it becomes available. I hope you have an excellent 2019!

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