The Portland comic book show is truly what comic books are all about. ComicCons grab all the attention with their industry announcements and cosplayers. Huge gatherings of comic and video game nerds and commercialized collectibles exclusive to the cities hosting. The Portland comic book show on the other hand shows the soul of comic books. Artists, fans, collectors and shop owners gathering to trade, talk and gawk at actual comic books.
For 31 years dealers have gathered here in Portland, Oregon to buy, sell or trade comic books. And for 31 years experienced hunters looking for a rare find and kids raiding the bargain boxes pack in shoulder to shoulder. Gatherings like this were the precursors to the huge Comic Cons we now have all across the country. Even Portland will be hosting its first ever Rose City ComicCon next year. And while we all would have liked an exclusive “Stark Industries” flash drive to show off from a trip to NYC one year, this show offers something you can’t get in any impersonal Con — local comic book culture.
Portland has become a center for independent comic artists, writers and publishers. Several well known indie publishers choose to call Portland home. Most notably Dark Horse and Oni Press, publishers of many well respected successful titles such as Hell Boy and Scott Pilgrim respectively. Shows like this are an opportunity for indie creators to get noticed by one the publishers. Shows also create a opportunity to be part of something created. The Cloud City Garrison/Kashyyyk Base provided Star Wars cosplay complete with a scale model remote control R2 D2. The cosplayers from a galaxy far far away were taking pictures with fans and kids for free, with any donations accepted for Children’s Miracle Network/Doernbecher charity. Local dealer and local comics supporter Bridge city Comics contributes to the spirit of locals giving with their Comics for the Troops program. Sending boxes of comic books to troops over seas.
Local shows like this will survive the Comic Cons, the comic book movie trend, and even another clone saga (hopefully never). The Portland comic book show is truly what comic books are all about. A community gathering over a common love of a culture. Local artists can sell original and even custom art here. The experience will never be the over the top show Comic Cons have become but there is no place like a local comic book show to trade for a Wolverine #1 or just to talk about why Nightwing’s costume was so bad. You might even get in on ground floor artwork for the next big indie comic.