Greetings my intrepid friends!
How many of you reading this would consider yourselves to be nerds?
In this article I describe my time at Portland’s 2019 Rose City Comic-Con. I hope you enjoy!
On September 14th my wife and I traveled to the Oregon Convention Center. Once we pulled into the parking garage we took in all the sights: girls dressed as anime characters and Disney princesses while a lot of the guys walking by were dressed as Deadpool, Stormtroopers, and Batman among others.
Since this was my first time inside the spacious building I was impressed. The floors were wide and the ceilings were at least forty feet high. We walked past overcrowded restaurants, cafes and conference rooms meant to hold hundreds. Once we made it into the lettered sections we found corridors meant to hold thousands. Each corridor was divided into sections, Each section was populated by vendor stands serviced by merchants selling their wares and photo booths with your favorite sci-fi characters. I saw Star Wars bookbags, DC Comics magnets, Marvel concept art and autographed photos from the original Star Trek cast.
My wife spotted Darth Vader and immediately begged for a photo with him. After she joined the dark side she then asked for a photo of both of us beside a Dalek (villain from Doctor Who). We made goofy faces as I mouthed the words “exterminate.” I was so shocked at how happy she was. Seeing her so delighted made me very content indeed.
After our photos we bought some merchandise. It was worth every penny. With that we made our way to one of the smaller panels. Much to my inner eight-year old’s delight four adults in lab coats arrived and stood behind a podium to talk about Godzilla. They recounted the various portrayals of the kaiju throughout the years as though it were scientific fact.
Hearing them narrate the film franchise filled me with wonder and awe. I never thought I’d find like-minded fans of my childhood hero, Godzilla. I smiled. Much to the audience’s delight a small child took the microphone to ask:
“Is any of this real??”
The presenters and myself laughed heartily. I suppose we all remembered the children in ourselves shaking their heads at us. Perhaps though, they wouldn’t be mocking us at all for our fandom.
Once we finished at the Godzilla panel, my wife and I hightailed it to the autographing booth. We wanted to avoid the crowds. Irony. I know. Once we got to the line my wife noticed a neighboring line to longtime actor Robert Englund (man who played Freddie Kruger) in the booth right next to us. Despite my wife’s love for the Freddie Kruger movies, we decided to solely purchase an autograph from Christopher Eccleston (known for playing the ninth Doctor in Doctor Who). His line was long and we must have waited for over an hour and a half. Still, it was worth it. We met the middle-aged British actor and I shook his hand while thanking him for meeting us.
“You were fantastic!” I said to him. (this is a phrase he said throughout the show. He smiled and wished us a ‘fantastic marriage.’
My wife squealed in delight (we’re both longtime Whovians). She boasted all day long about the photograph and his signature. I told her I was pleased. My wife then asked me how I felt about meeting a celebrity. I told her my thoughts: meeting a celebrity is a remarkable experience, that’s because these people who seemed larger-than-life are just normal people at the end of the day, and we get to meet them.
Following the autograph collection, we joined a few hundred other Whovians in a large room. It was a large question and answer panel that was divided in two sessions: one for Billie Piper (Rose Tyler on Doctor Who) and Christopher Eccleston.
The panel was fun and exciting. Various fans of all ages and costumes lined up to ask funny and/or deep questions. I got to learn more about Billie Piper’s reservation in playing in Doctor Who, and Christopher Eccleston’s personal ordeal with unfriendly execs. It turns out the otherwise kind Brit was criticized and picked on in his tenure as an actor.
This drama between him and executives held him back from being very active in cinema for the last fourteen years. Whether his story is fully true or not it is besides the point. Eccleston poured out his heart to us fans. Eccleston chose to be vulnerable and real with a fandom that he thought had forgotten him.
As a fan of the ninth Doctor I can say: we haven’t forgotten you, Christopher. We have not forgotten you.
Attending Rose City Comic Con was a rewarding experience. I felt invigorated as a fan, and I could see plainly: I am not alone in this world of fantasy and science fiction. I am not alone.
Thanks for reading.