Rose City Comic Con 2016: General Suggestions and Panel Guide


The Rose City Comic Con is happening in Portland this weekend! We'll be at the show, and hopefully those of you in the area will be, too! But maybe this is your first trip to the show? Maybe you're not sure what to do about panels? Here's some tips, culled from a few years of experience:

  • Make sure you eat before you get there. Look, I know convention centers have food, but no matter how good it is, it's expensive. Plus, if you eat before you get there, you can spend more time on the floor and in panels before you need to take a break. Regardless, make sure you eat. One of the biggest mistakes I make at cons is to forget to feed myself. Then I'm standing in line ready to talk to one of my comic heroes, and I'm about ready to faint. Bad plan!
  • Be prepared to wait in line. I'm press, so I get to go in as soon as the show opens. However, no matter how early you get there, there will be lines to get in. Especially when the show opens on Saturday. You'll also find there are waits for signing from the biggest names, like Kelly Sue DeConnick. And if you're there to see media guests, the lines can be huge. I'm line-averse, personally, and will look for less crowded opportunities, but sometimes they're unavoidable.
  • Your phone will lose its charge. This happens at every con. Service use is high, and that means delays. Delays eat battery life, and that's before you start snapping pictures of cosplayers or get a selfie with a creator. If you have one, bring a mobile charger. There are some plugs scattered through the convention area, but not many, and they're usually occupied.
  • Cosplay is NOT consent. I don't think any Panel Patter readers are jerks, but it's worth repeating. Folks who are in costume definitely want you to appreciate their work, but leering/touching/acting creepy is just shitty. I'll never forget seeing men outright staring at the ass of a women dressed as Ms. Marvel (before the Carol Corps explosion), nor how angry they were when I photobombed them. Taking ass shots with the cosplayer's back turned is low class. Not that I'd expect you to, but don't do that. Also, make sure you ask before taking a photo--or, as I sometimes will do, take your shot while others are doing the same. That way the cosplayer can move on. And last but not least--DO NOT block the show floor when taking your pictures. Rose City has plenty of space outside the show floor, and even a cool background. Take advantage of that. The worst thing you can do is block a creator's space in Artist's Alley. That's like someone sitting in front of your monitor at work--harming your ability to make money. Again: Don't. Be. A. Jerk.
  • Drink. Water preferably, but I'll leave that up to you. 
  • Make sure you know where your favorite panel is before you try to get there with five minutes to spare. The convention is a lot larger than it seems, kind of like a Tardis. There are smaller panels held across from registration, and the larger panels are upstairs, across from the main entrance (where the Dr. King statue is). If it's a popular panel, you'll want to be there before they open the doors. (However, please be respectful and don't hog space in a panel you'll ignore just to keep the seat. That's being a jerk. Don't. Be. A. Jerk.
  • If you're in a group, pick a meeting place and time. Did I mention the immense show floor? It's VERY easy to get lost or turned around, even though the sections themselves are pretty orderly. Given how crowded the floor can get, it's much better to say "Meet me by registration at 2pm so we can get food" or "See you outside at the Max station at 3pm" rather than, "Oh, I'll find you." Because you won't find them, and now you're losing time at the con trying to meet up.
  • Remember that kids are comics fans, too. Rose City is very kid-friendly, and we want them to have a good time and grow up to be amazing comics fans. I hate when adults act like children don't belong at cons. Because last time I checked, I was 4 when my obsession with comics started. I bet you were, too. I'll say it one more time: Don't. Be. A. Jerk.
So you're set on the guidelines. Now, what panels should you seek out? Here's a few I'll try to make. Maybe I'll see you there:

Queer Comics Take Over the World
Room: Panel Room 9
Time: 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Queer comics are taking over the world! Join LGBTQ comics editors and creators in a discussion about mainstream and indie queer comics and the importance of queer representation. Panelists include Taneka Stotts (Beyond), Ari Yarwood (managing editor of Oni Press/Limerence Press), Genue Revuelta (Love & Sprockets), Terry Blas (Briar Hollow), and D.J. Kirkland (Black Mage)!
Taneka is an amazing panelist and totally awesome person. Come hear her talk about the importance of queer comics!
Hidden Histories, Unfamiliar Narratives: Comics in the Margins
Room: Panel Room 9
Time: 12:00PM - 12:50PM
This presentation investigates comics and characters that exist in the margins of the canon., offering various lenses through which we might better understand comics in the mainstream and in the margins.
I wish I knew who was going to be on this panel, but it sounds interesting so if I'm free, I'm planning to check it out.
A Spotlight on Stan Sakai
Room: Panel Room 8
Time: 2:30PM - 3:20PM
For 32 years and over 150 issues, Stan has been crafting the unique world of Usagi Yojimbo. What goes into a life’s work? Here’s your chance to find out while he does live demonstrations of his art.
So I've already heard Sakai speak before, and it was a real treat. If you've never been to a panel with the creator of Usagi Yojimbo, you're in for a can't-miss treat!
The Importance of Street Heroes
Room: Panel Room 6
Time: 3:30PM - 4:20PM
Not all superheroes fight cosmic battles to save the known universe. Some take the fight to the streets in gritty tales set just around the corner from the world we live. The down-and-dirty world of Street Level superheroes is discussed in this panel featuring creators of such titles as Daredevil, Nighthawk, Kingpin, Power Man & Iron Fist (Charles Soule, David Walker, Ramon Villalobos, Matthew Rosenberg).
David Walker is another creator who is also an amazing panelist. Don't be scared by the capes-heavy description here. I don't doubt for a second they'll go into their own creator-based work.
Comics and Disability
Room: Panel Room 9
Time: 5:00PM - 5:50PM
How is disability represented across different comics genres? How might comics help support disability rights and neurodiversity? We’ll address these questions and more in a thought-provoking panel on the relationship between disability and comics.
Assuming this panel goes past Barbara Gordon, it should be really engaging and thought-provoking. Again, wish I knew who was on the panel, but I'd recommend putting it on your list of panels to see.
30th Anniversary of Dark Horse
Room: Panel Room 4
Time: 5:30PM - 6:20PM
Thirty years ago, Dark Horse arrived with an agenda different from that of any other publisher in comics. The young company was founded on the belief that comics creators should have the option to retain the rights to their own work, and it continues to be a highly fertile breeding ground for new characters, concepts, and more!  Join Dark Horse masters of craft Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Eric Powell (The Goon), Vivek Tiwary (The Fifth Beatle), Cullen Bunn (Harrow County), Chris Roberson (Serenity, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.) and Gail Simone (Wonderfall) for an exclusive look at upcoming creator-owned work from some of the biggest names in and outside the industry.
I tried not to double-up on times here, but in case you weren't interested in the other panel or it turned out to lack substance, then sneak over to this one. Dark Horse is a comics institution and one of the anchors of the Portland comics scene. It's not easy to keep going for 30 years, and still put out amazing comics work, but Dark Horse manages it easily.
A Spotlight On Cullen Bunn
Room: Panel Room 8
Time: 10:30AM - 11:20AM
Whether it’s Sixth Gun, Deadpool, or Uncanny X-Men, Cullen brings the hurt. Join one of the most prolific writers in comics as he breaks down how he does it.
How can they list comics by Cullen and omit Harrow County, his best work yet? Sheesh! Anyway, I am a big fan of Cullen's, and I want to hear him speak. You should, too!
Queering Up Comics: LGBTQIA and Beyond
Room: Panel Room 5
Time: 11:00AM - 11:50AM
They're queer and they're here--and they have been for ages. Join queer cartoonists as they discuss the developments in their industry that allow them to create and explore new themes and narratives, in indie and mainstream publications alike.
Unfortunately, I also want to go to this panel. UGH! So yeah, either one of these would be great, and I wish they weren't up against each other!
Busting Myths with Grant Imahara
Room: Panel Room 1
Time: 11:00AM - 11:50AM
As an electronics and robotics expert, Grant helped expose the truth for years on the hit show Mythbusters. Now he’s here to answer all your questions about science and debunking myths.
Oh, hell! Yeah, draw straws or something. Or ask Multiple Man to help you. Why are there three good panels at once, Rose City? AAAAAA!
Color Me Intrigued! Storytelling Through Color
Room: Panel Room 4
Time: 11:30AM - 12:20PM
Join Oni Press Editor-in-Chief James Lucas Jones and a group of insanely talented pixel pushers (Bill Crabtree, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Ryan Hill, and Paul Reinwand) for a discussion on the role of on the role of colorists in comic book storytelling. You'll never look at color comics the same way again!
Make that 4 hard-boiled eggs.*
Gods, Cats, and Yokai: The Way Forward with Wayward
Room: Panel Room 7
Time: 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Yokai; New gods and old; Real Japan and fantasy; And lots and lots of cats. The hit series Wayward from Image Comics is a clash of modernism and tradition. Now into its second year, come see what lies ahead and behind with series.
Wayward was one of my favorite series of 2014. Have you read this yet? If not, you should go, because Jim Zub is a great person to listen to. This narrowly beats out another great panel on ODY-C at the same time. Darn you, schedule of panels!
Historically Inaccurate:The true story behind pirates, privateers, and the Golden Age of Sail
Room: Panel Room 5
Time: 3:00PM - 3:50PM
The privateers of PDXYAR answer questions and discuss some of the truths, lies, myths, legends, and Hollywood "tall tales" regarding those who sailed the seas during the "Golden Age" of piracy. Expect a rousing discussion and perhaps even a shanty or two. Huzzah!'
Yar! Pirate history from people who study it and go around as pirates in the Portland area! Not sure if Panel Pal Aaron Duran will be on the panel or not, but these are his peeps, and they're fun people!
Dark Horse Manga
Room: Panel Room 4
Time: 3:30PM - 4:20PM
Dark Horse’s history with Japanese comics can be traced back to the company’s earliest years, with a legacy that includes such legendary series as Lone Wolf & Cub, Berserk, and many more! Now Dark Horse continues to publish some of the industry’s best-selling titles, like Unofficial Hatsune Mix, I Am a Hero, Danganronpa, and the works of the creative powerhouse CLAMP. Join Dark Horse editors Carl Horn, Philip Simon, Jemiah Jefferson and translator Zack Davisson for a look at the past, present, and future of manga at Dark Horse!
If you're not into Pirates, here's the panel you should go to instead. Dark Horse's taste in manga is second to none, really, especially when it comes to horror manga.
That's it for now! Hope to see you at the show!
*Don't be a Groucho, that's a perfectly valid Marx Brothers reference.