Among many special comic cons, this years RCCC was a standout. It was mobbed, of course but everyone was polite, friendly and thoughtful. I heard that this year was the largest attendance ever and I believe it.
Con goers are amazing people. They are always gracious, warm and welcoming. No matter what your nerdish fandom, someone will appreciate it. The thing about cosplayers is that they love to see other people cosplay. And if you happen to choose to cosplay one of their personal favorite characters, they are happy to see it. Where else can you make other people happy just by being your favorite nerdish self?
Kaijucast had a panel where they showed a documentary they made called Hail To The King: 60 Years of Destruction. This is the result of a Kickstarter project they undertook with the intention of going to Japan to ask how the Japanese people feel about Godzilla. What is their take on this Kaiju that we have very much fallen in fandom with?
Seeing Japan through the eyes of a Godzilla fan was fun. The highlights of the documentary though were the interviews. Kyle, the host of Kaijucast, interviewed four of the actors from the Toho Godzilla movies. As a fan of Godzilla I had heard the story about his origin. What I had never heard was the story told by someone who remembered it.
Akira Takarada played the hero in the original Gojira, filmed in 1954; and also appeared in several other Godzilla movies, including Final Wars. He told the story of how Godzilla was first conceived. The King of the Kaiju is a warning to the rest of humanity about the horrors of nuclear war. He spoke of the Lucky Dragon 5. The Lucky Dragon 5 was a fishing boat that got caught in the fallout from one of the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests that the US conducted. The particular test that the Lucky Dragon 5 was unlucky enough to be too close to what happened on March 1, 1954. So that happened while they were making Gojira.
I was aware of this history but to hear him tell the story, as someone who remembered it, made it more human and more horrible. He spoke of how the crew told the story. The sun had set many hours ago and then all of a sudden it was as if the sun had risen again in the west, on a pillar of fire. A white powder, called death ash, settled over the boat and the people onboard. This was what Godzilla was intentionally and thoughtfully created to warn humanity about.
That was just one of many panels going on at the RCCC this year. There was also one with Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame. We missed that due to arriving just a tiny bit late and having to go through a humongous line to get in. Speaking of the humongous line–it was enormous, true but the staff kept it moving right along. The people in line with us were quite happy to chat while we walked. The event staff were well trained and wonderful.
The fine folk from the Retro Gaming Expo had a huge area set up with 20 to 30 arcade games for con goers to enjoy. The games were free to the con goers and included everything from old arcade games to Atari consoles, a Nintendo 64 console and lots of pinball. There was even an old Starfox game. It was, as you might expect, overrun. We stopped by to say “hi,”and chat with the organizers. They were promoting the Retro Gaming Expo X (October 17 & 18).
We’ve been in years past and love it. It’s a great place to take the family. They have old arcade games set up and old gaming systems too. Kids of all ages love it and you get to try out any old game you can get a seat at. They had the Nintendo 64 game console set up with televisions ringed by some sofas in one area at the Con this year. It reminded me of going over to friends’ houses when I was much younger and playing video games with them. The nostalgia is strong.
One of many pleasant surprises was the discovery of Geek Chic. They make gaming tables that double as dining room tables. They are beautiful and they had one display with a Warhammer game laid out inside of it. If I’d been thinking I’d have taken a picture. I have to say, a gaming table that could be the focal point of your family room/dining room is just brilliant. We play a lot of table top games. Not just RPGs but board games too. Games like 7 Wonders, Star Trek Settlers of Catan, Dominion and of course Magic: The Gathering. This would be a fantastic addition to our home! Of course it comes at a fantastic price so it’ll just be a wish for us. But if you love to play games as a family this is something to look into.
We also ran into cosplayers that we have met at other cons and that was wonderful. It seems we crossed some kind of a threshold at this Con. One in which we’ve been to enough cons that we are getting to know some of the regulars and they are starting to recognize us.
We stopped by the Kaijucast booth and they had a cityscape set up for us to pose in. Of course we did and it was fun. Once again Keith Foster, author of Kodoja, ( www.kodoja.com ) was sharing a booth with Kaijucast. We took some time to speak with him about his comic. He shared some exciting news: He’s got the next bit of the story in his head. He is thinking about putting pen to paper and treating us to another run of comics.
This year I ran into a father and his young daughter who shared with me that they were at their first con. I love it when people have a great time at their first con. Actually I love it when people just have fun at a con, but I digress. He cosplayed Wolverine and his daughter was a delightful (age appropriate) Ms. Marvel. He said he and his daughter were having so much fun together at the con. It was something they could do together: Make the cosplays and come to the con. I shared some cosplay construction tricks with him after he told me how he had hand stitched her costume for her. This is the heart and soul of comic cons: families cosplaying and celebrating their nerdiness together with other people.
When you are at a con, take the time to compliment the cosplayers. They love it and you can brighten someone’s day. I got a twofer when I correctly identified a young Princess Luna; making both the child and her mother very happy. I also had a delightful encounter with a Deadpool who loved my own cosplay. He told me he couldn’t stop smiling under his mask. Then there was the young man who was with his friends and didn’t want them to know he was a Godzilla fan. He silently said, “Nice costume,” to me when they weren’t looking. I silently said, “Thank you,” and moved on so as not to give him away.
This was the biggest Rose City Comic Con yet and somehow it seemed more personal then ever. There is something almost magical that happens when you get that many people together who are genuinely happy to celebrate their different fandoms. They love to talk about their fandom and ask you about yours.
Now I know this is going to sound crazy but we also actually bought comics at this con. I got a signed Constantine graphic novel. I met Milynn Sarley. She wasn’t sure that I was there to see her until I mentioned that she had been in Megashark vs Colossus. She laughed and said that was the one that seemed to generate the most interest. She said she’d been in these other things that she thought would be more popular, like How I Met Your Mother and Grimm; but what people seemed to know her for was Megashark. She said when she agreed to do it she had no idea how popular Megashark was. (Honestly, neither did I.) She was a sweetheart too. I bought a photo because: Megashark!
Finally I would like to say that the artist alley at a con is a must see. There is so much concentrated talent there. The artists are generally happy to talk about their art. If you’re lucky you can get them to tell stories about how they sold this piece or got their first commission. To me, buying art demonstrates that there is value in art and that is something I think we need. Plus there is art for every budget. I bought a gorgeous card at an artist’s booth for less than $5.00.
Alright, gentle reader, I’ve gone on for far too long. I hope I’ve managed to share just a little bit of what it can be like to go to a con.