Rose City & Wizard Con – Portland, Oregon
For those who don’t know, I am a die-hard Star Wars fan. I mean the kind of fan who is currently making plans for the midnight show of the next film that won’t be out until Christmas. So when it was announced that Carrie Fisher was coming to Portland, I had my tickets in hand as fast as my fingers could click the purchase button.
The event was Rose City Comic Con and, to my delight, was a wonderful event all around. I loved the energetic feel of gathering with fellow fans of shows as legendary as Star Wars to those as iconic as superheroes and power rangers.
I loved people watching, occasionally photographing the fun costumes that some had begun to plan months in advance of the event. I, who normally feel out of place in any crowd, quickly felt right at home among these fellow dreamers, discussing theories about what would occur in upcoming marvel films, favorite fantasy novels and of course, the returning world of Star Wars.
And then I met Princess Leia, air predictably tight in my chest, as I struggled to avoid stuttering ‘I’m such a huge fan’ or something equally generic. I managed to smile and say hello as she signed a copy of Episode IV for me and then, later in the con, signed a photograph that we had taken with her.
One great story that came out of the event involved nail polish. After signing my photograph, I was asked by Carrie if she could see my hand, which of course I gave to her, no questions asked. She proceeded to grab a bottle of gold glitter nail polish, glanced at the design on my nails and proceeded to paint over my thumbnail. Strange? Yes. In a totally awesome way? YES!
But it gets better. My best friend was with me when we went to get signatures. After she painted my nail, she asked for his. He proceeded to shake his head, and walked away. When I caught up to him I said, ‘would you seriously not let Princess Leia paint your nails?’ His eyes went wide and he said:
“You wouldn’t let Leia paint your nails!”
“I didn’t know that is what she was asking!” he exclaimed as I started to laugh. “I would have let her paint my nail. I would have let her paint all my nails!”
I, of course being the awesome best friend that I am, proceeded to call his sister about not allowing Leia to paint his nails and he has been appropriately teased about this ever since.
We also met Ray Park, who was a very nice guy to speak to. Another fan girl moment for me as he played one of the most iconic villains to grace the Star Wars franchise, Darth Maul. He took photographs, signed some pictures, and chatted with every person who approached him.
Fast forward a few months later, and it only seemed fair that when my husband (A Trekkie through and through) asked if we could meet William Shatner at the Wizard Con a few months later, I agreed.
And see him we did.
Joined by two close friends, we traversed the Con with eyes wide in child-like amazement. Walking through the rows of vendors and artists is an experience unto itself. It featured everything from comic book artists, to authors, to craftsmen. You could even, at a few stands, get a tattoo right there in the middle of the con. (and many people did!) I got a few books signed, bought a hairpiece fit for an elven queen and a beautiful necklace with dragons.
I met fantasy author Terry Brooks, who I have been a long time fan of. When I told him that I was fantasy author myself, he took the time to speak a little about writing with me and wished me luck with my own work, which was an amazing moment for me!
We also ran into friend and fellow author, EA Channon who recently released a new book in his Flesh of the Blood fantasy series. He and his wife have been attending Cons all over the country to promote his works.
Then, of course, we went to see the most important part of any Con, the celebrities! We met several celebrity guests, everyone from childhood heroes to teenage crushes.
Among those we met, included Jennifer Morrison, star of Once Upon A Time and House, M.D. In person, she was very sweet, entertaining her guests with an occasional story and greeting everyone with a kind smile.
James Marsters, a talented voice actor, perhaps most famous for playing Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He turned out to be among the kindest of those gathered, taking time to speak and visit with each fan as they approached. He took selfies at the table and engaged in enough conversation to make everyone feel as though they were special, including myself who inevitably transformed into a mumbling fangirl when it was finally my turn to approach the table.
In addition to signing autographs, Marsters also offered to call a friend and leave a message in the voice of his vampire alter ego. Unable, to resist, I sent a message to my friend Raven, telling her not to pick up the phone and had Marsters proceed to call and leave her a message. It was awesome of him to do so and her elated reaction made the day truly memorable.
We also, in the name of proceeds going to children’s cancer research, placed a Bounty out for the arrest of our friend. Bounty Hunters came for him traveling across the majority of the con, to walk him back to jail where he spent five minutes paying for his crimes as his friends snapped photos.
My husband and I also met Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee from Firefly, also known as “the other woman” from our college years. She was pleasant and engaging, an impressive feat with her newborn on tow; but the best part was how red my husband turned when he read her message on her photograph asking him to “Tell me I’m pretty?” The same goes for my best friend, who turned a similar shade of red when we teased of his boyish crush on Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter.
But little will best meeting William Shatner. I was not much of a trekkie, but I was a fan of his work on the legal dramedy Boston Legal.
We met him and exchanged a few pleasantries. As much as you can with the mile-long line behind you. But his Q & A session was wonderfully done. I am not sure how many questions he actually answered, but (and he forewarned us of a propensity to ramble) it truly was story time with Grandpa Kirk. His tales, anecdotes and occasional insults made us laugh, and more importantly made us think on topics like friendship, commitment, and dedication.
What was probably the most amazing thing to me about these events was the sheer love of fiction. Whether it was comic books, television shows, anime, or novels, this was a celebration of the worlds dreamed up by artists and adored by fans.
The love of fans was palpable years, sometimes decades, after the series had drawn to a close and the artists had long since left the stage. Cons like this are more than a chance to embrace the inner nerd and/or child. It is the opportunity for so many to come together and celebrate the power of dreams and imagination.