Thousands of costumed, wide-eyed and excited fans and celebrities will fill the Oregon Convention Center from Jan. 23—25 for the third annual Portland Comic Con, hosted by Wizard World.
Comic conventions are held throughout the year and celebrate everything from comics, graphic novels and television to anime, video games and wrestling.
“Fans roam aisles of booths, displays and autograph stations and also enjoy a wide array of activities in open spaces,” said John Lashway, the Portland publicist for Wizard World. “A full weekend of educational and informative panels are held in meeting rooms near the convention floor.”
A large list of comic book writers, inkers and artists will be present at Portland Comic Con. Though the name of the festival may make you think its focus is comic books, Lashway said this is not the case.
“Comic books don’t receive any more of an emphasis than all the other elements in the show,” Lashway said. “Today’s [conventions] are a pop-fi festival that appeals to many segments of our community, including fans of comic books.”
There will also be various games and workshops at the event, and a large variety of interests will be represented.
Portland Comic Con is fan-oriented and fan-contributed. Walking around, it is hard to tell who is a regular Joe (or Jane) in costume and who is a professional or famous.
The list of stars present at the event includes William Shatner, Bruce Campbell, many of the cast members from The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lena Heady from Game of Thrones, Ksenia Solo from Orange is the New Black and comic artist and Eisner Award’s Comic Book Hall of Fame inductee Neal Adams.
This is only a brief look at the list, and there will be hundreds of celebrity guests of varying degrees of fame. For some of the celebrity guests, expect a line to see them and take pictures with them. For some there may be a fee involved.
“This counterculture has become so much more popular that it is now almost mainstream,” said University of Washington student and two-time Seattle Comic Con attendee Nick Kalantzis. “The crowds were much bigger than I had expected.”
Lashway said Portland Comic Con attracts tens of thousands of fans from Oregon and Washington.
“It is three days of huge crowds, many dressed in their favorite cosplay costumes,” Lashway said. “It’s people of all ages and interests from Oregon and Washington creating a fun, high energy environment.”
Tickets are available online at wizardworld.com/portland for a 20 percent discount on door prices.
Much of the staff is comprised of volunteers. Interested attendees may seek to volunteer as a chance to waive admission and get a backstage look at the convention.