PORTLAND – It’s not everyday that you meet Deadpool—the merc with a mouth—dressed in a bathrobe. To top it all off, he’s studiously reading from an issue of People magazine with Ryan Reynold’s face on the cover. On a usual Saturday this might seem rather absurd, even for Portland, but on this day the city has become a shrine of all things geek. The sidewalks are crammed with characters from movies, TV shows, games, novels, and, of course, comics. After all, this is Rose City Comic Con 2016.
Originally, the massive multi-convention known as Comic Con was dedicated to comic book culture; it was a chance for fans to meet the writers and artists behind their favorite comics. Comic Con is now home to a large range of pop culture and entertainment from every genre imaginable. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, and webcomics are all represented alongside an enormous range of comics and graphic novels.
Comic Con isn’t just an event. It has captured the hearts of thousands, if not millions, of fans. This is evident in the care that has gone into the cloaks, armors, staves, and swords of the cosplayers (people who dress up as their favorite characters). There are characters from Undertale, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Fallout, assorted animes, Tolkien, all sorts of comic books, and a thousand others. There is beauty in even the simplest of designs; fans stop and stare as Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor stomps by, they cheer as Solaire praises the sun, and they laugh as The Mad Hatter embraces a bewildered Alice. This is the reality of geek culture, a togetherness rarely witnessed by the modern world.
Oregon’s convention is just one of many, but within the sacred halls it is difficult not to be immersed in the vibrant society of Comic Con. It’s harder still to walk past the conference rooms where artists and writers alike discuss and answer questions such as: “What if Cthulhu were awakened?”
You’ll never satiate the childhood longing for fantastical adventure, but Comic Con comes close. It won’t be the right fit for every first time Con-goer but those who stick around will share in on a dream come true. It is breathtaking and awe-inspiring, but beneath it all—all the masks—there are humans who have found a common ground.