Exploring inner geek: Portland’s Comic Con draws Silverton fans

October 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History

By Tanner Russ

The Rose City Comic Con is more then a gathering for comic book aficionados. It’s a pop-culture event where attendees can play games, learn, dress-up and more.

In September, people of all different backgrounds descended upon Portland’s convention center to watch panels moderated by actors, writers and personalities revered within the world of geekdom.

For some, the chance to seek out their heroes, both literally and figuratively, was all they needed to make the trek. For others, it’s merely about fitting in.

For Silverton resident John Baker, it was initially all about the comics.

“But now, it’s become so much about the people you meet, the graphic novels, the art and just discovering a place where there’s total acceptance of who and what you are,” Baker said.

“Whether you’re tall, short, chubby, skinny, nerdy, professional or whatever you’re ethnic, religious or socio-economic standing is….no one cares at the Con,” Baker said. “Everyone cares about enjoying this very unique and creative world. I come because I love that creative, all-inclusive vibe.”

The star-studded event featured several big names, including Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols from the original Star Trek television series. It was a fact not lost on Baker.

He was thrilled to meet Koenig – the original Chekov, and they talked for a while before the autograph session.

He also chatted with Nichols, known to fans as Lt. Uhura, as she walked to her signing.

“To have met two original members of Star Trek, a seminal TV show that has created reverberations throughout the sci-fi genre for more than 50 years — pretty dang cool,” Baker said. “Another takeaway is how many people love this Comic Con world. Very exciting.”

The Rose City Comic Con isn’t just for the comic book and literary thrill seekers.  For some, it is a family adventure as well.

Silverton resident Elyse McGowan Kidd has two teenage daughters who are “in love with a variety of pop and comic culture stuff.”

“My husband and I are also a bit of creative nerds,” McGowan Kidd said.  “We have always wanted to go and this is more our family’s thing.  Some people go camping, we are going to Comic Con.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Comic Con without some cosplay, which means wearing different outfits and accessories to emulate various characters.

“I was told by my 15 year old that we needed to assume the attitude and voice of whatever character we chose,” McGowan Kidd said.

Being a geek or a nerd isn’t required to enjoy Comic Con, but it isn’t dissuaded either. For some, the joy is in finding yourself all over again.

“Geek or nerd, I suppose I’m a Gerd, parts of both,” Baker said. “There are elements of both worlds I dial into and really enjoy. Rose City Comic Con offers plenty for the Gerd in all of us to revel in. As an adult, it’s actually been so much fun to kind of latch on to that part of myself that I sort of buried while raising a family. Now, I’m all in for the Nerd and Geek world.”

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