The Portland Wizard World Comic Con took place at the Oregon convention center in Portland over the weekend. It started on Friday February 17 and lasted until Sunday February 19. The company that produces this convention, Wizard World Inc., also has this event on 15 other cities across the United States including Chicago, Orlando, and Saint Louis. With a 3 day ticket we decided to get a hotel in the area and spend the weekend in Portland. Luckily I found a hotel very close to the convention center that even had a Metro (MAX Light Rail) line running just a few steps from the hotel’s entrance. Staying in the city was fun and we were so close to the convention we could walk if necessary. The convention started on Friday at 5pm and we could start seeing people in cosplay that afternoon. It was a small convention though, small compared to Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con and very tiny compared to San Diego Comic Con. This had its advantages though, the crowds were not intimidating to walk around with kids. It was also a very kid friendly convention with magic shows, a kids show, and even a puppet show. Our son spent the weekend high-fiving every single superhero he laid his eyes on and got to enjoy at least two of the shows.
Unlike any other convention I have attended, this one had different open stages for people to gather around and watch different shows. No lines, no wait, no guide necessary to get into any of these shows. Although VIP attendees were able to get into the convention earlier, there was not a significant time difference nor a line to worry about. They had three main stages, a Main Stage, were the bigger panels took place, a Video Games Stage, for video game talks and competitions, and an Entertainment Stage for other shows like acrobats and cosplay competitions. The Main Stage was at the back of the exhibit area (also open) and you could easily find a seat to watch any of the panels they offered or stand in the back and watch if you preferred to do so. We were able to watch the first panel with Matthew Lewis, from Harry Potter. It was a good panel and fans got to ask him questions about his character in the Harry Potter movies and about his most recent projects.
It was disappointing to see so few artists on the exhibit hall. This one was mainly filled by vendors. The different areas were also not very well defined and it took us a long time to find the booths with comic and sci-fi books. There was a “Back to the future” booth though from the Michael J Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research which I thought was very cool. They had a DeLorean there for fans to take pictures on and contribute to the foundation. I also noticed more of the vintage comics available. There were booths dedicated to vintage comics and sci-fi movies and shows. You could probably find as many things from Battlestar Galactica (1978) as from Battlestar Galactica (2004), or more. The whole convention was a different experience. Even the food was not bad. There were various kiosks inside the exhibit hall with different kinds of food. A great feature for parents if you ask me.
By Saturday afternoon we have seen most of the convention and decided to leave. This convention did not have child care and our toddler had been walking around for hours so we needed to go. While walking back to our hotel we saw many more cosplays, mostly anime and superheroes. There were no bags or lanyards with badges though, these were only given to VIP attendees so very few people had them. Overall it was a good experience but I think this is a convention I would attend just one day in the future. Based on my experience and the comments I have seen from attendees to this convention on other locations, this may be a very small one if not the smallest compared with the other Wizard World conventions so I would be interested in attending the convention at some of the other locations. In any case, this was a very kid friendly convention and an interesting one to attend.