Wizard World made its first West Coast stop of the new year at the Portland Comic-Con Jan. 23-25 under sunny skies and record winter warmth, and Blastr was there in the midst of the madness.
In the Rose City that prides itself on staying weird, thousands of cosplayers, comic-book collectors and geek culture gluttons headed en masse to the third annual convention of creativity. This year's celebrity lineup was an intriguing mashup of sci-fi and fantasy film notables, TV stars and even an '80s bubblegum pop music darling entertained by a unicycle-riding, bagpipe-playing Darth Vader.
Charismatic headliner Bruce Campbell engaged audiences with a fun "Last Fan Standing" contest in the grand ballroom, in between several sessions of Sci-Fi Speed Dating. Arrow's Stephen Amell amused adoring disciples near Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s former love-spies Brett Dalton and Ming-Na Wen, perhaps the handsomest couple at the con. Lou Ferrigno, looking amazingly ageless, paused to express his appreciation to us for all the fan love. Amiable actor Yaphet Kotto served up a mesmerizing dish of Hollywood history, telling tales from the set of Alien and The Running Man, recounting war stories of wilder times with good friends Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen and joking with sparkly pop star Debbie Gibson on the exact duties and definition of a social media assistant. Nobody really knew.
Karl Urban held court before a constant wave of autograph-seeking fans hoping to meet the macho star of Lord of the Rings, Dredd and J.J. Abrams' two Star Trek films. His appeal has increased even more with the recent rumors of his possible casting in the next Aquaman and Suicide Squad films. A trio of stars from The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun (Glenn), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham Ford) and Josh McDermitt (Eugene), attracted long lines of admirers prodding them for some gruesome details of future horrors. And rowdy Michael Rooker's comical antics proved that his Guardians of the Galaxy role as Yondu was one of the best aspects of that blockbuster.
Boldly encamped in the artist's arena near acclaimed comic-book royalty Chris Claremont, Kurt Busiek and Kevin Maguire, Eisner Award-winning legend Neal Adams reigned supreme at his vibrantly bannered booth, discussing his upcoming Superman and the New Gods mini-series, sketching and signing prints of his classic Batman, Superman and Green Lantern covers.
Looming over the entire proceedings was an impressive Weta Workshop Exhibition that gave Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans a rare treat with a stunning showcase of props and scale models from the films, celebrating 20 years of creativity with stone dwarf statues, a 9-foot-tall Azog the Defiler sculpture and makeup artist Warren Dion Smith doing prosthetic demonstrations all weekend.
Check out our gallery of Wizard World Portland cosplay ranging from a remarkable Areyu and his fluffy Luck Dragon to a hilarious horde of Hulk Hogans, three jolly fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty and a magnificent metal-manipulating Magneto.