By Brian Cameron
This last weekend saw the Tillamook County Fairgrounds get beamed up to a galaxy far far away with the first ever Northwest Comic Con.
Featuring professional cosplayers, comic book and animation artists, actors and others involved in science fiction, comics, and cartoons the Northwest Comic Con turned into a resounding success for the two days it went on.
“I am thrilled with how its turned out, we’ve had lots of people come in for two consecutive days,” said Northwest Comic Con Event Director Monty Elliot. “On Saturday there were more folks but all in all its turned into a busy success.”
Citing unforeseen issues that every event organizer inevitably deals with such as restroom facilities unexpectedly ceasing function and guest speakers missing their marks the event went off regardless and was seen a success by guests and visitors alike.
With experienced guests such as author Timothy Zahn who has cut his name writing, to date, 51 separate novels on such famous subjects such as Star Wars, Starcraft, and Terminator, or actor Vincent Ward who is best known for his appearance as prison inmate Oscar on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Even Keith Tucker who has made his career as a professional storyboard artist for such well known and famous 80’s and 90’s cartoons series like Transformers, Animaniacs, Gem and The Holograms, Roger Rabbit, Pinky and The Brain, Exo Squad, Xmen and more. The Comic Con definitely lived up to its name and gave Tillamook a chance to exemplify its inner nerd.
“Its events like these, the ones that aren’t in the big cities, where you really find a good devoted fan base,” said actor Vincent Ward. “Even though my role on The Walking Dead was pretty small and I’ve moved onto other projects I’ve become a well known entity to fans of science fiction and horror genres.”
Ward, who was in town until late Sunday mentioned he had another Con to go to in Toronto but was happy he could visit Tillamook, and when asked about his experience specifically on The Walking Dead he mentioned it was such a great opportunity to be able to work with such talented actors but what really struck him was how the show’s lead actor Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, hides his native English accent well on the show but really served to confused Ward when he first met him.
“I kept thinking why is he talking with a British accent,” Ward said. “But then someone took me aside and told me he actually was English and it really struck me how good of an actor he really was.”
In addition to stage and screen there was notable guest Timothy Zahn who was set up featuring a variety of books he’s personally written. A number of them were titles within the official Star Wars universe as well as other famous titles like Terminator and Starcraft too. He is currently working on the final touches of a new book featuring his own Star Wars character Admiral Thrawn who was picked up and included by Disney and Lucasfilm into the new lore of Star Wars after the corporate buy out a few years ago in 2014. At that time Disney decided to retire much of the Star Wars expanded universe (books, comics and non-film titles) but chose to keep Admiral Thrawn and included him into the animated series Star Wars Rebels as the primary antagonist against the Jedi heroes in the show.
“Its been a very neat experience to see they [Lucasfilm] decided to keep Thrawn in the new universe,” Zahn said. “And I am happy to continue to write more about the Admiral Thrawn character and hope to see more of him as things go forward.”
When asked about the prospect of possibly seeing Admiral Thrawn show up in one of the expected Star Wars Anthology films Zahn seemed generally cautious to say anything for sure but noted that he could definitely see him fitting in pretty well to the going narrative.
“I could see the Admiral’s character definitely interacting with an exiled Obi-Wan Kenobi or a young Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine,” Zahn said. “But ultimately it would be up to Lucasfilm, but hopefully they would include me in on the process.” He mused.
The Northwest Comic Con had guests posing with official Star Wars Cosplayers such as the regional affiliate of the 501st Cloud City Batallion who sported film-quality Storm Trooper suits, a Han Solo, Princess Leia, and even a seven-foot tall Chewbacca who dominated the scene posing for photos with enthralled guests. Meanwhile a full size remote-controlled R2D2 unit cruised the grounds adding to the ambiance.
Asking event Director Monty Elliot whether or not we could all expect a repeat Northwest Comic Con next year or not, he simply nodded and said, “I don’t see why not,” and with that he was off to handle another unforeseen issue that helped make a great weekend for Tillamook area scifi and comic fans.