Portland has become a well of burgeoning industries and new ideas. Now, with the help of local businesses and creators, Portland––and Oregon in general––is starting to generate a respected comic book community.
“The past year has been a good year for comics,” says Ronald Conell, owner of Other Worlds
Games in Southwest Portland.
Other Worlds used to be a small hobby shop in Hillsdale. Last September, when DC’s reboot of its 52 major titles (“The New 52”) hit shelves, comics became an integral part of the shop’s merchandise.
“Portland is becoming a destination,” says Conell.
Some of Portland’s comic book stores include Floating World Comics in Northwest, Excalibur Comics in Southeast, and Bridge City Comics in Northeast. Floating World and Bridge City opened in the last 8 years, and Excalibur, which opened in 1974 was the first of Portland’s comic book stores.
Critically acclaimed writers and artists have also popped up in Portland: Greg Rucka, Eisner award writer of the most recent Punisher series, and Stumptown, which is a comic based in Portland. Others include Rich Ellis, the artist of Memorial.
Rose City Comic Con, Portland’s first big convention dedicated to the comic book industry, had its inaugural show in September. People from all over the country came out to the convention, which was a great boost to the economy.
The tax incentives that Portland gives for small businesses such as Other Worlds has made comics a great investment, too.
Dark Horse has also been a helpful part of the growing industry. Founded in 1986, Dark Horse has become the third largest publisher of comics in the nation. Dark Horse is also in Milwaukie, which brings attention to Portland.
“I think the hardest thing about selling comics is selling the more indie stuff. I mean, Stumptown may be critically acclaimed and I don’t know if it’s selling at other stores, but I still have 10 issues of #1. I might just start selling them online,” said Conell.
Independent material is an important part of any industry and if Portland’s is to survive, the support of indie comics is pivotal to becoming a large part of the comic book world at large.
While Portland has been coming into its own, it is still a relatively small market for comics. Given time and opportunity, Portland could become a major player in comics, bringing in big creators branches of powerful companies.