Movie geeks and comics geeks have a lot in common. For one thing, we don’t really mind being called “geek” (at least in context). See, we take a certain perverse pride in our geekiness – in our hard-won expertise in areas of pop culture that, some might say, those of our ever-advancing age should have outgrown.

For true geeks, the term “geek” is our badge of honor, a validation of our devotion to knowing more than anyone in the world about, say, the films of Val Lewton or Steve Ditko’s post-Marvel work. We geeks might not remember birthdays, but we’re your one-stop shop for nerd knowledge.

I have a feeling Tristan Gallagher knows what I’m talking about.

A proprietor of Portland’s Coast City Comics and the memorabilia haven the Fun Box Monster Emporium, Gallagher has organized the first Coast City Comicon, which takes place Friday to Sunday and boasts a lineup sure to appeal to geeks of all types.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” Gallagher said. “The idea was to be a lot of different things at the same time – comics, movies, everything we in geekdom enjoy. It’s basically my version of what I like.”

There’s certainly a lot for the discriminating fanboy/girl to like, with comics panels, video game and collectible card game tournaments, a panel on cult author Philip K. Dick, and even a “nerd rave” at Space Gallery to kick things off. (See Avery Yale Kamila’s story for more information.)

But we’re here to talk about movies, and Coast City has plenty for us film fanatics. The mark of a true film geek is a perhaps irrational attachment to an obscurely awful movie, and Gallagher proves it with a screening of the 1983 cult horror non-classic “The Deadly Spawn” on Saturday at Space.

“It’s one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen,” Gallagher said approvingly. “It’s like ‘Slither’ with lots of horrible, slimy parasite monsters. It’s one of my favorite terrible movies. Just as an effects person, the cheap but effective special effects – it’s an amazing film.”

Following the screening there will be discussion panels, one featuring producer Ted Bohus and another about the art of guerrilla filmmaking (aka “shooting with no money and no permits of any kind”).

In addition, there are documentaries straddling movie/comics geek territory and profiling two of comicdom’s most respected creators: Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison.

Portland’s own version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” the Geek Chorus, will even take out their comedy-nerd rage on the truly dreadful 1979 TV movie “Captain America” starring the chunk-headed Reb Brown.

It’s an ambitious lineup for a first-time con, but Gallagher asserts that he couldn’t be happier with the way things have gone (and revealed that he has a huge, top-secret comics figure already committed for the next one).

“No matter what,” he said, “we’re gonna do it again next year.”


Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer.


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