Five things I saw at Rhode Island Comic Con 2014

Local people might have heard about this already, but Rhode Island Comic Con was a mess.  And calling it a mess is me being kind. It seems that the promoters vastly underestimated both how popular comic/pop culture conventions have become, and the amount of turnover over they would see.  Both things are surprising given the news out of San Diego and New York.

I and my merry band were some of the lucky ones who actually got into the Con.  It paid to make it an early morning and get in line before the doors open.  That said, it was pretty clear by the first hour that things were over sold despite the organizers’ claims to the contrary.  By early afternoon they were no longer letting people in due to the venue being close to fire code capacity, however, I heard they were still selling tickets (not cool at all).  Many many people missed out on the con, stuck outside in lousy weather, and many were separated from their parties due to the sudden enactment of a “no re-entry policy”.  If you want to know more check out the twitter hashtag: #RIComicconfail2014.

In spite of all this I was able to get into the con and have a little fun before completely redlining due to the crowds. So here’s a rundown of 5 things I saw before realizing it was time to leave and have some nachos, hence avoiding the impending nervous breakdown.

1.  Hugging Star Trek Cast 

I was lucky enough to be making my way through the celebrity area just as the original series Star Trek cast was arriving.  Clearly they hadn’t had a chance to see each other before stepping out onto the con floor.  I wasn’t fast enough to get a pic of the group hug between George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig.  In truth I was overwhelmed by the absolute fondness these three had for each other.  It was so magical watching these old friends greet each other, old friends who kinda felt like my friends even though we’ve never met, weird, I know.  I was able to recover in time to grab two quick pics of Nichols and Koenig sharing a sweet hug.

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Friends, so happy to see each other.

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Feels!

Yeah, there might have been a little something in my eye as I retold The Goog what I’d witnessed.

 

2.  Samantha Newark: voice of Jem from Jem and the Holograms

Last summer Smalerie and I introduced Little J (our littlest and much younger sister) to Jem and the Holograms.  Needless to say it was a hit.  So I got her a t-shirt for her birthday last year, but when she wore it to school none her of friends had ever heard of Jem.  Her teachers, on the other hand, thought it was the best shirt ever.  Well, apparently I haven’t had enough of pushing my nostalgia on her and when I happened upon Samatha Newark, the voice of Jem/Jerrica at the con, I could not resist picking up a signed hat as to remind Little J to stay truly outrageous.  Show time, Synergy.

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3.  Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Reunion: Karen Allen and John Rhys Davies

Continuing  my trend of people who seemed glad to see each other and my own nostalgia, I was able to make it into the Raiders of the Lost Ark reunion panel.  The reunion was between 2 of the stars, Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) and John Rhys Davies (Sallah).  Things started a little rough for Mr. Davies, as he kept getting interrupted by the Con PA system announcing lost parties (there were a LOT of lost parties at this con, likely due to the crowds).  But once that quieted down it was a fairly typical panel of 30 min of moderated questions, and 30 min of audience Q&A.  We learned some fun tidbits about the filming of the movie.  Did you know that 6,000 of the snakes in the snake pit were real?  Also, that part when Sallah breaks out into Gilbert and Sullivan after kissing Marion good-bye?  Totally improvised.  We also learned some hard truths about being an actor and the importance of having a back-up plan.  Allen is a fiber arts shop owner in Great Barrington,  MA these days, while Davies stressed the importance of treating every job like it’s your last, and everyone who works on that job like they are the ticket to your next one.

Both actors were a total delight and seemed like they would have loved to keep on talking, especially John Rhys Davies!  When the moderator tried to close down the panel so the next one could start, Davies motioned to the next question-asker to come forward and mimed for them to just start asking their question.  Hilarious.
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4.  M.O.D.O.K and Apocalypse Cosplay-

I actually think the Cosplay at RI Comic Con was a step above Boston.  While there were lots of top notch costumes, these two made us just say “wow”.  Thanks to Gary for the photos!

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M.O.D.O.K

Apocalypse

5.  Make me a Dragon

Friend of the Ladies Tonya Ratz draws custom themed dragons.  Want to see what Iron Man would look like as a dragon? She’s got you covered.  Want to see what you would look like as a dragon?  She can do that too.  While at the con she even whipped up an Invader Zim dragon to give to voice actor Richard Horvitz who was in attendance at the con.

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My Iron Man Dragon pin

Special thanks to Tonya for letting me put some Ladies swag at her table.

So, would I go back to RI Comic Con?  Probably not.  It was a show that I have heard was really fun in the past, but it’s clear the organizers are not ready or prepared for the influx of attendees.  Can they fix that in one year?   Not sure. But I did at least have some fun, and some nachos.

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15 comments

  1. Gary

    Despite the crowds I had a great time. However, I don’t think RI is a traditional Comic Con like Boston. It’s much more celebrity driven. There were only a handful of comic dealers. I’m fine with it because I enjoyed meeting and getting photos with Karen Allen, Joey Lauren Adams and Reb Brown, just to name a few. The Indy panel was awesome. Wish it could have gone on longer. Thanks for the photo shout out!

  2. itsthegoog

    Yeah, the cosplay was top notch. I was disappointed in the vendors, there were a LOT of empty tables, not as many vendors selling comics as one would expect at a comic con, but there were TWO tables of vendors selling wooden weapons, which struck me a slightly odd, especially since they were in the same isle. I’m also bummed that everyone I wanted to see or get an autograph from dropped out at the last minute. Oh well, there are always other cons.

    • Noadi

      I was one of the vendors who was there and I was pretty alarmed by the vendors who didn’t show. Those tables weren’t empty because they hadn’t been sold, during setup they had vendor names on them, they never showed up at all. The booth fee for RICC wasn’t really expensive but it wasn’t an amount I would be willing to lose by not showing up either.

      • tinydoom

        Noadi, I just clicked too, and hearted you! I am Effulgent Crafts on etsy. But I totally agree, I get that sometimes an emergency happens and you can’t make a con, but the number of vendors who didn’t show was more than I have seen at other shows.

      • smalerie

        Oh, what a bummer. Let’s hope they are both feeling better. I just looked at the guest list and looks like there were still a ton of interesting people to see. I want to steal that Jem hat from my little sister. Is that wrong?

    • tinydoom

      Off the top of my head, Michael Rooker couldn’t make it, and poor Colin Baker was stranded at the airport when no one arrived to pick him to bring him to the con.

  3. comicazimike

    Peter Mathew was in attendance. He was in a wheelchair and situated at a table on an endcap. I agree that the cosplay was better than Boston in terms of diversity of characters being portrayed. And my favorite part of the afternoon was indeed the Raiders panel! I could have listened to them for at least another hour! And those nachos were pretty darn tasty too! Thanks for having me along!

    • tinydoom

      I think JRD could have talked all day at the Raiders panel and I agree, I would have stayed and listened…maybe we could have gotten nachos delivered?

  4. Pingback: Rhode Island Comic Con 2014 report, Part 2 — farewell to Warehouse 13 | Gene's Worlds
  5. Pingback: The Ladies of Comicazi Convention Survival Guide | The Ladies of Comicazi

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