There are a few good reasons why I was really excited about RI Comic Con 2013. First, it was really close to my house. But more importantly, it had an amazing and huge guest list. Here’s a list of just some of the awesome guests:
- Danny Glover (Die Hard of course)
- Billie Dee Williams (y’know)
- Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell Smith (both leads from Weird Science)
- William Zabka and Martin Kove (Johnny and Sensei Kreese from The Karate Kid… “sweep the leg”)
- Sam Jones (Flash freakin’ Gordon!)
- Sarah Douglass and Jack O’Halloran (baddies from Superman 2)
- Every single bounty hunter from Star Wars! (first ever together… collect them all!)
- Alan Oppenheimer (Skeletor, Masters of the Universe)
- Larry Kenny (Liono, Lord of the Thundercats)
- Jeremy Shada (Finn from Adventure Time)
- …and a zillion more. …a zillion.
Clearly, I had my priorities. So early the morning of the con, I got together my Ming the Merciless costume, cursed all those pathetic mortals along the road that delayed my plans, and headed strait for Sam Jones.
Sam recently got a strong acting revival from his role as both himself and Flash Gordon in the movie Ted. Clearly, I’ve been a fan for sometime before that. I also attended his panel, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
Did I hear the Queen music playing as I walked up? For effect, let’s just say yes.
I wasn’t quite done with my celebrity stalking yet. Next on the list, The Karate Kid. I walked over to meet Martin Kove (or Sensei Kreese from the movie and a ton of other roles). Clearly, I was not dressed appropriately. Unfortunately, I don’t own a Cobra Kai uniform. Also, it takes too long to remove my Ming eyebrows. I went as-is.
We actually started off to a slightly awkward situation. Referring to my costume, Mr. Kove brought up that he was considered for the role of Flash Gordon in the 1980 movie (but clearly didn’t get it). Whoops. Honestly, I kind of want to see that version of the movie too. It would be a somewhat grittier Flash. Poor Ming would really get his ass kicked.
I headed to the next table over with William Zabka (Johnny from The Karate Kid) and I said “hi” to him. It was quickly pointed out that I just cut a pretty big line from the other side. I humbly took my place for second “hi’s”.
Mr Zabka (or Billy as I met him) was super nice and he seemed genuinely happy to be meeting his fans. We discussed the inevitability of a reunion and rematch between Johnny and Daniel-son, a topic which Billy said was popular among fans. He pointed out that it was the fan’s will alone that led to the awesome “Sweep the Leg” video:
I then hit the vender floor for a bit. Overall, the event seemed well attended. Personally, I would have liked to see some more cosplay in general. But there were also some good displays here and there, especially of the Star Wars variety.
…but also some other pretty cool displays.
I went over to the Sam Jones panel next. Sam talked about some of his latest projects and career paths. He is currently a CEO of a security firm working with international diplomats and other big wigs; of course he still finds time to pursue some acting (see Ted). Sam also fielded some questions, mainly pertaining to Flash Gordon and his relationship with producer Dino De Laurentiis. For instance, according to Sam, Dino often wore wrinkled silk suits; they were wrinkled because he would work through the nights and they were silk because it was Dino De Laurentiis (I assume the latter… c’mon, he made Barbarella).
I was actually shocked by one piece of trivia. Sam Jones confirmed someone’s question about dubbing in Flash Gordon. Apparently, Dino had dubbed “at least 50%” of Flash’s voice using another actor. Sam said that this actor (not listed in IMDB) was about an octave higher than he was. I really need to go back and listen to every line now. If true, they did an flawless dubbing job.
Sam Jones kept the original Flash shirt and although he plans to give it to his son, he is willing to listen to offers.
Next I went to see part of a presentation of animation shorts put on by SENE based in Providence. I saw one really creative production called Sebastian’s Voodoo, a CGI animation about the tortured lives of voodoo dolls. It walked that line between creepy and cute. I saw two other shorts (I came in late), but honestly found them unimpressive. They can’t all be winners.
Below is Sebastian’s Voodoo:
On to the next event. I caught part of a “voice over” panel with a group of awesome voice acting talents including:
- Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time)
- Zack Shada (Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
- Alan Oppenheimer (Masters Of The Universe, Transformers)
- Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
- Larry Kenney (Thundercats, Count Chocula)
- Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
They were directed to reenact the episode of Seinfeld, The Chinese Restaurant, where Jerry, George, and Elaine painstakingly wait to be seated at a Chinese restaurant. However, each actor had to do it as a popular character they voiced. Thus, the role of Jerry Seinfeld was voiced by Finn (Adventure Time); George was voiced by Hermes (Futurama); Elaine by Skeletor (Masters of the Universe); Kramer by Master Shake (Aqua Teen Hunger Force); the maitre d’ was voiced by Count Chocula and other various roles by Zachary Shada. Frankly, I could listen to this crew do Shakespeare. Nothing is as funny as hearing a whiny Skeletor trying to bribe Count Chocula for a table… and failing.
I ended my time at the con by seeing some old friends, the RKO Army, a local Rocky Horror Picture Show troupe. They were performing a number of shows at the con (including Rocky). However, I caught their performance of Once More With Feeling, the musical hit episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Usually, this group shadow casts. That is, perform with a movie playing in the background. However, the convention failed to provide RKO Army with a projector. Much to their talented credit, they performed the entire show with only audio, and did a great job.
Overall, I had a great time at my first RICC. It’s difficult not to compare it with the New York Comic Con, which is massive. However, for a smaller venue, they had a fantastic line-up of guests, interesting events, and a good turn-out of attendees. In some ways, it is nice to go to a smaller con; as someone that enjoys such events, smaller venues feel more manageable and less hectic. On the flip side, it has some lower energy than its larger counterparts. Also, I personally enjoy seeing venders that carry hard-to-find movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, there were no such venders at this con. I’ll never get the complete series of The Mighty Orbots (Ebay is cheating)! I hope that this con continues to grow in popularity and I hope to see more fan cosplay.
Below are some of the great cosplay costumes that I ran across. Click HERE for the full list of images. Enjoy.