AlternativeNation.net reporters Doug McCausland, Mike Mazzarone, Jesse Dunning, and Anthony Cariosocia just got back from the inaugural Saturday (following a Friday night Halloween launch party) of Rhode Island Comic Con 2014. Being in close proximity to the New York Comic Con, though not quite as expansive, RICC is a great alternative for those who missed out on NYCC tickets. The event has been expanding for the past few years, and a controversy broke out today when the event was reportedly oversold. Regardless of those events, read on for Doug, Mike, and Anthony’s experience at the con, with recaps of some key panels and photos of various cosplayers…
Doug: As far as Star Wars guests go, Ray Park (Darth Maul), Matthew Wood (General Grievous), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) were the biggest names. Also in attendance were Jabba’s dancer from Return of the Jedi, Shaak Ti, and several other cult favorite background players. The storied 501st Legion of charity cosplayers were customarily on the scene, wearing their trademark hand-built professional quality stormtrooper costumes. I got the chance to (casually) chat with Matthew Wood, who reconfirmed the long standing rumor that Gary Oldman was going to voice General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith but pulled out last minute.
Mike: My highlight was during the first panel. The host asked no questions about Episode VII and what does Edward R. Murrow here do? Episode VII question.
Doug: I asked Peter Mayhew during his panel (the first, at 11 AM) when he got the call for Episode VII, pointing out George Lucas always denied wanting to make a sequel trilogy. He kind of gave me this terrifying stare and said “That is between me and Mr. Lucas“, then the host pointed out that no Star Wars VII questions were to be asked. I said that it wasn’t a plot related question before scurrying back to my seat all awkward.
Anthony: I kinda predicted that someone would mention the Star Wars Holiday Special. It actually happened: “What was it like working with Chewbacca’s family in the Holiday Special?”
Doug: I admit the PA system was muffled during the Wookiee panel and so I couldn’t hear much of his answer, at least from where I was sitting. This was rectified with the Shatner panel. I did hear Mayhew mentioning something about “thousands of VHS tapes” he’d “give away”.
Mike: I got to have a photo op with the only representative of Doctor Who and one of the more underrated Doctors in show history, Colin Baker. Baker revealed to me that he has no current plans to be involved in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, an update on his short with past Doctors entitled (the five Doctors reboot) saying that it all depends on if he and Paul McGann (8th Doctor) can come up with a script as good as the first five Doctors reboot – which, as Baker mentioned “doesn’t look like it”. Baker also praised current Doctor Peter Calapdi, saying he enjoys the “classic touch” of Peter’s Doctor and wishes him the best.
I also got the chance to show off my Doctor Who cosplay. My first time pulling off any sort of cosplay, and I went as Doctor Who’s 9th Doctor. I got to meet a bunch of fellow cosplayers that complimented my “fantastic” getup. Including those dressed at 4, 6, 10 and 11.
Doug: The Raiders panel with Karen Allan and John Rhys-Davies was hilarious, because there was a time period where every single time Mr. Rhys-Davies tried speaking, he was interrupted by an announcement on the PA. It made for good unintentional comedy.
Anthony: They did a good job of making jokes at of the PA calls.
Doug: More audio issues here, but John and Karen were really classy. One person in the audience who was given the microphone commented that they were being really nice, unlike some people “downstairs” (in the show room). This gave way to applause. Personally I didn’t find anyone rude.
Doug: The legendary William Shatner, the top-billed guest of the day, needed no host to ask him questions during his 4:30 panel. He had this bizarre sort of stand up/stream of consciousness routine.
Anthony: Shatner pretty much did a stand up routine on dog semen.
Doug: He started off with story about how he needed his dog fixed after a “fight” with a female dog.
Anthony: Which he referred to as The Bitch over and over.
Doug: Shatner and his wife opted to freeze the dog’s scrotum… he wanted to breed his dog later and so his family hoped to preserve the dog’s semen by freezing his scrotum. He must have used the word “semen” seventy five times as he’s describing running down the hall holding his dog’s nuts. This somehow led to an anecdote about how his kids wanted him to reenact his experience in the classic Twilight Zone episode Nightmare At 20,000 Feet whenever they flew.
Anthony: The Q/A got bizzare too… I mean, some of his answers were pretty strange.
Mike: Strange is an understatement.
Anthony Carioscia: Like how he was explaining how sci-fi is great and sounded like he was having an orgasm. His face was literally red.
Doug: After this awkward/hilarious intro, he took audience questions. One girl asked how it is to act in a historical film vs a sci fi/fantasy program. So he starts ranting about how science fiction can become science fact, claiming that UFO abductions might be real based on some weird interpretation of quantum physics and the number of people who actually believe they were abducted means they “willed” the concept into reality.
Anthony: His face was literally turning red as he was speaking. I just wish i had time to ask him about his film Incubus.
Mike: I don’t think he knows who Brandon Boyd is.
Doug: Yeah, the panel seemed short. Unless his answers were so long and unbelievably over-the-top that it just took up all th etime.
Anthony: He did take forever on that sci-fi answer.
Doug: It was by far the most entertaining/bizarre thing I’ve seen in months.
Mike: I spent 80 dollars on wrestling photo ops… in hindsight, not the brightest moment in my life. That one 80 dollar payment could of went to a more socially acceptable Shatner or Takei.
Doug: Our resident WWE interviewer/photographer Jesse Dunning decided to wear a CM Punk costume to the con. All the wrestlers present reacted positively. Curt Hawkins took his picture and told Jesse he’d send the picture to the real CM Punk.
Mike: The ironic thing with all of the wrestling stuff is that while I took pictures and had photo ops with a lot of past a present superstars (Booker T, JBL, Torrie Wilson…etc) I actually made a point to ask very little when it came down to actual “wrestling related questions”. I figured it would be best to come up with questions that these people haven’t been asked a hundred times in one day.
Mike: Since JBL is a big football fan and a former football player himself, I asked who he thought was going to win the Super Bowl this year, to which he replied “Either the Eagles or the Broncos”. He proceeded to give a long winded, albeit, mumbled reasoning that I cannot recall due to it being sort of inaudible (even in person). I wanted to ask another question to him, something along the lines of “greatest rib (prank) that has ever been pulled on him”… but, alas, I was pushed aside and some other fan had his turn.
Mike: For the record, since Torrie Wilson is dating baseball player Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, I asked if he is a big wrestling fan and likes watching the shows. Torrie looked at me like I had three heads and said: “Well, he likes to watch me wrestle”. I rolled my eyes afterward.
Miscellaneous Guests: Exorcist, Pokemon
Anthony: I spent 20 bucks on a becoming vegan book (though I probably never will) just so I can get an autograph from The Exorcist‘s Linda Blair. But it was worth it. She really liked that I brought up her more obscure movie Hell Night and told me all about her wildlife campaign. Oh, and I spent 10 bucks to get a pic with Veronica Taylor, who voiced Amelia from Slayers.
Mike: You mean Ash Ketchum from Pokemon. No one knows what Slayers is.
Anthony: I think of her more from Slayers. It was pretty big in the 90’s.
Mike: You are the only one.
Doug: I told her Pokemon made up 90% of my childhood.
Mike: She offered voicemail recordings for 20 bucks. If I didnt have to deal with PR for a living, I would have jumped on that.
Doug: YOU HAVE REACHED THE VOICEMAIL OF MICHAEL MAZZARONE, HEAD REPORTER OF ALTERNATIVENATION.NET AND POKEMON MASTER!
Mike:…Yes. It’d probably be something like that.
Anthony: Sucks we didn’t get to meet Anthony Michael Hall. Such a long line.
Doug: That guy seems really cool Didn’t get the chance to speak with him but he was very, VERY social with everyone else.
Anthony: He’s more social than the characters he played in the 80’s, that’s for sure.
Comic Book Television
Anthony: Doug got to interview Katrina Law (Nyssa Al’ghul) from The CW’s Arrow.
Doug: She was really cool and personable. I think the entire Arrow cast is. I did an improvised mini-interview with her (bless my TMZ skills) but we should have a full on phoner with her later on. She’s a major player in Season 3. You can read my interview… thing… later this week.
Anthony: Never saw an episode of Arrow before, but she seemed really nice.
Doug: Also present was the badass J August Richards, Michael Petersen (AKA Deathlok) from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I didn’t get to do an interview, but I gave him a handshake and said “you’d better be coming back to the show soon” and he just smiled, nodded, and thanked me. Take that as you will.
Anthony: Others in attendance included John Wesley Shipp, who played The Flash in the 90’s live action TV series.
Anthony: Brian O’Halloran was probably the coolest guest… free picture and I felt like he was just a regular guy.
Doug: He was really down to earth. I conducted an interview with him (alongside Scott Schiaffo, the Chewlies Gum salesman from the opening of Clerks) which you can read soon.
Anthony: I found it really epic that we got to see Brian O’Halloran casually talk to Joey Adams from Chasing Amy . It’s like we were in a Kevin Smith movie.
Doug: We have some exclusive updates on Clerks III! Stay tuned.
Doug: Well rounded merchandise vendors, including Anthony’s aformentioned obscure/out of print film vendors, loads of Star Wars and sci-fi collectibles, apparel, and this one delightfully messed up vendor that sold horror themed children’s toys.
Anthony: You know it’s a real horror vendor when even I have only heard of two of the films sold. I was given two free DVDs by one of the vendors for being knowledgeable on obscure movies!
Mike: One does not simply come to Rhode Island Comic Con with nothing to spend.
Mike: Meeting my first Doctor Who doctor was pretty awesome. Even though Colin Baker isn’t as renowned as the 4th doctor and Tom Baker or David Tennant and 10 he is still pretty underrated and the experience was great. Not everyone’s cool with free photos like Brian O’Halloran… if you’re going next year, be prepared to spend some dough. But, regardless, lots of things were crossed off the bucket list today!
Anthony: I can’t believe this day happened. I met Brian O’Halloran, Peter Mayhew, Veronica Taylor, and Karen Allan, just to name a few of the many guests. And I heard William Shatner give a speech on dog semen. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Doug: This is my second RICC, and I must say I had much more fun this year than last year. The convention only has room for more growth and improvement. Keep up the solid guest lists, iron out audio issues (muffled microphone sound, PA interruptions during guest panels), and cut off ticket sales after capacity is full, and you’ve got yourself a solid competition to the neighboring NYCC in the next few years.