Kid’s Con Returns to Rhode Island Comic Con

Rhode Island Comic Con announces activities for the littlest fans

 

A mainstay in the Rhode Island Comic Con event schedule, Kids Con sets the stage for an exciting weekend for the younger generation of fandom. Kids Con is a series of organized activities within the walls of Rhode Island Comic Con, the Biggest Show in the Smallest State, slated for November 7th and 8th at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center area. Activities are designed for fans 12 and under.

Some of the activities scheduled for the two-day program include:

  • Puppet making and “How to be a Puppeteer,” hosted by Julio Robles. Robles is a former student of Michael Earl, the original man behind Snuffleupagus and Forgetful Jones on Sesame Street. Julio is a puppeteer and a puppet builder and has been featured in TV shows such as The Steve Katsos Show and movies including “What’s Your Number?” Recently Julio finished work being a puppet teacher to the Stratton cast of Avenue Q. He currently spends a great deal of time working on his YouTube page called ScrapsTV.
  • Comic Construction Workshop, hosted by Matt Ryan. Ryan is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. His work appears in his own comic, Food Fight, the 2015 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award nominated The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ and the Junk Food comic strips.
  • Roger Williams Zoo’s Zoomobile will visit with the children with the animals.
  • A gaming tournament hosted by Rhode Island Comic Con sponsor, GameStop. Kids will compete in video games Mario Kart and Smash Brothers.
  • A magic show by Dezrah Blinn.

Aside from these scheduled events, Kids Con will feature story time with costumed characters as well as a princess dance party and a heroes vs. villains dance-off.

Commenting on this year’s Kids Con, coordinator Jillian Aldrich said, “It’s going to be the biggest Kids Con yet! Tons of games, crafts, and events!”

Kids Con is free to attend with a paid admission to the convention. Tickets for Rhode Island Comic Con are currently on sale through Ticketmaster, or by visiting http://www.ricomiccon.com. Daily tickets start at only $29.00 and a three-day weekend admission is $75 in advance, $85 at the door (if available). For kids ages 6 to 12, a weekend admission is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Kids under 6 are admitted free.

In its fourth year, the award-winning Rhode Island Comic Con, produced by Altered Reality Entertainment, expands to three days, two venues, and over 100 celebrity guests, including actors from Star Trek, Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Agents of Shield, and Transformers, among many others. Comic book artists from Marvel, DC and the independent market all converge on downtown Providence. Gaming, cosplay, and after parties all add to an exciting schedule of events and panels.

Rhode Island Comic Con Announces Panel Schedule

In a few days the Biggest Show in the Smallest State, Rhode Island Comic Con organizers have announced the schedule of panels, celebrity Q&A sessions, and special events.

According to the convention’s Programming Director, Michael Gianfrancesco, “The programming staff has worked hard to put together what we think is an entertaining and diverse offering of amazing panels for our guests this year. We are excited about all of our major offerings and are thrilled to have guest celebrity moderator Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bring it On) from geeknation.com working with us to make these events even more of a memorable experience for attendees.”

Saturday’s events include:

  •  Buckler and McGregor: The Making of the Panther
  •  The Faces of Star Trek
  •  Under the Helmet: The Men who Played Boba Fett
  • Magical Objects
  • Cosplay Workshop: Foam Armor
  • Q & A with Neal Adams
  • Ride Along with Sons of Anarchy
  • The Voices of Batman
  • The Weekly Pull Live
  • It’s a Homestuck Life
  • Spirit Connections Gallery Readings with Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice
  • Behind the Masks and Uniforms: Star Wars Characters
  • Everything Wrong With: A Day in the life of CinemaSins
  • Limitless Cosplay: Cosplay Your Way to Self-Love
  • Back into the Pensieve: Ridiculous Harry Potter Theories You Forgot About
  • Cosplay Workshop: Wig Styling 101
  • Explore the Supernatural
  • Dealing Toys with Travis Landry
  • Q & A with Jason Momoa
  • Q & A with David Prowse
  • Growing Up Geek: Nerd Parents Raising Geek Offspring
  • Introduction to Lightsabers
  • Cosplay Workshop: Hands On Molding and Casting
  • Q & A with Ron Perlman
  • Creating Worlds with Chris Claremont
  • The Voices of Sailor Moon
  • Find Your Nerd Herd
  • Cosplay for a Cause
  • Q & A with Amy Jo Johnson
  • Super Beard Bros. Presents: The Newlywed Game
  • Transformers Unmasked
  • Bringing Back the Good Stuff: Reviving 90’s Retro Nostalgic Entertainment with Erica Crooks
  • Who wants to be a Super Millionaire?
  • A Celebration of Carrie Fisher
  • Comedy Show with Ron Funches
  • RICC 2015 Cosplay Contest

Sunday’s schedule includes:

  • Ghost Facers versus Ghost Hunters
  • Has the Sorting Hat Ever Been Wrong?
  • Living the Cosplay Life
  • Meet The Legions: A look at the costumes, charity, and camaraderie of the 501st and Rebel Legions
  • Cosplay Workshop: Sewing Basics
  • The Voices of Spongebob
  • Mike Grell: A Retrospective
  • Orlando Jones Live on Stage
  • Dr. Who 101
  • Charlton Comics: The Movie
  • Spirit Connections Gallery Readings with Spirit Medium Tiffany Rice
  • The World of The Walking Dead
  • How to Be a YouTube Star
  • Q&A with Henry Winkler
  • Inside The Outsiders
  • Dressed to Impress: How to make an Impact on the Judges of the Costume Contest
  • Dynamic Drawing for Toys
  • Cosplay Workshop: Head Casting Demonstration
  • Kids Cosplay Contest
  • A Look Inside the Tardis: Dr. Who Stars Speak
  • Bishonen Pretty Boy Swag
  • King of Comic Con
  • Meet the Power Rangers

Gianfrancesco went on to comment, “In addition, we have added a slate of informative and unique fan panels, which cover some of the more specific fandoms. We have panels on Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and comic drawing. We have even added a cosplay workshop room with hands-on demonstrations of molding, sewing, and wig styling. It’s going to be a great year for all our guests at RICC!”

For specific locations, times, and descriptions for each event, please refer to Rhode Island Comic Con’s website.

Tickets for Rhode Island Comic Con are currently on sale through Ticketmaster, or by visiting www.ricomiccon.com. Daily tickets start at only $29.00 and a three-day weekend admission is $75 in advance, $85 at the door (if available). VIP and celebrity packages are also available.

In its fourth year, the award-winning Rhode Island Comic Con, produced by Altered Reality Entertainment, expands to three days, two venues, and over 100 celebrity guests, including actors from Star Trek, Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Agents of Shield, and Transformers, among many others. Comic book artists from Marvel, DC and the independent market all converge on downtown Providence. Gaming, cosplay, and after parties all add to an exciting schedule of events and panels.

Excitment and Craziness at ConnectiCon 2012

Excitment and Craziness at ConnectiCon 2012

by Kendra L. Saunders

ConnectiCon has all of the rush, excitement and craziness of any of the major conventions, but it also provides a few much-needed lulls.

Carlos Ferro and Kendra L. Saunders at ConnectiCon 2012.

Carlos Ferro and Kendra L. Saunders at ConnectiCon 2012.

ConnectiCon 2012 boasted some fun and impressive guests, most notably Doug Walker, the Nostalgia Critic and Carlos Ferro (voice actor for Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War). The panel rooms were reasonable in size and there were enough genres represented to keep anyone entertained. Some of the most popular panels at this year’s convention were the ones centered around My Little Pony (I kid you not), a panel about famous bromances and the Steampunk Sex panel.

The Vagabonds and roadie, Kendra L. Saunders. Photo by Nick Presuto.

The Vagabonds and roadie, Kendra L. Saunders. Photo by Nick Presuto.

Now, walking around in full steampunk get-up with a popular steampunk group, The Vagabonds, means you’re going to be asked once or 10 times if you’re part of the Steampunk Sex panel. We were not part of it, and in fact, The Vagabonds had a panel scheduled at the same time. The Vagabonds’ crowd was a bit smaller for that particular panel, but I, as their ‘roadie’ and not a member of the actual group, could gauge things from the floor. The audience members were all incredibly entertaining people who kept the vibe in the room fun. Who says panels can’t be like a rock concert?

The dealer room was a bit slim and I did hear several complaints about that throughout the weekend. I’d intended to buy a wig at the convention, actually, but there weren’t any of the usual wig tables. There was an impressive market for Japanese foods, candy, and drinks, however, and those booths seemed especially crowded.

Carlos Ferro’s panel on Friday night was lively and enthusiastic, both on the part of the attendees and on the part of Carlos himself. He told us a few things he wasn’t supposed to (he’ll be a voice in the new Batman game and hinted at being a famous villain for it) and made a lot of jokes about his man crush on Michael Fassbender. He also mentioned that he prefers ConnectiCon to San Diego Comic Con. Carlos DJed the rave on Saturday night.

The Nostalgia Critic was so popular at the event that his presentation on Saturday caused outrageous lines of eager fans and headaches for the staff. The line had to be cut off at some point and a second presentation scheduled for the following day, which pushed the closing ceremonies back. The Nostalgia Critic was chipper and funny in person and when I mentioned to him that my brothers and I had gotten headaches and stomach-aches from watching his videos, he just smiled and said, “Always good to know I caused physical pain!” I saw male and female cosplayers of the Nostalgia Critic roaming the halls. How’s that for surreal!

Kendra L. Saunders with cosplay gender bender Avengers.

Kendra L. Saunders with cosplay gender bender Avengers.

Speaking of cosplaying, there was a ridiculously convincing Mr. T at ConnectiCon. If you told me that it was the real Mr. T just trolling all of us, I would believe you. Other standouts included a Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a woman dressed entirely as a piece of art, a cosplay group as most of the cast of Game of Thrones, Gumby and loads of great Doctor Who characters.

Kendra L. Saunders and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Kendra L. Saunders and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

The rave on Friday and Saturday night drew a lot of attention and went on well into the early hours of the morning. Cafeteria space for the event was plentiful (better than other conventions I’ve attended) and for the most part, I didn’t see any rudeness or bad behavior on the part of the staff, despite mumblings and mutterings I heard from other con-goers.

All in all, I suggest ConnectiCon for anyone thinking of attending a convention in the northeastern states. Make sure to book your room well in advance, though (at least 6 months prior), as rooms sell out very quickly. Bring your imagination, a sense of humor and plenty of water bottles,and I can almost assure you that you’ll have a great time.

About the author:

Kendra L. Saunders is the author of magic realism novel, Inanimate Objects, host of the quirky literary podcast, 13 1/2 Minutes, marketing coordinator for Spencer Hill Press, Jazz-Age/all things England enthusiast and sometimes-roadie for her friends, The Vagabonds. For more information about her, as well as helpful writing tips, visit www.kendralsaunders.com. The Vagabonds can be found at www.the-vagabonds.net. Nick Presuto can be found at http://pyrophotography.tumblr.com/.

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

By David Price

I had no intention to attend Boston Comic Con this year. My son’s girlfriend, Amy, had brought it up a few weeks ago, but no plans were made to go. On Friday night, however, she was over visiting and brought it up again. My son, Devon, had no desire to go either, so she was doing her best to convince him. Now, I haven’t been to a comic con in many years, but the prospect of going piqued my interest. I pulled up the website and checked out the details. There was going to be 74 featured guest artists there. 74! Wow, these things have gotten much bigger since the last time I went.

I use to collect comics. I stopped pretty much cold turkey back in the nineties, when all those endless crossovers became big. They drove me nuts, interrupting the ongoing story lines of your favorite series and also forcing you to buy books you didn’t want, just to keep up. It was a sales gimmick that I quickly grew to despise and drove me away from comics completely. I’m still a fan, of sorts. I see every comic book based movie that hits the screen and I’ve been pretty happy with Hollywood’s attempts to bring some of my old favorites to life. I still have probably thirty boxes of comics in storage. It’s like the fan in me is in hibernation, I guess, like my collection.

So when I looked over that list of 74 artists, I didn’t recognize quite a few of them. I’m guessing there are many who have entered the business since my comic collecting days. But still, there were a few that really caught my eye, like Bernie Wrightson, for instance. Wrightson is an artist I have admired since I started reading and collecting comic books. You see, what first drew me into comics were horror comics. I was reading them for a couple years before I even noticed the super hero books. Maybe it was growing up watching Creature Feature on Channel 56, but I’ve always had this fascination with monsters. Wrightson was of course, an illustrator on many of the horror comics that I grew up loving. These had titles like, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected, and Vampirella. Did I mention he was the co-creator of Swamp Thing? Yeah, that too.

Wrightson didn’t stop with comic books, though. He did an illustrated version of Frankenstein, which is absolutely beautiful. Later in his career, he went on to do some illustration for my favorite author, Stephen King. Mr. Wrightson illustrated The Cycle of the Werewolf, The Stand, and even did some work on the Dark Tower series. Needless to say, I was excited at the chance to meet him.

Also on the list of artists, I noticed the name Bill Sienkiewicz. Wow! There was another guy who had impressed the hell out of me with his art. You see, Sienkiewicz brought a style unlike any other I had ever seen when he entered the comic book industry. In 1984, Sienkiewicz took over as the artist for the X-Men spinoff, New Mutants and brought an expressionistic style that was mind-blowing. I’m not sure it was for everyone, but I know he gained quite a bit of recognition and managed to work with some of comicbook greats at that time like Frank Miller and Alan Moore.

There were a couple other names that stood out to me like Bob Layton of Iron Man, Kevin Eastman of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Simon Bisley whose work I remember from Judge Dredd and Lobo. It was enough for me to want to go. To top it all off, my twelve-year-old daughter, who to my knowledge has never read a comic book, begged to go. Between my son’s girlfriend and my daughter, they managed to convince Devon to give it a try. I was happy to drive, so the plans were made. My daughter invited her cousin, Roberta, so she would have someone the same age to tag along with her.

Saturday morning, I picked up Amy and brought her back to the house. She was carrying this trash bag full of costumes because apparently the three girls were determined to dress up. They had the idea that people went in costume to these cons and they wanted to participate. I certainly wasn’t going to put a costume on, but I didn’t mind if they did. There wasn’t a lot of planning involved here, so my daughter Kay ended up as Alice in Wonderland, Roberta was a sort of Victorian age vampire, and Amy wore a Pink Floyd shirt and flag as a cape. With the girls dressed up and ready to go, we headed off to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

The first problem encountered is that the Hynes is near Fenway Park, and the Yankees were playing the Red Sox that day. Finding parking was an adventure. As we passed the Convention center looking for a parking garage, we saw this ridiculously long line outside of the building. That couldn’t be the line to get in, we said. Spotting several people in line dressed as comic book characters confirmed our worst fears, though.

The line moved quickly, however, and we probably only waited thirty to forty minutes to get in the building. None of us were prepared for what we found inside. It was wall to wall with people. You really couldn’t get anywhere without fighting your way through the zombie-like horde of comic book fans. At first, this really bothered my daughter. She complained to me quite a bit. I reminded her that she begged me to bring them. After a while, we all just got used to it.

Devon and his girlfriend went right over to the Newbury Comics table to check out The Walking Dead books. My family is a fan of the show, but none of us have read the books. He grabbed the first few, which was okay with me, since I wanted to read them, too. Amy grabbed a few things that she was really excited about, including a Doctor Who book as a thank you present to me. We stopped at an artist who did a portrait of my daughter and niece in anime style. This put them both in happier moods. When we hit the back row, I saw the line for Bernie Wrightson. I stepped up and he asked if I had anything to sign. I knew I had forgotten something. Oh well, he had some prints from his work on Frankenstein, so I bought one of those. More importantly, I got a picture with him.

Bernie Wrightson and David Price at Boston Comic Con.

We fought our way through the mob and did our best to take in the whole thing. I had just about given up on finding Bill Sienkiewicz when we finally stumbled upon him. I got another cool picture and my daughter got an autographed Cat Woman print. We tried to find another vendor called Madknits, who had these handmade stuffed little monsters, on the way out, but after bumping our way up and down a bunch of aisles, we gave up and decided to call it a day. The kids were hot, tired, and feeling a bit claustrophobic.

All in all, Boston Comic Con was very cool, but it definitely needs to find a bigger venue. The Boston Convention and Exhibition center on the waterfront is much bigger and more suited to something that attracts as many people as comic con does. They should probably consider upgrading, even though I heard that this was an upgrade from previous years. We all had fun, which was the most important thing. Well done, Boston Comic Con.

Experiencing Arisia

Experiencing Arisia 2012

by David Price

When did steampunk become so popular, would someone tell me? I went to Arisia for the first time this year, which, for those who don’t know, is a yearly science fiction and fantasy convention in Boston. Now, admittedly, my convention-going experience is limited. When I was a kid, I used to go to some of the local comic book and Star Trek conventions, but that was over twenty years ago. Last year, I went to a horror convention called Rock and Shock, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a horror writers’ convention called Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Neither one of those prepared me for the spectacle I would find at Arisia.

I had expectations for Arisia. I’ve seen these kinds of things on tv, so I thought I would find a bunch of people dressed up like Starfleet officers, Klingons, Jedi, Hobbits, Elves, and Battlestar Galactica pilots. My expectations were, however, blown out of the water. Instead, it seemed like every science fiction fan woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I finally get that 1960s television show, The Wild Wild West. You know the show, right? Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were James West and Artemus Gordon. These two were a couple of James Bond types during the time of the Old West. It was half science-fiction, half western. The gadgetry they employed was far in advance of what you would expect for the period, with things like cyborgs, force fields, flamethrowers, and batman-style grappling hooks. The 1999 version starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline really sucked, but they played up the whole steampunk angle even more than the series. So that’s what steampunk is, this blending of Old West and Victorian era time period with science fiction elements.

If the the Arisia I attended is representative of what it is usually like, they could just call it a steampunk convention. There were plenty of people dressed up in costume, that’s true, but most of it had that steampunk theme. I saw one Starfleet uniform, one hobbit, and a couple of guys who might have been Jedi, but they didn’t have light sabers, so I couldn’t be sure. Dressing for the occasion seems to be the way to go at one of these things too, as I would say a good three quarters of the convention-goers showed up in costume. I was in the minority. It was fun to go there and people watch, though. Let me tell you something; nerd girls dress up in some of the, ah, *ahem*, most appealing costumes you could imagine. I’ll admit they surpassed what I expected. There may not have been any Slave Leias, but there was a scantily clad elven archer from the Lord of the Rings or Skyrim, a seductive assassin from the video game Assassin’s Creed, and a very revealing Poison Ivy from Batman wrapped in only, you guessed it, ivy.

All right, so I still decided I would go in there and enjoy myself. I like Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon Five as much as the next geek. Stepping into the dealer room was like entering some alternate universe, where geeks didn’t even know who the Doctor, Captain Kirk, Han Solo or Starbuck were. I wandered around and checked out everything they had to offer, but nothing really jumped out at me. I’m amazed to say that I walked out of Arisia without purchasing a single thing. When I went into the dealer room, however, it seemed the dealers got the same memo that everybody else did. It was Steampunk Central in there. I’m an introvert by nature and I have to admit that I found the place to be a bit overwhelming. I think I could have settled in better if I found some of the familiar Harry Potter and Star Wars elements that I expected to, but those things were almost non-existent, except for one notable exception. One of the highlights of the day was a life-sized stormtrooper cake that was on display. Towards the end of the day, it was sliced up and served to a very long line of hungry Star Wars fans. I passed on that, because hey, how good could it really be? If it was Darth Vader cake, maybe, but stormtrooper? It was probably just a cloned recipe, anyway.

The biggest lesson I learned from this convention, was that I should have made myself familiar with the schedule before I even walked in the door. There were hundreds of events that included movies, seminars, discussion groups, and even combat sword training. I know I would have enjoyed a bunch of those, and next time I intend to have a plan of attack. I missed the discussion I had planned to attend, which was a panel of critics wrapping up the science fiction movies from 2011. A friend of mine, Woody Bernardi, had what they call a “fan table.” Woody started a group called the Boston Science Fiction Association, which is really just a bunch of fans who get together and hangout sometimes. He got the fan table to drum up some more interest in the group. So far we’ve mainly been getting together for lunch at the Tavern at the End of the World, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. I agreed I would take a turn watching the fan table for Woody so he could go to some of the discussion groups that interested him. I think he was particularly interested in a tribute to Anne McCaffrey. I was happy to sit down and unwind a bit. I actually talked to more people sitting at that table than I had wandering around the crowded dealer room.

I look forward to the next one, though, now that I’ve had a chance to process the experience. As a writer, I dream of a day when people will be dressing up as characters from my fantasy novels. That would be something to see. Would I go in costume? I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. Of course, my ultimate goal is to be one of those guys sitting behind a table with a long line of people waiting to see me. I’ll be serving the Darth Vader cake, of course.