My Time at the Rhode Island Comic Con
by Rob Watts
Myself, Jason Harris, Stacey Longo, Scott Goudsward and Kristi Petersen Schoonover began the task of painstakingly arranging our table in a manner of which patrons would … oh, who am I kidding? We threw it all together and if something fell on the floor, then it probably didn’t belong there in the first place. Our booth did look pretty diversely kick-ass! In addition to our own books, we had action figures, DVD’s, movie adaptation novels and of course, comic books. We were prepared for anyone and anything that came our way that weekend. Or were we?
Well, nothing could have prepared me for the 9am stroll through “Celebrity” alley just prior to the show’s opening. Stacey and I took it upon ourselves to stalk a couple of former stars while attempting to flee from a couple of others. “Oh boy, time has not been generous to that one” was uttered more than a few times. But there were a couple of highlights during that brisk wander. For instance, did you know that Mitzi Kapture (of TV’s Silk Stalkings) is married to Seinfeld’s The Soup Nazi? Well, she is and they are both wonderfully kind people. Also wonderfully kind, yet extremely happy, was Gil Gerard of the classic 1970s sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He was very gentlemanly as he reached out to shake both our hands but was quick to point out that he was selling Buck Rogers coffee mugs, baseball caps, lunch boxes, toilet paper and anything else you could put the name Buck Rogers on. As big of a turn off as this might have been, I still couldn’t believe “Buck Rogers” was in front of me, talking to me and trying to sell me a bunch of worthless crap. I couldn’t wait to see what other surprises were in store.
The doors opened to everyone at 10am and within 15 minutes, the aisles were flooded with convention goers. The booth blocking rule had a moratorium placed on it for the weekend due to the fact that people were streaming past us left and right all day long. We were perfectly happy behind the table all day, in our “safe haven.” People watching was a perfect ten as every super hero, comic book, anime, movie or TV character you could ever imagine was represented. To my delight, a different Captain America walked by me on an average of every 22 minutes. Star Wars characters were high in attendance and Jason Harris and I spent much of the two days debating on which guys at the con wore the best Bane character get-up. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the best dressed guys at the convention. Kristi’s all-time favorite tribute band, KISS Forever!
Venders were plentiful, and although their tables became repetitive after a while, they did have some amazing items for sale which could make even the least sentimental person nostalgic. I for one was tempted to plunk down fifty dollars for a near-mint Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, but don’t judge me. The toy venders, however, had some competition at the NEHW booth. Scott unloaded a fair amount of his action figure collection throughout the event’s two-day run.
Some cool cars were on display in the lobby such as the Ghostbusters Mobile, the Adam West era Batmobile and two Delorians from the Back to the Future films. Speaking of Back to the Future, I got to meet and chat with actress Claudia Wells who played Michael J Fox’s girlfriend in the first film. She’s still very lovely and very cool. Speaking of cool, we got to chat it up with former pro wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He had some interesting stories about his glory days in the ring, including the “Montreal Screw job” and his relationship with Vince McMahon. Bottom line, he was very likeable.
Word at the convention was they had sold around 5000 tickets in advance. 12,000 people attended the convention just Saturday alone. This was RICC’s first year and it went off with a bang. Although it was a long two days for us in Providence, I think it’s safe to say we all had a great time. Kristi finally got to meet Dirk Benedict, I met my now-current co-writer on an upcoming project, Scott finally sold his giant King Kong action figure, Stacey got to hang out with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jason learned never to order a 30 dollar Filet Mignon from McCormick & Schmick’s when he’s starving. That’s a different story for a different day.