This was our third year in a row attending Rhode Island Comic Con, which is easily the largest comic and media convention in New England, and likely second in the northeast U.S. behind New York Comic Con. Two years ago they outgrew their venue at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence after scoring most of the surviving cast of the original Star Trek to headline the event. So they immediately planned to expand to to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center arena located next door and last year, but a new venue presented new challenges in how to organize all the dozens of celebrities, the hundreds of vendors and the thousands of fans, resulting in other issues with finding where some celebrities were and not enough space for the lines.
Now this year’s guest list – Stan Lee?!? You could probably fill a convention on just that. But add other hot guests like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who had just proven himself as one of the meanest, craziest bat-wielding psychos on The Walking Dead, Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things, Gal Gadot who plays Wonder Woman…that’s filling up fast. And that’s just a few. How about Billy Dee Williams, Alice Cooper, Christian Slater, Summer Glau, Arthur Darvill, John Ratzenberger, Ric Flair…and I’m still only a fraction of the way through the list.
The convention opened on Friday, but due to other commitments we weren’t able to arrive until early Saturday. From all accounts, Friday went quite well. I was able to enter early and see the new setup, and the changes I saw made a lot of sense…more line space and corrals for guests in line for celebrity meets, better layout for vendors on the main floor, etc. The one gotcha – there is only one indoor path between the arena and convention center, via a narrow sky bridge, and due to crowd control and regulations they needed to make that a one-way corridor from the arena to the center. To get back to the arena for some of the headline guests and photo ops, you actually had to exit (and scan out your badge, so they had a better idea on the number of people inside) and walk back to the arena and enter via a special “re-entry” entrance.
I would never see the place that empty again. 🙂
We will be attending Rhode Island Comic Con this November for the third year in a row (the kids are already working on their costumes), and we always look forward to it. Sometimes I get to see friends and people I’ve met before, like Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek from Warehouse 13 or the various people from Ghost Hunters, and sometimes its meeting idols from my childhood, like last year meeting Henry Winkler and Kent McCord, or just generally cool people like Alex Kingston and Karen Gillan, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew and Colin Baker.
This year, we were already excited that Stan Lee – yes, STAN FREAKIN’ LEE – is making his last appearance in New England there. And since we already had a picture with ER‘s Dr. Corday (Kingston) we couldn’t wait to get a picture with Dr. Carter, Noah Wyle, this year. And the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion of Alfonso Ribiero, Tatyana Ali and Karyn Parsons. Plus newcomers Billie Piper and Anthony Mackie, and far far more…I mean, as a wrestling fan, who doesn’t want to see Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat side by side?!?
But recently the stakes were raised as RICC scored some really hot people at the moment (not that STAN FREAKIN’ LEE isn’t still tops on my list), but when you add the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot, the mysterious yet mean bat-wielding Negan from The Walking Dead Jeffrey Dean Morgan, or queen of the Underworld Kate Beckinsale, you are really raising the bar – and draining my wallet!
Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress and model who won the title of Miss Israel in 2004. She made her film debut in the fourth film of the Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast & Furious as Gisele. Her role was expanded in the sequels Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 in which she performed her own stunts. Most recently, Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film is part of the DC Extended Universe in which Gal will also play the role in the solo film Wonder Woman and the ensemble film Justice League, both due out in 2017.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also known for his role as Denny Duquette on Grey’s Anatomy, John Winchester on Supernatural, and the Comedian in the 1990 film Watchmen, is the newest antagonist on AMC’s The Walking Dead. As he starts the new season as Negan, he will be appearing at the fifth annual Rhode Island Comic Con. Joining Morgan from The Walking Dead are Alexandra Breckenridge, Michael Cudlitz, Jeremy Palko, Josh McDermitt, and Christian Serratos.
Known for her leading role as Selene in the Underworld franchise, Beckinsale has also appeared in Van Helsing, Total Recall, Click, Pearl Harbor, and the voice of Queen Ayrenn in the game Elder Scrolls. Joining Beckinsale from the Underworld movie franchise is Kevin Grevioux, who is known for his role as the Lycan Raze.
Come join me at Rhode Island Comic Con on Veterans Day Weekend at the Providence Civic Center/Dunkin’ Donuts Center and say hi!
The 2016 Hugo Awards were given out yesterday at MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction collection. Like last year, a group calling itself “Rabid Puppies”, led by Theodore Beale, tried to game the system and encouraged voting for a particular slate of nominees, but like last year were largely ignored by the more than 3,000 votes given.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
BEST SHORT STORY
“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
BEST RELATED WORK
BEST GRAPHIC STORY
The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM
BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM
Sheila E. Gilbert
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
BEST FAN WRITER
BEST FAN ARTIST
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards) went to: Andy Weir
Yet again I won’t be at San Diego Comic-Con (big surprise, but I will be in the Orlando area instead helping to raise money for Give Kids The World, so I have a reasonable excuse), but Syfy will be there with cameras, offering three nights of live coverage, hosted by Will Arnett (The LEGO Movie, The Millers).
The special will broadcast live from the heart of San Diego Comic-Con on the network Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23 at 8/7c. The live broadcast will bring the biggest party of the summer with the biggest stars, action and excitement of the San Diego experience directly into fans’ homes.
“We’re so excited to have Will host our first-ever Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con,” said Heather Olander, Senior Vice President, Alternative Series Development and Production, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, Entertainment Networks. “There is nobody more perfect to host this event than Will, who has created iconic roles for every part he plays, appealing to so many unique audiences. This year we’re thrilled to be able to give viewers at home a live, real-time Comic-Con experience with Will at the helm.”
Arnett, who most recently starred in the Paramount hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, will also be in town promoting the eagerly anticipated Lego Batman movie. Besides the Turtles and Lego Movie franchises, Arnett is an accomplished TV actor with five Emmy nominations from iconic shows such as Arrested Development, and 30 Rock. He also, created, wrote and starred in the Netflix’s original series Flaked and is the lead voice in Netflix’s acclaimed animated show BoJack Horseman.
Each night, Arnett will invite hundreds of fans at Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con’s outdoor stage to discuss and engage in the Con’s breaking news, insider party coverage, and exclusive content and sneak peeks of the most anticipated films and TV series. Arnett will also conduct interviews with the biggest stars from the hottest franchises during this unprecedented three-night broadcast, bringing non-stop action and fan surprises directly to viewers across the country.
In addition, starting Sunday, July 17, Syfy will kick off a celebration of all things Comic-Con, on-air, online and across its social media platforms, offering fans exclusive content, “digital shorts” and exclusive trailer premieres to fuel their excitement throughout the entire week. SYFY’S 7 DAYS OF COMIC-CON will continue through July 23.
Is this another step back to its roots when it covered more of the world of sci-fi fans? Syfy will invade the world’s largest pop culture convention this summer with Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con, a three-night telecast directly from the heart of San Diego Comic-Con. The special – Syfy’s first-ever live broadcast from Comic-Con – will air on the network Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23 at 8/7c.
Each night, Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con will bring the Con’s non-stop action directly to viewers across the country, featuring celebrity interviews, breaking news and behind-the-scenes reports. The hosted live broadcast will highlight the biggest stars, top franchise reveals, panel news, exclusive sneak peeks of the hottest films, as well as audience interaction, games, party coverage and much more.
“For nearly two decades, Syfy has been a mainstay at Comic-Con,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Each and every year, we can’t wait to get to San Diego to share our mutual fandom and passion for all things pop culture with our viewers. And this year, we’re thrilled to extend that immediate, first-hand access to those at home as well.”
“Our goal with Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con is to give everyone the experience of being on the convention floor, at the events, or just walking through the frenzied streets of the Gaslamp District … with hundreds of thousands of their closest friends,” said Heather Olander, Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Development and Production, Syfy.
In addition, starting Sunday, July 17, Syfy will kick off a Comic-Con celebration on-air, online and across its social media platforms, offering fans customized, exclusive content to fuel their excitement throughout the entire week. Syfy’S 7 Days Of Comic-Con will start Sunday, July 17 and continue through the 23rd.
Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con is produced by Wilshire Studios, with Corin Nelson serving as executive producer/showrunner.
Last year we attended Rhode Island Comic Con – “The Biggest Show in the Smallest State”, and there were a number of issues relating to its explosion in size, but aside from capacity related issues it was still a fun time. This year they expanded to make use of space at the connected Dunkin’ Donuts Center (a hockey arena) to hopefully spread things out, which would also come with more entrances, more concessions – but above all, more space for celebrities (and the lines of fans), vendors, photo ops and more. But they are still learning how to deal with their own size. Nothing as serious as last year, but more things that hopefully will be addressed for next year.
The 2015 Hugo Awards, given at this weekend’s World Science Fiction Convention in Seattle at Sasquan, saw controversy even before the nominations were out, with the group “Sad Puppies” attempting to influence the nomination and voting process to correct what they perceived as the infiltration of the genre by women and minorities, where it was formerly “ruled” by white males. Sounds like the same mentality that led to Gamergate…but in the end, the Sad Puppies lost out, and may have resulted in perhaps deserving winners winding up as collateral damage due to the Puppies support. 5 categories – Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor, Short Form, and Best Editor, Long Form all resulted in “No Award” winning, with four others having No Award in second place, as well as the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer also coming in second. In fact, in the cases where “No Award” won, it did so by a far margin on the first pass of ballot. This seems to be a resounding defeat of the Sad Puppies movement.
The winners that did come away with a rocketship:
Best Novel: The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator
Best Novelette: The Day the World Turned Upside Down, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator
Best Graphic Story: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, ” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett
Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon
Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Best Fanzine: Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
Best Fancast: Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
Best Fan Writer: Laura J. Mixon
Best Fan Artist: Elizabeth Leggett
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Wesley Chu
This is an article I should have written months ago…Rhode Island Comic Con, in Providence, RI took place in November. But various events got in my way (including a few medical issues), and just keeping caught up on the news was a challenge. But my wife mentioned who was coming to the con this year and booked us a room, I remembered – I never wrote anything! In fact, I thought I had at one point…To be honest, I’ve stayed out of the convention circuit for a long, long time. My original experiences were with the Creation conventions that came through every year back in the 80s. They’d have a few mid-level stars typically from Star Trek and Doctor Who (the best I remember was Jimmy Doohan, who came out and shook hands with everyone waiting in line in the morning, and Sarah Sutton who played Nyssa on Doctor Who, who was very gracious in signing something out of schedule for my sister due to a family emergency). Then I moved on the smaller and non-media focused cons for a while, and served on some panels – mostly revolving around Babylon 5, but then I stopped altogether. I was invited one year to moderate a panel on Babylon 5 at a major convention, but I actually couldn’t go…
Several years ago I had planned to go to San Diego ComicCon, but had to cancel. Now it just seems like it is too crazy to even think of attending. Last year we all planned a trip to New York ComicCon, and I even had my press credentials in hand, but had to cancel that as well.
Fashion Week may belong in New York City, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own version of it, and have it at the center of geekdom – San Diego Comic-Con!
Our dear friends at Her Universe, in conjunction with Hot Topic and Nerdist Industries, will bring the first-ever full-scale “Geek Couture” fashion show and design competition to SDCC this year, which runs July 24-27, 2014.
As part of the fashion show, Her Universe is offering a fashion design competition – amateur designers 18 years old and older can submit designs to HerUniverse.com inspired by anything that is celebrated at Comic-Con. 30 contestants will be chosen to participate at the show, modeling the fashions themselves or with their own model. Two winners will be chosen – one by a panel of judges (including fashion experts), and the other by the audience. The prize? An opportunity to co-design, with Ashley Eckstein, an exclusive Her Universe fashion collection for Hot Topic.
Check out the official release for more info! And my daughter is trying to figure out how to age five years in the next couple weeks 🙂
If you still aren’t sure what the anti-bullying panel at Comic-Con was all about, check out this video from the Nerdist Channel highlighting the panel.
Anti-bullying efforts are important to me. Although I was not a victim of systematic bullying, I did experience it several times…oddly, they were kids who had previously been friends. In one case, when asked why he answered, “Because I have to.” No, you don’t.
Now I have two girls of my own, big science fiction fans…and I am determined that they will not face bullying.