Rose City Comic Con: Buffy, Goonies, and Turtles, Oh My!

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Last Friday I piled into a car with my friends Erin and Lisa for a four hour road trip to Portland to attend the 3rd annual Rose City Comic Con (RCCC). We filled the drive with geek trivia, engaging conversation, and of course John Barrowman CDs. We were particularly animated over the subject of which guests we were most excited to see. RCCC had an excellent celeb lineup this year, including the original TMNT voice cast (Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon, Rob Paulsen, and Renae Jacobs) , Sean Astin and Joe Pantoliano from The Goonies, and Nicholas Brendon and Clare Kramer from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

None of us had gotten much sleep the night before. Upon arriving in Portland we promptly took a short nap before getting ready for the comic con kickoff party at Things From Another World. We were excited to see everyone, and if you attended the party then you were able to pick up your con badge a day early. Although the party offered up free burgers, hotdogs, and beers, the lines were a lot longer than we were willing to navigate after a day of driving. After grabbing our badges and saying hi to a few people we decided to leave the party early in favor of getting dinner at Sushi Land.  It worked out just fine for us; we were able to spend time with our friend Jen, who lives in Portland but wasn’t able to take time off work to attend the con. Knowing we had a busy weekend ahead full of geek related adventures, we decided to turn in early for the night.

Saturday morning brought the arrival of our fourth hotel mate, Aaron. The Frodo to my Samwise! He had worked the night before and had to wait till early Saturday morning to take the Bolt Bus to Portland. Aaron and Lisa suited up as Frodo and Fem!Arrow, respectively, while Erin and I donned our best punk TMNT attire for our Turtles voice cast photo op.

As some of you may remember Erin and I had the opportunity to partake in an impromptu photo op with the TMNT crew back in April at Calgary Expo. Interest in a photo op at Calgary must have been a success because the crew’s appearance at Rose City came with an official photo op for purchase. Erin and I quickly jumped at the chance for a do over. We’ll always cherish the memory of first meeting the voice cast in Calgary but the photo we got with them there was a bit blurry as it was taken by their manager and not an experienced photographer. This one turned out so much better and, if I may say so, I think we look pretty damn awesome!

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Immediately after our photo op Erin, Lisa and I ran to the Sean Astin panel. We were a few minutes late but luckily found seats together. Sean Astin’s panel was so great, especially when Joe Pantoliano “crashed” his panel for a mini Goonies reunion. Sean Astin made the audience an honorary Goonie by reciting the Goonie oath. They led a Q & A together that brought about the re-telling of some truly hilarious stories from their adventures on set during the filming of The Goonies. Sean Astin also talked about what it was like auditioning for LOTR and how it changed his life. There was a particularly glorious moment when a fan asked Sean about his opinion of the fandom shipping Sam and Frodo. His response was that after reading a few chapters of what he could only describe as “Hobbits Erotica” that one Sir Ian McKellen sent his way, he had decided the pairing was possible. Upon another fan’s inquiry of carrying Elijah Woods up the mountain Sean remarked that it wasn’t difficult because Elijah only weighs about 87 pounds. Sean Astin is hilarious and his panel was truly a delight for all.

Following Sean Astin was the Voicing a Blockbuster panel. It consisted of the TMNT voice cast, along with Maurice LaMarche, Joe Pantoliano, and Sean Astin reading scenes from Rocky as some of their most iconic characters. Let me tell you, that whole panel was a gem. Just imagine The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O’Neil, Samwise Gamgee, the Nesquik Bunny, Pinky, and The Brain acting out those scenes. I tried to record some of the scenes but I was laughing so hard the whole footage is too shaky!

After a dinner break to Red Robin we all came back to watch the costume contest. There were some pretty fantastic entries in the contest this year. The highlights of the contest for me were definitely Retired Wonder Woman (complete with a catheter of truth!), The Wiseman and The Hat from Labyrinth, and the Muppets group. Animal even provided a dramatic drumroll during the winners’ announcement.

Sunday was all about Tolkien for Aaron and me. We put on our Samwise and Frodo gear in preparation for our Sean Astin photo op. We met up with some friends for a LOTR/Hobbit photo shoot before heading to the TMNT panel.

I gotta say, I’m never going to get tired of listening to the TMNT crew talk about their time working together. They are so genuine towards all their fans and they handle awkward questions with such poise and humor without making anyone feel bad – even when someone in the audience asks them to say quotes from the live action movie that they had no part of.

From the Turtles panel it was straight to the Sean Astin photo op. We were all pretty excited and maybe a bit nervous. The rule for photo ops is that only four adults can be in one photo before they make you buy an additional photo slot for one photo, one for the price of two if you will. There were five of us that had originally planned to be in the photo op but I didn’t understand the point of paying for two photos, so I politely backed out of the group photo opting instead to get one of just Aaron and I as Sam and Frodo. We were all waiting together though and when the time came for the group photo the nice lady in charge of the line let me join up with them! I was the last to walk over and when Sean Astin saw me he called out “Samwise!” and pulled me over to him. So you know that just kinda made my LIFE! It was great, too: as we were shuffling around to get posed properly for the photo he said something along the lines of “If you can win the battle of Middle Earth you can pose for one photo!” What a wonderful experience with an actor I’ve admired for a very long time. I will cherish these memories with my friends forever.

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We knew Monday morning would come all too soon after a four hour drive back to Seattle so we left Portland around 5pm. Naturally we were sad to see the end of another con but we filled the ride home with recollections of con highlights in-between belting out to the Chicago and Moulin Rouge soundtracks.

RCCC is a really fun con that is large enough to have awesome guests and panels but still small enough that it doesn’t feel like an industry con. You still have that feeling of a tight knit and engaged geek community. It’s definitely a con worth going to that I’ll be adding to my annual con lineup.

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