Over the weekend I went to the Rhode Island Comic Con. The main draw was, of course, the above picture with Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Gerard Christopher, Dean Cain, and Tyler Hoechlin; but there were lots of other Superman-related actors in attendance as well. If we consider Doom Patrol and Titans Superman related, there were 23 actors from Superman projects and one director (plus Brent Spiner who was cast but then dropped as the President on Supergirl and Tim Daly who cancelled). I tried to prioritize who I was meeting since there was no way I would be able to meet 22 people in one day!
Our first stop was the Smallville Fathers and Sons panel with Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider, and John Glover. The panel was short and there wasn’t much insight shared beyond what we get on the weekly Talkville podcast. Schneider did talk a bit about his return for the final episode which was cool to hear. Overall the panel they did at the Superman Celebration last year was better and more fun. Last year I went to Smallville Nights twice so I didn’t do that again this year. With time being as it is, I didn’t get photos or signatures from the two dads, but did walk by them on the convention floor.
Back in 2021 Stacy Haiduk and Ilan Michael Smith from Superboy were at the aforementioned Superman Celebration. I met them both and got a photo signed with a spot for Superboy Gerard Christopher right in the middle. I’ve been waiting patiently for a chance to meet Mr. Christopher and get his signature and this was finally my chance. He was super gracious to us. We talked briefly about his recent interview on the All-Star Superfan Podcast which I loved. We bumped into him later in the day and he was still so friendly and I loved that New York accent. Real stand-up guy.
After meeting Gerard we went around the corner to meet the Super Sons Alex Garfin and Jordan Elsass. We ended up waiting for them at their table for more than 30 minutes but then had to give up. I assume they were late because of the poorly organized photo ops. We looped back around at the end of our day and finally caught them. They both felt like their characters to me which is super interesting. Jordan mentioned how tough it was to live in Vancouver just like Jon Kent would complain about living in Smallville over Metropolis.
While we were waiting for the boys we did see John Ratzenberger across the aisle. He’s been in so many movies that I love him in, but of course his Superman the movie claim to fame is close to my heart: “Absolutely impossible, sir. They have the new B20 low level avoidance systems.”
The very last stop of the day was the Brandon Routh panel. Since I had met him at the 2018 Celebration I didn’t do any additional meet and greet with him separately. This panel also paled in comparison to Celebration. This is pretty disappointing considering since 2018 he’s had the opportunity to revisit the role which is something he expressed great interest in. His answers were more limited due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike than it seemed the Smallville guys were. It didn’t help that he was running late and the panel felt very rushed.
The overall convention experience was one of the worst I’ve seen. I’ve been to many cons over the years both large and small (from New York Comic Con to LadiesCon in Somerville) and I’ve never seen a more poorly organized set up. First thing when we walked in at the security check was a no outside food rule. It’s absurd that I couldn’t bring in a pack of Twizzlers and would be forced to buy food there. I have several dietary restrictions which makes eating out a complicated endeavor. The next issue we ran into was with the panels. The two I went to were in a separate building requiring a second security check every time. The audio at the panels was absolute garbage. It was hard for us to hear what the panelists were saying and it was hard for them to hear questions from the audience. The camera set up dead in the middle of the room was terrible placement. They told everyone to hold photos until the end of the panel but then each time rushed the panelists off stage. Crappy experience. The photo op experience was also poorly managed. The photo ops were up on the 5th floor of the convention center. Everyone looking for their photo op congregated in a foyer as a big sea of people. The sea of people needed to be funneled through a double door choke point into the ballroom with designated lines for each photo op. When you heard them call out the name of the photo op you had to raise your hand and push through the crowd to find the line to stand in. It was also extra confusing because there were two Supermen groups (one without Gerard Christopher). They were about 20 minutes late to call out the Supermen group photo and there was another 20 or so minute wait before we got in front of them.
Once the photos started it was fast. You got about 15 seconds there to take the photo and go. There was a problem with our first photo so they called us back for a second one which gave me an additional few seconds with them. It was so cool to see them all together. Scrolling through social media I always see bad photoshop jobs putting these guys in the same place and here I was seeing it for real. This was also a great way to see Dean Cain without paying for his autograph. Dude really bums me out. Plus it was a way to see Welling, Routh, and Hoechlin all again and not feel bad for wasting money! When I sent the photo to my father he told me I looked like I had just won a million dollars. Can’t describe it better than that.
The people I missed? Anna Diop and Ryan Potter from Titans; April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, and Stephanie Czajkowski from Doom Patrol; Anson Mount and Evangeline Lilly who were on Smallville; Harry Lennix from Man of Steel; Nolan North from Young Justice; Phil Lamarr from Young Justice and Supergirl; Denise Crosby who was on Lois & Clark; Chad Coleman from Superman & Lois; and Amy Jo Johnson who directed an episode of Superman & Lois.