By Zack Britten | Photos by Erika Weiser
Superheroes, monsters and Jaws, oh my! The 2015 Northeast Comic Con is a trip down memory lane and a glimpse into the future.
Costume-clad fans flocked to The Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington yesterday for the kick-off of Comic Con featuring some famous names, beloved movie vehicles and one infamous great white. The event runs through Sunday, June 21 from 10am to 5pm at 99 Fordham Road, Wilmington. Parking is free.
Comic Con Highlights:
Mathew Bell is a Marty Mcfly impersonator who time travels to all kinds of events booked by his manager, Eric Sellin, who actually owns a DeLorean. Together, the pair participates in various events to benefit the cause of Team Fox, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Sellin, who purchased the “time machine” through its corresponding studio, also owns the ’66 Batmobile and Batcycle on the scene in Wilmington. They are replicas of the originals but these Bat-Motors proudly sport the signatures of surviving cast members from the ’66 Batman series. All three vehicles were also featured in the 2011 Russell Brand film Arthur.
Also known on the Comic Con scene by visitors as Captain America, Myers is a seasoned comic book fan accompanied by her partner in crime, Kellie Sansouci (The Winter Soldier). Kasey has traveled to many a nerd-convention to achieve the goal of getting her Captain America Shield signed by three of the most influential comic-book writers of our time, Alan Bellmen, Jim Steranko, and the great Stan Lee.
Natick-based Game Underground is the hub of everything videogame. From Smash Bros and Mario Kart tournaments to demos and displays, they are a gamer’s dream come true. If you go, be sure to check out their setup.
The World of Jim Henson
The greats of modern puppetry accompanied Gigi Edgley (Chiana of Farscape) at the Jim Henson panel to reflect on the creator’s legacy. Among the group of experienced puppeteers and character actors was Noel MacNeal, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph and Bill Diamond, all of whom worked with Henson. They reflected on their experiences, past and present, in the practice and how it impacted them as people and artists. Noel MacNeal and Gigi Edgley both credit Henson as their inspiration for getting into acting and puppetry.
Bruce (ahem) we mean Jaws the shark
Chris Kiszka is the man we have to thank for the famous “Bruce the Shark” and Jaws paraphernalia on display at Comic Con. The teeth on Bruce were taken from the original mold and the harpoon gun was used in the film and made by Chris’s father, Stan Kiszka, who was a Navy Arms Machinist in New York. This is the fourth time the Harpoon Gun has been shown to the public.
Roger Kastel, the visionary behind the iconic Jaws and Empire Strikes Back film posters, is also in the house. Kastel says his inspiration for the famous image of Bruce approaching the clueless skinny-dipper comes from the novel the film is based on. As for The Empire Strikes Back, it was George Lucas who gave him the ideas. Unbeknownst to him however, the art would later be tweaked, with feet added to the Ton-Ton and flying X-Wings in the back ground. Both men were on scene to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of Jaws (the film was released June 20, 1975), along with Jaws move veterans Susan Backlinie (the famous skinny-dipper), John Dukakis and Tom Dunlop. Backlinie dished details about being Bruce’s first victim, explaining how she was hooked up to two cables connected to two pilings, and that men on the beach would pull the cables to give the effect of her being dragged by the shark. Rumors over the years have described Backlinie as breaking two ribs while filming this scene, but she says it just isn’t true. All the cast and crew on scene in Wilmington Saturday credited the film’s success to the locals of Martha’s Vineyard, who worked on the set and shared their knowledge of tides, local geography and seafaring equipment. Another thing they all agreed on — John Williams’ score still sends shivers down their spines.
Athlete, magician, escape artist, comic book writer, rock ‘n’ roller, you name it and Jim Steranko has probably done (and mastered) it. Of course what many comic book fans remember him for is his incredible and influential work with Marvel, as a writer and artist. Steranko went into the comic business with no art school, no muse, just professional attitude and desperation that he credits as his inspiration. He said the moment he sits down, he’s ready to create without agonizing over his vacuum of ideas. And he has no shortage of ideas as he draws creative energy from his incredibly versatile and interesting life experiences including filmmaking, being the editor, publisher and designer of pop culture magazines, and magic — he is a practicing magician and back in the day, dazzled crowds with his fire eating skills (true story).