Author Archives: comiccon

Guest announcement: Sam Jones

For a generation of moviegoers, Sam J. Jones is better known as Flash Gordon. Sam’s engaging portrayal of the quintessential comic strip space adventurer won over the hearts of millions around the world. In an acting career that now spans over thirty years, Jones has endured in Hollywood – with close to a hundred appearances on the big screen and television – due to the versatility and enthusiasm that he brings to each and every role.

Born in Chicago, Jones grew up in sunny West Palm Beach, Florida, where he basked on the beaches while surfing and scuba diving in his youth. After serving his country in the United States Marine Corps as a mere teenager, Sam found himself without any long-term plans and working all sorts of odd jobs, from selling shoes to playing semi-pro football. Having had some success as a model (and a little encouragement from his friends), he decided that the time was right to give acting a try and relocated to Los Angeles on the condition that in six months he would hopefully find some steady work. Soon his all-American good looks and ambition would earn him auditions and minor roles on television and local theatre before eventually landing a solid movie part in Blake Edwards’ classic 10 as the beau of Bo Derek.

Since the Sunday newspaper strip debut in 1934 courtesy of the vision and artistry from creator Alex Raymond, the characters from Flash Gordon and their exploits on Mongo quickly ingrained themselves into the heights of popular culture in everything from radio dramas, pulp novels, comic books, cartoons, television and the ultimate celluloid serial series featuring the legendary Buster Crabbe. So finding an actor to play the larger than life qualities of Flash Gordon for a major motion picture was a quite troublesome ordeal for mega producer Dino De Laurentiis. In true Hollywood fashion, the casting of Sam Jones was purely accidental luck with a dash of good timing. At the behest of De Laurentiis’ mother-in-law, upon seeing the young actor as a potential suitor on an episode of The Dating Game, the producer brought in Jones for a series of auditions that eventually won him the principal role of a lifetime in a major big budget theatrical picture.

Upon earning the role and a multi-picture deal for potential Gordon sequels, Sam totally invested every ounce of himself, physically and emotionally, into giving the film and the character his all. The actor always understood that it wasn’t enough that he was the living embodiment of the classic character but that he had to portray Flash as an earnest man that rises to the occasion as a natural born hero and friend to all, selfless in the face of any evil. Amongst an all-star international cast, Sam’s hard work would help him stand out and succeed in making him the definitive Flash Gordon in the eyes of many.

“Well, I always feel that it’s very hard to cast Flash Gordon,” said Brian Blessed, the highly regarded British actor and Sam’s Flash Gordon co-star. “You can find Vultans, you can find Prince Barins, you can find Ming the Merciless. Seven or eight people can play it in their own way. But it’s very hard to find a Flash Gordon and Dale. And, I mean, for instance, you could take Tom Cruise, who’s got a wonderful face and a lovely smile, it’s the perfect smile Tom Cruise has. But you can put a camera on him in certain angles and he will look sinister. But you could put a camera on Sam Jones from any angle and he looked pure, so that when he walked into a room, he was pure. When he suddenly said to Ming, “My name’s Flash Gordon, quarterback, New York Jets.’ I think Sam is the Flash Gordon because he is so pure.”

The 1980 film remains a charming picture that is full of adventure, humor, sexual innuendo and good old fashion fun. Never was there a cast that so closely resembled their comic strip personas in a picture like this one. The endearing self-confidence of Flash and Dale in the face of Ming the Merciless and the unknown dangers of Mongo make for a lovely comment on good old American cockiness and spunk. It’s one of the films where every single element is crucial to its viewing experience: the lively acting approach from Sam and the rest of the cast, Queen’s explosive music, Lorenzo Semple’s breezy dialogue, Mike Hodges’ light- hearted vision and direction, the creative special effects and the colorful production values of Danilo Donati. In a world full of big screen comic book film adaptations, Flash Gordon remains a timeless gem that’s loaded with heart and pure enjoyment.

Although the film became a cult favorite in United States and its sequels never materialized, Flash Gordon was a box office sensation around the rest of the world. The enduring popularity of the film was the start of an extremely successful career for Sam that led to starring roles in many action features, leads in various television projects and countless guest-star appearances on many memorable shows on the tube. When not in front of a camera, Sam keeps himself employed as a security professional and consultant, working for a prestigious risk management company protecting VIP’s traveling to high-risk environments throughout the world.

During the last forty years, Sam has always been very active volunteering and donating his time nationwide – from coaching local youth sports to motivational speaking and personal appearances. For his efforts in hundreds of charitable events and selflessness, Sam was presented with the Outstanding Courageous Citizen of The Year Award and The Star Sapphire Halo Award, provided by The Southern California Motion Picture Council, The California State Senate, The Los Angeles City Mayor's Office, The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and The North Hollywood Police Department. Sam’s 2017 film projects (for release) include Axcellerator, Enter The Fist and the Golden Fleece, Head Games and Life After Flash, The Documentary.

Guest announcement: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Offering professional wrestling fans a ringside seat into his adventurous life, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jim Duggan recounts for the first time key moments and legendary bouts both inside and outside the ring. Known to millions of enthusiasts as a charismatic patriot—with an American flag in his right hand and his signature two-by-four in his left—Duggan here reflects on his early life as a student-athlete on the Southern Methodist University football squad. Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, Duggan shares how an injury-plagued rookie season curtailed his football ambitions and paved the way for a brighter career in professional wrestling. Rising to fame in the Cold War–era 1980s, Duggan immediately put himself at odds with anti-American “heels” and engaged in legendary feuds with some of the most legendary names in the sport, including the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Andre the Giant. In this who’s who of top-tier wrestling, Duggan reveals not only the high points of championship bouts but also the low points that occurred far away from the TV cameras and screaming fans, including his fight against kidney cancer during the prime of his career. With each page peppered with Duggan’s charming wit, fans will find much to enjoy and discover about the man they once knew only as “Hacksaw.”

Guest announcement: Santiago Cirilo

US Army Infantry Veteran, Writer, Actor, and Northern Ohio's own Santiago Cirilo from hit films and tv shows on Life time, Investigation Discovery, USA Network, TNT, Hallmark Mysteries, Oxygen, Fox, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CMT, and AMC. Currently catch Santiago on the new season of CMT NASHVILLE, season 4 of THE WALKING DEAD, and the upcoming horror film ENUATTII. Along with film and television, Santiago and award winning writer Kindra Sowder just released ZOMBIFIED book 1 a new look and a new Zombie Apocalypse.

Guest announcement: Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Menacing, intimidating and totally hypnotic in the ring, Jake “The Snake” Roberts was a Superstar capable of taking you down physically as well as psychologically. Slithering to the ring with a monstrous python concealed in a burlap sack, Jake used fear as a weapon as deftly as he used pain. His DDT finishing move is still one of the most brutal finishers ever unleashed on a Superstar. The son of noted grappler Grizzly Smith, Roberts was born into a sports-entertainment family. Eager to follow in his father’s footsteps, Roberts began competing in the early ’70s, making a name for himself in promotions throughout the South. In 1983, he tasted success for the first time, winning the NWA World Television Championship while wrestling with Georgia Championship Wrestling. Autographs(signed 8x10 photo), photo ops, tshirts, and autographed person items are available for $20 each. JakeTheSnakeRoberts.com WWE Profile

Guest announcement: Mark Pennington

MARKBIOPICBorn in Cleveland, Ohio in 1959, drawing came naturally to Mark by the age of 5. After being honorary discharged from the Army in 1980, Mark worked several miscellaneous jobs before making the decision that he wanted to attend art school. Soon after, he applied and got accepted into The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art and attended for three years. Shortly after leaving school, it was suggested to Mark and a few others from the Joe Kubert School that they should apply to Hasbro to work as designers. Mark was hired by Hasbro in 1985 and worked primarily on the G.I.Joe brand until 1989 when he left to become a freelance artist. After leaving Hasbro, Mark started working in the comic industry and has done and continues to do work for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Athleta Comics. Although he has worked as an Illustrator and a Penciler for several comics, he is best known as a premier Inker. Some of the titles he has worked on include “X­Men”, “Batman”, “Spawn”, and more recently “The Protectors”, Batgirl , X­O and the X men. Outside of traditional comics, Mark has also worked as an Illustrator on a children’s book series called “Short Tales Native American Myths” and on The Walking Dead Comic Book Trading Cards. *Mark currently resides in Florida with his family and is a devoted Cleveland Browns fan! penningtonart

Cleveland Comic Con Film Showcase

New for 2017, we present to you: The Cleveland Comic Con Film Showcase! The Cleveland Comic Con Film Showcase is a one night celebration of horror, adventure, and science fiction. We plan to showcase independent films, shorts, and animations from Northeast Ohio creators, and beyond! For more information about the film festival, you can view our listing by clicking on the link below: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/cccfilmshowcase To enter a submission, click the button below to submit to our festival on filmFreeway:

Guest announcement: Chris Violette

Chris Violette is a Canadian born TV and Film Actor. He is Best known as The Power Ranger S.P.D Blue Sky Ranger and Gordo Thorsen from Diary of the Dead. He has appeared on numerous television shows such as "Flashpoint", "Lost Girl", "Saving Hope", "Bitten", "Fear The Walking Dead" and "Degrassi: The Next Generation". Chris has recently expanded his passion for film and its industry by continuing with editing, directing, writing and producing. His full bio is available at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1733621/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Guest announcement: Bob Hall

bobhallBob Hall had a long association with Marvel Comics, where at one time or another he drew most of the major books and characters such as The Champions, Spiderman, Dr. Doom, Conan, Thor, The Fantastic Four, The Submariner, Captain America, PSI Force, The Avengers and The New Mutants. He was the artist for the West Coast Avengers mini-series and was the primary artist on the original Squadron Supreme. He drew movie adaptations of Willow, Dark Man and Captain America as well as the graphic novel, Emperor Doom. Bob was an editor at Marvel in 1979. For Valiant he wrote and penciled the monthly series Shadowman, wrote Timewalker and then created Armed and Dangerous, a black and white “comicbook-noir” series. For DC he wrote and drew the Batman graphic novel projects, Batman DOA, I Joker and It’s Jokertime. He is currently creating an educational/fantasy about the measles virus. Bob is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, Actors Equity Association and the Society for Directors and Choreographers. His work can be seen at www.bobhall.com. Commissions and original art are available through www.catskillcomics.com. He can be messaged on Facebook.

Guest announcement: Azim Rizk

Azim Rizk was born on September 4, 1990 in Tucson, Arizona, USA. He is known for his work on Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Los Angeles Overnight, and as Jake Holling the Black & Green Power Ranger from Power Rangers Megaforce and Power Rangers Super Megaforce. He will be appearing in the upcoming short Zombie 360 and the film The Order. Please check out his full bio at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3459558/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Guest announcement: Sean Forney

ForneySean Forney - is a fifteen year professional illustrator/comic book artist currently working on colors for Lord of Gore (Devil’s Due) and Black Flame (1First). His recent work includes Zen: Intergalactic Ninja (Devil’s Due/1First) and Cyberines #3 (Red Anvil). His recent color cover work can be seen on Bloodstrike (Image), TMNT (IDW), Badger (1First), Back to the Future (IDW), and Wonderland Year One (Zenescope). Cover and interior work can also be seen in Deadpooh (Comi-Kazi), Cyberines #1 (Red Anvil), Notti & Nyce and Do You Pooh? (Counterpoint), Blindside #2 (Contraband), Clint Hilinski’s Pirate Queen and Superiors, Ben Miller’s Judges, Our Super Mom (Scottcomics), and The Adventures of Mighty Moose (Hanging Chad). His pencil and ink work can be seen in Cut the Rope from Titan Publishing. Sean has also worked on Superbeasts (Fifth World), Warlords of Wor (ManOrMonster?), New-Gen New Dawn #4 (APNG), Lego, Inc., Mice Templar Vol. 3: A Midwinter’s Night Dream trade (Image), Grimm Fairy Tales, Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths and Legends, Grimm Fairy Tales Swimsuit Issue, Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2012 (Zenescope). He also completed color work on My Adventures with Spider-Man (Marvel/Identity Direct) and the Bakugan toy line for Spin Master. His pinup work can be seen in Moonstone’s Voltron: United and Drawn, Image’s Hack Slash: My First Maniac, DC’s Transmetropolitan Art Book, and many more. Sean co-created and illustrated Scarlet Huntress #1, Scarlet Huntress #2, Scarlet’s Guide to Cryptids, and the newest anthology book, Scarlet Huntress: Tales Through Time. He recently released his newest book, Geeky Goddesses: The Pin-up Art of Sean Forney. See more of Sean’s work on the web and request commissions at www.SeanForney.com and www.facebook.com/SeanForneyIllustration