To add icing to the cake, I got to chat with Pat Mastroianni, a Canadian actor famous for his role as Joey Jeremiah on the Degrassi* television series. Particularly, Mastroianni impressed me because, although he had to get to a panel, he was gracious and chatty. He even playfully suggested to my seven-year-old, dressed up as Captain America, that he should instead be dressed up as Captain Canuck.
As well, I met Comic Book Men stars Ming Chen and Michael Zapcic. Zapcic gently chided me for pronouncing "New Jersey" (where my publisher Lethe Press resides) as "Joy-zee" and made it clear that no one from there pronounces Jersey that way. When I suggested that I might be risking bodily harm with my mis-pronunciation, Zapcic agreed.
It is heartening to know that organizers Randy Suave and Carol Grant successfully tapped into Cornwall's geek culture, from costume players to comic book readers to fans. This is a tremendous achievement.
The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder's Greg Peerenboom covered CAPE in this April 19 story.
* = A note on Degrassi:
While growing up, I watched the acclaimed series that consisted of Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and the heart-wrenching series finale, Degrassi: School's Out! Starting out in 1979 as an after-school special, the original Degrassi grew into a regular series that ran from 1982 to 1991. This was breakthrough television that followed the lives of kids growing upon De Grassi Street in Toronto, Ontario, and their trials and tribulations from grade school through high school. Decidedly un-glamorous, realistic and featuring actors who looked like real people, blemishes and all, Degrassi is a Canadian T.V. institution. It tackled real teen issues including (but certainly not limited to) bullying, abortion, drugs, alcohol abuse, and homosexuality. This was a superior show to glossier shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 that tried to dip their toes in the same waters of adolescent agony, using actors who looked like twenty-something models instead of teenagers.
The series has a new incarnation, Degrassi: The Next Generation that has been running since 2001. Now standing at well over 13 seasons, it is simply called Degrassi.
To summarize, the 1982-1991 series really reached me as a young kid and then as a teenager. If you ever want to watch a show with well-portrayed teenagers enduring real teen problems, check it out.
I should also give a nod to Pat Mastroianni for doing such a great job as Joey Jeremiah. Next time I meet him, perhaps I will regale him with my list of favourite Jeremiah episodes. One involves him confronting a bully who has really been diagnosed as HIV positive. Another involves Joey ripping up dollar bills over a bet he won.
|Pat Mastroianni as legendary character, Joey Jeremiah, from the original Degrassi series.|