This past weekend saw Rhode Island Comic Con, “the biggest show in the smallest state”. return to Providence for the fourth year in a row. This has been a busy year for us covering convention after convention with New York Comic Con taking place just last month. We’ve been speaking about Rhode Island Comic Con since this summer when it was first announced that Frank Welker and Peter Cullen of Transformers fame would be in attendance. It was a show that we’ve been looking forward to, especially considering it was one that we weren’t too familiar with. With the popularity in conventions growing and shows like SDCC and NYCC becoming increasingly more difficult for fans to attend, shows like RICC have grown in interest and in fan support. Unfortunately last year proved to be difficult for event organizers behind Rhode Island Comic Con as the convention center was filled to capacity and many were unable to gain admittance to a show they were greatly anticipating. We were unsure, along with many in attendance, as to what we could expect from the Altered Reality Entertainment produced show this year, but it turned out to be a great show worth attending.
Rhode Island Comic Con took place November 6th, 7th, and 8th at the Dunkin Donuts Center and RI Convention Center, seeing tickets selling out that Saturday morning. The convention center, with an occupancy of 17,000, saw fan lines build around One LaSalle Square. As expected, many in attendance took the opportunity to cosplay as some of their favorite characters. But the real presence at Rhode Island Comic Con was Star Wars, with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, and Rey appearing throughout the convention and in attendance during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, November 6th at 2:45 pm. The special guest, much like at Wizard World Pittsburgh, was none other than The Incredible Hulk himself, Mr. Lou Ferrigno. “In over the three years that comic con has been here in Providence, we have seen this event just continue to grow, and grow, and grow. It adds to the vibrancy, it adds to the flavor, and it adds to the fun right here in the city center.” said Mayor Jorge Elorza.
One of the main draws and attraction to Rhode Island Comic Con is for one of the main reasons that Wizard World has found great success – celebrities! Rhode Island Comic Con featured over 100 celebrities with several high-profile guests such as Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Aquaman)! Carrie Fisher was also scheduled to appear, but unfortunately had to drop out, promising to appear during next year’s convention. One fan, excited to meet both Steve Cardenas and Amy Jo Johnson of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fame had the following to say:
It was a dream come true. Amy Jo Johnson is hard to find, especially since she very rarely appears at conventions. To be able to meet her and Steve Cardenas? It’s great!
Rhode Island Comic Con, taking place in both the convention center and Dunkin Donuts center, provided a large amount of ground to cover. For those attending their first convention to those experienced in attending the con circuit, RICC proved to be great fun for all. The show offered attendees their usual amount of exhibitors selling toys and collectibles ranging from everything Star Wars to Star Trek, and just about everything else you could imagine. While signage could have been clearer with a map and app that identified exhibitors and guests in a better way, exploring Rhode Island Comic Con made for a fun adventure. After covering several shows this year, RICC did not disappoint and would definitely be a show we’d wish to cover in its fifth year.
Rhode Island Comic Con was also personally fulfilling to me as a fan, not just as press. Being a fan of Superman and Livewire, a villain created for Superman: The Animated Series, RICC presented fans like me with a great opportunity to meet Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Point Break, Orange is the New Black, & Livewire). Since learning of Lori Petty’s planned appearance at Rhode Island Comic Con, I knew it was a show that I could not miss. About a year ago, I had obtained a Livewire animation cell from the Van Eaton Galleries and to be able to meet Lori Petty and have her sign it was a true highlight of RICC.
This “biggest show in the smallest state” wasn’t just about the celebrities though. During my time walking the show floors, I had found Jennifer Newton of Olivia’s Sweets. Offering a plethora of custom decorated sugar cookies, her booth was easily one of the most unique finds at Rhode Island Comic Con. One of the best aspects of walking around at a convention is finding some of the real hidden gems that, all things considered, you may never know exists. It is now with great and sincere pleasure that we could present to you Olivia’s Sweets and all the great, custom baked goods and gifts she offers. I was sure to pick up a Batman and Harley Quinn sugar cookie as my con snack and they were delicious. Perfectly baked; they were not hard in the way many decorated sugar cookies are nor were they too sweet. I’m glad I found Olivia’s Sweets so be sure to check out the social media accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
After covering several conventions this year, and an Amtrak ride back to New York, Rhode Island Comic Con feels much like a Big Apple Con and Eternal/Winter Con if Wizard World had produced them. As previously mentioned, RICC is a very celebrity heavy show with an emphasis on fans having the opportunity to get autographs and photographs. Having guests like Jason Momoa, Ming-Na Wen, the cast of Hellboy, and several The Walking Dead cast members like Jon Bernthal (Shane and soon to be Frank Castle on Marvel’s Daredevil) is a tremendous feat to pull off. Rhode Island Comic Con also offered panels with the two most interesting being a Q & A with Jason Momoa and another featuring Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) and Will Friedle (Batman Beyond). Rhode Island Comic Con is the perfect kind of pop-culture convention for those that are unable to attend New York Comic Con and/or San Diego Comic Con. With tickets becoming increasingly hard to obtain, it’s a rather unfortunate situation to have many fans and families not be able to attend a show that celebrates everything they love. Tickets for Rhode Island Comic Con still seem pretty easy to come by as it appears to be a hidden gem amongst the con circuit. With that said, attendance at RICC 2015 was at an all time high and looks to grow even more.
*What’cha Reading would like to thank Ms. Susan Soares and the team behind Rhode Island Comic Con for graciously allowing us to cover the three-day event. Stay tuned for additional coverage.