RI Comic Con Turns 5

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. Though it contains many omissions and much of it is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it has become the main book of reference for much of the galaxy. In the entry for Rhode Island Comic Con, it begins like this:

Rhode Island Comic Con,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you might think it’s crowded at the Great International Beer Festival, but that’s just peanuts to RI Comic Con.

RICC is one of the most explosive events this humble little state sees every year. Fans of anime, comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, or anything in the massive amalgamation of pop culture will find something for them there. It all happens November 11 – 13 and this massive convention sprawls between the convention center and the Dunkin Donuts center.

Every year the con grows bigger. Last year the attendance for the weekend was somewhere around 60,000 people, which was a sharp incline from previous years.

At only 5 years old, this precocious scamp of a comic con has featured a number of amazing A-list celebrities, as well as a plethora of fan-favorites from all different realms of pop culture. If you’re part of any fandom out there, you’ll find someone or something at RI Comic Con for you. There are vendors, writers, artists, celebrities, panel discussions, cosplaying, contests and tons of games and events for both children and people who used to be children.

The explosion of geek culture in modern times is heartwarming to see. Many of the interests, hobbies and fandoms that once would earn you scorn and a black eye on the playground (speaking from personal experience) has become mainstream in many ways. Some of this can be credited to the blockbuster comic book movies or to the rise of the internet, but no matter what your particular geek proclivities, there’s going to be a section of RI Comic Con devoted to it.

Being a self-proclaimed beer nerd, I happened to have a friend on the inside I could tap for information. I got in touch with Susan Soares, press relations manager for Altered Reality Entertainment and veteran con-goer.

Pete Larrivee: How many people are you expecting this year?

Susan Soares: Our projection is actually 75,000.

PL: I heard king of random cameos and comic book legend Stan Lee is going to be there. That’s amazing. How did that come together?

SS: We’re very honored to have Stan Lee at our fifth anniversary show. We have been working with his staff to provide a great experience for him and our attendees to celebrate his last Northeast convention appearance.

PL: The A-list celebrities are pretty huge — Gal Gadot, Stan Lee, Kate Beckinsale and Alice Cooper are scheduled, and there seem to be more guests every week. Any big surprises waiting in the wings that you can let us in on?

SS: If I tell you, then they wouldn’t be a surprise, right?

PL: What kind of events and panels can we look forward to this year?

SS: We have so many new things coming to Rhode Island Comic Con. First, we will have for the first time the Ink Fusion Empire Tattoo Pavilion with a group of tattoo artists. Attendees have the opportunity to win a free tattoo designed by Stan Lee. Then we will have an exhibit from the Wonder Woman Museum, and courtesy of Cox Communication and the Game Show Network, fans will experience the Hellevator!

We’re also launching our Rhode Warrior brand this year with the release of The Rhode Warrior #1 comic book under our divisional label Altered Reality Comics (see page xx), and in partnership with Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket, fans can enjoy Rhode Warrior Pail Ale. It will be available at the concession stands and the after parties.

PL: RI Comic Con isn’t the only festival Altered Reality puts on, can you tell me about some of the others?

SS: This year has been particularly exciting. In addition to preparing for our fifth anniversary Rhode Island Comic Con, we also held our first Colorado Springs Comic Con in August and Hartford ComiCONN in September. Coming in February 2017, Terror Con returns to the Rhode Island Comic Con.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, there’s not much time left. Don’t forget to grab a can of Rhode Warrior Pail Ale, as supplies are limited. Maybe you can even get the legendary Stan Lee to sign it. But really, how many people would go for that? It’s not like there’s going to be a ton of people at this convention who are in the habit of collecting rare items.

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