Talking to Comic Con

Once upon a time, admitting you were a Nerd would get you some very odd looks, a flat-lined love life and intimate knowledge of how to escape from the inside of a locker or an automatic underwear-flavored enema.

While this hasn’t changed entirely, we are in a golden renaissance of nerd culture thanks to things like the Avengers and X-Men franchises, the rise of Comic Book movies, the massive explosion of gaming culture, the power of Nostalgia, and a dizzying surplus of animation imported from Japan.

Hence the exploding popularity of Rhode Island Comic Con, coming to the convention center this November 6-8. This once-humble little show began as a (relatively) small event in 2011, crammed in next to the Great International Beer Festival, which led to some interesting interactions when the cosplay girls wandered past the beer hall. But now not only does this Con dominate the Convention Center, it’s spilling over into the Dunkin Donuts center as well, expanding faster than Bruce Banner’s biceps!

The convention features a cornucopia of obscure pop culture, including artists, authors, writers, actors, voice actors, wrestlers, internet celebrities, and more. The guest list is, as always, a stunning assembly of legends from a whole spectrum of different branches of entertainment. Meet Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman for about a decade’s worth of cartoons ranging from Batman the Animated Series to the wildly popular Justice League and the “Arkham Series” of Batman games. Doctor Who fans will get to meet the Pond family, the time-distorted Karen Gillian, Alex Kingston, and Arthur Darvill. Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman will be there, as well as the august Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, with his arch nemesis Megatron, AKA Frank Welker. They even have Star Wars icon Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, among their honored lineup.

There’s also gaming, cosplay contests, shows, sci-fi speed dating (see article at a special Kids Comic Con and of course an endless amount of nerdy merch, including everything from comic books and props to actual pieces of famous memorabilia.

On that topic, exercise your nostalgia muscles with the famous vehicles being wheeled in. The DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Winchester’s Impala from Supernatural, the Mystery Machine and more.

This is a big event, and a relatively new convention, so RI Comic Con is still growing. This year, they’re expecting 60,000 people to attend, quite a showing for the smallest state in the Union.

Luckily, this humble beer nerd knows people on the inside, so I was able to glean a little more info about the titanic event landing downtown this November. I spoke to Susan Soares, the Press Relations Manager for RI Comic Con.


Pete Laravee (Motif): How did RI Comic Con get started?

Susan Soares: Steve Perry of Altered Reality Entertainment had been producing smaller shows throughout southeastern Massachusetts when he wanted to branch out at a larger scale. Seeing the RI market as one lacking a show of this nature, he embarked on building Rhode Island Comic Con.


PL: Who would be the ultimate guest celebrity for RI Comic Con?

SS: In all honesty, Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man himself.

PL: (Stunned silence) Holy Thor, he would be a BLAST at this con!


PL: What can we expect from the after-parties on Friday and Saturday?

SS: Well, Friday’s party is “Press Start to Party,” a night filled with games, music, drinks and fun! We will have a cash prize arcade costume contest where attendees are invited to come dressed as your favorite arcade or video game character. We’ll have arcade games, a mechanical bull, a karaoke contest to kick-off the night, celebrity guest appearances. And maybe a few surprises.

Saturday’s after party will have a past vs. the future theme. We will of course feature a past vs. the future costume contest. We’ll have games from the 80’s, the mechanical bull returns and celebrity appearances.


PL: Are there any other special events, or VIP-only perks that we should know about?

SS: We do offer an early-entry VIP package available. It does have a limited availability and includes the following: One 3-day pass good for all 3 days of the show,  early bird admission at 9:00am, [use of the] private VIP entrance, private VIP lounge, RI ComicCon VIP lanyard, 3 exclusive RI ComicCon show prints, Rhode Island ComicCon swag bag, discount coupon for the show store, VIP 2015 RI ComicCon Badge,  autograph fast-pass line [access] for a select number of our celebrities.

We also offer three celebrity-specific packs. They are

1.) Transformers (Peter Cullen and Frank Welker), which includes the following: Autograph, table photo op, RICC exclusive Transformers print, exclusive Transformers badge, RICC Transformers exclusive comic book, Transformers Q&A panel seating.

2.) Ghostfacers which includes: Dinner with AJ Buckley and Tavis Wester, dual-signed RICC 11×17 exclusive print, dual photo-op, exclusive badge.

3.) Cody Saintgnue which includes: Dinner with Cody … 8×10 autograph, a photo with you and Cody, exclusive event badge, exclusive event-only print.


PL: I know it’s the elephant in the room, but a lot of issues plagued last year’s Comic Con. What steps have been taken to make the event easier and more accessible to the fans as well as a positive experience for the guest celebrities?

SS: Three changes have been implemented this year:

  1. We have expanded to three days.
  2. We have expanded to a 2nd venue, the Dunkin Donuts Center
  3. We have implemented a new scanning system where each badge with have a micro encoding where attendees will scan in and scan out as they come and go. This will allow us to better manage capacity in real time.


PL: Finally, is there any way I could get Kevin Conroy to record my outgoing voice-mail message as Batman?

SS: Unfortunately that is NOT included in the VIP badge.

Ed note, there is a service where some celebs will do this:


If you’d like to be part of the awesome power of this fully armed and operational convention, you can buy tickets at a few locations like Lee’s Collectibles at the Warwick Mall or online at

One response to “Talking to Comic Con”

  1. Great article but I'm kinda bummed that the comic artists weren't mentioned. These events did begin as comic shows. I realize they have morphed into pop culture events over the years but it is still a big deal to the comic artists and the fans out there. As a local comic artist I take huge pride in the gains of popularity the RICon has seen over the past few years. On some levels it is on par with it's older cousins in MA and NY.

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