ComicCon recap: RI ComicCon 2022 provides a feast for the popculturally curious and true believers


There’s no way to do a comprehensive overview of an event as big as RI ComicCon, so here’s a sampler of impressions from some of the Motif team.

Overall, the Con was full and robust. Merchants we talked to reported mostly positive experiences and sales. Friday is the day to go if you’re crowd-averse, and Saturday presented the typical sea of nerded-out humanity that defines many cons – while that created lines, we didn’t see anything oppressive or dangerous. Vendors presented displays that were themselves pop-culture artifacts over 20 feet tall. There was original art, unoriginal art, comics, action figures and everything from customized fangs to vibrating tribbles, gourmet chocolate to severe leather goods. Even businesses like Poly’s Armory and the whip store kept it kid-friendly.

Its ability to collect obscure-yet-known celebs is one of the things that distinguishes RI ComicCon, and this year was right on brand, with wrestlers, nostalgia trips, incredible voice talents and future superstars all signing things shoulder to shoulder. You could walk up and chat with the voices of your childhood cartoons, be they Harley Quinn or Yosemite Sam, or talk with that guy in The Godfather who was instructed to “take the cannoli,” (he’s over 80 now, but his bling and beguiling smile don’t look a day over 30). Our team had the pleasure of talking to many of them, whom you’ll see on our website. Highlights for Motif’s team included Tim Blaney, who made the models for some Men in Black aliens and Johnny Five from Short Circuit, Rick Worthy (“Supernatural,” “The Magicians”), who put in his fangs and demonstrated how to act like you’ve been magically blinded, a professional Dungeon Master, painter, artist and Walking Dead victim Jeremy Palko, and powerful voice actor (see Tara Strong. We also survived the intense, icy stare and prodigious dry wit of former Robocop and Buckaroo Bonzai star Peter Weller, without getting arrested.

We went to a few of the panels. A definite highlight was John Barrowman, from “Arrow,” “Torchwood” and “Dr. Who,” although we’re not sure it should be called a panel – it was closer to a stand-up set. “He’s basically self-propelling,” agreed the moderator (of sorts), who introduced him and immediately left the stage. He never even sat down, and despite an injured back he poured energy into the crowd, jumping around the stage in a TARDIS dress and regaling fans with strange and hilarious anecdotes. We’re waiting for a Netflix comedy special from this one. Netflix, are you listening?

A lowlight was the delayed “Cobra Kai” panel. “The con does not guarantee the schedules of any of our celebrity guests,” organizers kindly reminded the crowd, which began booing and, given that it’s a “Cobra Kai” fan base, busted out some serious Karate ready stances. The camera guy running the jumbotron cam appeared to be having a stroke, and the moderator was incoherent through the sound system. All’s well that ends well, though, as Elizabeth Shue and William Zabka and Paul Walther Hauser (Stingray) did graciously entertain the crowd sans-Macchio. It was followed by a smaller but very cozy, chill and quietly inspiring “My Name is Earl” panel with Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee.

Other panels ranging from Disney princesses to cosplayers to supernatural beings took place throughout the weekend in the Omni Hotel with admirable regularity.

One of the joys of the con is seeing the truly amazing, creative and sophisticated cosplay costumes visitors will wear – and the grace with which they wear them. Check out these photos! As trends, we observed, with questionable math and no real scientific evidence:

  • Far fewer women as gender-flipped male characters, and far more men as gender-flipped female characters. So gender flipping has flipped.
  • Fewer Wonder Women
  • Fewer Captain Americas
  • Fewer Hellboys
  • More Queens of Dragons, although not much of anyone else from “Game of Thrones”
  • More video game characters, especially Resident Evil. That game should just come with a costume-making easter-egg level.
  • More costumes from lesser-known animes. Where once the idea was to be instantly recognizable, now the idea is to have a good story to explain why no one recognizes you.
  • “Stranger Things.” From a costume-contest winning Vecna and Eddy to the entire sprawling cast (We’re pretty sure we saw them biking away, from a vantage point on the skybridge)
  • The usual cohort of Spider Men, a depressing number of whom don’t remember who Andrew Garfield was. George Lazenby, anyone?
  • Disney princesses – some singing, some not.

If you were there with something to share that we missed, hit us back! Until then, remember to line up for an unforgettable RI experience next year.