Like the turning of the leaves, RI Comic Con is an anticipated part of fall in the Ocean State. Each year, this three-day, ever-growing celebration of pop culture and nerditude sprawls through the Omni Hotel, the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin Donuts Center. Brought to our humble little state by Altered Reality Entertainment, the RI Convention Center and many others, this once-small con has blossomed into a massive festival. Science fiction, fantasy and superheroes have risen in popularity, and even roleplaying games, which were once the domain of a small and select group, have become a massive culture of its own.
Part of this can be attributed to the big-budget blockbusters featuring superheroes of past and present or the subtle creeping of these elements into popular culture. Even the once ultra-maligned tabletop game (eg, Dungeons and Dragons) has experienced a surge in mainstream popularity thanks to its appearance on shows like “Community” and “Stranger Things.” Gone are the days when such things were relegated to the antisocial or overly intellectual. The power of the Geek has at last overcome.
The RI Comic Con is no lightweight, and because if its size, or perhaps contributing to it, is the lineup of guests expected. William Shatner, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols of the original “Star Trek” crew will be there alongside Chevy Chase, Tom Berenger, Richard Dreyfus, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood and even Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. Also in attendance will be voice actors, artists and designers who have worked on everything from Star Wars to Gremlins. They’ll be speaking on discussion panels, signing autographs, and participating in events all over the con.
Check out the Halloween-themed after-party on Friday and the Hawaii-themed after-party on Saturday at the Omni Hotel. This is where you can let down your Klingon dreadlocks and sup of the bloodwine with your fellow fans.
Are you a fan of tabletop or video games? RICC has you covered with game tournaments both new and retro. Looking for souvenirs? There are tons of vendors spanning the depth and breadth of pop culture. Also be sure to check out some of Rhody’s finest scribes and meet the local authors who specialize in the spooky, the scientific or the sensational. Or if you’re looking to finally bite the bullet and get the Rebel Alliance symbol emblazoned across your back, there will be a booth for tattoo artists willing to provide a more permanent bit of memorabilia.
There’s plenty of fun things for the kids, too, even if they’re a little too young to hear the gospel of Stan Lee. There will be cosplay visits, face painting, balloons and padawan training for the more advanced younglings. There are also cosplay contests for young and old alike, so if you’ve put a LOT of work and effort into a functioning Iron Man suit, now’s the chance for your labors to be rewarded. Though, personally, I’d prefer a
craft beer proton pack. Less bulky.
And of course, there will be comic books. How can one not pay tribute to the source of the very concept of the comic book convention? There will be vendors and experts there who can help you in either finding some lost treasure of a collectible, or perhaps even appraising one. Have you been hanging on to a copy of Spider Man #1, the debut of the famous Todd MacFarlane run of the iconic Marvel character, like I have? Here’s your chance to see what it’s worth.
Be you Jedi, Sith, Autobot, Decepticon, Chaotic Evil or Lawful Good, there’s something to be found at Rhode Island Comic Con to amuse, entertain, inspire or just geek out over. If you do decide to don your power armor and brave the crowds for a glimpse of the legendary Enterprise crew or want to hear hilarious anecdotes from on-set productions with Drax the Destroyer, tickets can be purchased at the door or on the website at RIComicCon.com