The BIGGEST show in the SMALLEST state!
Convention: Rhode Island Comic Con 2016
Location: Providence, RI at Dunkin Donuts Convention Center
By Al Mega
It’s 3PM on Friday, Nov. 11 2016, opening day of the Rhode Island Comic Con. As press I had early access to the show floor. Being that I was here last year, I was familiar with the territory and I started from the rink in the Dunkin Donuts Center. As I went downstairs I noticed a few vendors, as I went inside the rink, that was the biggest surprise. Last year the rink was utilized to have vendors as well as a few celebrities in both the inside and outside of the main floor of the rink. However, this year there were no vendors inside the rink, it was used for A-List celebrities such as Stan Lee, Gal Gadot, etc..
The main level of the Dunkin Arena had several vendors with a variety of items, my only issue there was the lighting! It was difficult to truly appreciate an item due to very low lighting. On this level, if you were shopping, you’d find more book authors and goods that aren’t directly related to comics. Very few people on the floor with comics, maybe 1 or 2, and the pricing wasn’t consumer friendly let’s say.
The convention center was where it was at for me! Tons of vendors, creators, celebrities, wrestlers etc… The show felt more like a pop culture convention, but in this instance I had no issue with that as there were plenty of amazing creators in the aisles. I got to speak to several of them on Friday, including the legend, the enigma, Joe Steranko, he shared stories with us that you wouldn’t believe! If you see him at a con ask him what is “psycho-magnetism” ? The cool thing was right before that Bud, from NO-Prize Podcast, and I ran into THE Roy Thomas and he actually chatted quite a bit with us. Back to back legends of comicdom, WOW, we both had a fanboy moment!
This floor had quite a few comic book vendors. There were actually .50 cent and $1 boxes, one dealer, Pleasant View Comics, if you bought 10, you’d get get 5 free from $1 bins with a GREAT selection and their bronze age stuff was just amazing and fair priced! I got some early shopping done from the $1 boxes and founds cool 1st apps such as Baron Zemo II, Vermin, The Hand, not bad for a buck! There were other deals to be found if you were looking for gear, toys video games or prints. It was a very good diverse selection of goods for every fan.
There was a steady flow of foot traffic throughout the day. Many of the vendors and creators were happy with the turnout and most had a pretty good day.
Opening Day Video:
Photos/Video: Al Mega
By Al Mega
Day 2 of the RICC, I was with my beautiful wife and #TeamCC contributor, Arelis Perez. This was a very fun day! This was the day that it seemed ALL the fans came out! The crowds were HUGE, as you’ll see in pics below, full of anticipation and excitement. I was very worried at first with the crowds and remembering last year’s experience where at one point nothing was moving. Well it happened, Stan Lee was in the house and the lines were insane. Traffic in the main floor area was at a stand still a t times, very difficult to navigate. This year they made the connection between the rink and center one-way, seems they learned from last year, in order to get out, you had to physically exit the building. and come back in through the main entrance. A little annoying to be honest , but day was an overall fun day and that didn’t ruin it.
The cosplay was top-notch this year. The fans, cosplayers went ALL OUT!! Check the pics below. The majority of the celebrities were also fantastic and fun, we met Mechad Brooks, Ian Ziering, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Billy Gunn, Theo Rossi, Principal Belding and more. There was also a lot of panels going on which were clearly announced throughout the day! I only attended one panel which was the one I moderated with the incredible group of creators that created The Rhode Warrior for AR comics.
Overall it was another good day for the show and as a fan, not just press, I appreciated the whole atmosphere that the Altered Reality convention team made happen! Shout out to the volunteers and staff, most of which were very helpful and knowledgable!
My score for both days, 4/5
The Rhode Warrior Panel moderated by Al Mega:
Peep the review of Issue #1 HERE
Photos: Al Mega and Arelis Perez
Panel video by Maze Matthews
By Bud Young
Rhode Island Comic Con on Sunday was a great time as cosplayers were still out in full force, the celebrities were for the most part all on time or even early, and con-goers were all scrambling for those last-minute deals as vendors were trying to move product. Artists Alley was jam-packed as fans were able to rub elbows with some of their favorite creators. The overall layout of the convention center was well-organized with double-sided aisles which allowed for fairly quick ease of passage. Separated from the Dunkin Donuts arena which housed the A-list celebs, the convention center is where all the action happened. The floor above housed the panels, such as a Justice League panel featuring Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg), but the highlight of the day was the Stan Lee panel.
Stan came to the stage amidst deafening applause and spent an hour answering questions from adoring fans in his amusing and anecdotal way. The only problem with the panel was that it wasn’t long enough. Hundreds of people lined up at the microphones and only a handful of questions were answered. What happened at the end was the highlight of the con. Stan was surprised by all of the artists from Artists Alley, led by long time Marvel/Timely legend Allen Bellman and followed by Joe Sinnott, Jim Steranko and many others. It was a love-in as Stan, in his last ever New England appearance, accepted a lifetime achievement award and thanked the artists and the fans for their support and said it was one of the best moments of his life.
On the strength of the Stan Lee panel I give this a 4 out of 5 with the weak part being the poor lighting for the outlying arena vendors, very difficult to see and film hence denying RICC a perfect score!
Stan Lee Panel:
Photos/Videos: Bud Young and Lisa Turenne
Al’s Rating: 4 (Fri./Sat.)
Bud’s Rating: 4 (Sun.)
OVERALL GRADE 4/5
I got 2 shouts outs:
- A shout out to 365 Parking for assisting us in reserving great parking spaces very near to the center. If you are EVER in providence for an event check out 365 Parking!
- A shout to the Altered Reality team whom without them this con would not function, another stellar job! Special shout to Susan Soares for all her help!
Looking forward to RICC 2017!