A couple of years ago, I posted about my experience at Rhode Island Comic Con. The TL;DR of that experience was that my feet hurt a lot, it was super crowded, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Of course, the flip side was that it’s such a cool experience and after my experience at BookCon earlier this year, I had been dancing around with the idea of trying the Con again.
Long story short, a friend convinced me that a group of us should go et voila! We ended up with a three day pass and VIP and there were some exciting (to me) celebrities going to be there, and I’m really glad I went back.
I actually only ended up going Friday and Saturday so I could have Sunday to recover before work, but it was a lot of fun and the VIP was totally worth it – we saved so much time and were able to get into a panel that would have overfilled otherwise. More on that later!
This was RICC’s 9th year. Unlike 2017, when I last attended, the Con has expanded to a third building to host the major panels. It was a great idea and the crowds are a lot more manageable now. RICC is not the biggest convention – it doesn’t hold a flame to San Diego or New York – but it is pretty good as far as smaller conventions go and they get some decent celebrities.
This year, we went with a plan. Friday there were no panels and the celebrities we wanted to meet had not yet arrived, so we spent some time in artist’s alley and the show floor. In years past, this has been pretty much the exclusive hangout for my husband and I, as it is often less crowded. I love looking at the artwork on the show floor, and this year was no exception.
Needless to say, Matt and I indulged in quite a lot of nerdy artwork, because that’s our aesthetic. We ended up purchasing eight prints from the above vendor. I love art that’s expressive. This vendor in particular had a lot of humor in his art, which I really appreciated, but also a lot of obscure artwork – he had a Psych print, which I didn’t buy, but Matt ended up with an Alucard print from Hellsing which he was super excited about. I also made out with his last Discworld print, so I was pretty excited to get that.
Other than artists, there’s t-shirts, all sorts of collectibles, comic books, and other great stuff to find on the show floor. There was even a nerdy tea vendor this year, and multiple foam weapon creators. Honestly even if you don’t have the budget to buy, it’s a cool place to peruse.
Also, they had the puppetry set up on the show floor and I loved seeing that. Bill Diamond, who worked as a puppeteer with the Jim Henson Company, was there with his collection.
I’m sure they’ve had this sort of display multiple times – usually there are folks who are performed or worked with the Jim Henson company or another equivalent – but I don’t remember seeing this display in the past? It was the first thing I saw when I walked into the showroom and I stopped because, um, I needed a moment! I grew up watching Fraggle Rock and Red was my FAVORITE and holy crap there’s a screen-used Red.
Of course after being a nerd for a moment, I noticed all the others. A lot of puppets I didn’t recognize, but I believe there are some from Dark Crystal and of course, Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors. Does anyone recognize the others?
On Saturday, we came back with an eye for panels and autographs. I will say that I’m a pretty low key fan – I like hearing about the actors’ journeys, but I don’t enjoy photo ops or like signatures for their collectible value. You know, some people get so mad about the quality of signatures or any slight smudges, because it lowers the value of the item. And celebrity signatures are expensive. But, for me, I just like the opportunity to see them as people.
So for this Con, we ended up choosing Evanna Lynch and Elijah Wood. I was able to snap a quick shot of Elijah, but generally speaking it is discouraged to photograph the guests (whether in panels or at their stations) unless you are paying for it because, you know, their persona is their livelihood. So this is the only celebrity picture you’re going to see.
You don’t get a lot of time with the celebrities – regardless of whether you purchase a photo op or an autograph. Some celebrities will small talk a little while they sign, and others will just sign and have you go. In The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher called signing autographs a celebrity “lap dance” and I always think about it like that now… I try to be quick but respectful.
Evanna was our first signing. For those who may not be familiar, Evanna is best known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films. She is a very sweet lady, and had just been coming back from lunch. We found out that the convention did not offer any vegan options for the celebrity guests, though, which is a bit frustrating? When you invite someone to a wedding, you ask about dietary needs – I sort of feel like a convention should do the same, especially as its the celebrities that bring many of the convention’s paying guests? Not cool.
Elijah Wood was the second guest we met, and he was so incredibly nice as well. Elijah’s been in so many things, but most people know him as Frodo from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Seriously though – so many things. Elijah was actually one of the panels we hit up as well. We had sort of given up on trying to get back into the Convention Center from the signing area and had been waiting in line for him for a while… and when he walked back in, a bunch of people applauded. How cool! And he was so humble and lovely. We talked about the weather like normal strangers, lol.
Then, by the time we finished with the autographs, it was time to rush all the way across the convention to the hotel on the far side to try and catch some panels. We’d missed two panels earlier in the day because of movings crowds and figuring out the lay of the pathways (especially VIP vs. regular guests) but these were the three I really wanted to see, so… yeah.
First of all the panel rules.
By the time we hit the panels, we were asked not to take photos or video during the panels. This is the first time I’d run into that rule, particularly because it was not like SDCC where there were exclusive trailers or anything like that. That said, I wanted to be respectful (and, surprisingly, the other guests were too!) so this is a picture of one of the panel rooms?
And that’s all you’re going to get, unfortunately. We were sitting near the middle because the panels were back-to-back and we needed to sneak out at the end during the Q & A to get in line for the next thing and wanted to be subtle.
Out first big panel was Benedict Wong. This was my husband’s pick – Matt loves Doctor Strange and was super excited for this one. And you know what? Benedict Wong is a funny guy! He told a story about his journey to getting the role of Wong in the MCU and he’s very comedic, a great storyteller and made the room bubble.
Panel #2 was Umbrella Academy. Anyone an Umbrella Academy fan? While I find the pacing a bit slow, I love the characters and the dark plot. It’s so interesting and well-cast and I was so excited to see this panel. They were about 15 minutes late, and as it turned out, Tom Hopper (Luther) was just arriving from a shoot, which was why Emmy Raver-Lampman was unable to attend. The panel, though, was really good and Tom and Justin H. Min (Ben) had such AMAZING rapport … and that’s basically what they said about the entire cast – they got on amazingly from the first. It was such a fun panel. I always think the panels are better with more people on them. 🙂
Finally, Elijah Wood. We didn’t leave Umbrella Academy early enough and even with our VIP badges, we were at the end of a very long line and barely got in. The panel was about 3/4 VIP people and 1/4 regular guest, which of course was not fair to those who only wanted to attend the panel one day (they only offer full weekend VIP) or could not afford the VIP. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the experience. As I said earlier, Elijah was such a nice, grounded person. There was a lot of conversation about his experience as a child actor and how he remained grounded and how he felt about genres and of course his friendship with Sean Astin. It was such a cool experience to be able to meet and listen to someone whose work has been a part of my life since I was a little kid (Flipper!) and helped bring some of my favorite stories to life.
I think the only thing I haven’t spoken about is the cosplayers and the costumes. Personally, I thought there were a lot fewer cosplayers than previous years. This may be because of the particular pull of celebrities this year, or because the cosplay contest was Sunday, and I didn’t go Sunday. A few I enjoyed were, of course, Cyborg and Mega Man, above. Also low-key Spiderman and Dennis Nedry (below) were fun, and there were costumes I appreciated but couldn’t identify (also below). There were a few more casual costumes than I feel like I usually see, which was encouraging as I’m not a professional but I enjoy dressing up for it because it’s fun? I went as Crazy Jane from Doom Patrol (I LOVE Doom Patrol – I feel like nobody watches it). My friend went as Lucy from Elfen Lied – there are no pictures of me, but I do have a picture of her in half her costume (it was totally amazing at the beginning of the day!!) that I’ll post at the end.
So, overall. Comic Con.
Would I go back? Absolutely. Whereas I came off of BookCon in June feeling drained and frustrated, I had such a different feeling at RICC. The event is far better organized than it used to be and I had an absolute blast. The guests were great, the artists and vendors were lovely and it was just… fun. I would say that I would probably attend on Sunday instead of Saturday because it’s a little less busy, but all the big celebrities are still there.
Besides, Felicia Day had to cancel this year because her shooting schedule changed, but promised she would be here next year and I really wanted to meet her, so next year it is.
All in all, though, I’m just grateful there’s a pretty decent convention within an hour and a half of me, and I had a lovely couple days. If you are able to get to a Comic Con and you are into TV, comics, or movies, and you feel safe in crowds… I very much recommend going. Whether it’s to Rhode Island, or some other Con.
What celebrity would you like to meet? In 2017, Sean Astin was at RICC and I have regretted not meeting him since – I really hope he comes back! Tell me about your favorites and who you would like to see in the comments!