UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Rhode Island Comic Con Falls Short of Modern Standards

Comic conventions, also known as cons, are always fun experiences for those who have fandoms of any kind. From cosplay to vendors to meeting the celebrities that bring your favorite characters to life—it’s a great time to embrace your nerdy interests.

However, the organization of these mass groups of people is imperative to creating the best possible experience for attendees. Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC) took place in Providence on the weekend of Nov. 10 through Nov. 12. While it was an extravaganza packed with big names and vendors, it lacked in its organization and execution.

RICC was loaded with huge names. Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Jon Bernthal (Frank Castle/The Punisher), and Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) are just a few of those that stayed around for photo opportunities and autographs. Celebrity guests really draw people in. This is what makes attendees show up, spend money in the vendor section. Vendors have work from the artists, t-shirts, and really anything you can think of pertaining to your fan interest. However, while RICC provided a quality group of vendors, organizers of the con did not alert con attendees of a separate building for the exhibits and vendors.

Con attendees entered the Dunkin Donuts Center to pick up tickets. This is where most of the big-name celebrities were. The ability to get autographs was there, too.

In theory, this was not a bad idea. It tries to keep photo opportunities orderly and allows for minimal traffic in the main exhibit hall. In my opinions, the execution went wrong with the poor explanation of the area from the staff. Many attendees, myself included, were confused and disappointed to see the number of vendors while walking around the Dunkin Donuts Center. This was so until we learned that there was a skywalk to the convention center where there was much more to see. A little more clarity in their layout would have gone a long way in improving my experience at RICC.

Another example of poor planning is the layout for the photo op area within the Dunkin Donuts Center. Often, the photo op area is in some back corner of a building so as not to interfere with regular comic con goers. However, not only was the photo op area in another building, it was also outside.

I spoke to someone who paid for one of the photo ops mentioned and she was more than surprised that she was forced to stand outside, in below freezing temperatures, in order to receive something she paid for. This is another example of something that doesn’t sound awful in theory. There is a major risk involved when planning to execute this in November in the Northeast.

Overall, Rhode Island Comic Con delivered. Attendees had the opportunity to feel proud of their fandoms. The issues with the event don’t lie in the guests or exhibits, but solely in execution. It was a very fun time, and with a slew of big guests, everyone’s excitement permeated through the event. However, with a little more clarity and foresight, RICC would have been in contention for one of the best comic conventions in the Northeast.