PopHorror Goes to the 2017 Rhode Island Comic Con!

This year, PopHorror was granted press badges for the 5th Annual Rhode Island Comic Con that took place at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, all during Veteran’s Day weekend from November 10-12, 2017. I know what you’re thinking. How great could a Comic Con be in a tiny little state like Rhode Island? Don’t judge the show by the state that it’s in. The folks at Rhode Island Comic Con know how to throw a party, and the food, entertainment, swag and guest list to that party rivals those from even the biggest big city bash.

Vendors

The vendors at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con were top notch. Gone are the days when comic books and Gundam models are the only things for sale at Comic Cons. During this year’s Ocean State extravaganza, you could find jewelry, paintings, cosplay enhancements, crocheted stuffies, handbags, candles, board games, books, posters, statues, sculptures, DVDs and VHS from booths like I Think I’ve Created A Monstah!, Jolly Otter Studio, JW Crafts and Alternate Universe. Collectibles weren’t the only things you could buy. In and among the rows of Firefly, Harry Potter, Pokemon, The Goonies, Stranger Things, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, K Pop, Star Wars, The Crow and every Marvel and DC character ever created, you could have both temporary and permanent body modification, including fangs, special effects woulds and tattoos.

Of course, there were plenty of comic books to go around, as well as artists, illustrators, colorists, writers and creators, including Marvel veteran Allen Bellman, Billy Tucci, Ed McGuinness, Jim Shooter, Neal Adams, Tim Jones, Sara Richard, Sam Viviano, Rags Morales, Joe Sinnott, Ashley Witter and a ton more. I’m sure I’m missing some great artists, but there’s only so much room in my brain with all of the other stuff I want to mention. They were all up for an autograph and a round of questions, and many of them had a little something on hand to show off their handiwork.

Entertainment

There was something for everyone at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con. In between the rows of vendors, there were photo opportunities galore. You could play One-Eyed Willie’s booby trapped piano from The Goonies, sit in the original DeLorean from Back to the Future, get attacked by Wampa from the planet Hoth, hang out with Scooby and the Gang in the Mystery Machine and even pet one of the Resident Evil zombie dogs. Singles could sign up for Sci Fi Speed Dating to take a chance on love in five minutes flat. The people from Mad Science were there and had a literal blast showing kids how dry ice worked, how to drive a hover craft and how to look amazingly cool in white lab coats. They even offered face painting for those of us who didn’t dress up. Guests were even invited to check out the Gene Simmons Band on Sunday night at The Vets, a venue within walking distance of the Dunkin Donuts Center. Sure, it wasn’t KISS, but I’m sure there were plenty of people who took a Sunday night side trip for this once in a lifetime experience.

Cosplay

The cosplay was one of my favorite aspects of the Rhode Island Comic Con. I couldn’t believe how much time and detail went into some of these costumes. I lost count how many Elevens, Stormtroopers and Negans I saw. One of my favorite cosplays I saw was the Catwoman costume down below. I swear, I thought Michelle Pfieffer herself had just passed me by. At different points during the weekend, I also saw a giant red Popsicle bopping around in the crowds, and a guy whose entire head was encased inside of a music playing speaker wearing a hat. We were even graced by the presence of the King of Beers, whose entire costume was made out of Budweiser bottle caps and box art. I never know who – or what – I was going to find every time I walked through those doors.

Guest List

Here it is, the paragraph you’ve all been waiting for… the celebrity guest list! There were so many familiar faces at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con that I was constantly surprised at who else I recognized sitting behind tables or even just walking around. Although there were some cancellations – Norman Reedus, I’m looking at you – there were plenty of other celebs to meet, chat with and pose for pictures with to keep everyone happy.

  • Nightmare on Elm Street’s Robert Englund and Lisa Wilcox
  • Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin
  • Stranger Things – Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo and Sadie Sink
  • The Walking Dead’s Michael Cudlitz, David Morrissey, Jeremy Palko, Ross Marquand and Michael Koske
  • Sebastian Stan (Captain America)
  • Star Wars’ Ian McDiarmid, Julian Glover, Joonas Suotamo and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
  • Billie Piper (Dr. Who)
  • Power Rangers’ Catherine Sutherland, Blake Foster, Hilary Shepard, Jason David Frank, Michael Copon, Nakia Burrise, Steve Gardenas
  • Revenge of the Nerds’ Brian Tochi, Andrew Cassese, Curtis Armstrong, Donald Gibb, Julia Montgomery, Larry Scott and Robert Carradine
  • Princess Bride’s Chris Sarandon and Wallace Shaun
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirkis, Michael Dorn and Gates McFadden
  • Married… With Children’s Amanda Bearse, David Garrison and Ted McGinley
  • Gotham’s David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova
  • Super Troopers’ Erik Stolhanske and Paul Sotor
  • John Cusack (Say Anything…)
  • Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter)
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Tony Danza (Who’s the Boss?)
  • William Shatner (Star Trek)
  • Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future)
  • Judge Reinhold (Fast Times At Ridgemont High)
  • Tom Wilson (Back to the Future)
  • Gene Simmons (KISS)
  • Dolph Lundgren (Rocky)
  • Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy)
  • Barbara Hershey (Once Upon A Time)
  • Carl Weathers (Predator)
  • Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies)
  • George Wendt (Cheers)
  • Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty)
  • Joey Fatone (N’Sync)
  • Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
  • Meg Foster (They Live)
  • Robert Hayes (Airplane!)
  • Michael Colter (Luke Cage)
  • Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie)
  • Simone Missick (The Defenders)
  • Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers)
  • Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Brian O’Halloran (Clerks)
  • Frank Whaley (Pulp Fiction)
  • Paul Bettany (Avengers)
  • David Della Rocco (The Boondock Saints)
  • Paul Westley (The Vampire Diaries)
  • Charles Fleischer (Nightmare on Elm Street)
  • Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones)
  • Flash Gordon’s Melanie Anderson and Sam Jones
  • Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens
  • Adrian Paul (Highlander)
  • Professional wrestlers Brett Hart, Brooke Adams, Christian, Amy Dumas, Howard Finkel (announcer), Jeanne Bason, Melina, Rey Mysterio, Sting, Terry Runnels and Trish Stratus
  • CCH Pounder (Sons of Anarchy)
  • John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop)
  • Ghosthunters Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves
  • Bill Diamond (Little Shop of Horrors)
  • John O’Hurley (Seinfeld)
  • Brittany Daniel (Sweet Valley High)
  • Jade Wu (The Black List)
  • Felix Silla (The Addams Family)
  • Dragon Ball’s Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat
  • Carol “Big Bird” Spinney
  • Samantha Newark (Jem)
  • Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop)
  • Doug and Rob Walker (Nostalgia Critic)

Cancellations for this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con included The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, Josh McDermitt, Khary Payton, Lennie James and Jon Bernthal, Mark Ruffalo (Avengers), Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club), Richard Dreyfus (Jaws), Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints), Firefly’s Alan Tudyk, Val Kilmer (Batman Forever), Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy), National Lampoon’s Vacation’s Beverly D’Angelo and Dana Barron, Denise Crosby (Pet Semetary), Elizabeth Olson (Captain America: Civil War), Scooby Doo’s Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard, Peter Weller (RoboCop), Levar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Power Rangers’ CJ Cyler and Welwyn Ward, Rob Schneider (Waterboy), Sebastian Roche (Supernatural), Spencer Wilding (Rogue One) and Tammin Sursok (Pretty Little Liars).

I was not lucky enough (or rich enough) to get any pictures of any of the celebrities this year, and since we’re not allowed to take candid shots, you’re going to have to take my word for it that they were there.

Panels and Events

There were tons of events on the Rhode Island Comic Con schedule this year, but the most exciting places to be were the celebrity panels. This year, they had Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead, Luke Cage, Stranger Things, The Princess Bride, CCH Pounder and even a Homestuck panel, and that’s just off the top of my head. Many of the panels were so popular that the crowd size forced the Rhode Island Comic Con staff to cram people into two separate ballrooms, with the proceedings being filmed in one room and shown on a screen in another. Being a huge Stranger Things fan, I made sure to get into the line about 45 minutes early and actually made it in the main room. Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) and Sadie Sink (Mad Max) were humble and good natured, and even though they had probably been asked the same questions 100 times that weekend, they still smiled and answered every one as if for the first time.

They talked about what a Stranger Things: The Musical would look like, and Caleb sang about the Demigorgon and talked about Dustin tap dancing. They discussed how differently people in school treated them now that they were famous. Sadie said even her teachers told her she did a good job on the show. Gaten mentioned “found friends” and grumbled, “You never talked to me before. Why now?” Caleb sighed and said he was homeschooled, so his parents told him, “Good job. Now do your homework.” When asked what character other they would be on the show, all three agreed that they’d be Sheriff Hopper.

Just before it was time to say goodbye, the kids were allowed to talk about their charities. Gaten supports CCD Smiles, a charity that helps people with Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), a birth defect that affects the development of bones and teeth. Individuals with CCD have underdeveloped collarbones, delayed or absent closing of their skull (soft spot), and many dental abnormalities. CCD occurs in 1 in 1 million births. Gaten himself lives with this birth defect, and this is the reason for his missing teeth. You can donate to CCD Smiles right here. Caleb started an Instagram sensation called #EmbraceYourFace, telling people that every face is different, and that well need to be our own biggest fans. You can hear his highly motivational message right here, and as soon as you’re done listening, Tweet him a selfie, and #EmbraceYourFace.

Below are some other fan made videos of panels from Rhode Island Comic Con 2017. The Stranger Things on is even in there. Check them out!

What Didn’t Work

Since this is a review, I would be remiss if I wrapped things up without mentioning the things I could have done without from this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con. One of the most annoying things was having to go outside and walk around the building every time we wanted to go from one part of the convention to another. Strangely, you could walk one way on the inside, but to go back, you had to go outside. I know this is New England and we’re used to the cold, but come on! It was barely above freezing during the warmest part of the day. Why were we forced to go outside instead of just going back down the ramp we came in on?

I’ll also mention the lines for photo and autograph purchases. For some reason, we had to stand in a gigantic line to buy the photo/autograph (the cheapest being $40 and the most expensive – Gene Simmons, ahem – was $120. Apiece.), and then stand in another huge line to have the picture taken or autograph signed. I couldn’t understand why they were separated like that. Last but not least… did you see that list of cancellations? While I know it’s no fault of the people behind Rhode Island Comic Con itself, but what a freaking bummer to show up expecting to meet certain people and find out nearly all of them had cancelled. Some of them weren’t even announced until Friday morning. I know I was irritated, so I can just imagine how other people felt.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the 5th annual Rhode Island Comic Con was a ton of fun. I met some great people, learned a bunch of new things and even added a few things to my own nerdy collections. I had a great time and I cannot wait to go again next year. Did anyone else attend this year’s RICC? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments!

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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