It was an exciting weekend in Downtown Providence because Rhode Island Comic Con returned for its 9th year! From November 5-7, RICC once again took over both the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center, bringing big names from Hollywood, the comic book industry, and more. Complete with an exhibit hall, artist alley, and so many fan experience activations like photo ops with the Masters of the Universe Battlecat and Panthor, an off-site pop-up restaurant for Kevin Smith’s Mooby’s, and fan-favorite professional cosplay group 501st Legion… Rhode Island Comic Con really upped the ante this year!
2021’s headlining celebrities included a Netflix Cobra Kai ensemble (William Zabka, Xolo Mariduena, Martin Kove, Jacob Bertrand, Peyton List, Gianni De Cenzo, Mary Mouser), The Mandalorian’s Carl Weathers & Giancarlo Esposito, Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo, and Tom Arnold. Fans could meet their favorite guests (for a fee) for one-on-one autographs, selfies, or professional photo ops… as well as attend one of the many panels to hear more about their favorite programs, movies, and hobbies!
Just as in previous years, celebrity guests were located in three halls: in The Dunkin Donuts Center, on the 5th floor of the Convention Center, and in the Exhibit Hall itself. And on top of the featured guests were nearly a hundred others you could line up to meet: Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes, William Shatner, Clone Wars voice actors Ashley Eckstein & Matt Lanter, Home Improvement’s Richard Karn & Debbie Dunning, and even The Mandalorian’s Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Chris Bartlett, and stunt performer Lauren Mary Kim! The list goes on and on… Rhode Island never holds back!
And, of course, there was an All-Star Artist Alley this year! RICC makes sure to bring in a nice combination of artists, writers, and creators alike. You’ll be able to interact with a number of comic book industry guests, from indie creators to legends such as Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner (above), Jae Lee, Sam de la Rosa, Brett Breeding, Scott Hanna, Keith Williams, Shannon Maer, and dozens more!
Artist Alley is the place to find all things art-related across a multitude of mediums: prints, trading cards, glassware, original sketches, and of course comic books! Here you could discover a new indie title or bring something from your very own collection to get signed by a creator or two (above: Chris Campana is signing & sketching in his art book “Roughs to Rendered”). And with a handful of authentication and certification companies on-site, it was definitely the time to get stuff signed! Comic book Signature Witnessing & Grading was available though CGC Facilitator Captured Collectibles and CBCS Comics, while other collectibles like signed photos & memorabilia could be certified through Beckett Authentication or JSA. Turnaround time was great and some even offered special show pricing that many fans were taking advantage of all weekend long.
Didn’t bring any collectibles yourself? Not to worry! Whether you’re looking to get things signed or you just need to buy something for that empty shelf at home, Rhode Island Comic Con has something for shoppers of all ages! On top of a “Kid Con” corner for young fans, the Exhibit Hall was the one-stop destination for every collectible you can think of: Lego Minifigures, video games, Funko Pops, roleplay items, tabletop gaming, TCG like Pokemon, statues & action figures, and even Blu-rays!
But I love that you never know who you’ll run into while exploring the con! Take a look at this amazing Avatar: The Last Airbender cosplay crew! Between the adventuring, shopping, autographing, paneling, and (the occasional) resting, you’ll find yourself spending every minute possible during Rhode Island Comic Con weekend! It really stays true to its slogan: “The BIGGEST show in the smallest state”! So get ready for next year’s 10th anniversary edition (November 4-6, 2022) because I’m sure it’ll be even bigger & better than ever! Until then, be sure to check out our full photo gallery and watch our video recap below.