Ever since the boom of San Diego Comic-Con, scores of new geek culture conventions have taken shape across the U.S. While some excellent cons have come from the expanse (see New York Comic Con), there have also been a lot of vacuous attempts. That said, there is a shining light in the northeast with the annual Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC), an event that hasn’t grown too big, hasn’t succumbed to rampant corporatization, and provides an inspired curation of guests from across all worlds of geek and pop culture. Whether you attend cons for the guests, the panels, artist alley, vendors on the show floor, or the cosplay and camaraderie, RICC checks all of the boxes.
This year’s guest lineup is curated to appeal to a huge variety of fandoms from the casual to the niche. For TV fans, there are key members of the casts of Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Star Trek (the original, Voyager, and Discovery), Doctor Who, Saved by the Bell, Gotham, and others. For film fans there are actors who’ve starred in the Avengers, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings films. Comedy fans can meet members of The Office, or The Tick casts, and even the full cast of the National Lampoon Vacation movies. And there are a number of musicians, professional wrestlers, puppeteers, and others also attending.
Here is but a brief sampling of some of the guests coming to this year’s RICC…
- Elijah Wood
- Chevy Chase
- Richard Dreyfuss
- Dave Bautista
- Benedict Wong
- Christina Ricci
- Robert Englund
- William Shatner
- Bonnie Wright
- George Takei
- Nichelle Nichols
- Carol Spinney
- Alfie Allen
- Karl Urban
- Kate Mulgrew
- Gaten Matarazzo
- Steven Yeun
And there are so many more you can find listed at: https://www.ricomiccon.com/guests.
There are photograph and autograph opportunities available for most of the guests. But be warned in advance: while it’s a great experience, these opportunities are often pretty expensive.
The panels at RI Comic Con feel more like fan celebrations than the all-too-often marketing pitch-heavy panels of the San Diego and New York Comic Cons. That can be refreshing. I remember a great panel a couple of years back with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin simply spending an hour sharing memories from the Lord of the Rings film sets. As a huge LOTR geek, I loved it!
A few panel highlights this year are…
- A Halloween Screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street with commentary by Robert Englund, aka Freddy Krueger. On Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 7:00 pm.
- Staying Late at The Office, a panel reuniting Leslie David Baker (Stanley) and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin), to reminisce about their time on the show and answer audience questions. On Friday, November 1, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 5:45 pm.
- Richard Dreyfuss: A Legendary Career Retrospective from the man himself talking about Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and more. On Friday, November 1, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm.
- Get Enrolled in the Umbrella Academy with cast members Emmy Raver-Lampman (Allison), Justin H. Min (Ben), and Tom Hopper (Luther). On Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm.
- Three’s the Charm: Stranger Things 3 with Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Gabriella Pizzolo (Suzie), Francesca Reale (Heather), Andrey Ivchenko (Grigori), and Alec Utgoff (Alexei) talking about the most recent season of the Netflix hit. On Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm.
- Growing up on Camera: A Q&A with Christina Ricci about starring in such films as The Addams Family, Mermaids, Now and Then, and many more. On Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 11:00 am to 11:45 am.
- Game of Thrones: One More Trip to Westeros with Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) taking the audience back to the land of ice and fire. On Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm.
- Wizarding 101, with four members of Dumbledore’s Army—Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)—reuniting on stage to talk about their days at Hogwarts. On Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm.
This year’s RICC takes place November 1-3 at the Rhode Island Convention Center and attached Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Tickets are still available and it’s worth the trip.