2015 RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON OUTDOES ITSELF

In 2014 I went to my first Comic Con, right here in the little state of Rhode Island. Though I had a great time, there was a lot of negative feedback concerning this event. Thanks to the timing of my visit I fortunately did not experience any of the problems that so many fans were up in arms about. One thing I will say is that the organizers actually learned from their mistakes in 2014 making the 2015 show so much better on every level, except for one.

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The biggest issue in 2014 was that they oversold tickets and the crowds were so large that paying guests were turned away. On top of that, the venue ran out of food so if you left the event to eat elsewhere there was a good chance you wouldn’t be able to get back in. This was a huge issue for people who pre-paid for photo opportunities with the celebrities and couldn’t get back in. This year the event was located not only in the Rhode Island Convention Center but also in the Dunkin Donuts Center, doubling the amount of space for guests to go.

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We arrived at 9 AM and though we ended up being further back in line than we were in 2014, once the doors opened at 10 the line moved quickly and we got in within a relatively short time. Moving around the event was much easier as well and even lines to see celebrities seemed manageable. This leads me to my main complaint that also applies to conventions now in general.

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I am not sure who determines what celebrities charge for their autographs but it has gotten way out of hand. The average genre fan is a hard-working person and with the prices that are charged, there is no way you would be able to afford to meet and get autographs for so many people.

DSCF6281Monsters were well represented at Rhode Island Comic Con!

On top of that, it now costs money to get your picture taken with your favorite celebrity. When I first started going to conventions the average price of an autographed photo was $20-30 and this included getting your picture taken with the celebrity. Now an autographed picture can cost $50 or more and then it’s an additional $50 or more to get your picture taken with the celebrity.

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You would think that if these prices were cheaper, then more people would take advantage of them so in the end they make the same amount of money and have more happy customers. I find it interesting though that the main complaints on Facebook during the event was actually the crowds again and not the prices. I think it’s hilarious that people go to these events and are shocked when they get there and it is crowded.

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The best part about conventions is being surrounded by people with the same obsessions as you. Where else can you go and be surrounded by thousands of fans all having a great time? It is also great to see families at these shows, as it usually means either the interests of the parents have passed down to the children or the parents are just being so supportive of what their children like.

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The cosplay at this year’s show was amazing. I will admit that I did not recognize many of the characters being portrayed, mainly because I am not up on every anime character that is currently out there. Thankfully I had my nephew Zachary with me to point out who each and every one of them were.

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It amazes me the time and effort that goes into each and every costume and there were many great ones. My favorite though, without a doubt, was actually done by a friend of mine, Taylor. She used to be an intern at Roger Williams Park Zoo where I work and we hit it off pretty good while she was there and stayed friends after she left. This year she went as Nightcrawler, from the X-Men, and it was just outstanding!

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Cosplay is a slippery slope when it comes to photography as you do not want to come off as creepy when asking people to take their pictures. I make it a rule that if they look underage, then no photographs are taken. The downside of this is that there were many great costumes made by some very young fans. Though I cannot show them here, I salute each and every one of them for a job well done!

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Another highlight of the day was seeing Massachusetts horror host Penny Dreadful, of Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers. The Daves have been fans of Penny’s for years and even enjoyed going out for dinner with her and her werewolf sidekick Garoo a couple of years back. They have always been just as supportive of us as we have of them and she is one of the most genuinely nice people you will ever meet.

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Though this past year has been tough on her (Terror Dave Fuentes will be doing a one-on-one interview with her in the near future on this), she was in good spirits as we caught up with each other’s lives and she discussed the new DVD release of the last season of Shilling Shockers.

All in all this was a great event and we all had a great time. This was Zachary’s first Comic Con and I know he is looking forward to the 2016 show as much as I am. The organizers did an amazing jo correcting the issues from 2015 and if they keep following suit, this show is just going to get better and better!

~David Albaugh

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