The popularity of Comic-Con has grown so much over time that it has spread out to other major cities through the United States. And finally, our small and humble state hosted one in the heart of Providence. Rhode Island Comic-Con kicked off in the Providence Convention Center last weekend, bringing in fanboys and fangirls of different shapes and sizes. The Trekies and the Jedis. The Whovians and the Bronies. The collectors, otakus, steampunks, retro television buffs; it was a holy Mecca where nerds congregated on their weekend off. But Providence isn’t the biggest place to hold the greatest cons, nor is it a place to go for anything nerd friendly. Above all, this was the very first Comic-Con ever. So how did this little convention fair? As a nerd and a fan of certain shows since childhood, I of course had to attend.
Saturday morning dawned, and I made it to a long line before the doors opened, and with the line getting increasingly longer. I knew right then this would be packed, and packed is a good thing. As I entered, oh, the wonders. Outside the exhibit hall, the retro Batmobile, the ECTO-1, and the dessert speeder from Star Wars. And inside the hall, vendors galore full of comics and all sorts of swag. And the guests, including three of the Power Rangers and many cartoon voice actors, it just made my childhood squeal. I definitely did my best not to be so awkward…OMG IT’S THE POWER RANGERS, I HAVE ALL THEIR FIGURES!!
As much as I enjoy cons, there have been some certain problems I discovered along my adventure. First is the organization. Since it’s the first Comic-Con in RI, it’s expected. Between the crowds, missing signs and program books (courtesy of Sandy), and fire marshals up the butt, it wasn’t like herding a bunch of mindless sheep. Unexpectedly, there was a big turn-out for the green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, that he was moved to another, bigger room. Security and the marshals were not happy with crowds at all. The second thing was the cost. Cons tend to drain your wallet due to all the swag that you just HAD to get, which can also be found for cheaper off of EBay. And almost all the guests charged a lot for an autographed pic, and even to have a picture taken with them. I guess it’s understandable since even has-beens, as derogatory of a word as it sounds, need some sort of income. Personally, it’s bull, but Chewbacca and the green Power Ranger was totally worth it. And the last issue to bring up, the timing. Right next door on Saturday was the infamous Beerfest. Once that was over late in the day, the belligerent douche-bags were free to roam, exhibit hall smelling of beer, and trying their best not to be total jerks in front of us. These are two things that should NEVER go together: nerds and douches.
Overall, I say the convention did alright for its first time in Providence. The whole con on day one was expecting over 5,000 on its first day, but it felt like more than that if it pissed-off fire marshals. Not to mention bringing in money to this state’s economy. I say there’s always room for improvement in organization, but maybe not so much in the guest’s attitudes in caring more about money than the fans. Still, we’re all suckers in wanting to spend our hard-earned money, and that’s what will hopefully bring Comic-Con back next year.
-"Demon" Matt Little
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