I first became a member of the con scene in mid-August of 2014 when I attended Connecticut ComicConn 2014 in Bridgeport CT. Since then, I have attended four in total, so, by this point I think I can safely say that I have grown accustomed to conventions and convention culture. Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC) is the largest con that I have attended to date and I can honestly say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
Here’s a look at my time at RICC.
On Friday, I debuted my Hush cosplay. One thing that most cosplayers go through is worrying and wondering about how a new one is going to be received. Fortunately for me, the reception of it was very positive. Friday was probably the most relaxed day of the entire con. There were no panels. Many of the major advertised celebrities hadn’t arrived yet and the mood was generally more relaxed than it would be in the days to come.
For most, this was a day for many to get their bearings and figure out the layout of the con in order to plan ahead. This is not to say that there wasn’t plenty of excitement to be had. I spent a lot of it getting my celebrity meet and greets out of the way and taking several cosplay photos. Incidentally, one thing that has stuck out to me over time about cons is how friendly everyone is to each other, best exemplified by the fact that not one person that, when asked, refused to take my picture nor would anyone refuse to pose with me.
There are people I have taken pictures with at cons that I would count among my close friends today simply because I was able to tag them on Facebook. Some memorable moments including meeting Will Friedle from Boy Meets World, going up to several Batman cosplayers in character and messing with them and, of course, seeing all the incredible cosplays walk by.
This was it, the peak of the chaos. I arrived at the Rhode Island Convention Center at eight thirty in the morning, a full hour and a half before the doors opened, and yet I still found myself at the end of a line that stretched so far back it had already gone under two overpasses. And yet, when the line was completely filled out I was considered one of the ones closer to the door. So, as you can imagine, this was going to be a crazy day.
However, waiting in the unsettlingly long line wasn’t all bad. As the cosplayers arrived, it was like a who’s who of creative characters, everything from a Green Lantern Deadpool to a Xenomorph/Super-Skrull Hybrid.
When the doors finally opened, I found that the calm tone that had been the norm on Friday had been replaced by an atmosphere of complete chaos. There is a term, “claustrophobia gauntlet” that I’ve used in the past, particularly at cons, to describe crowds so thick that, in order to get through them, you either need to be very patient, or you need to charge through like an angry linebacker. The kind of crowds described by that term look like empty corridors compare to the cataclysmic costumed cacophony that was present on Saturday.
This leads me into one of my only complaints regarding the con: organization. It was clear that the people running the show had no idea how to manage a crowd this size. It got so bad at one point that the security guards weren’t even allowing people to cross the sky bridge to get the other side of the convention, eventually working out a system where they let a set number of people cross at a time.
Needless to say this made enjoying the day more difficult for a lot of attendees, myself included. For example, my photo shoot with Amy Jo Johnson of Power Rangers fame was immediately before my photo shoot with Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan. The problem: because Amy Jo Johnson was given an astounding amount of pomp and circumstance which included her own private room for photo ops and autographs, the two photo shoots were as far away from each other within the con as humanly possible. So, in order to make my next photo shoot on time, I had to book it down two flights of stairs, across the convention floor, across the sky bridge, around the perimeter of the arena, down the stairs to the vendor floor and across the floor to the photo booths.
And if that wasn’t enough, I had a wall of humanity standing in my way. For ten very long minutes, I felt like I was living in the trailer for World War Z. Fortunately, despite being exhausted by the time the whole ordeal was over, I was able to make all of my appointments on time.
Limitless Cosplay Panel
Next on the agenda was a very special occasion, the Limitless cosplay panel, a panel, according to Jax Adele, its coordinator, is a discussion about the positive and negative sides of cosplay, how they can affect your feelings, and how you can over come self doubt to enjoy your fandom and convention going (or other cosplay events).
We do this by creating a community of support, acceptance, and positivity on Facebook. It was overall very successful, with the panelists discussing why they themselves cosplay. Be it to make others happy, to feel comfortable in one’s own skin or simply to have fun, ultimately it was a panel that was all about promoting cosplay positivity.
One particular moment that stuck out for me was when a young girl who had anxiety from feeling invisible stood up and was acknowledged and praised by the entire room.
Sunday was the day that everything started to die down, and for yours truly it came long after I had gotten all my celebrity meet and greets out of the way, so it was a day I used to just sit back, catch up with friends, take some photos and just enjoy myself. However, there was one moment at the con between myself and another cosplayer that struck me as profound.
While cosplaying as the Tenth Doctor, I encountered an individual cosplaying as Captain Picard. We suggested it would make for a cool picture if the two of us were to shake hands, signifying a friendship between the two sci-fi giants that our characters originated from. While it would seem an insignificant moment between two fans, it can also be thought of as a microcosm of what comic con is all about; people from all different fandoms and walks of life coming together in the interest of fun and friendship.
Final Thoughts About RICC
In closing, I feel that the con was a huge success, but could have stood to be a little more organized. My friend, cosplayer Shannon Prevost sais “All in all, RICC 2015 was a better experience than last year, but I think it still has some organizational issues to fix before it can really develop into a show-stopping convention.”
Another cosplayer, Amber Jackson said, “Well it was my first time going to RICC and overall I think it’s a pretty great con and as one that is still relatively new they do still have some stuff to work on which is mostly some of the organization and capacity issues. I was personally a little overwhelmed on Saturday, but otherwise I had a lot of fun and it was another great con.”
I found it to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, even with the organization issues. Hopefully in the future, they’ll have fine tuned some of those issues. Either way, I cannot wait for next year.
Did you attend RICC? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments!