Smoothly Run, RI ComicCon Returns with Earthbound William Shatner

by Will Demers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday November 11, 2021

Attendees of RI ComicCon
Attendees of RI ComicCon  

For those who have not been to a ComicCon, it started in San Diego as a comic book convention/multi genre entertainment event 51 years ago and remains the template for many of the other celebrations across the country. Rhode Island launched its own ComicCon back in November of 2012; by 2016 it drew some 81,000 attendees.

The pandemic shut it down last year, but "RI ComicCon" returned to the Convention and Dunkin' Donuts Centers last weekend for three days with the usual long list of celebrities, vendors, wrestling stars, and glorious displays of merchandise, with many attendees in various styles of cosplay. Video games, films, and television shows, as well as comic book characters, are the highlights of this event, and there was no shortage of them this year, almost as if the crowds were excited to head out en masse to see famous folks, dress up, or just browse the aisles for some really cool merchandise.

It's good to report that this year's event was incredibly smooth and organized. Comic Com had received negative press in its early history, but by 2015 the organizers had fixed the issues.

Celebrities in attendance were as varied and diverse as the merchandise featured. William Shatner ("Star Trek," "TJ Hooker"), fresh off his trip to space on Jeff Bezos suborbital rocket Blue Origin; Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes ("Clerks," "Jay & Silent Bob"); veteran actors Carl Weathers ("Predator") and Giancarlo Esposito ("The Mandalorian"), as well as "Stranger Things" fan favorite Gaten Matarazzo. Tara Reid, Ashley Eckstein, Lou Ferrigno, and many others adorned the convention center ballroom floors, as well as the Dunkin Donuts Center's main floor, for the entire weekend. 

As for COVID-precautions, the event did not suggest the wearing of masks, with about 30% of guests wearing them actively. Both celebrities and attendees wore them at their own discretion, and RI ComicCon has a strict no-harassment policy, as well as cosplay rules forbidding the use of real weapons as part of the elaborate costumes worn by both guests and vendors.

The event's high-energy feel recalled earlier ComiCons, though the attendance did not seem as robust as in the past (perhaps due to those not feeling comfortable joining larger crowds). The decision to add the Omni Hotel and Dunk to deal with overflow years ago worked enormously in making the event feel less packed and more enjoyable. 

"RI ComicCon" ran from November 5th to the 7th 2021 at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Dunkin' Donuts Center and Omni Hotels. For information on the event as well as future Cons visit or visit their Facebook page: