The inaugural edition of Rhode Island Comic Con took place on November 3–4, 2012 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The convention drew about 15,000 attendees. The guests included Robert Picardo, John de Lancie, Nicholas Brendon, and others. The attendance doubled in 2014, which led to overcrowding during the first day of RICC as the venue only allowed to have 17,000 attendees at a time. The convention was shut down by fire marshals, and many attendees were unable to enter the convention center. The incident caused a flurry of bad press.
Luckily, RI Comic Con’s team learned from the incident and made several changes to prevent overcrowding issues. The convention was increased to three days and expanded to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to accommodate its growing attendance. Besides, a daily sales cap was set and ticket scanning to accurately show attendance figures was introduced.
The program of Rhode Island Comic Con is similar to that of other multi-genre conventions. It includes meet & greets, panels, autographs sessions, and photo-ops with comic book authors and celebrity guests, Artists’ Alley, a cosplay contest, video game tournaments, afterparties, a special kids program, a toy, comic and collectibles auction, various vendors and exhibitors, and more. There are also special events. For example, the 2013 edition hosted several wedding ceremonies.
Every year attendees get a unique chance to interact with special guests such as comic book authors, artists, cosplayers, professional wrestlers, voice artists, and actors know for their roles in sci-fi/fantasy films and television shows. For example, the 2016 guest list included the comic book legend Stan Lee (his final New England appearance), actors Kate Beckinsale (the Underworld franchise), Anthony Mackie (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood, Supergirl), Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow), and many other celebrities.