Spiked baseball bats, Eggo waffles and Stormtroopers.
Together, these items may seem to clash or have no semblance, but for one weekend in November, they came together to commemorate the nerdy extravaganza that is Rhode Island Comic Con. Running from Nov. 11 to 13, the comic convention, taking place in Providence, R.I., gathered over 75,000 fans into the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, according to the Providence Journal.
As fans dressed up as every character from Eleven from “Stranger Things” to a Poké Stop from the hit Nintendo app, Pokémon Go, downtown Providence resembled more of a cartoonish landscape rather than a conventional, industrialized city. As I roamed the streets before RICC commenced on Saturday morning, my eyes were glued to the ingenious displays of cosplay that were presented before me, ensuring that despite the severance in American morale, nerd culture was still intact.
The convention hall was something out of a fantasy book, with a variety of characters brushing shoulders with one another; who would expect Charizard to stand toe to toe with a Death Trooper from the upcoming film, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” While I was criminally underdressed, I wore my Phish shirt with pride and opted to admire the various cosplayers that surrounded me.
Smaller in scale than New York Comic Con, which I attended last month, this convention had an air of cosiness that was welcoming in nature rather than the hard look and feel that surrounds NYCC. I spent approximately the same amount of time at both venues though and felt that the fans at RICC were much more relaxed and amicable, which allowed me to make new friends wherever I wandered to, even the bathroom.
Additionally, I felt as though RICC was superior because they were able to tap into a deeper pool of talent to attend the convention, with nearly every celebrity open to taking photo ops with adoring fans or simply signing autographs. Afterwards, one was able to run into any of these talents on the convention floor, simply goofing around with the attendees.
I took full advantage of these opportunities as I looked around, looking to grab pictures and autographs with the little funds that I had in my wallet, yet I still lost my debit card.
Most notably, I was able to meet my childhood hero, Jason David Frank, who played the Green Ranger in the hit TV series, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” The 43-year-old California native is renowned for his commitment to his fans and my experience with him couldn’t be any more evident as he signed a Power Rangers memento of mine and took a selfie with me, despite me not dishing out $100 for the “experience.” Aside him, I also managed to shout to Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite” for some tots; a line that I’m sure he’s sick of hearing since the film was released in 2004.
However, the day did not go without some comedy gold. I was called out by my father and grandmother over the phone to get out of line to meet Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things,” which I had already waited on for three hours. Thanks Obama.
Despite all the glamour and the extravaganza that surrounded RICC and similar comic conventions, it instilled in me a hope that even at 20 years old, it’s OK to exhibit my inner nerdiness, even if maturity is stressed with the movement of age. I write this in hopes for others to not be afraid to express themselves because at the end of the day, there are probably thousands of individuals that share common interests with you and aren’t afraid to back you up.
Live long and prosper.