One month out: Rhode Island Comic Con officially bigger than ever

The floor of Rhode Island Comic Con

Three years ago, Rhode Island Comic Con experienced some embarrassing growing pains.

The crowd proved to be too large for the convention (and the Rhode Island Convention Center) to handle. People were forced to wait outside, or decided to just go home.

Then, a remedy: RICC expanded to three days and two venues, expanding into the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

For 2017, RICC is expanding again -- into a ballroom at the Omni Providence Hotel. A show rep confirms the move, but hasn't said exactly how the third venue will be used.

Physical space, not the only way RICC is expanding for 2017. The website now lists more than 115 celebrity guests, and nearly 70 listed artists.

Add vendors and other exhibits, and you have a MASSIVE convention, now just a month away.

In just the past few weeks, RICC has announced appearances by Andy Serkis, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Dreyfuss, and Elijah Wood.

They're not done, yet, either. Spokeswoman Sue Soares says two more "headliner" announcements are coming this week.

"We are incredibly excited and humbled by the extraordinary guest list for this year's show." Soares said in a statement. "Each year, we strive to top the year before, to keep fans coming back. This year will be the biggest and best we've had thus far."

Soares and RICC didn't want to discuss how the convention secures guest appearances, to ensure contract information remained confidential.

The announcement of Ruffalo, who currently plays "The Hulk" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, includes a courtesy to Celebrity Authentics. They're a national company that bills itself as "the most trusted name in autographed memorabilia." They market, and sell, authenticated items from dozens of actors and actresses. Andy Serkis' appearance is also courtesy of Celebrity Authentics.

As with any convention, there have been celebrity cancellations, including Elizabeth Olsen and Alan Tudyk. Visit RICC's Guest page, and scroll all the way down.

So, we're a month away from RICC 2017, and organizers are planning the biggest event yet. Last year's attendance was a reported 80,000. We'll see what the added space at the Omni may mean for this year's figure.

Notes:

First time? My primer from last year holds true.

If you haven't yet bought tickets, consider buying them at the Dunkin' Donuts Center box office in Providence or at Toy Vault in the Warwick Mall. Same tickets, and avoid those online fees. Call ahead to make sure they have them.

The guest pricing page is fairly complete, and includes prices for table photos and autographs. Plan your budget. Keep in mind, the prices are set by the guest themselves.

This year's convention will be the first for Celeb Photo Ops. They handled Terror Con very well earlier this year, however, that was a much smaller event. If you're planning on purchasing a professional op, do it by Nov. 8 at noon. Remember, up to two adults (or for families, two adults and three kids under 16) can appear in the photo. Find a friend and split the cost.

The final panel schedule should be released in about a week or so. That schedule will help you plan your convention visit.

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