UPDATED: Was Comic Con Too Popular - Fire Marshall and Social Media Less Than Pleased

Monday, November 03, 2014


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Providence's Fire Marshall locked out Comic Con attendees on Saturday who had stepped out during lunchtime from the RI Convention Center, citing was over-capacity. 

The Fire Marshall was just one of the critics - many on Facebook, Twitter and the Anime Herald all took swipes at the overflowing event.

The event was allegedly over-sold with 20,000 plus tickets to a venue with a maximum capacity of only 17,000 people. Guests took to Twitter and Facebook with their complaints of the mismanaged first day of  Comic Con.  

"Shortly before 1:00 p.m., the Providence Fire Marshal arrived on-scene to cap attendance. Those who attended the event and were given wrist-bands were unable to re-enter the event. The time didn’t matter. If an attendee was there for five minutes or two hours, once s/`he stepped out, be it to the streets or the Providence Place Mall, s/he was barred from re-entry," says Mike Ferreira of the Anime Herald


At 5:01 p.m. that same day, RI Comic Con issued this statement on its Twitter and Facebook pages: "We apologize for the hiccup this afternoon. We had hit capacity much sooner than expected, but the doors are now open and anyone with a ticket for today or this weekend are being let in without issue."  

Steve Perry, Producer of Rhode Island Comic Con could not be reached for comment. 

Despite the damage that had been done, most guests hoped that this "hiccup" would be a learning experience for the convention to take greater precaution for next year. 

Comic Con Statement Released

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, Rhode Island Comic Con released a statement via social media apologizing and explaining what happened and why it happend. The statement is below:

"On behalf of everyone at the 2014 Rhode Island Comic Con, please accept our heartfelt, sincere apology for the numerous and unacceptable issues that arose during this past weekend’s convention held at the RI Convention Center on November 1 and 2, 2014.

The simple fact is, the show simply became a victim of it’s own success. This was the third year of the show, but this year didn’t follow the traffic patterns and flow that were present during previous years. For the first time in the Rhode Island Convention Center’s 22-year history, the crowd exceeded capacity according to Convention Center general manager, Lawrence J. Lepore.

Convention Organizer Steve Perry of Altered Reality Entertainment responded to the criticism. “Bad weather, a lack of accurate real time data and poor training of staff and volunteers made a bad situation worse. Frustrated ticket holders understandably took to social media and we failed in our responses. We were trying to focus with on fixing mistakes from within and did not react as professionally as we should have.”

Rhode Island Convention Center’s Lepore also commented, , “We know at one point as people come and go what we should have done — and didn’t do — was put them in a turnstile on the way in. We did not know the number that was leaving. As we continued to bring people in, clearly we were over capacity.”

Perry has met with the Attorney General’s Office as well as Ticketron and the Convention Center. “It’s unfortunate that what should have been a fun event left guests unsatisfied, disappointed and frustrated. On behalf of Rhode Island Comic Con, I’m sorry.”

“We’re proud to bring visitors and fans to the Ocean State for this event and please know that we take our responsibility to our guests extremely seriously, and are confident that the steps we’ve taken will prevent this type of issue from happening again.”

If you purchased tickets to Saturday's show and were unable to attend, you may contact the convention center for a full refund."


Related Slideshow: 10 Cool Things to See at RI Comic Con

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Walking Dead Cast

Nerd out on with your favorite characters including: Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon), Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene), and Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel Stokes) to discuss the zombie apocalypse and their experience on one of television's most entertaining series. 

The cast will be in Room A at 1:30 p.m., Sunday. 

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Jim Steranko

There will be a Q&A with the legendary comic book artist himself: Jim Steranko on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in Room E.

His work includes: Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Strange Tales, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, and Marvel Masterworks. 

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William Shatner

He's probably heard "Beam me up, Scotty" more than any other human being, you know him, you love him, it's Golden Globe winner William Shatner live at Comic Con this Saturday!

Catch him at 4:30 p.m. in Room A for a Q&A.

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Supernatural Panel

On Saturday discuss the hit CW show Supernatural with cast members: Mark Sheppard (Crowley), Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer), Alaina Huffman (Abaddon), Steven Williams (Rufus Turner) and Rick Worthy (Alpha Vampire) as they discuss the mythology and the evolution of the series' characters. 

The panel begins at 2 p.m. in Room A. 

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Rocky Horror Picture Show

Do the Time Warp with a live shadowcast performance by RKO Army!

The event begins Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in Room 555. 

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Cosplay Contest

Dress to impress or watch your favorite cosplay characters take home fabulous prizes!

The contest will be judged by Belle Chere, Destiny Nicklesen, Abby Fellows, and Jonny Ruckus who will score contestants based on craftsmanship, likeness, and presentation. 

Judging takes place between 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday in the Rotunda Room. 

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Awesome Cars

Replicas of the 1989 Batmobile from Tim Burton's "Batman", The Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo, and the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard will all be featured show cars at this year's Comic Con!

Photo: Zachi Evenor on Wikimedia Commons

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Neal Adams

Come listen to creators' rights advocate, and legend Neal Adams talk about his influential career in the comic book sphere.

His work includes Batman, Brave and the Bold, Detective Comics, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Strange Adventures, and X-Men. See him Sunday at 2:30 in Room E. 

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George Takei

Come meet the most influential person on Facebook. George Takei, Hikaru Sulu himself, will be hosting a Q&A on his acting, directing, and authorial career.

Talk with George on Sunday at 12 noon in Room A. 

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Gaming Tournaments

Test your skills and compete for glory!

Saturday: Play Street Fighter or Halo 4 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Sunday: Play Injustice: Gods Among Us ( from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.) or Call of Duty Black Ops II (from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.) 

128 players will be needed for each gaming tournament, and some require gamers to bring their own controllers. Check out the rules here.


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