So, you just picked up a flyer for Rhode Island Comic Con and your first thought is "Rhode Island has its own comic con?" Surprise! Rhode Island Comic Con is now in its 7th year and spans three buildings in downtown Providence, including the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and the Omni Hotel, which are all connected by skybridges. The show has quickly become one of the biggest and most acclaimed shows in the country. This year’s Rhode Island Comic Con is Nov. 2–4.

What is a comic con?

Comic Con

Well, "comic con" can mean different things to different fans. In essence, a comic con has evolved over the years into a celebration of pop culture, where fans have the opportunity to meet their favorite actors, artists, wrestlers, cosplayers, authors and even musicians. Fans can have collectibles signed, pose for photos with guests, and watch live Q&A sessions. Comic cons also include costume contests, after parties and attractions. Rhode Island Comic Con specifically even offers a tattoo pavilion where you can get a tattoo right at the convention. Bottom line is, fans can expect something to do and see every minute of the three-day event.

Do I have to wear a costume to attend a comic con?

RI Comic Con Costumes

Absolutely not! Fans are always encouraged, but not required, to come dressed as their favorite characters, whether they're from "Dr. Who" or "Guardians of the Galaxy." Cosplayers are just asked to follow the rules posted on the comic con’s website, keeping in mind that these are family events designed to provide a safe and enjoyable time for fans of all ages.

Do autographs and photos cost anything?

Yes, they do. The prices for autographs and photographs vary by guest and are often posted on the comic con’s website. Prices for Rhode Island Comic Con’s guests are listed here.

What is a photo op?

RI Comic Photo Op

A photo op or a "pro photo op" is a photo opportunity with a guest of your choice taken by a professional photographer. Most comic cons offer single and group photo ops, where multiple guests from a specific film or television series pose for a photo with the fan. Group photo ops can be extremely popular.

Can’t I just take pictures with my cell phone?

This varies by guest. Sometimes autograph lines are too long to allow for selfies or candid photos. The golden rule of comic cons — never take a photo of a guest without his or her permission. The same rule applies for video recording. To guarantee yourself the opportunity, go with the pro photo ops.

Do I have to pay to attend the Q&A sessions?

RI Comic QA

While some events and Q&A sessions may require a separate ticket, panels, workshops and Q&A sessions are typically included in the cost of admission. Every convention is different, so be sure to check their website. If it is a separate ticket, it will be marked clearly and usually will include a BUY NOW button.

So far, the only events at this year's Rhode Island Comic Con requiring a separate ticket are the Friday and Saturday night after-parties. Both parties are held at the Rhode Island Convention Center and are for fans 21 and over. This year's Saturday night party includes a concert from Epic Rap Battles of History.

What should I bring with me?

First, be sure to buy your ticket in advance. One of the mainstays of comic cons are lines, especially at entry. Buying your ticket in advance ensures the quickest entry. For Rhode Island Comic Con specifically, advance purchasers receive their badges in the mail three to four weeks before the event. Be sure to check your mail and keep your badge in a safe place until it’s time to go!

Next, bring cash. While there are ATMs, they can run out of cash due to the large crowds of people. Why wait for them to be refilled or look for another machine? At Rhode Island Comic Con specifically, fans will need cash to purchase autographs onsite. Also, bring an ID and a credit card if you expect to do any shopping at the hundreds of vendors who will be selling all types of merchandise.

RI Comic Con Kids

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Venues are often large and, like Rhode Island Comic Con, span multiple spaces and require a lot of walking. Try to avoid wearing big, bulky coats. Most venues do not offer coat check.

Lastly, print the panel schedule, maps and all receipts for advance purchased autographs and photo ops. Download the comic con’s mobile app to your phone. Be familiar with your plan of attack. Plan ahead as to which guests you want to meet, which panels you wish to attend, and leave yourself time to eat.

We hope by providing this inside look at comic cons, you'll feel more comfortable and knowledgeable embarking on this new adventure. Comic cons can be some of the most memorable times in your life, making lifelong dreams come true. Find more info on Rhode Island Comic Con here.