This past weekend in Miami Beach was the 9th annual Florida Supercon convention. No stranger to the show, this was my 6th year attending (3rd year covering for Florida Geek Scene). Supercon is South Florida’s largest convention and includes anime, art, cartoons, comics, fantasty, horror, sci-fi, video games, wrestling and more.
Outgrowing the previous home of the Miami Airport Convention Center, the show moved about 13 miles East to the Miami Beach Convention Center. To give you an idea of just how much larger the new space is, the MACC was less than 200,000 square feet. While the new home’s square footage is over 500,000 square feet in the exhibition area alone.
We arrived to our hotel (The Hyatt Regency) sometime in the afternoon, checked-in and unpacked then made our way downstairs to catch the convention’s shuttle. The shuttle was larger than I thought it would be, it was pretty much a full-size air-conditioned bus. The ride to the convention took about 25 minutes which wasn’t too bad. Picked up my pass from the ticket area and made my way to the main hall. For the most part the comic, media & video game guests were in the right hall with the vendors, crafters and the rest of the artist alley in the left hall.
With a smaller crowd due to it being a Thursday , this was a great time to catch up with vendor friends and mingle. It was nice seeing the usual’s like Past Present Future, Convention Exclusive, Fine Print Shoppe and Kitsch & Crossbones. Noticed Al Milgrom’s table wasn’t too busy so I made sure to commission a sketch early. After that I made my way to my first panel of the convention, “So… You Want To Make Comic Books? The Indie Comic Book Panel”. The panel included Terry Cronin, Martin Pierro, Michael Kingston, Creature Entertainment, Martin Dunn and other local indie artists who discussed everything from their beginnings, self-publishing tips and their future plans.
Not long after the panel we decided to get some food downtown and walked to Lincoln Road. Wanting to check out as many of the restaurants from my 10 Cheap Eats article we ended up at the Shake Shack. I had the Shack Stack, which was a cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom on top of their Cheeseburger. So awesome. So good. The humidity was brutal and we needed to get back to the convention for a panel so we took a taxi. Got back just in time for Jo Witherington to co-host the “Rikki Simons Loves Scifi” panel. A hilarious discussion on sci-fi movies and books with fun interruptions from Simons fellow Invader Zim actor Richard Horvitz. After the panel we took the convention shuttle back to the hotel for a long-night of partying with friends.
Managed to wake up and get on the shuttle surprisingly early considering the partying the night before. Quickly arrived to the convention and set out to get my comics signed. While getting my Milgrom books signed I picked up the amazing Hawkeye sketch I commissioned the day before. The comic guest lines were much longer than Thursday with the higher attendance, with the longest line being Kaare Andrews because he was doing free sketches.
After everything was signed I made my way to Florida Supercon Championship Wrestling. As always FSCW is a great watch, with the highlight being the Toxic Avenger with Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman winning the tag team titles from the Dreadknoks. By that point it was nearing dinner so I met up with friends and made our way downtown. This time from the Cheap Eats it was Abuela’s Kitchen. I went with the Media Noche sandwich and one of the best Mojitos I’ve ever had. Finishing the meal off with an authentic Cuban coffee sealed the deal.
On the way back to the convention we stopped at a parking garage to watch the fireworks. From the 7th floor rooftop we had a pretty decent 360 view of all of Miami Beach’s displays. It was a pretty great idea. After that we rushed back to make sure we were first in line for the Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast. With a great performance by Wilmington North Carolina’s Pineapple Shaped Lamps sketch comedy troupe, I was reminded of going to West Palm’s Carefree Threater as a teen to see Rocky. Considering they were running late because the previous event in that room took too long they did a great job making sure everything was on time. By that time it was late and I was pretty beat so I went back on the shuttle to the hotel where I quickly crashed.
Woke up late but managed to get on the shuttle and to the convention in time for the Gazillion Entertainment panel. Gazillion is the creators of the Marvel Heroes MMOARPG so it was neat going to a Q&A for a game I actually play quite often. After the panel we had time to kill before the Florida Geek Scene panel so I grabbed a quick bite then browsed the vendor room.
It was nearing time for the FGS panel so I went and checked in with the folks running the panels and waited for mine to begin. To anyone that went to the Florida Geek Scene panel, a huge thank you. Your attendance was highly appreciated. I was hoping for more of a turnout but that’s what happens when you wait until the last minute to schedule and your panel is during the costume contest.
We walked downtown for dinner, this time going to Pizza Rustica. Probably the best price value of the convention, a large slice of pizza w/ a soda and salad was only $9.99. Then it was quickly back to the convention to get front row for the Pineapple Shaped Lamps shadowcast of the Power Rangers Movie. Funny enough I’m pretty sure this was the first time i’ve seen the entire movie. And like the previous night with Rocky Horror, PSL killed it. Such a great shadowcast, I look forward to seeing them again. With having to check out in the morning, it was back on the shuttle to the hotel.
Checked out from the hotel in the morning and a friend was nice enough to give me a lift back to the convention for Supercon’s forth and final day.
For the most part Sunday was pretty laid back. This was the day to hit up the vendors and do some last-minute shopping. I scored a couple gifts for friends and a large amount of back-issues that I needed. Didn’t feel like walking downtown so we just grabbed lunch there. Gotta say, the convention Nachos weren’t half-bad and neither was the Bubble Tea. If you saw what the convention pizza looked like, you’d know why people kept getting Nachos.
After lunch we checked out the indie video games and talked for awhile with the folks from Shovel Knight. It was late in the afternoon at that point so after saying some goodbyes to the convention friends it was over and time to go home.
Supercon 2014 was an awesome weekend and one of the best times I’ve had at a convention. I’d also say the positives of the new location (much larger venue, well air-conditioned, close to downtown bars & restaurants) outweighed the few negatives (stricter center rules w/ food and earlier closing times, no on-site hotel).
As far as the hotel goes, The Regency wasn’t bad I regret choosing a hotel that wasn’t within walking distance. While the shuttle was very convenient i’ll be picking a much closer hotel next time, even if I have to pay extra.
A super-sized thank you to Mike Broder, Sandy Martin-Broder and the rest of the Florida Supercon staff and family for inviting us and for putting on yet another great convention.
While the next two shows Animate! Miami (November 14-16, 2014) and Magic City Comic Con (January 16-18, 2015) will both be at the Miami Airport Convention Center, Florida Supercon will return to the Miami Beach Convention Center July 2-5, 2015.
Photos by Michael Favata, Ariel Frengel & Jo Witherington.