A Super Convention Indeed
July 4th weekend in Miami was the 8th annual Florida Supercon. This was my fifth year attending and my second year covering the convention for Florida Geek Scene.
What originally started as a small anime convention has exploded into one of the top conventions in the entire state. Combining comic books, sci-fi, anime, cartoons, cosplay, pop culture and video games Florida Supercon is the convention that covers every geek interest imaginable.
With the show starting Thursday this was the second Supercon to go four days long instead of the usual Friday through Sunday. I’m glad they kept the extra day because there’s such a ridiculous amount of stuff to do.
Supercon manages to get some of the best convention guests in the entire state and this year was no different.
The many comic guests in attendance included Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Olivier Coipel (Avengers Vs. X-Men), Jerome Opena (Fear Agent), Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) & George Perez (Avengers). My highlight though was meeting Bob Layton (the definitive Iron Man artist) who did a beautiful sketch of the Mark VI armor for me.
Comics not your thing? Media guests included George Takei (Star Trek), Walking Dead stars Laurie Holden & Chandler Riggs, Adam Baldwin (Serenity) and the cast of the Power Rangers & AMC’s Comic Book Men. Speaking of Comic Book Men, Sunday night Kevin Smith showed up for a special podcast along with surprise guest Jason Mewes.
If you’re into wrestling, Supercon had classic guests like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kevin Sullivan, Sgt. Slaughter & the Hurricane Shane Helms.
Anime/cartoon guests included Adventure Time’s Jeremy Shada & Hynden Walch, Invader Zim’s Richard Horvitz & Rikki Simmons along with Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and many more.
With what I believe is the largest schedule of events for any con in Florida, there was always something to do. Tons of panels, workshops, anime viewings, nightly raves and karaoke hosted by Jose Melendez.
All weekend Florida Super Championship Wrestling entertained fans with local wrestlers in character as everyone from GI Joe to the Mario Brothers to the Power Rangers and more. The wrestling guests like Hacksaw, Sgt. Slaughter & Shane Helms even joined in.
With the convention getting so big the video games & the bands moved to the hotel ballroom. We saw SML8 on one of the stages then went and played pinball courtesy of our friends at Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo. I believe it was Saturday night that we ended up playing Mario Kart at 3 in the morning.
While the majority of events are all ages there was fun stuff for the grown ups too like the hentai viewings and the always great Cupcake Burlesque shows with their different themes each night.
This year I wasn’t just going to the events, I was also part of one. Saturday night was the first ever Florida Geek Scene panel. With very little preparation myself, Scott & John spoke for over an hour about the site and what we do. Surprisingly 20 people showed up and only 4 left! It was nice to see folks interested in writing for the site and we even had an appearance by our new friends from Game Nation Parks.
After one of the panels, we ended up making friends with a surprise guest, Alana Smith-Brown from TBS’s King of the Nerds who flew down to check out the con.
If you brought your geek dollars there was plenty of things to spend them on. An even larger vendor area included everything from comics to indie crafts to movies to toys to prop weapons. If you wanted to keep your money local there were plenty of indie artists upstairs selling their work. I didn’t pick up too much this weekend besides my Layton sketch but I did hit up the very awesome Doctor Who Store, which is what it sounds like… a huuuuge selection of Doctor Who-related merch.
I was really pleased to see the return of Past Present Future Comics (my local comic shop) to Supercon.
As always it was nice to run into vendor friends of Florida Geek Scene like Convention Exclusive (toys), the ladies of Kitch & Crossbones (accessories) and Sexy Beast Apparel (clothing) and Docking Bay 94 (comics).
With the multiple genres of geekdom at Supercon it’s not a surprise to see all sorts of costumes. The most popular this weekend was Doctor Who, Homestuck (I still don’t understand it) and The Walking Dead.
While there were plenty of great costumes, my pick for the best of the weekend was Madame Vastra from Doctor Who. It’s a shame she didn’t have Jenny and Strax with her!
Taking the award from Spider-Man for the most-worn costume of the weekend? Deadpool. There had to be at least 5 or 6 Deadpools not even counting Lady Deadpool. The plus side? Most of the Deadpools were done really well. We found a very in-character Deadpool around 2AM in the hotel lobby who resorted to shooting with his fingers because he’d lost his guns.
Strangest and most surprising costume of the entire convention? Had to be the guy dressed up as Aunt Jemima. From far away I figured it was supposed to be some random anime character until closer inspection I realized this guy is wearing blackface, an apron and carrying a bottle of Aunt Jemima’s syrup. Yikes!
This year’s location was the same as the past couple of years, the Miami Airport Convention Center (also known as the MACC). Over the past 2 years the MACC underwent numerous renovations to make the location more up to date. Unfortunatelly those renovations didn’t include an increase in size because Supercon has outgrown it. To help spread things out all of the indie artists were moved upstairs to increase vendor & comic/media guest space on the main floor while video games & bands moved to the hotel ballroom. While the show was packed all weekend I believe everything was still pretty smooth on anyday besides Saturday. It was Saturday where all bets were off and they had the largest attendance the show has ever seen. That attendance spike led to the parking problems and waits in line on Saturday. Sunday was a lot more relaxed though and a great day to shop at the vendors.
Attached to the MACC is the convention’s host hotel, the Doubletree. Pretty much any complaints I have for this weekend had to do with the hotel. We arrived early on Thursday to get our room situated ahead of time and enjoy the show. It turned into a 4 hour wait for a room that was almost given away (after being re-assured multiple times we had a room). To make matters worse the lobby seemingly had no A/C (for the entire weekend). when you add the lack of amenities such as no fridge… the hotel just isn’t worth the cost. A positive was the staff seemed a lot more welcome to the convention goers than they did in previous years. They had karaoke at the hotel bar late into the night and were a little more leniant than usual about keeping the pool open. That being said, I really look forward to a new Supercon hotel.
The hotel had some food options but the majority of our meals were either pizza delivered or lunch at Au Bon Pain (in between the hotel and the MACC). We did leave for food once on Friday. Feeling adventurous we went to Uptown Buffet (less than 2 miles away) for some good cheap sushi.
A huge thanks to Mike, Sandy & the rest of the Supercon folks for having us and putting on one hell of a great show. Supercon is a great escape from your everyday life where you can be surrounded by all of the things you love and share them with your friends (old and new). I’m not sure how four days could go by so fast but it sure seems like it did once it was over.
We’ll let you know once there’s an official announcement but one of the worst kept secrets is Supercon will probably be moving to a new larger location in 2014.
Wherever the show ends up being, we’ll be there.