This past weekend was the 7th annual Florida Supercon, it was my 4th year attending and my first for Florida Geek Scene. South Florida’s largest convention, Supercon covers anime, cartoons, comics, horror, sci-fi, video games, wrestling, and just about any pop culture niche you can think of.
Some people think Supercon mainly caters to anime fans but they couldn’t be more wrong. Every year they manage to get best comic guests of any Florida show and 2012 was no different. I ended up meeting and getting signatures from Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, Roy Thomas, George Perez, Olivier Coipel, Steve Epting, Kevin Maguire, Denny O’Neil, Karl Moline & Rags Morales. It was awesome talking Godzilla with Kevin Maguire and i’m now a bigger fan of Howard Chaykin. Roy Thomas on the other hand pretty much refused to stay at his table and I didn’t end up finding him until late Sunday. Seriously, I checked his booth at least 3 times a day and would hear reports of his sightings at various panels and events.
In addition to the professional comic guests the exhibition hall is also full of great indie artists, crafters and writers. You never know, that guy selling his photocopied comic book could end up being the next Robert Kirkman.
While I mostly attend for the comic artists and writers, there were plenty of guests for everyone. This year’s headliner was Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston (River Song). Supercon was Kingston’s first convention appearance in the United States. The “hall of fame” (media guest area) had every kind of guest you can think of, film/tv actors, anime/cartoon voice actors, professional wrestlers, etc.
Supercon always makes sure to feature a large amount of musical guests from all sorts of genres. You’ve got J-Pop, Metal, Punk, Ska, Hip Hop and more for the entire weekend. This year’s headliners were Gainesville’s Less Than Jake, who I ended up missing by an hour because i’m horrible with schedules. Did end up buying a record from them before they closed their booth.
With the insane amount going on at the convention I usually end up missing the majority of the bands. Saturday night I did manage to catch The Fuzzlers (from Florida?). The name may be silly but so is the band (in a good way). The only way to explain them would be imagining if the Aquabats played really fast punk rock. I would have bought their CD but couldn’t find their booth.
It wouldn’t be a convention without cosplay and man did Supercon have some great costumes. Of course there was plenty of the usual anime, comic & movie costumes but this year there was a ridiculous amount of Doctor Who. Doctors, Daleks, Tardis’s, etc. Understandable considering the headlining guest was Alex Kingston. The most overdone costume though was anything from Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. I lost track of the amount of Finn’s in attendance. My favorite costume of the weekend was the duo who dressed as Crimson Bolt and Boltie from the movie Super. Plank from Ed, Edd n Eddy also cracked me up.
I’d also like to apologize to my girlfriend because every time I saw a great costume i’d poke her and say “TAKE A PICTURE”.
Supercon has hundreds of events day and night for all 4 days of the convention. Just about anything you could want to do. How-to panels for costuming, video game tournaments, movie screenings, Q&A’s, Karaoke and more. If you couldn’t find something to do at Supercon, you probably didn’t leave your hotel room.
It wouldn’t be a Supercon without Supercon Wrestling. I’m not that much of a wrestling fan but the folks from FOW always put on one hell of a show wrestling dressed up as various comic & movie characters. This year a lot of the wrestlers performed in their regular personas like the Angry Nerds and Christina Von Eerie. It was a really smart idea since fans from Supercon can now follow them throughout the year at various wrestling shows.
Saturday I attended the Avengers Assemble panel hosted by Marvel editor Lauren Sankovitch and Howard Chaykin. It was a good Q&A but it was funny since there was a lot of questions Sankovitch couldn’t answer about upcoming Marvel comics. Understandable though since Marvel’s relaunch wasn’t officially announced until a couple days later. Howard Chaykin made the panel great even when he wasn’t even talking about the Avengers or even comics.
New to Supercon this year was their own Florida Super Cast broadcasting live from the convention throughout the entire weekend. Fans who couldn’t make it to the convention could watch guest interviews live from the computer.
When you’re at a convention for an entire weekend, it’s good to have a lot of options when it comes to food. The con had a main snack bar downstairs and some food upstairs. The majority of our meals were at Au Bon Pain in the mall next door. They had plenty of vegan friendly options at reasonable prices. It also didn’t hurt that it tasted good too! The hotel itself has two restaurants and food at the bar. There’s also a Publix and a Subway within a mile of the convention. Needless to say there was a trip to Publix for drinks because it’s not economical to party with $7.00 hotel beers. Oh and of course a ridiculous amount of Ramune sodas were purchased from the vendor room.
Connected to the convention center, the official hotel of the convention is the Doubletree. Since there was extra people in my room the rate ended up being $119 a night instead of $99.00. When you split the cost with friends it’s not really that bad. The room was clean but it would have been nice if they had a fridge or at least included breakfast. Whoever was in Room 904 kept calling the main desk and I ended up with 2 noise violations. Luckily the night manager was super friendly and smoothed things over after we promised to keep it down. Seriously though, if you want to have a quiet vacation you should probably check and see if there’s a convention that weekend. The hotel’s complimentary shuttle came in handy for my trips to and from the airport since we took Tri-Rail to the convention.
The convention center itself, the MACC (Miami Airport Convention Center) recently went through renovations since the last Supercon. Except for the outside I didn’t really notice any major changes. Anyways, the MACC is huge which is perfect for a con as big as this. The main floor had the comic guests & vendors while there was a large ballroom next to it for the media guests, wrestling and a large stage for Q&A’s, headlining bands & the costume contest. Upstairs there are tons of smaller rooms for panels, video games and movie screenings. My only complaint about the location is that there never seems to be enough air conditioning. Miami is really hot and there was times that it was cooler outside than it was inside. Between the MACC and the hotel is a strange little mall for wholesalers that is usually closed during conventions.
The exhibition room may close around 7 but the convention certainly doesn’t. The main ballroom had bands and the yearly rave which goes on until late in the night. Late night upstairs included everything from gaming to bands to Rocky Horror even more karaoke (hosted by the awesome Jose Melendez). There’s plenty of fun for the grown ups with 18+ events like the Hentai Cafe and the comic themed Burlesque show by Cupcake Burlesque. The burlesque show was well done and was surprisingly packed, filling up one of the larger rooms. Saturday night we ended up watching Hentai AMV’s until 3 in the morning upstairs.
One of the usual complaints conventions get is inexperienced/questionable staff & volunteers. The staff were fantastic and made sure Supercon did not have that problem. Any time I had a question, the volunteers were friendly and would either get you an answer or find someone that could. The events and panels ran smoothly. I forget the name of the young lady who was running the press & vendor table but she was awesome, thanks for getting us all set for the weekend.
When the power went out on Friday in the main hall I was in Convention Exclusive‘s booth. They were also nice enough to offer to help me browse through their figures using their phones as flashlights. Specializing in Convention-Exclusive figures (duh) they had by far the largest selection of action figures at the show, grabbed a Shocker figure. It’s not a convention if I don’t buy a shirt from the fine folks of The Fine Print Shoppe so this time I snagged their Creature from the Black Lagoon design. Nice guys with high quality shirts at low prices. Except for the the usual convention vendors, there really was not that many people selling comic books. Even weirder was that the only comic book stores in attendance were Coconut Creek’s Docking Bay 94 and Phil’s Comic Shoppe from Margate. I saved up a lot of money for the trip and printed all of my want lists but didn’t really end up buying much merch. The money wasn’t left unspent since I made sure to buy some art before I left. I got a Iron Man sketch from Ariel Olivetti (it’s a shame he left Marvel, he draws armors beautifully) and a Doctor Who sketch from Josh Adams.
This year I had my first experience actually being a vendor by helping set up and sell at Florida Geek Scene’s booth. Instead of it being work I thought it was a blast, I enjoyed bullshitting with fellow geeks and my girlfriend had fun selling anime. Would love to do it again at future conventions.
The only complaint about Supercon is that there is too much to do (which is a great problem to have). You’ll print your schedule ahead of time and plan out all sorts of things but it’s more fun to just go with the flow and enjoy the weekend.
Supercon may be over but i’m already looking forward to next year. Unless the world ends in 2013, i’ll keep making my yearly trip to Miami.
Special thanks to Jessica Allen for helping us take pictures.
Visit Florida Geek Scene on Facebook for more pictures from the event.