The 2016 annual Florida SuperCon is now done and in the books. Billed as the largest convention for anime, pop culture, comic books and gaming in Miami/South Florida, the SuperCon event takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center and is located directly across the street from the famous botanical gardens and mere blocks from the world-renown Miami Beach. This year, the convention was able expand further from previous years and utilize the adjacent Jackie Gleason Theater stage for some scheduled events.
This year I had the opportunity to go not just one day, as is my usual routine, but twice – Saturday and Sunday. Not only did I break from that normal routine but I went this year with an exhibitor badge and a Special Guest badge. So I want to bring you my experience from SuperCon but not as a day pass or 4-day pass guest but we will go behind the booth, if you will.
Let me start off by saying, working at a comic con is hard work. I did my best to cut down on time and travel by taking an Uber to the convention center which alleviated any travel and parking concerns. If the convention hall opens to guests at 10am, exhibitors and vendors need to get there a half our to an hour prior to that for set up and that is on the days when you are not setting up or breaking down your booth.
My day one, which was Saturday, saw me manning the retro gaming booth and the wonderful staff of Owl’s Treasures in Lauderhill, Florida. The setup itself was fantastic and, while I was working and in my serious mode if you will, transported me back to those days I spent as a kid on my parent’s carpeted living room floor, controller in hand, defeating those evil Bowsers and Doctor Eggmans and M. Bison’s of the gaming world. The booth had an entire section dedicated to free play on platforms such as Sega Genesis, GameCube, DreamCast, Super Nintendo, X-Box, PlayStation and more.
It seems to be busy and the crowds would come in waves. From what I learned, the actual location of the booth is important in routing crowds and potential customers past your booth. If you are a gaming booth and yet not near another booth – say amongst the Otaku clothing and Dagashi Kashi swag, you may not draw the same crowd to your booth as you would if you were next to another console and cartridge vendor or even near the Mario Party photo booth.
With that said, it was a low stress booth. It was busy and yet being on your feet for multiple hours at a time is tiring especially given that the convention floor is hard concrete.
Interspersed amongst the console resets and replenishments of the Gamecube cases (it seemed to be a popular seller) I managed to capture some rather fantastic and impressive Cosplay photographs.
For the rest of the afternoon, I walked around and enjoyed the sights and sounds and plethora of visual stimuli. There were a lot of comic book vendors which I was happy to see. I have been to a few conventions over the years and the trend, from what I have seen, is a move away from the typical comic book-style convention to more of a pop culture, all encompassing Geek-orium. Comic Books are, and will always remain, the core of my passion for all things geek and nerd.
The cosplay was amazing and I saw a lot of Harley Quinns and Deadpools. There was the famous Jakku scavenger we all know as Rey and Groot and Hana “D.Va” Song from OverWatch. I saw Desmond Miles, Link, G.I. Joe’s The Baroness, Wilson Fisk, Wonder Womans and a particularly pertinent Deadpool, complete with a stuffed unicorn and Captain America shield emblazoned with the words “Hail Hydra”.
I was also able to see and meet Greg Capullo, Fabian Nicieza, Michael Dorn, Tara Strong, Khary Rhandolph, William Shatner, Bruce Boxleitner, Neal Adams, John Beatty and others on day 2 such as Greg Horn, with whom I would spend the day.
My second day was Sunday and with the day came a rise at sunrise and another Uber commute. On the ride in we hit a patch of intense rain. At that early time of day the sun is still low over the ocean and the sunlight streams in from a sideways angle. This shine from below the clouds created an intense, bright, beautiful phenomenon reminiscent of an early morning snowstorm in New England. As the clouds gave way and the south Florida sun began quickly drying up the morning shower, I could tell it would be another very busy day.
The line queued up to enter the hall stretched down the street and the sidewalk was filled with eager, excited guests ready to dive in to the SuperCon world. As I waited for my green special guest badge, I managed to take a few photographs of more cosplayers, the first of which can be seen right below.
Shortly after taking this photograph I bumped in to Brianna Hildebrand, the lovely 5’3″ actress who played Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the 2016 movie Deadpool. She was nice and pleasant, but intent on getting to her photo and signature booth. The booth was at the back of the hall and through crowds swarming the walkways.
I then met artist extraordinaire Greg Horn who has done interior and countless cover work, and variants for the “bit two”. He has worked on Wonder Woman: Blackest Night, The Flash, Justice League, Elektra, Emma Frost, Mystique, Iron Man, Black Widow, Mystique and whole host of others. He handed my badge and we were on our way to his booth to work for the day.
Greg is an energetic, approachable, easy to like and passionate guy. From the moment you meet him you can tell he loves what he does. He loves his art and he loves his fans. His booth was nestled on a corner or artist alley near Eric Bonhomme, Jeff Dekal, Keith Giffen and across the way from Neal Adams.
It was also the busiest and brightest of the booths and tables in artist’s alley. All day long there were throngs of friends and families perusing the prints and portfolios. Guests and Special guests stopped by all day, ogling the artwork that adorned the portable walls that made up the curtained backdrop of the booth. The lights that Horn had set up brightened the prints and reacted with them and the lithographs to create deep, vibrant rich colors that stood out against the the duller colors of the surroundings. As I went from customer to customer and listen to find stories from Greg Horn and the comic book industry, I did not realize that the late afternoon was quickly approaching.
On a brief break, I managed to chat with and get photos with Joel Adams, Kevin Joseph from Kechal Comics, Corey Smith, Khary Randolph again, and I met some really amazing and friendly professional cosplayers. I also scored nicely on a large run of Justice League Dark comic books for my personal collection.
By the end of day two, I was tired and my feet hurt and my legs. The lower lumbar region of my back ached. I had a dull headache from my brain processing so much so fast and for two long days. But I had my books, I had my memories, I had my friends and my photos and horizons expanded. I had my signatures and I had my handshakes. I had my thanks yous and smiles of all the guests and cosplayers that I helped and photographed. It was labor but truly a labor of love.
I was exhausted, it was hard work working the convention but I would happily do it all over again.
For more photos visit: https://www.facebook.com/JLSComics/ or instagram.com/jlscomics