Last comic book convention I attended was just that: a comic book convention. A small room in a hotel filled with dealers of rare and not so rare comics with maybe one table dedicated to baseball cards. One artist would be there to sign copies of comic books, and maybe if you asked nicely, he would draw an original sketch for you.
But comic books have blown up so big that actual comic books were hard to find at this past weekend's Florida Supercon. Merchants of comics and talented professionals were present in the massive two story complex housing this year's show, but they are a challenge to find nestled amongst sellers of swords, copies of movies on VHS, and the booth featuring former porn star Traci Lords.
So we present to you, the top ten non-comic book related attractions we spotted at 2013's Florida Supercon.
Why did I ever open my Chanukah presents? That unopened Luke Skywalker toy is now selling for over a hundred bucks. The opened He-Man action figures in decent condition are selling for twenty each. Then there are the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind toys like the homemade Q-Bert diorama. Toys are big at Supercon.
One of the great surprises at the convention was you could play unlimited games at the Addams Family or AC/DC pinball machines. They even had those stand alone arcade games where you could blister your hand on a joystick trying to get past level 15 in Gauntlet or vie for the high score on Zaxxon.
8. B Movie Stars
OK, Kevin Smith I can see having fans. George Takei who played Sulu in the original Star Trek, I get, but who could imagine the voice actors of Pokemon having lines around the room to pay $30 for their autograph. It did make me sad seeing the out of work actors sitting at their booth smiling and waiting patiently hoping someone would fork over $40 for a signed head sheet of theirs. Even sadder, Jim Kelly from Enter the Dragon was supposed to be present but passed away a week earlier.
Not only were Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter in attendance, but Friday night, there was live wrestling onsite. First you could watch Spider-man fight Sandman. Then came a twelve man tag team bout between Super Mario, Luigi, King Hippo, and other Nintendo characters wrestling the Power Rangers.
6. Dating Advice
The last comic book convention I went to had six women in attendance and five of them were moms. At 2013 Florida Supercon, the ratio was closer to 50-50 male/female, and Yo Jeff's Hip-Hop Dating Academy held a workshop teaching attendees how to "get that booty."
5. Rock 'n' roll
Green Jelly and nerd culture savant MC Frontalot were probably the biggest names, but there was a Florida Supercon Music Festival with over fifty acts in attendance over the four days. Local bands like Astari Nite and Falseta took to the stage. And for night owls, there was a Friday night rave with DJ Marvelous Kendall.
4. Fashion Tips
If you are not familiar with the term cosplay, short for costume play, this was your first Supercon. Dr. Doom was there, a six foot woman in green paint could only be the She-Hulk, countless Supermen of the obese varieties, as well as obscure characters who you needed a program guide to recognize, but still had impressively detailed costumes.
There were workshops teaching you how to properly design a costume and "medics" to help repair your garb. And if you were feeling naughty and were over 18, you could watch Cupcake Burlesque as they portrayed titillating animated characters.
If the Renaissance masters were inspired by the stories of the Bible and the aristocracy, today's artists' muses are Captain America and Darth Vader. Throughout the convention, there were prints, posters, and clothing by artists celebrating pop culture. Local artists like Eric Bonhomme had work celebrating Akira Kurosawa movies. Attack the Planet featured woodcuts by Brian Reedy and ironic political prints by Peter Santa-Maria.
2. Video Games
This was the mother load. Not only could you buy old Nintendo cartridges for 5 bucks a pop, but they had a zillion TVs set up where you could play old Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. It took a while to remember what the b button did for Rad Racer, but playing a video game you once knew even twenty five years later is like riding a bike.
As most writers do, I tend to issue snarky comments about every social interaction. Making biting one-liners at Supercon is like shooting fish in a barrel, but everyone was so gosh darn nice and supportive of one another, I felt like a jerk every time I opened my mouth or wrote in my notebook during the event. So my plans of taking pictures with the worst costumes and heckling the dancing competitions were foiled by my conscience.
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