I just got back from Florida Supercon after having not attended for a couple of years now. I had my friend Sara in tow to keep me company and it was her first Con experience as well. Supercon is kind of a smaller convention so I thought it would be a good opportunity for her to see what one is like without being ridiculously overwhelmed. We arrived just in time to see Legendary Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, doing his Q&A (which I got a little bit of footage of the end) and it was fun seeing him interact with his fans and be really open as well.
We spent most of our time wandering the floor, looking at what people had to sell, what quasi celebrities were attending, and to see the art work from the both the Professionals from comics and animation as well as the local artists. One thing I noticed early on was that Supercon has changed a bit since the last time I went a few years ago. There seems to be less Q&A and Panels and more focus on just selling. The ballroom area was the main Q&A area which would double as a stage for bands later at night as well as also housing the wrestling ring that would be used later that night AND had the tables set up for all the “bigger” celebrities that were in attendance. Smaller name celebs and the comic book folks were on the main floor with everyone that was selling t-shirts, actions figures and more, and the 2nd floor was reserved for local artists only.
As a guy on a budget it was hard to not spend what little money I had on artwork when I actually have so little wall space for it to begin with! Supercon has expanded how many artists and celebs they offer, but what hasn’t changed and frankly needs to, is the lack of walking space. If someone stops at a table to look at something, the entire aisle gets held up for some time and most people resort to pushing and shoving their way through. It was like a culture shock when I was at NYCC last year to see how well planned and spaced everything was. Granted its a bigger convention center, but the fact that they had as much as they could and still offer plenty of walking space was incredible to me. Supercon still seems to think that they just need to pack as much in as possible and leave enough room for a line in each direction. Cause no one is gonna stop to shop right? This also came in handy as I explained to Sara the importance on not prematurely purchasing things because you’ll probably find something better later on.
That in itself, is Supercons downfall. They’re a small con that is trying to be a big con. In a world where San Diego, New York, Chicago, DragonCon and more dominate the “Con Scene”, Supercon is still the little guy. What I used to find charming about the smaller convention is starting to disappear as it grows into something bigger. All things change and evolve and I’d love to see Supercon get bigger but for that to happen they need to find a bigger venue. Miami Airport Convention Center just ain’t cuttin’ it.
In the end, I got to have Rags Morales and Dave Gibbons autograph some graphic novels, I got some “swag” for others and realized for the first time I attended a convention and didn’t buy anything for myself! Not too bad for a geek on a budget. Do I think anyone from SuperCon will read this? Maybe. Do I think anything will change? Doubtful, but more so because I know it won’t be an easy change. I hope the promoters know they have a good convention and the opportunity to grow with it, I just hope they’ll take the proper measure to grow properly. I want to go back but I just don’t see myself going back next year.