Sunday, July 30, 2017

Florida Supercon: The Good, The Bad, and the OMG, WTF Were Organizers Thinking

For the last four days, fans flocked to the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward Convention Center for the biggest comic convention in South Florida - Florida Supercon.  For those not familiar with comic cons, they are much more than comic books and memorabilia. Sure, there is a ton of merchandise - from t-shirts, toys, and artwork, to DVDs and rare collectibles, but there is also a variety of panels, improvs, games, and contests happening. Plus, cosplayers, cosplayers, and more cosplayers!! The highlights for me, however, at any com-con, are the celebrity appearances. Although, some of the best fun I've had at these shows is with lesser known guests who really give their time and attention to those who stop by for a visit. 

Related Post: Palm Con 2016


DC Comic Artist, Jose Delbo
Another highlight, Meeting Chris Sarandon
aka Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride
















This year's predominant theme was anything Dr. Who, led by the appearance of the twelfth doctor, Peter Capaldi. Fans I spoke with said he is one of, if not the biggest, star ever to grace the Florida Supercon's line-up. All one had to do was look around the exhibit floor to notice Dr. Who fever was rampant. Also, appearing was Karen Gillan (who played Amy Pond) and Sarah Louise Madison, who is best known as one of Dr. Who's scariest monsters, the Weeping Angel. She is anything but scary in real life. My son and I were thrilled to meet all three (We waited nearly two hours in line to meet Capaldi - TOTALLY WORTH IT) and grabbed seats for Gillan's Q&A session over an hour in advance.

The Doctors are in the house! 
Missy and The Doctor


Amy and Rory

While event organizers were anticipating 53,000 attendees, they may have miscalculated their numbers causing a slew of logistical nightmares. Thursday and Friday were the mellow days, with the crowds starting to increase Friday night. By Saturday, it took me an hour to drive the 20 minutes from my hotel thanks to the traffic - which is nothing compared to the three to four hours it took some people to get through the last few miles leading to the venue. According to many fan tweets, some just gave up and turned around. Other fans told me that after waiting in traffic for 3 hours, they arrived - with pre-purchased tickets in hand - only to be held outside for a half an hour because the event was sold out, and they weren't letting anymore people in. The droves of people wrapped around the entire convention center at one point! Event organizers quickly tweeted that Saturday tickets would be honored on Sunday. This really IS a big deal and proof that, if the event is going to stay at this location (the event used to be held in Miami), organizers are going to have to deal with parking, traffic, and ticket sales issues. 

The only legal picture I was allowed to take of Capaldi - the
photo nazis were out in full force! 

Cosplayers getting into character
G
Not a com-con without Princess Leia, and BABY
Chewbacca!

The traffic wasn't anymore organized once inside. The wall to wall crowds could be forgiven, but queues to get autographs were very cramped. My biggest complaint about the flow of things inside is the operation of the escalators. For some reason, most escalators were heading upwards, so when hundreds of people exited Gillan's panel, they had to walk the length the center, passing six or more nearly empty UP escalators, to find the ONE down escalator. 

My son testing a lightsaber
The problem I have with any of these conventions is the outlandish prices organizers charge the patrons for autographs and photo ops. For example, a one day ticket for Saturday was $45. That will get you on the exhibit floor and into the panels. But, if you want a photo-op or autographed picture, you will pay anywhere from $20 to $155!  Yet, as long as people are willing to pay (and many ARE!), the prices will keep going up. Another fan brought up the fact that if conventions didn't charge for autographs, non-fans would just stock pile signed pictures and merchandise and profit off of them online - which makes sense. But, still......this is not a cheap form of entertainment and family fun! 

When all is said and done, my son had a blast and going rounded out his 13th birthday celebration just perfectly. However, as with others I spoke with, the event would be better off returning to Miami. Next year, I'd probably skip it and just drive a bit further to attend MegaCon in Orlando. 






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