When Mike Broder hosted the first Florida Supercon 10 years ago, he never dreamed that his gathering of 1,500 geeks at the Hollywood Beach Resort would eventually balloon into what it is today: a four-day nerdstravaganza of pop culture, comics, anime, celebrity appearances, screenings and dress-up cosplay that attracts more than 50,000 fans.
“Everyone said you can’t do this kind of event in South Florida,” says Broder, who remembers the days when fans of comics and other geeky entertainments had to drive north to Orlando to commune. “But it has been an amazing experience to bring our brand of Comic Con to South Florida year after year. Watching our fan base and community grow over the past decade is truly humbling.”
The event, which takes place through Sunday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, has such a packed itinerary that a game plan is warranted. Here are some of the highlights for a happy Supercon:
1. Stars of ‘Star Wars’
Peter Mayhew, the vertically-blessed actor who played everyone’s favorite wookie Chewbacca, hosts a Q&A with fans on Friday at 11:30 a.m., and Billy Dee Williams (aka Lando Calrissian) talks shop on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. Let’s see if they have any intel from Episode XII.
2. ‘Clerks’ reunion
The reigning king of nerd culture, Kevin Smith, returns to Supercon on Sunday to discuss his iconic films like Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mallrats and Dogma. Smith, who is making his second Supercon appearance, will be ready to “A” some of your “Q’s” at 7:30 p.m. Catch actors Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran and Marilyn Ghigliotti at 4:15 p.m. in a Clerks reunion and expect plenty of behind-the-scenes stories about the film, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
3. ‘Doctor Who’
Whovians will have their run of the place at the Doctor Who Ball, taking place Thursday night. Fans can come dressed in formal wear, as their favorite alien or as a historical figure and mingle with The Doctor, Captain Jack, Rose Tyler, Amy Pond and the rest of The Doctor’s intrepid gang. Screenings of iconic episodes will be happening throughout the weekend, plus meet and greets with actors Karen Gillan, Paul McGann, Eric Roberts and Simon Fisher-Becker from the series.
4. Voice actors
Meet the voices behind your favorite animated characters from Frozen, Spongebob Squarepants, Adventure Time, Sailor Moon and more. Fans of Batman can meet the actors from the new Batman Unlimited series on Friday at 12:30 p.m. The actors who voice Rocko’s Modern Life will reunite Saturday at 4:15 p.m. for a Q&A and script reading.
Legendary comic book artists from Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Valiant Comics and others will flood the Miami Beach Convention Center. Legends like John Romita Jr., the artist behind classics like Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Kick-Ass, Daredevil and Superman, will be sharing their wisdom along with Jim Shooter, Bill Jemas, Neal Adams, Frank Quitely, James O’Barr, Ivan Reis and more.
6. Cosplay contests
Florida Supercon boasts one of the most active cosplay communities, with veteran cosplayers and newbies alike going all out to bring their favorite characters to life. The Costume Competition, taking place at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, is the most competitive costuming event in Florida with over $5,000 in cash and prizes available. The Masquerade Costume and Performance Competition on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. is both costume and talent competition for cosplayers.
7. Super Geek Film Festival
Geek interest films of all types, including documentary, narrative, animation, experimental and fan films, will be screened throughout the weekend. Programming also includes panel discussions like the Independent Filmmaker Panel on Saturday at noon with Billy Corben (Cocaine Cowboys), Jon Schnepp (The Death of ‘Superman Lives’) and Terry Cronin (Adventure Chefs). The Women Filmmakers’ Panel takes place at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
8. Cosplay tutorials
If you need to take your cosplay game up a notch, head to Beauty Schools of America’s tutorials. The pros will show you how to create the proper zombie look on Thursday and will demonstrate how to get the pop art look on Friday. Saturday is the day to go full-on princess, and Sunday’s workshops will transform you into a resident of Gotham City.
Get ready to scream “yes!” when WWE wrestling superstar Daniel Bryan hosts a Q&A at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Also on the roster is WWE wrestler Kane, plus lady warriors Diva Paige and Mickie James.
10. Video Game Arcade
Gamers will rule the roost at Florida Supercon with an arcade featuring free play and tournament console gaming on XBOX 350, XBOX ONE, PS3, PS4, Wii, and Wii U plus computer gaming. Don’t miss the “old school” section with classic arcade and pinball machines as well as retro console gaming.
If you go
What: Florida Supercon.
When: Noon-1 a.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday (exhibition room closes at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Sunday).
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach.
Cost: Single tickets $30-$35; 2-day pass (Saturday-Sunday) $58; 3-day pass (Friday-Sunday) $75; 4-day pass $85.