Florida Supercon 2017: Super or Not-So-Super?


By: Scott Muller

Florida Supercon happened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from July 27 to 30. I attended the convention on Friday and Saturday and I’d like to give my review of the event. Did the event live up to its “super” moniker? I’ll review the super and the not-so-super and give you my final verdict.

Super: Communication from the Convention

The folks at Supercon were definitely on it when it came to communicating changes and issues related to the convention. Whether it was Chandler Riggs changing his appearance schedule, tickets selling out, or parking becoming an issue on Saturday, the Supercon team did their best to keep attendees informed about what was going on. The Supercon app was also a nice tool for keeping panels, guests, and other events organized. Kudos to the folks responsible for keeping convention attendees up-to-date on convention-related happenings.

Not-So-Super: Communication AT the Convention

The convention was a short walk from our hotel, and once we got into range, a few issues sprang up. The line started to form outside of the building, with no indication of what the line was for. It was hot as blazes outside, and the idea of spending time waiting in an unmarked line was not appealing. Add to that a complete lack of volunteers outside (and I don’t blame them…it was hotter than the devil’s jockstrap outside), I felt a little lost right out of the gate. Once inside, the volunteers in the lobby seemed a little spread out, which isn’t the fault of the convention if there just weren’t enough bodies, and it was tough to find someone at times. The signs and queues inside where also a little confusing…not so much to ruin my experience, but enough to make it mildly annoying.

Super: Convention Staff Customer Service (for the Most Part)

Supercon staff at the ticket tables were outstanding. They answered my questions or made an effort to get the answers. As a volunteer in the past, I realize that volunteers typically don’t receive a ton of training, so I really appreciated it when the volunteers went and got information when they didn’t have it. I do have one suggestion for Supercon (and conventions in general): ”preparedness guides” for volunteers. By this point, conventions like Supercon have gone through the motions enough to at least create a handbook for volunteers to prep before the convention. I really think having some FAQs for each of the major jobs (lines, tickets, information, etc.) would make things a little less stressful for volunteers and would make the experience a little smoother for attendees.

Not-So-Super: Conventions in Summertime in Florida!

Okay, this is really picking nits and it’s not the fault of the Supercon folks, but I don’t for the life of me understand why convention season is in the summertime in Florida! I realize kids are out of school, but most of these conventions are over the weekend anyway! It was well over 90 degrees the entire weekend and a walk of a less than half a mile from the hotel had my drowning in sweat. However, on the SUPER side, the convention center did have buses running to some of the hotels, which was almost a necessity for anyone wearing a heavy costume. Not surprisingly, there weren’t as many Wookiees at this convention than other conventions I’ve attended!

Super: The Variety and Number of Guests

I will say, Supercon had the most eclectic guest list of any convention I’ve attended. This convention had a little something for everyone, including wrestling fans (Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair, among others), fans of 80s cartoons (Michael Bell and B.J. Ward, the voices of Duke and Scarlett from GI Joe, among others), movie buffs (Brian O’Halloran and Jason Mewes from the world of Kevin Smith movies, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka from The Karate Kid, and Scott Schwartz from The Toy and A Christmas Story), fans of The Walking Dead (Josh McDermott, Michael Cudlitz, and Chandler Riggs), and fans of Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi and Karen Gillan). In addition to these folks, there were some other unique guests including Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (of Run DMC), Randy Jones (the cowboy from The Village People), and David Newell (Mr. McFeely, the mailman from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). I’ve only mentioned about a third of the guests, as the list was really long and, surprisingly, there were very few cancellations. I haven’t even mentioned the copsplayers, artists, and other folks that were in attendance…the list was simply too long to list here. All in all, Supercon did a super job of getting a list of guests that ran the pop culture gamut.

Not-Quite-as-Super: Star Power

This is probably my own opinion because I’m not a huge Doctor Who fan, but the one thing the convention did lack was real star power. Other conventions I’ve attended had headliners like Stan Lee, Norman Reedus, William Shatner, or Kevin Smith…but this one didn’t seem to have the huge draw. However, the convention sold out for Saturday, so what do I know? This event had a ton of B- and C+ celebrities instead of the real A+ stars. However, I guess 20 $10 bills are worth more than a single $100 bill…

Super: The Sheer Number of Things to Do

Man, there was a lot going on at this convention. In addition to the common events at the convention like panels, costume contests, and movie screenings, this event had even more going on. Most memorable was Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling (FSCW). If you ever wanted to see Skeletor in a wrestling ring, this was the place to see it. On Saturday evening, I attended a screening of Shooting Clerks hosted by Brian O’Halloran (who was a really cool guy and super-active during the convention). Shooting Clerks was a sorta documentary of how Kevin Smith made Clerks, which is one of my favorite movies. The movie was really good, and worth tracking down if you’re a Kevin Smith fan. This was just one of countless things available for folks to do during the weekend. Two thumbs up to Supercon for having such a diverse menu of activities and things to do.

Not-So-Super: A Lack of T-Shirt Vendors

There was a decent selection of vendors at Supercon, but many of the booths had that flea market vibe…where it’s just a hodgepodge of stuff like old books and action figures not in the box. I was on the hunt for some good t-shirts, but there were only three or four booths that had any selection of shirts. Yes, it’s a small blemish, but I was really hoping for a cool t-shirt or two. I did end up buying a shirt, but it was like finding a needle in a haystack.

Super: The Crowd

I’ll tell you, the crowd at Supercon, as it is with most conventions, was as cool as ever. Cosplayers, vendors, guests…all of them were friendly and patient. It was crowded and hot, but the folks attending the convention were really good folks.

Not-So-Super: The Attendees’ Cosplay

Man, I was super disappointed by the attendees’ costumes this year. I realize that complicated, heavy costumes (like the old standbys of Voltron and Master Chief) were less of an option when the weather was like a furnace from the depths of Hell, but there weren’t too many creative costumes this year. Most folks went with the same-old-same-old options of Spiderman, Deadpool, Joker, and Harley Quinn. I always love seeing people come through with some creative costumes, but I wasn’t thrilled with Supercon’s offering. I’m not saying people did a bad job, I’m just saying I didn’t see much that stood out as unique or outside of the box.

My Overall Score: Pretty Darned Super!

I have to say that I really enjoyed my time at Supercon. The stuff that was super far outshined the stuff that wasn’t so super. Also, the not-so-super stuff didn’t really tarnish the experience as much as make me shrug and say, “Eh.” The sheer number of guests (who were all friendly and approachable), the number of things to do, and the friendly staff were all high points to a fun weekend. I highly recommend this convention for folks. Fort Lauderdale is a cool place to hang out and the venue is conveniently located, so make a weekend of it and have fun! You’re nearly guaranteed to have a SUPER weekend!

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