Thursday, September 8, 2016

Star Trek 50th Anniversary

In case you haven’t gotten the subspace message, today is the Fiftieth Anniversary of Star Trek. I can say without hesitation that without Star Trek there would be no Supercon. I grew up watching Star Trek in the 1970’s with my mother… the same mother who helped me make costumes for my Star Trek mego dolls, so that they would have different clothes to wear on landing party missions. I probably saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Con in the theatre 20 times over the summer of 1982, and it was the first movie we bought on VHS back when VHS movies were ridiculously expensive (bought in tandem with Beverly Hills Cop). I played the Star Trek roleplaying game (i’m looking at you John Brown and remembering you Chris Dorego). I played all the early video games and computer games. I got all the toys possible… the 12” Star Trek: The Motion Picture mego dolls (not to be confused with the 8” original series dolls), the tiny Star Trek: The Motion Picture action figures (the really stiff ones with the crappy paint jobs), and the Star Trek III action figures with the fingers that broke easily. In case you haven’t figured it out, I loved Star Trek. 

I was first introduced to “fandom” in the early 1980’s when my mom took me to a Creation Entertainment convention in NYC… back then Creation did mixed comic book / sci-fi conventions, and the big Star Trek guest at this one was DeForest Kelly (Dr. McCoy). I don’t remember much… I know it seemed big to me, there were a bunch of cool comic book creators, and DeForest Kelly read poetry in his Q&A. It was awesome! 

After we moved to South Florida in 1986 I soon found out about Vulkon and Trekon, the two Star Trek conventions in the area. Vulkon was run by Joe Motes and Ruthanne Devlin, and always had the better guests and vendors. Trekon was run by Joe’s old partner Vince Mennella, and was the smaller show, and never quite had the headliners Vulkon did. I wasn’t aware of the politics of competing shows, or that Joe and Vince had once been partners… I just went as a fan to have a good time… and any Star Trek was better than no Star Trek. My mom took me to my first Vulkon when I was 12 years old, and Walter Koenig was the big guest. As I got older, I kept going to those shows and met a lot of great people… In those pre-internet, pre-social media days, I joined a Star Trek fan group and felt like I belonged to something. Sean White, Deborah Maestu, Betsy Matteis, Diane, Liana, and others tolerated me thru my awkward teens… and Nick Roche runs that group now, and runs game show events at my conventions. 

I remember spending the summer of 1987 getting excited with my friend Jason Currie about the brand new Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series that was going to start in September. We devoured all the news we could get from magazines like Starlog (again… long before the internet). 

It took awhile for me to start bringing in Star Trek guests to Supercon. Vulkon was still chugging along (under new ownership) until 2008, and some of the other Star Trek centric events in the area didn’t do very well. I had a few small Trek names over the years, but it wasn’t until 2013 that we took the plunge and brought George Takei to the show. He did really well, and since then I’ve been making up for lost time, bringing in Nichelle Nichols and Deep Roy in 2014, Walter Koening, Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, and Robin Curtis in 2015, Brent Spiner in January 2016, and most recently William Shatner, Walter Koenig, David Warner, Rene Aberjonois, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn, Bruce Logan, Robert Duncan McNeil, Robert Picardo, and Chase Masterson for Supercon 2016. William Shatner at my show was one of the things on my bucket list… being able to have Captain Kirk in my “house” is something I will be forever grateful. 

Star Trek is about the future. About hope. About being better to your fellow man, woman, and alien. I think those ideas are as important now as they ever were. 


Oh, on last thing… the 12 year old bottled up inside who can’t wait for the new Star Trek: Discovery series in January! New Star Trek on TV… I love it!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

COSPLAY, ELITISM, AND THE MULTI-GENRE OF COMIC CON'S - PART THREE

More historic cosplays

Forrest J. Ackerman in 1939 at the World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon
He was the first "cosplayer" at a convention

Bruce Pelz at the 1963 Worldcon as Fafhrd from Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser 

Legendary Comic Book writer Marv Wolfman cosplaying as Aquaman in the 1960's
Source: https://www.facebook.com/marv.wolfman

Legendary Comic Book writer Marv Wolfman 
cosplaying as NoMan from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS in the 1960's
Source: https://www.facebook.com/marv.wolfman

Friday, December 12, 2014

COSPLAY, ELITISM, AND THE MULTI-GENRE OF COMIC CON'S - PART TWO

A few days ago I saw Pat Broderick post his rant against cosplayers, and conventions that are friendly to cosplayers and media celebrity guests. For those who have not followed this, here are a few handy links.




Mr. Broderick has been a guest of Florida Supercon before... and quite frankly has always been a bit... off... He recently emailed me to ask about being a guest at our 2015 shows... Magic City Comic Con and Florida Supercon. I was hesitant, as there are expenses involved (travel, hotel, booth space, etc..)... expenses that could go to another guest, but Pat seemed in need... and I figured it had been awhile since he'd been to Miami.... so I agreed. Then he posted his rant... and I just can't justify paying for someone to be a guest that is openly hostile to members of our community. 

Mr. Broderick's hostility towards cosplayers is a bit amusing, considering that cosplay has been a focal point of sci-fi conventions since the 1930's, and comic book conventions since their inception. 

There are numerous resources online that discuss the history of cosplay and conventions... here are some examples

Elfquest creator Wendy Pini on the right, cosplaying one of her characters in the 1970's

Heidi Saha as Vampirella at the 1973 ComicArt Convention in New York

A slew of cosplayers from the 1973 ComicArt Convention in New York

Angelique Trouvere as Satana (Marvel Comics) at the 1974 ComicArt Convention in New York  Source: http://www.enjolrasworld.com/Richard%20Arndt/Angelique%20The%20Unconventional%20ComiCon%20Costumer.htm

Wonder Woman cosplay from 1977

1976 Red Sonja Comic Convention cosplayers. Source: http://bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.com/2009/06/frank-thorne.html

Not really a cosplay... but an actor portraying Superman at the 1940's World's Fair... just to show examples of really early costuming 

Here's some awesome full color video from the event

COSPLAY, ELITISM, AND THE MULTI-GENRE OF COMIC CON'S - PART ONE

This is a letter I posted on Facebook today in response to comic book Artist Pat Broderick's recent rant against cosplayers, and conventions that have large cosplay events and media celebrity guests.

12/12/2014

I have been attending conventions for over 30 years. Comic Book conventions, Sci-Fi conventions, Star Trek conventions, Anime conventions, etc… Conventions, in my opinion, are supposed to be places free from intolerance… where fans of all things can come and enjoy the things they enjoy. Especially multi-genre conventions like Florida Supercon and Magic City Comic Con. Pat Broderick does not feel the same way. Mr. Broderick made a public statement that he does not want to be a part of events like mine… events that cater to cosplayers, media guests, on top of comic book industry guests. As such, I sent Mr. Broderick an email informing him that I felt it would be in everyone's best interest if we do not work together, and that he was not welcome as a guest at our events.

For those of you who are unaware, Pat Broderick is an artist who mainly worked for Marvel and DC Comics in the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. He has attended our events in the past, and recently asked to be a guest at two of our 2015 events. Last week he made some very negative statements on his Facebook page attacking cosplayers, and conventions that cater to cosplayers, and media celebrity guests.

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, his recent statements do not agree with the message I try to send with my events, which is that conventions should be places that are accessible and friendly towards fans of all types... all fandoms... be it comic books, sci-fi, cosplay, anime, etc...

As a promoter of events that cater to all types... I found his statements insulting. In addition to a large number of comic book guests, we bring in media guests, cosplay personalities, entertainers, etc... since he feels that promoters such as myself bring nothing of value to the shows and that we are not helping the industry, then I think we shouldn't be working together.

I love comic books and the comic book industry. I have been reading comics since the age of 7. I have fond memories of getting comic books as a child in Brooklyn, NY…. at the train station on Ave U and 16th Street, at Bob’s book store, and at the five and dime (a term most people reading this will not understand). When I moved to South Florida I got my comics from Glen at Superheroes Unlimited, John and Rob at Tropic Comics, Bill at Acevedo’s Comics, the Comic and Game Exchange, and god knows how many more stores. I’ve owned comic book stores…I’ve been an advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, I run comic book conventions… I love comic books. To this day, I read them on a weekly basis. I strive to bring in great comic book writers and artists for fans to meet. I dare anyone to call my comic book “street cred” into question. I also know that not everyone loves comic books as much as I do. Some people like Star Trek, and not comic books. Some people like Star Trek and comic books. The same can be said for fans of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, etc… and some people like to cosplay. Fans of comic books like to cosplay, as do non comic book fans. It is not my place to judge, and I feel that Mr. Broderick’s intolerance sends a harmful message.

I am a fan. A fan of comic books. A fan of Star Trek (original series). A fan of Star Wars. A fan of numerous cartoons. A fan of numerous TV shows. To quote Shakespeare “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?”. If you attend my events, it is probably because you are a fan of something, as is the person standing next to you. You may not be fans of the same thing… but you both belong in the room. It’s a shame that people like Mr. Broderick believe that some of us do not belong.

-Mike Broder
Florida Supercon
Magic City Comic Con
Animate! Miami

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Times Fallout, Minor Victories, and Compromise

In a perfect world, The Broward Palm Beach New Times would have issued a retraction, taken down both articles, and posted a sincere apology.

This is not a perfect world.

What we got was an apology and the removal of the offending pictures from the article. The original articles still stand... but the photos of the persons being mocked are gone. A minor victory, and something we should be content enough with to move on to bigger and better things.

Remember, this is not a perfect world.

After the 2nd New Times post ran yesterday around 3:00pm is when I started on my first blog post on the matter. I spent the next 12 hours, until 3:00am posting on my blog, facebook pages, and twitter, as well as taking phone calls and responding to emails on the subject. At about 3:00am, I was pretty exhausted, and figured it would be best to start fresh in the morning. I got my first call at about 8:30am. At about 9:30am the Editor in Chief of New Times, Chuck Strouse, called the Supercon office phone. Valeria, my assistant, took the call... I was still at home working from my desk. She passed the message on to me, and I called Chuck back. We spent exactly the next hour discussing the problem at hand.

Chuck's stance was that the article, while snarky, wasn't done with the intention to harm anyone. My stance was the article did nothing but insult everyone. We were pretty far apart on things.

On one side, you have New Times, an alternative weekly that is struggling with the 21st century. Print circulation is down, digital revenue is appalling, budgets are at an all time low, and they are shifting (as are most similar alt weeklies) to an ever increasing base of amateur bloggers to create content. Bloggers with very little journalistic experience, desperate to get attention, page views, and notoriety.

On the other side, you have our community... a group that has a history of being mocked, bullied and humiliated by jerks who don't understand why we love what we love.

Papers (and websites) like the New Times have a history of using sarcasm and snark in their articles. It's one of the things that separates them from dailies like the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and New York Times... that, and the pain clinic / massage parlour ads towards the back of the paper. The powers that be seem to think snark and sarcasm gets readers interested... some readers love it... others, especially those on the receiving end of the snark and sarcasm seem to find it offensive.

I talked with Chuck for a long time. I told him we took issue with the mocking of the subjects in the photos, that the photos were taken under false pretences, and in some cases the photos were obviously shot in a manner to make the subjects look less than flattering. Chuck took issue with the amount of venom that had been directed towards his writer. It seems that following the blog posts, Ms. Conti received at least 4 death threats, numerous threats of physical harm, as well as negative comments about her looks, character, and pretty much any other insult you can think of.

There seems to have been, and possibly may still be, some confusion as to why we were upset. When Ms. Conti made her 2nd blog post, there was no mention of her mocking of Palm Con attendees. She spun the blog to look like she was being attacked for not liking the show. That is not the case. She was not being called a bully for writing a negative review about Palm Con. She was being called a bully for writing negative things, and posting pictures, about several attendees of Palm Con.

I explained to Chuck that we have a loud, vocal community. That if things were not settled soon, this would spiral out of control. I explained that geeks stand together... and the last thing he needed was for this to go national.

He agreed with many of my points. He disagreed with some. He reminded me that New Times has had many positive comments about our community in the past. I explained that the positives of the past were nullified by the actions of the now. I don't think that he felt the article was as offensive as many of us did. We went over all the points I brought up in my previous blog posts. He asked me how I felt he could fix things. I told him that I felt he should retract the articles, post and apology and tell the writer (Ms. Conti) to stop adding fuel to the fire by posting stupid photos (like one of the comic book guy from the Simpsons with a lap top around his neck) on her Facebook page in response to negative comments she was receiving.

Chuck agreed that fault could be found with the article. He defended his writer, which is to be expected. He felt that an apology from the paper was all that was necessary.  I disagreed with him. He also pretty much stated that his paper has a policy of not pulling down articles once they've been posted. I pressed him on it, but that was the one thing he was not going to budge on.

Like I mentioned, we spoke for an hour. We discussed more than just the offending articles. When I mentioned how screwed up it was that the writer was mocking teenagers in the post he talked about his daughters, and how he could understand where there was a problem. We talked about the state of the industry that he is in, and the increasing reliance on bloggers. We talked about why the Power Rangers were far more relevant than what Ms. Conti alluded to in the article.

At the end of the first call, he agreed to post an apology and retract one of the photos... the one that had minors in it. I told him I would report on my pages that we had spoken and that an apology was forthcoming and that we should wait and see what they had to say. He had to work with his managing editor to put it together, and that it would be up soon. I sent a follow up email directly following the call to stress that I personally felt that taking down all the photos was pretty much a necessity.

30 minutes later I got a message that a national geek website, Bleeding Cool had picked up the story. I called Chuck immediately to inform him that the dam was bursting and something needed to be done... sooner rather than later. I reiterated that I felt it was imperative the photos come down. I again asked that all the articles be retracted... but that was not something on the table.

Soon after our second call the apology went online and the one photo of the minors was removed. Shortly after that, the rest of the photos came down... but not the offending articles.

This is not a perfect world.

At that point, I, personally and speaking on behalf of no one other than myself, had to take a step back and decide if I felt that was good enough to call off my attack. I did, and here's why.

We proved our point. We mobilized as a community and got our voice heard. The editors of New Times addressed the situation and posted an apology. The apology can be found at http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/09/to_everyone_upset_about_that_p.php

They addressed the fact that people felt mocked and insulted. They asked that the readers accept their apology. In the apology, they also pointed out that their blogs are "a collection of viewpoints from our various writers. Most of the items are newsy, but we do run many different types -- opinions, rants, lists, etc." That is something I will get back to shortly.

They removed all the offending photos. While the article is still online, the images are gone.

They did not remove the articles. That is a tough pill to swallow... but, there was compromise. A minor victory. I didn't get everything I think we should have... and neither did they. New Times had to post an apology... that's gotta suck for them. They had to post a public apology, for the entire world to see.

I personally felt that the fight was over. What could be gained by pushing things further? More attention to a poorly written article by a hack wannabe journalist? More attention on the negative aspects of Palm Con? More attention on the subjects of Ms. Conti's mockery and disdain? I felt that we had fought a good fight, achieved some minor victories, and that it was time to move on and leave this whole disgusting mess in the rear view mirror.

That being said... I still hold the following beliefs and feelings regarding the matter

1. Allie Conti is an awful writer, blogger, and journalist. She has an atrocious sense of humor and seems to take some perverse pleasure by pointing out the faults of others, and has some twisted feelings of superiority. I hope that she grows up fast. If not, I hope that her career in journalism comes to an end soon.

2. Chuck Strouse, the Editor in Chief, showed genuine interest and concern for the issues on the table. While he didn't agree with everything I said, he listened... not only to me.. but dozens of other individuals who contacted him directly. He attempted to make this as right as possible, while sticking up for his writer and paper.

3. New Times is not a bastion of journalistic integrity. It is what it is... an atypical alt weekly fighting for relevance in the 21st century. It has some good writers.. it has some bad writers. It has an editorial policy that encourages snark and sarcasm... two things that can be very damaging when put in the wrong hands. The apology mentioned that they run "a collection of viewpoints from our various writers. Most of the items are newsy, but we do run many different types -- opinions, rants, lists, etc."
That is their editorial choice, and they file Ms. Conti's article under that umbrella. I call it a poorly sourced, mean spirited hatchet job. Humiliating people (especially minors) is not acceptable from a major news outlet.. it's a shame they feel that it is.

4. There are some really awesome people in our community, including the people who were in the offending photos. I already knew a few of them personally before this incident. I now know five of them. They all seem like really awesome individuals that did not deserve the treatment they got.

5. I personally will not be advertising with New Times in the future. That's just me. I'm not looking for a boycott... i'm not going to tell anyone else what to do... but I personally will find other things to spend our advertising dollars on. Truth be told, Supercon has spent very little with New Times over the past several years. I've generally felt that there were other, more effective means of advertising. But sometimes their sales reps have been so persistent that i'll do something with them. Unless something radical changes in the future, I will not even do that.

6. I will no longer send press releases to New Times. Nor will I solicit them for coverage of any events we are a part of. Furthermore, We will no longer issue press passes for New Times writers to our events as long as their editorial policy allows for writers such as Allie Conti to produce works of derision towards our community. That won't stop a New Times writer from buying a ticket to the show, which is what Allie Conti did with Palm Con, but the dozen or so press passes we issue to New Times writers each year will not be approved.

7. I will no longer read New Times until such time as massive editorial changes are made. I cannot support a paper that allows writers such as Allie Conti to get away with humiliating members of our geek community without sanction. Again, this is a personal choice. I will not boycott them. I will not tell others what to do. Once more, the truth of the matter is I have found myself picking up New Times less and less in print form over the years, and very rarely, if ever checking out the website. It's not something I will really miss.

Everyone else is entitled to feel, or take action however they wish. This is just a list of how I feel and what I will be doing in the future.

That's pretty much it. I personally want to put this in the past and move on to more positive things and I hope you will join me. I want to encourage anyone who has any cool photos from Palm Con to post them and share with your friends. Show your friends the positive elements of the show. If you have any cool cosplay pics from any past shows that you love... post them too. Let's focus on the awesome of our community. Help spread the word of cool geek events to your friends... conventions, store events, movie screenings, etc... if its a cool geeky event, let your friends know. Word of mouth can do wonders. Don't be shy.

This is not a perfect world.. but our little community can be pretty awesome.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Times Responds With More Snark and Deflection

In response to the New Times post mocking cosplayers and attendees of Palm Con, several members of our community called and wrote New Times to voice their disappointment and concern. Chuck Strouse, the Editor in Chief of New TImes sent this response to one of those emails.

“I am very sorry you were offended by the blog posting. It was all meant in good fun. I truly hope neither I nor New Times come under attack by zombies. 
CES. Chuck Strouse. Editor in Chief. 305 571-7620”

I personally don’t find this to be an acceptable response. Posting images of cosplayers and attendees (particularly minors) and mocking them publicly is not acceptable as sport. New Times did not apologize to the victims. New Times did not issue a retraction. In fact they haven't commented publicly at all, only when they deem expedient in private. 

New Times seems to feel that shaming the community is acceptable, while disingenuously pretending that their pieces (and more over their responses) are meant in innocent fun.

They are using their publication, and the strength of it’s presence and circulation to put a legitimacy behind their message of derision. They are portraying the fan community in a way that delegitimizes us and makes us available for attack and scorn.

Their editorial staff has condoned the creation of an abusive atmosphere that they are continuing to promote without taking ownership of their actions.

Whether or not the paper enjoys the increased ad revenue generated by this sort of spectacle is immaterial to the damage that they are doing to the community, which must take precedence. 

As a statement of fact, I personally will not do business with New Times any more. That is not a threat, it is simply a consequence of the actions that they continue to support, and the editorial mandate they have chosen. 

New Times, Palm Con, Geeks, Bullies and Lousy Journalism

Supergirl and Robin having fun at Palm Con! Photo courtesy of Palm Con. Photo Credit: Jack Graziano
As some of you guys may be aware, there was a comic show up in West Palm Beach this past Saturday (September 21, 2013) called Palm Con. it was a one day show in its 3rd year. They had most of the local (Broward/Palm Beach) artists, vendors, stores, etc... in attendance, with 2 cool guests brought in for good measure (Deep Roy and Ethan Van Sciver). It cost $7 in advance for the day and $9 at the door. It was a good, old fashioned, family friendly comic book show. We (the FSC team) helped support them, put a bunch of posts on our social media, helped arrange a guest and tried to provide moral support to the organizer, our friend Martin Pierro. It wasn’t meant to be San Diego Comic Con... nor was it meant to be Supercon... it was meant to be Palm Con, a one day, $7 - $9 show, where geeks like us could fly our freak flags, buy some stuff, see our friends and celebrate the things we love. 

For those who want to be totally up to speed, here’s a link to the Palm Con Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palmcon-The-Palm-Beach-County-Comic-Book-and-Collectibles-Show/319762808133237 and here’s a link to the Palm Con 2013 Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/421951117925052/

Some logistical facts: The show was held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center from 10:00am until 6:00pm, took up a 50,000 sq. foot hall, had just over 2,300 attendees for the day, and the costume contest had 94 entries. Why that matters will become relevant later on in this blog.

I believe that most attendees had a good (if not great) time. I believe that most vendors and artists had a good (if not great) experience. Are there complainers? Of course... you’re dealing with comic book convention folk... there will always be whiners. I hear them whine at our shows, I hear them whine at San Diego Comic Con... it’s just the nature of the beast. But all that being said, it is my understanding that a most everyone walked away with the warm and fuzzies... well... almost everyone....

Changing gears for a second. Most people who live in South Florida are aware of New Times. But for those who don’t, here are some basics. New Times is the local alternative weekly newspaper. There used to be 2, but City Link (formally XS Magazine for those old enough to remember) stopped publishing last year. It’s the type of thing you find in those boxes on street corners, and local businesses that have some local papers by the front door. Once upon a time local alternative papers were a big deal... that was before Al Gore invented the inter-webs. They’ve suffered over the last decade or so as publishing has declined... but they have a website that has some amount of traffic, and they still print the paper... but it gets smaller and smaller every few months. For someone like me who loves the print medium, and actually got paid (for a short time) as a journalist (a LONG time ago for a LONG gone paper called the Sun Tattler) its really kind of tragic. 

So... where does New Times fit into the story? One of their reporters, or bloggers as they seem to be called these days, wrote a scathing article about Palm Con on the New Times website. Now, they are entitled to publish whatever they like... but this article crossed a few lines... especially when New Times is supposed to be “legitimate” journalism. 


It is titled “PalmCon Probably the Most Depressing Comic Book Convention in History” and it is offensive on many levels. After reading it, I was pretty annoyed. I chose not to make any statements, as I did not want to bring any attention the the article, the writer, or even the New Times. A LOT of other people were pissed too... and they made it known. I’ve seen hundreds of comments on the net, including in the comments section of the article. I will admit, some of the responses are pretty mean... but when you stir up a hornets nest, you need to expect to get stung. Following the response, the blogger in question made another snarky and mean spirited blog entitled “PalmCon Response: Why Would Nerds Cyberbully Little Old Me?”
at http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/09/comments_accusing_palmcon_post.php#more

After reading the response, I felt the need to write this blog and make a few declarations of my own.

In the first article, the writer, Allie Conti, opens with the following statement:

“PalmCon is one of the most depressing places I've ever been to in my life. It was basically like going to a mall in which every store sells the same couple of dust-covered items and every person looks like they work at Hot Topic. I had sort-of high hopes for my first comic book convention -- not because I like comics (ew) but because I really love dumb hats and costumes.”

So... in her first paragraph, I can already figure out 99% of the problem with why she did not enjoy Palm Con. This was her first comic con (or show), and I can make an educated guess that based on what she has seen in the media in the past, she was expecting something like San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, or hell... even Florida Supercon. That is not what this show is about. This is a classic, meat and potatoes, old school comic show. One day, cheap ticket, in and out, have a good time, spend a few bucks, hang out with some friends kind of thing... and on that level it was a HUGE success. You see... shows like Supercon are 3-4 day mega events... with hundreds of guests, vendors, events, etc... shows like Palm Con are very different. Tickets to the big shows cost big show prices... For example Supercon is $30 a day and up to $70 for a 4 day pass. It’s worth it... we put on a hell of a show, have 650+ events over 4 days, hundreds of guests, take up 5x - 10x the space, etc. Palm Con was $7 advance and $9 at the door. It was advertised as a one day show, and for a $7 - $9 one day show IT DELIVERED! But only if your expectations were reasonable. It is my belief that Ms. Conti did not do the research needed to understand what she was walking into... or at least do the research at the show or after. She seems to feel that all comic cons need to be able to match up next to each other... and that just isn’t the case. Moving past that... it’s also a little upsetting that New Times would send someone to a comic con that thinks comics are “ew” (her word, not mine) and is only interested in dumb hats and costumes. So basically, she came to the show looking for geeks to dress up and parade in front of her for her own personal amusement. 

Funny... this doesn't look like a nursing home. Looks like a bunch of people, of all ages hanging out at a comic show. Check out the Tardis in the background & Ghostbusters car. Photo Courtesy of Palm Con. Photo Credit: Jack Graziano
She follows up with complaining about the lack of people dressed up. I’m sorry... I didn’t realize I HAD to dress up to go to a comic book show. There was over 2,300 attendees... it seems that Ms. Conti believes that it should be mandatory for us geeks to dress up for her amusement. I can say as fact, that there were 94 entrants (look kids... call back time) to the costume contest, and far more attendees in costume at the show. But none of that should matter! 1,000 people in costume or 1 person in costume.... this show was never billed as a cosplay runway show. 

Her third paragraph blasts other attendees having fun. She states “That said, some people there were having a lot of fun. I don't understand it -- but hey, I really wish stacks of old Duck Tales comics were enough to shake me from my jadedness and misery.” Wow! I didn’t realize we were only allowed to have fun if Allie is included. How do you respond to that? She was baffled that people were enjoying themselves. She continues with “There's a critical distinction between anime conventions and comic book conventions, which is something I didn't understand before making the drive up to West Palm. People tend to dress up more for anime-related events than comic book ones.” Ok... she admits that she wasn’t aware of what to expect... and had pre-conceived notions about what to expect... but again, she’s coming to a comic book show, expecting a parade of cosplayers for her personal enjoyment. Everything she has written so far I could ignore. It’s the ramblings of an ignorant person, who walked into the wrong room, at the wrong time, with the wrong expectations. It’s the next sentence that begins the trail of tears, so to speak. Figuratively and literally. 

Her words: “Given that PalmCon gave off the same vibe as a nursing home, the few people who attempted to wear special outfits made me want to cry. They roughly fit into five categories. Bless all of their hearts, collectively.”

Ok... now we’re going down a bad path here... To hell with the nursing home comment. Yes, it’s mean spirited and offensive. It’s not true.. there was music playing on the speakers all day with movie theme songs and instrumentals. There were enough people in the room to give it some life. Yes, it is a comic show, and comic people tend to not be the most lively and exciting people in the world.. but who cares? That’s the point of comic shows and cons.. for people to be able to go someplace and feel like they fit in, have a good time, and NOT be judged for being a geek. Well... I can say and feel whatever I want... and so can Allie Conti... because this is where the JUDGING begins... and where any relationship Florida Supercon has with New Times ends.

Apparently “the few people who attempted to wear special outfits made me want to cry.” So... now its personal. This is where Ms. Conti proceeds to put herself above the rest of the attendees and mock the actual thing she came to the show to see. It’s in this sentence that she clearly shows her intent all along... to poke fun at the geeks and nerds that attend events like this.

Ms. Conti proceeds to post photos... photos of attendees happy to stop for a picture by a member of the “press”. Little did they know that the “press” was going to use the photos to make a mockery of them and humiliate them publicly. 

She first mocks a guy in a really nice Green Power Ranger costume. She calls his commitment to MMPR fandom misplaced and questions anyone that actually cares about the Power Rangers. First off... I can say with some knowledge on the subject that A LOT of people care. We had the real Green Ranger, Jason David Frank, at Supercon this year... and he had HUGE lines! In fact, we had six guests from the Power Ranger world and they all did great. We had THOUSANDS of fans come to see them. THOUSANDS. Apparently Ms. Conti feels superior to ALL of them. The Power Rangers are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The franchise has made billions... but just because Ms. Conti isn’t a fan, it makes anyone who is misguided. I personally am not a fan. I was too old when it came out, and it never resonated with me... but for the people who love it... GOOD! If you love the show, that’s awesome! Who the hell is she to pass judgement on a group of hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people just because she doesn’t enjoy the same thing as them?
This is the Power Ranger cosplayer that Ms. Conti mocks in her article. I personally think it looks great!
He's a fan of a show, and he looks great in the costume. What's wrong with that?
Photo courtesy of Palm Con. Photo Credit: Jack Graziano
Who cares about the Power Rangers? The people who came to meet Najee De-Tiege,
Kevin the Blue Power Ranger from Power Rangers Super Samurai, one of the guests at Palm Con.
Photo courtesy of Palm Con. Photo Credit: Jack Graziano
Next up is a public shaming for a woman wearing a gothic / victorian type of outfit. Ms. Conti titles this “Women Looking for an Excuse to Wear Revealing Costumes”. She insults a woman who is in a costume, that is not really that revealing, makes absurd statements about women who wear sexy costumes at Halloween, and makes derogatory comments about men who took pictures of her at the show. Apparently Ms. Conti wants everyone to dress up... but only in costumes she approves of... and no one is allowed to take pictures unless they fit a certain, unspecified criteria.

Her third pic is of some guy in a flack vest, with a wig and a fake gun... it’s a lousy picture, and I don’t get the point of taking it, except to mock the guy. Ms. Conti claims he wanted to have his picture taken and files him under the category of attention-seeking diva... Isn’t this the same Ms. Conti that wanted to come to the show just to see people in costume who wanted their picture take? It’s just a ridiculous comment, about a ridiculous picture, by a so called journalist who is really just running the picture to make fun of the guy. Congrats Ms. Conti... you get to be superior and make fun of the guy in your blog. I hope it makes you feel big and strong to mock him on a supposed news site.

The forth picture is the worst.. and really upsets me more than anything else said to this point. It’s a picture of three young adults. 2 girls and a guy. They’re posing for Ms. Conti. One girl has red dyed hair and a Spider-Man shirt on (Mary Jane cosplay?). The second girl is wearing a gothic lolita outfit with some makeup to look like a corpse. The guy is in a t-shirt and jeans. Ms. Conti puts them under the category of “Mallrat Kids.”, with the following statement “Oh man, your mom only gave you $10 to spend at Hot Topic? Mine too, and she said I have to get picked up in front of the food court at 8! It's tough to be a tween.” I know these kids. I’ve seen them at comic stores around town. They genuinely like this stuff. They’re good kids. There’s nothing inappropriate in their behavior or dress. And, there is certainly no reason for Ms. Conti to make fun of them on a website that is supposed to serve the community. It is here that she proves that she is in fact a mean spirited bully, using her blog pulpit to tear down others that are having a little bit of fun. It is this exact moment that I made the decision that unless something was done by New Times editorial that I would never support New Times ever again, on any level. 

And we’re not done yet.. it just gets better....

The next smug comment isn’t really that exciting. It’s a girl in a Pikachu cosplay, with her boyfriend holding her while they smile for the camera. He is wearing a Pikachu t-shirt. She files this under Cutesy Couples. Which I agree with.. it’s the next comment where she has to make the smug comment making fun of the guy for having Pikachu on his shirt, and how weird it would be to have a shirt with your girlfriends face on it. Yes... that would be weird... that’s not what’s going on here, but Ms. Conti can’t stop from making with the smug.

And that was the end of the first article. After it ran, it started to get circulated among our community. I don’t think there were any positive comments... at least none that I can find. People that I normally disagree with on EVERYTHING  even made comments in defense of the show and the people in the pictures. There were some really rough comments made too... some people crossed lines in attacking Ms. Conti as well. But, like I said above... stir up a hornets nest and you’re going to get stung.

Well.. You didn’t think Ms. Conti was going to take that laying down, did you? Don’t be silly... 

Today at 3:02pm... her next blog went up on the New Times website. The bastion of South Florida journalism... the voice of the people... at 3:02pm Ms. Conti used her position and pulpit to mock our little community even further. 

Her response blog is at http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/09/comments_accusing_palmcon_post.php#more titled "PalmCon Response: Why Would Nerds Cyberbully Little Old Me?"


To start.. the title is misleading. Palm Con response? Palm Con didn’t make a response. Martin Pierro, the organizer of Palm Con did not make any statements or comments. All comments were from attendees of the show, not the show organizer himself. I know this because i’ve been in contact with Martin during the entire situation.  As for “Nerds Cyberbully Little Old Me?”... no... you cyber bullied them Ms. Conti... and when they stood up for themselves and called you out on your snark you accuse them of bullying you. Look in the mirror. Seriously... you picked the fight... don’t blame the kid in the playground for fighting back after you gave him a bloody nose.

She starts off with calling the response “cyberweirdness”. What’s weird about having a vocal reaction to a ridiculously mean spirited blog post on a supposedly legitimate journalistic website? Did Ms. Conti expect the people she made fun of, their friends, and their community not to express their opinion of her snarky article? Did she think that no one would see it except mean spirited people like her? Did she not think that people wouldn’t take offense at her poking fun and mocking people who were having a good time in a safe, family friendly environment? 



She first posts a misleading picture. It’s a picture from the front of the show, made to look like the show is empty. It’s a cowardly act. I can say that when the show first opened at 10:00am it was slow... there were maybe 200 people there. I told Martin, just like I tell every promoter... don’t open at 10:00am unless you expect a LOT of people. It looks bad. The sweet spot for a show is noon to 3:00pm... that’s when you have the most people in a room... and that’s when Palm Con had the bulk of their 2,300+ attendees. This picture was obviously taken early in the morning, and from the front of the show to show off the big open area in the front. 

I can show this picture from the costume contest stage taken later in the day to make it look like the place was packed. 
Photo courtesy of Palm Con. Photo Credit: Jack Graziano
It’s all perspective and timing. She’s now purposely trying to minimize the show by not giving a clear picture. She fails as a journalist by doing this. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t packed.. but it wasn’t empty. There were, in fact, 2,300+ attendees. Far more than Ms. Conti wants to give Palm Con credit for.

When she addresses the several emails and comments that call for her to resign or be fired, she responds with a snarky comment about “the low turnout and general lack of fun at this year's PalmCon.” and jokes that she has been force to leave her post, followed by “LOL. Kidding! That would be absurd, nerds.”

First off, if Ms. Conti had done any research, she would learn that Palm Con had 1,100 attendees in 2012 and 2,300+ attendees in 2013. An over 100% increase in attendance. That sounds pretty good to me. No, it’s not the 125,000+ that San Diego Comic Con gets or even the 25,000+ that Supercon gets, but it’s still a healthy number for Palm Con. But Ms. Conti expects and demands more! 2,300+ just isn’t good enough for her, and everyone needs to be shamed because of it. As for lack of fun... plenty of people had fun. Just check out the comments on the Palm Con Facebook pages (posted above). She ends her opening statement by calling anyone who disagrees with her a nerd. Classy... really classy Ms. Conti. 

Her next statement is a rambling mess... she calls Watchmen and The Killing Joke literature, and that her comment in the original post, that she found comics "ew" was meant as sarcasm. I read the original post... it didn’t sound like sarcasm. It sounded like “ew”... just like it was written. It’s nice that she likes things written by Alan Moore thirty years ago. That doesn’t make her spiteful comments any more acceptable. 

She blasts Palm Con for a lack of merchandise and entertainment, even at the $9 price point. I have no problem with her having that opinion. I have no problem with her expressing that in print. I do however have a problem when she decided to make it personal and post photos of attendees for the sole purpose of mocking them and embarrassing them in a public arena. That’s her sin. It is unacceptable, on any level, for her to use her bully pulpit in the manner that it was used.

She comments that Palm Beach County's comics enthusiasts deserve better than what Palm Con delivered. Is Ms. Conti aware that Palm Con is the first real comic event in West Palm in years (decades?). Martin Pierro is attempting to build something in an area that has gone unserved for a LONG time. You have to start somewhere. The first Supercon had 1,500 attendees. We had 25,800 this year. San Diego Comic Con had a few hundred at their early shows. They now have over 125,000. Palm Con had 1,100 people last year and 2,300 this year. If the people of Palm Beach County continue to support the show, it can grow and hopefully one day live up the expectations of Ms. Conti. But Rome wasn’t built in a day.

She uses the rest of the post to point out some of the harsher comments to her first blog. Comments that attacked her appearance, her name and her credentials as a writer. Some of those comments are out of line. But it doesn’t excuse her original behavior. She at no point takes responsibility for what she did. It’s ok that she poked fun at people and our community... but shame on anyone who fights back. 


Well... that’s just not going to fly with me. 



I’m offended. Again, not because she didn’t enjoy Palm Con. No... she made it personal when she made fun of our people. And New Times made it personal when they let her do it, without responding or putting a stop to it.

Each year, New Times sales reps call me up and bug me to spend money with them to advertise Supercon. I stopped advertising in the print version years ago, but occasionally throw a few bucks into digital advertising. That stops now. I will not spend another dollar with New Times going forward. I will not approve any press pass requests from New Times going forward (and there are a LOT of those). I will not send a press release to New Times ever again. And I will make it known that I do not support New Times, as they support the bullying of our community.

If you want to make your voice heard, and let New Times know that you will not stand for their writers using their website and paper to humiliate our community, there are several things we can do.

1. BLAST THE NEW TIMES ON FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/newtimesbpb
Post, post and post about how unhappy you are that they allow this kind of behavior.

2. Contact the Editors and let them know you are upset
Managing Editor Deirdra Funcheon
Editorial Operations Manager Keith Hollar

Editorial Administrator Holly Castillo

3. Contact the advertisers in New Times, both the online and print version and let them know you will not support them if they continue to give money to an ugly institution that thinks its better than you are.

4. If you have a business, the next time a desperate New Times sales rep calls you, tell them to shove it, and tell them why.

5. If you know a business that carries the print version of the paper, convince them to toss the rag in the garbage and cease to help them distribute their petty paper.

6. Call the New Times office and bombard them with calls and messages expressing your outrage for allowing their writers to mock our community. 954-342-7700

7. Write them letters expressing your outrage
2450 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 301-A, Hollywood, Fl 33020

8. Spread the message online about what happened. Let people know that New Times is using their power to humiliate and mock geeks like us.

All I can do is vote with my dollars and my voice. I hope you do the same. I also hope that New Times and Ms. Conti learn that its not appropriate to use their paper and website to bully and humiliate people for their own edification. 

If you can think of anything else... let us know! 

Thank you,
Mike Broder
Florida Supercon
Animate! Miami
mike@floridasupercon.com


Monday, August 12, 2013

SOUTH FLORIDA CONVENTION HISTORY

When I first started Florida Supercon in 2006, the South Florida convention scene was pretty bleak. There were a few (very) small monthly or bi-monthly comic shows... none really drawing more than 200 people (with a few minor exceptions) and there was a free college anime convention (Yasumi-Con) in Miami. That was about it. There had been Screamfest, a horror convention that moved to Orlando (now called Spooky Empire) that ran for 3 years in South Florida. Petey, the promoter of that show, had tried a few other pop-culture or sci-fi events, but shifted to focusing on the horror show. There had been a few anime cons such as Kunicon (which was a one time only thing) and a small anime show (Chibi-Pa), which cancelled their 2006 event... later returning in 2007. But really, back then it was generally understood that if you wanted to go to a BIG convention, you had to go to Orlando. I'm really happy to say that we've changed that in the past few years.

That being said... South Florida has geek fan conventions dating back to the mid 1970's (maybe earlier?). I'm from New York, so when I was a kid, my mom took me to shows there. I have especially fond memories of a Creation Convention in New York when I was 9 or 10 years old. We moved to Florida in 1986, and I used to attend all the local shows I could in the mid to late 80's and into the 90's. I can say with certainty that Supercon would not exist if it were not for Joe Motes and Vince Minella. Joe and Vince were at one time partners on conventions together, and later split... Joe running Vulkon and Vince running Trekfest. I went to a LOT of Vulkon's back in day. During the height of the 70's, 80's and 90's there were some really great shows down here. I've been collecting some artifacts over the last few years, and decided I should pay some sort of tribute to that which came before us, rattle some of the memories of old fans, and show those that weren't around back then what it was like in the old days... before the internet, before Facebook... back when we had to look in the back of Starlog magazine to see what shows were coming to town and hope they actually happened. 

I've also started a Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/516536418383830/ for people to share their own experiences and artifacts too!

Here's a flyer for the first MiamiCon in 1975. I have the full program guide for the show, which i'll try and scan and get online. This is the earliest BIG comic book convention I can identify with South Florida. There look to have been a few smaller events... but this was the first one to have multiple guests and run more than a day or 2... in fact, it ran 4 days right by the Christmas holiday.



There's a great blog by someone who used to live in South Florida back in the 70's, who saved a bunch of old flyers and artifacts at http://mystartrekscrapbook.blogspot.com/ 

He lists this Sci-Fi con as happening in 1975 at the University of Miami... which is advertising itself as a 2nd annual event, which means there was something in 1974. $1.50 admission, 30 dealer tables and 2 film screening rooms. Remember... this is before sci-fi movies and tv shows were available on VHS. They were probably screening 8mm or 16mm film prints. The flyer claims 700 people attended the 1st show. James Van Hise was the organizer. 







Here are some flyers for a 1976 one day Star Trek convention in Miami. Calling themselves "The Original Miami Star Trek Convention".  This one is put on by G.B. Love, who asserts that their previous show had 450 attendees.





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SUPERCON 2013 ODDS & ENDS - PART 2

More odds and ends from FSC 2013

Tri-Fold flyer for FSC 2013 (inside)

Tri-Fold flyer for FSC 2013 (outside)

FSC Exclusive Adventure Time #16 variant. Limited to 500. Art by Mad Rupert

SUPERCON 2013 ODDS & ENDS

Going to try and post a lot of odds and ends from Florida Supercon 2013.

Our ad that ran in the Sunday Sun-Sentinel for our promotion with the CW Network

Program guide proofs at the printer

Al Plastino's exclusive print for Florida Supercon 2013

Poster for FSCW at Supercon

Tyler Kirkham's exclusive print for FSC 2013. Colors by Juan Fernandez

Cover art for the FSC Exclusive Regular Show #2 variant comic. Limited to 500. Art by Mad Rupert.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

MAN OF STEEL Facebook Giveaway- See it IMAX 3D at the AutoNation IMAX 3D theater on June 13

In anticipation of the release, our friends at the Museum of Discovery and Science have given us 2 tickets to give away for MAN OF STEEL in IMAX 3D. See MAN OF STEEL in 3D on the BIGGEST screen in South Florida at AutoNation® IMAX Theater.

The Museum of Discovery and Science has a special screening of the film on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30pm. Like the Museum of Discovery and Science's Facebook page and you could win 2 tickets to see MAN OF STEEL 3D before it opens nationwide at the AutoNation IMAX 3D theater on 6/13 at 7:30 p.m.

A winner will be chosen on 6/12 at noon from the shares on 6/9-6/12. You and a guest could enjoy the film on the BIGGEST screen in South Florida!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Win 2 tickets to OBLIVION staring Tom Cruise on the BIGGEST screen in SoFL at AutoNation IMAX Theater!

Our friends at the Museum of Discovery and Science have given us 4 pairs of tickets (8 tickets total) to give away for OBLIVION in IMAX 3D. These are run of engagement passes, and are good for any screening at the theatre. See OBLIVION in 3D on the BIGGEST screen in South Florida at AutoNation® IMAX Theater.

Winners will be chosen randomly Thursday, April 18 @ 9:00pm

Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the director of TRON: Legacy and the producer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.
Oblivion opens Thursday, April 18. The first 100 fans that arrive for the 8:00 p.m. show receive an IMAX exclusive poster that features an original piece of OBLIVION artwork designed and signed by the director Joseph Kosinski. Call 954.713.0930 for tickets or get them at the Box Office. Show times at http://www.mods.org/IMAX/showtimes.htm

Thursday, March 28, 2013

JURASSIC PARK 3D TICKET GIVEAWAY

Our friends at the Museum of Discovery and Science have given us 10 pairs of tickets (20 tickets total) to give away for the special preview screening of JURASSIC PARK in IMAX 3D on Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 7:30pm. See JURASSIC PARK 3D on the BIGGEST screen in South Florida at AutoNation® IMAX Theater.

Winners will be chosen randomly Tuesday, April 2 @ 9:00pm

Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking masterpiece, Jurassic Park, has been remastered into IMAX 3D® format and opens at 10:00pm, Thursday, April 4, 2013, at the AutoNation® IMAX® 3D Theater. You can win tickets to a special 7:30pm screening on Thursday night! Buy Advance tickets to regular screenings by calling 954.713.0930. Show times at http://www.mods.org/IMAX/showtimes.htm


JURASSIC PARK: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE
Win two free tickets to an advance screening happening 7:30pm, Thursday, April 4, 2013
Winners can pick up their tickets starting 6:00pm at the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater lobby

JURASSIC PARK 3D opens to the public Thursday, April 4, 2013 @ 10:00pm. Giant 3D dinosaurs will be stomping on to the BIGGEST screen in South Florida! Steven Spielberg’s epic Jurassic Park returns to the big screen for a special 3D engagement in IMAX® theatres worldwide simultaneous with the film’s wide release beginning April 4, 2013, to commemorate the movie's 20th Anniversary. 

Jurassic Park: An IMAX 3D Experience will be showing for a special two-week engagement at the AutoNation IMAX® 3D Theater, home of the BIGGEST screen in South Florida.

With his re-mastering of this epic film into a state-of-the-art 3D format, Steven Spielberg introduces the three-time Academy Award®-winning blockbuster to a new generation of moviegoers and allows longtime fans to experience the world he envisioned in a way that was unimaginable during the film’s original release.

Jurassic Park tells the story of a wealthy entrepreneur who secretly creates a theme park on a remote island featuring living dinosaurs cloned from prehistoric DNA. Before opening the attraction to the public, he invites a top paleontologist, a paleobotanist, a mathematician/theorist, and his two eager grandchildren to experience the park -- and help calm anxious investors. However, their park visit is anything but tranquil as the park's security system breaks down, the prehistoric creatures break out, and the excitement builds to surprising results. “Jurassic Park is the quintessential film for fans to experience in IMAX 3D,” said Nikki Rocco, President of Distribution, Universal Pictures. “Jurassic Park was groundbreaking when it was originally released, and the IMAX 3D Experience® will allow today’s audiences to become fully immersed in one of the most breathtaking epics Universal has ever released.”

Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Attenborough, the film is based on the novel by Michael Crichton and is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen. Jurassic Park is rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror. The IMAX release of Jurassic Park has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of the IMAX 3D Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the motion picture itself. Jurassic Park is rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

After a brief hiatus...

It's been awhile since i've posted a new blog post. Basically getting everything together for Animate! Miami and Florida Supercon at the same time took priority, with every spare moment tied up actually putting the shows together, and not much time to write about it. Going to try and be a little more frequent with these posts.

Animate! Miami was a success. We had over 5,400 unique individual attendees to the event, which was well above what we were projecting for the first time event. That number does include all the guests, staff, vendors, artists, etc... but every person in the building only counts once. Some shows use turnstile numbers (i.e. a 3 day badge counts as 3 admissions). I don't like to count numbers that way. Based on the success, we're going to do it again next year... so planning for Animate! Miami 2014 (January 17-19) has begun. No idea what we're gonna do for that show yet... or who the guests will be. I have some ideas, and hopefully things will start to come together over the next few months. I'd love to have some stuff announced by Supercon.

While we're on the subject of Supercon... Everything is moving full steam ahead for the big show.  Lots of guests have been announced, with even more to come. We're getting ready to head up to Megacon in Orlando next week to do a little promoting. I just got back from a trip to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, which should yield some new guest announcements soon, and after Megacon it's up to Boston for Pax East. ECCC in Seattle was massive. The show has exploded since the last time I was there in 2005 and probably had something like 65,000 people there. It's probably the 3rd largest comic-con in the country now. My trip to Pax will be my first one there. I've been to Boston several times for Boston Comic-Con and Anime Boston... but never for Pax. But, we're really trying to grow the video game aspect of Supercon... so I need to get to more big video game events and do some networking.

On the fun side of things, Mervyn McKoy has been working on some mascot art for Supercon. I asked him to do some stuff revolving around this years show. The first few are G.I. Joe / Cobra images. Since we have Sgt Slaughter coming to Supercon this year... as well as Morgan Lofting (voice of the original Baroness), Gregg Berger (Spirit, Cutter, Firefly, Ripcord, Sparks, Motorviper, Col. Brekhov), Dan Gilvezan (Slipstream, Beach Head) and a few more guests in the works, we have a bit of a GI Joe reunion going on. On top of all that, Cobra Commander is one of the stars of Florida Super Championship Wrestling. Here's a look at the images of the Dude as Cobra Commander and his sister as The Baroness. Mervyn did mock ups of the Dude in both Cobra Commander outfits.




The second images are of the Dude and his sister as Power Rangers... in honor of the 20th Anniversary Reunion we have planned for Supercon this year. We have six cast members from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, including Jason David Frank (Green Ranger), David Yost (Blue Ranger), Walter Jones (Black Ranger), Richard Horvitz (Alpha-5), Robert Axelrod (Lord Zed) and Barbara Goodson (Rita Repulsa). We've got a few more designs being finished, and should be premiering them in the next few weeks. I'm considering making some promotional trading cards with the Dude images this year. We've done it in the past... and I always like making stuff like that. We'll see....