There are more than 60 different conventions for comic book collectors, anime and Cosplay enthusiasts, toy collectors and science fiction fans in the state of Florida every year. They are relatively small affairs, nothing close to the mega-events such as Comic-Con International in San Diego, which attracts more than 100,000 fans annually.
Comic conventions are expanding. According to the online ticketing site Eventbrite, attendance was up by 40 percent from 2012 to 2013 at some of the bigger shows.
Mike Broder, creator of Florida SuperCon, figured out some of the keys to running a successful convention; he's been running his since 2006. He's expanding to a second show that starts this weekend at the Miami Airport Convention Center called the Magic City ComicCon.
Broder says knowing the fan base of any city or region is a big part of having a successful convention. He looked at Dragoncon in Atlanta, which skews toward fantasy, sci-fi and role play compared to Miami, where fans prefer anime.
What's the difference between Magic City ComicCon and Florida SuperCon, besides the location?
Not much except floor space and a different batch of television and wrestling starts in attendance.
Magic City ComicCon, for example, will have Colin Baker, the sixth incarnation of Dr. Who. If that's not enough for the Dr. Who "fandom," Florida SuperCon will feature Paul McGann, the eighth incarnation of Dr. Who.
Broder also learned from past experiences that a convention is successful in part by the diversity of its offerings. In the early days of SuperCon, Broder thought to have a convention devoted almost exclusively to the character Superman. But he said "it just didn't resonate with people."
Broder used to own comic book stores. He's cautiously optimistic about the growth of the industry, but says he isn't interested in returning to the retail side of the business.
He remembers, as do many comic book collectors, the bubble of the 1990s. It was the decade when Superman died, Batman was broken and Green Lantern went on a killing spree. People were told to buy those comics as investments that would one day be worth a small fortune. Comic book publishers went haywire and sent the industry into a tailspin.
Broder now prefers to organize events and entertain people. He's expecting thousands this weekend. If many of the fans from SuperCon show up, he'll get his wish.