An hour before the opening of the inaugural Magic City Comic Con, hundreds of comic fans and cosplay enthusiasts were lined up around the Miami Airport Convention Center to find the latest deals on comic books, show off their costumes and meet their favorite artists.
This convention was put together by Mike Broder, the creator of Florida SuperCon. Just like SuperCon, Magic City had the plethora of comic artists including veterans Mike Barr and Allen Bellman, as well as younger rising stars such as Juan Fernandez and Jenny Frison. There were voice-over actors like Kevin Conroy, the voice behind Bruce Wayne and Batman in the Batman animated series, as well as Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. There were obviously a bunch of toys, collectibles and, oh yes, comics.
There were hundreds of fans dressed in their favorite anime or manga styles. And one of the things that makes these costumes are the wigs. Melanie White says using wigs means not having to worry about changing your hair over and over for shows.
The comic book industry is thriving, according to sales figures. The business saw sales of more than $870 million for comic books and graphic novels. With those sorts of numbers there are opportunities for more work from traditional publishers and newcomers.
Martin Pierro is one of the founders of Cosmic Times Comics out of West Palm Beach. He started the company in 2008. He says he had the creative juices and wanted to take the chance. It happened right before the great recession. He figured if they can survive that he could make it -- and did. And no better time considering Pierro calls this time the third golden age of comics.
And speaking of women in comics, Jenny Frison says she took a comic book art history class at Indiana University her freshman year and knew that she wanted to be involved in the business somehow. The number of female artists is growing but Frison says too often the characters and stories are written for men.
One of the booths at Magic City Comic Con was adorned with some of the original Captain America comics. One of the hands in those comics belonged to Allen Bellman. At 90, his hand is still steady on paper. His first job was at Timely Comics. He said his dad convinced him to stop procrastinating and apply for the job.
There have been a lot of big changes in comics in recent years. An African-American character donned the Captain America shield, a woman became the new Thor and Marvel Comics even had the first gay wedding in a comic book. But why are there so few Latino characters? Juan Fernandez of Puerto Rico has worked on Superman, Batman and Spawn comics. He thinks it's about the marketing.
Magic City Comic Con had its share of other oddities and collectibles.