If there was a waiting room in the memory banks of your PS3, Wii, or Xbox360, where videogame characters mingled with the stars of sci-fi, comics and anime before taking their turn on the TV screen, it would look something like the Florida Supercon.
This years convention, held in Miami, Florida, was no different, except for the undeniable impact video game culture continues to have on an event that was once solely dominated by comic book art and memorabilia.
I, armed with my GL Press Pass, decided to get an inside perspective into what made these rabid fans tick.
For every one cosplayer dressed as Wolverine, there were five Sephiroths, instead of Spiderman, Batman and Robin, there was Ryu, Ken and Balrog, not to mention the hordes of Pokemon and die-hard Zelda fans, one of which insisted on being called Midna instead of her real name.
“I’m cosplaying as Midna because in the game she’s this bundle of attitude,” said 18-year old Nancy, uh, Midna, who sported one of the best costumes at the convention, and like the memorable character from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a voice an octave higher than normal.
“I would say she’s a character I can definitely relate to,” she said, “because she can be a little bossy, and she’s tiny, just like me. I’m only 4 foot 11.”
The three-day convention was a melting pot of lesser known celebrities from big movies, voice actors from the world of US and Japanese animation and the fans that love them. The mix sometimes resulted in some hilarious moments, one involving a collision between a fan in costume, a segue-way and Richard Leparmentier or ‘Admiral Motti‘ who famously received a ‘force choke’ by Darth Vader in Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
Besides the celebrity guests, there were dozens of vendors hawking everything from gun replicas, swords, shields, cosplay accessories and of course, comic books.
Looking for that pair of yellow bunny ears for your Pokemon outfit? Maybe you need a life-sized energy sword replica for your Master Chief suit? Supercon’s got it, along with tons of art created by the industry’s top comic book creators.
Among those artists, the guys at Paperlab Studios brought some of the most memorable art to the show. Their satirical drawings of the gaming worlds most famous heroes was the perfect mix of comic and computerized media.
“People tell me to shut up when I say this, but I started drawing when I was 3 years old,” said DeLeon Walters, “I started out tracing issues of Conan.” A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Walters said he’s a serious gamer, at least when he finds the time to play.
“I’ve always had an on and off relationship with RPG’s,” he said, “I’m one of the few people that hasn’t played Final Fantasy VII. I was always more into third person adventures like Zelda and Metal Gear.”
Links’ numerous incarnations posing with Shigeru Miyamoto in a Link costume are featured in the piece “Zelda Tribute” and Kratos, Mario and Master Chief pay their respect to thousands of video game lives lost in the three dimensional piece “In Memorium“.
The guys at Paperlabstudios.com create their art from scanned hand drawings and use computers to add color and depth.
“We mainly work digital because its more cost effective,” said Joel Estrada, who handles the computerized side of their art.
Estrada, who lives in Miami, Florida after leaving his home in the Virgin Islands, still finds time to play the games that influence his art, though he prefers a more straight forward experience than Walters.
“I prefer sports games, and I love Street Fighter 4,” Estrada said, “but if its a good game, whatever genre it is, I’ll play it.”