The first annual Magic City Comic Con, which took place at the Airport Convention Center, Jan. 16-18, attracted more than 15,800 fans, vendors, artists, guests and exhibitors over the three days it ran, according to one of the organizers, Mike S. Broder.
Catering not only to comic book fans but also to fans of sci-fi and fantasy movies and television shows, the convention featured comic books and related products, stars of shows like Dr. Who, Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones, movies like Planet of the Apes and Pirates of the Caribbean, and even pro wrestlers.
But while a number of the celebrities have portrayed characters who travel through space, only one of the special guests actually had been in space “for real,” NASA astronaut Joe Acaba.
Acaba, with his background in the Marine Corps Reserve, the Peace Corp and as a school teacher in Florida, logged a total of 138 days in space during two missions. The first was in March 2009 aboard the shuttle Discovery, the 125th shuttle flight, to the International Space Station. His second mission was in May 2012, launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, to serve aboard the station as a flight engineer.
“I grew up reading science fiction as a child,” Acaba told hundreds of fans during his talk in the convention center’s auditorium. “At an early age I decided that I wanted to be an astronaut.”
Acaba presented a video of scenes taken aboard the space station that are rarely seen, and answered questions from the audience. After his talk he stayed at a table for several hours signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. Asked about the future of the American space program, he was guardedly optimistic.
“We have the new manned vehicle, the Orion, so we’re moving in the right direction,” Acaba said.
“Maybe not as fast as we would like, but we definitely are moving.” Many of the fans attending the comic con came dressed in costumes reflecting their interest in comic, TV and film characters. Some of the costumes were bought ready made, but many were painstakingly homemade by the fans themselves or their relatives.
Organizer Mike Broder was pleased by the turnout for their first “Magic City” convention and considered it a huge success, thanks to everyone’s participation. He promised to do it again next year. But he already is at work on a different event for this summer.
“Next up for us is Florida Supercon, South Florida’s largest comic con,” Broder said. “That will be June 25-28, 2015 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.”
For more information visit the website at www.floridasupercon.com.