Kids and Their Cartoons

Hundreds of people gathered inside the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North Hotel this past weekend to celebrate their love of comic books, video games and animation at the Florida SuperCon: an annual science fiction convention. While cartoons and comics are generally associated with children — who have not yet graduated high school — there were plenty of members of the college-age crowd in attendance.

“The popularity of anime [a kind of Japanese animation] has grown rapidly in the past few years,” Megan McHugh, 26, from Atlanta says. McHugh recalls that anime had very few fans in the United States around 10 years ago, but became popular with young children once stations like the Cartoon Network began airing dubbed versions of various Japanese animated series.

It appears that many of these children never outgrew their love of cartoons, as evident by the dozens of adults dressed in costumes. Among them were Carley Nadler, 20, from Weston, dressed as a character from the cartoon series Cowboy Bebop. Nadler and her friends, Alex Alvarez, 20, and Corey Klemm, 18, engaged in the Mock Combat workshop hosted by voice actor and professional fight instructor Chris Ayres.

“One of my students asked, ‘Can’t we just fight for real?'” Ayres said. “‘It doesn’t take as long and it hurts less.'”

The combat workshop taught convention-goers how to engage in a safe mock-battle while still looking and sounding as realistic as possible. Although only six people attended the workshop, the attendees learned how to safely replicate choke-holds and punches while causing no harm to their partners. The participants could then reproduce what they have learned in short plays, or cosplay routines, which were performed at SuperCon.

Other features of the event included a videogame room, celebrity question and answer sessions with actors such as Dana Snyder, the voice of Master Shake on the television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and live music.

University of Miami senior Austin Sirkin came to Florida SuperCon to show support for his friends’ band Select Start. The band is made up of six University of Florida students and alumni who play video game-inspired music using two violins, a cello, keyboard, flute and guitar. Other bands included FAU’s own Zombies! Organize!! and the self-proclaimed “Japanese action comic punk” band Peelander Z, who were dressed in costumes.

“If [my kids had] known how big this event was, they definitely would have dressed up,” Tampa resident Minda Nagy said about her three teenage daughters who spent their Saturday at the event.

Unlike the Magy clan, Trevor Hofmann, 4, came fully prepared for the convention by wearing his very own Superman costume.

“I want [Trevor] to get it over with now and be done with it in five years,” Trevor’s father Scott Hofmann said.

Based on the ages of this convention’s attendees alone, Mr. Hofmann, there is a good chance Trevor will not be done in five years.