GalaxyCon or Supercon: What is in a name?
On March 11th, 2019, Supercon Founder, Mike Broder, announced that he has sold Florida Supercon to ReedPOP in a transaction that includes the trademark for the name “Supercon.” Broder and his team at Super Festivals will continue to manage the large pop culture events in Richmond, Raleigh, Minneapolis, and Louisville, under the name GalaxyCon. This was quite a shocking announcement for many Raleigh Supercon fans, as the event was only entering it’s 3rd year, and the community was beginning to create its own identity.
However, with this perplexing news, there is much to be excited for….. possibly. That all depends on how the next few months are handled and what this change means deep behind the scenes. In their Press Release, GalaxyCon announced that they were dedicated to the same level of interaction and programming:
GalaxyCon is more than a comic con. It is a festival of fandom where attendees can meet celebrity and creative guests from comic books, movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, anime, cartoons, video games, wrestling and more!
The GalaxyCon events feature over 300 hours of programming designed to break the traditional comic con mold. Every walk of geek life is embraced, and everyone is encouraged to participate. The event schedules run past midnight with parties, wrestling, shadowcasts, comedy, burlesque, and more.
As a core GalaxyCon principle and included with admission: • Entertainment runs day and night. • 99% of the celebrities and content creators participate in panels or Q&As with attendees. • Local artists, creators, experts, and enthusiasts share their passions by presenting their take on hobbies and fandoms. • Costume Contests celebrate originality with huge prizes in front of large audiences. • Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling happens live in a wrestling ring each night to stoke The Ultimate Geek Debate: “Who * Would Win in a Fight?” • Video Gaming and Tabletop Gaming tournaments and free play go all weekend for all ages.
From the exterior, it appears that they are reporting their events to have the same general formatting, same kinds of daily programming, and so on.
What does this mean about how everything is interconnected now?
Florida Supercon will remain under new ownership with ReedPOP, who also runs New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and more. It does not appear like it will be connected in any other way to the other conventions as they were for the last few years. Supercon Founder, Mike Broder will continue to operate the Raleigh, Louisville, Minneapolis, and Richmond events as GalaxyCon. Minneapolis and Richmond were already technically GalaxyCon’s, so it is more of a name change for Raleigh and Louisville. As they are currently publicizing, everything remains the same except the name change. Tickets, hotel reservations, guest announcements, programming... all will be the same.
In a response to one attendee who stated that they liked the SuperCon name better than GalaxyCon, they were replied to from staff that they “also really love the name Supercon, but selling it helps us grow bigger & better geek experiences in our other markets, and that’s our #1 focus”. So far, it is hard to tell what this will ultimately mean for the convention, as to how it will change over time.
Does the loss of the Florida convention mean the GalaxyCon’s will see less interest, particularly from celebrity guests?
I did a comparison of the guest lists to see what I could learn. Richmond GalaxyCon runs from May 31-June 2 this year and appears to be a lot of the same sort of guests who work the convention circuit. There are a few celebrities that I have seen previously in Raleigh, but they are not slated for this year. Looking ahead to GalaxyCon in Minneapolis, November 8th-10th; this convention is looking absolutely stacked, with a few more A-List celebrities than Raleigh thus far. Again, I believe a lot of this has to do with the cyclic nature of these conventions, and the guests wouldn’t want to go to the same convention every year in order to keep their appearances fresh.
The Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling group will be there, with nightly shows that are always a good time. And a couple of the comedy troupes who have been at all of the Supercon’s thus far will still be in attendance at all of the GalaxyCon’s this year, so Raleigh GalaxyCon appears to be on par with entertainment.
The Raleigh event does have one huge edge with the celebrity guest list, and that is a much greater depth of field. It feels like they have more genres covered, there are current tv stars, nostalgic sci fi stars, multi-platform stars, and they will host a handful of massive influences in the current Geek Community such as Will Friedle, Wil Wheaton, and Felicia Day.
What about the length of the convention, is that subject to change?
I don’t see any evidence that it is going to change, and it certainly wont this year as much of the event has already been planned and booked. They are still boasting day and night entertainment, and I could tell last year that they had started to push for even more after-hours programming to really enhance the overall event.
However, I did notice a strange difference between GalaxyCons for 2019. Between Richmond, Minneapolis, Louisville, and Raleigh, only the Raleigh event is 4 days, the rest are only 3. It could be that Raleigh is a bigger event, necessitating a longer time frame and that it will remain at 4 days. It is also in the summer time, and so they have an opportunity to see more families during the week if it is time for summer vacations. We might see that each convention is streamlined over the next year and that they all align with a standardized 3-day format. There is no clear evidence either way, and the 4-day format will likely be a profitable one this year, so we will just have to wait and see.
Everything still feels very loose now, and many of the convention goers are feeling a little uneasy. The name change has affected GalaxyCon’s social media outlets, their websites, and online information is confusing. Much of this will phase out as the event draws closer and the finer details are sorted out by GalaxyCon’s staff. Even the little icon buddy is sort of lost in limbo. The little toy man was an emblem for SuperCon, so is he returning to Florida for good, or does he now come dressed in a cute little space suit as we seen in some of the media already?
For perspective, we have to remember that these conventions are also businesses, and they are subject to change. Many of us think of the storied history of San Diego Comic Con, or DragonCon, or even GenCon, which go back for decades. Supercon and GalaxyCon are newer entities in the grand scheme. Florida Supercon begin in 2006, and an attempt was made to host an event in Atlanta back in 2008, but it was not as prosperous as the Florida events. Another attempt to grow didn't take place until July 2017 with Raleigh Supercon, replacing Wizard World Raleigh Comic Con (which moved to Winston-Salem in 2015). Supercon later acquired the former Derby City Comic Con in Louisville, which was been re-branded and the inaugural Louisville Supercon took place in November 2018. So this new change is really just another step in the overall growth and development of a budding new Con.
Many of these questions and more will be answered later this summer, as convention fever hits the City of Oaks at the end of July.