BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald

Legendary comic book characters Batman and Spiderman will be in town this weekend, but not to fight super-villains.

Instead of their superpowers, the costumed heroes will wield Sharpie pens to sign autographs for fans at the fifth annual Florida Supercon at the Doubletree Miami Mart Airport Convention Center, 711 NW 72nd Ave.

Entrance fees vary, but a one-day ticket for Friday and Sunday is $20, while on Saturday the charge is $25. Three-day tickets are $40.

The three-day festival will showcase the latest in comic books, anime, animation, video games, fantasy and science fiction. Comic fans will see crowds dressed up as their favorite characters along with celebrity guests, voice actors and writers.

It’s an opportunity for South Florida adults to relive childhood memories and check out the newest the industry has to offer, and for youngsters to see their favorite heroes and villains in person.

“There’s a lot of comic book fans here,” said Mike Broder, president of Florida Supercon. “It’s a place to get together.”

Broder said the crowds have grown each year. Last year, more than 5,400 fans showed up, leaving Broder with no choice but to expand convention floorspace, which is three times bigger than in 2008, Broder said. He expects about 7,000 visitors this year.

More than 100 vendors from across the state, the country and Canada will set up shop in the 150,000-square-foot space.

The convention serves as a launch pad for businesses trying to make a name for themselves, said JoAnn Minieri, manager of Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill .

“For a company that isn’t established, it is great,” he said. “It’s a chance to pass out flyers and get the word out. This can only help.”

Minieri has had a booth at the convention since the beginning and plans to sell everything from comic books to Japanese snacks.

Aside from admiring the fictional characters, fans can jam to the latest tunes of several bands like ska punk group Less Than Jake, which will perform on the main stage along with other musicians.

Total Nonstop Action and former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Kevin Nash will be meeting and greeting wrestling fans. Making his first convention appearance, Richard Roundtree, best known for his role in Shaft, will be hosting a question-and-answer event.

Also on the list of celebrities: actor John Wesley Shipp, who played the Flash in the television series, and Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.

Festivalgoers also can compete in video game tournaments and costume competitions with over $3,000 in cash and prizes. There also will be the Smash Brothers 300 Super Show, a live-action video game performance.

The convention is not only goofy and wacky, but it brings families together.

“It brings in family of all ages” Broder said. “We get grandchildren with grandparents. We have events geared for all ages.”

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