- July 26, 2013
Parker Wilson has always loved Spider-Man.
That's been the case since he was a boy. As long, in fact, as he knew what superheroes were, Spider-Man was the character to beat. It helps that he partially shares a name with the wall-crawler's alter-ego Peter Parker.
Wilson, now 23, recently took his appreciation of the web-slinging hero to new level. When he heard that Sarasota was hosting its own comic convention, he decided to attend in style by wearing his very own Spider-Man costume to join in on the fun.
"It just feels cool. You can hear people talking about Spider-Man all around you," Wilson said.
Wilson wasn't alone in trying out the convention, and he wasn't alone in wearing a costume, either. Countless costumed characters attended the first SarasotaCon on Aug. 13. The daylong event featured several vendors selling art, comics, hand-crafted designs and other collectibles to around 3,000 attendees.
The event's been around a year in the making. Organizer and promoter Carmine DeSanto hails from Fort Myers and hosts one-day conventions across the state. Those shows have been in Orlando, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, but DeSanto has long noticed a trend in his attendees' home bases.
"When we do our show in Fort Myers, everybody from Sarasota comes to us," DeSanto said. "It felt like an untapped market."
DeSanto has been in the comic convention business for decades.
David Hess has assisted DeSanto with selling comics at his conventions for some time, and the first SarasotaCon was no different. Hess sells a number of comics, including some that feature the first appearances of Marvel and DC characters, which have gone on to appreciate in value when those characters appear in movies or television shows.
"You'll get somebody who's a collector of a particular character, and they'll be looking for (those books)," Hess said.
Percy Bennet, a first-time convention goer but a consistent renaissance fair attendee, brought a fantasy-inspired costume of her own design to the show. She was pleased to find the amount of enthusiasm and engagement among attendees with their costumes and creations.
"It's a different vibe in terms of camaraderie," Bennet said. "A lot of people here want to know what people are dressed as and share their love of the content."
DeSanto said the next convention for Sarasota is planned for April 2023.