Comic book fans get first taste of Captain Citrus at New York Comic Con

More than 1,000 printed Captain Citrus comic books distributed.

NEW YORK CITY – As more than 150,000 people streamed through New York Comic Con last week, a group of pint-sized super heroes gathered on stage.

A miniature version of Galaxy of the Guardian’s Star-Lord posed for photographs, aiming his Quad Blaster at the sky. A long-haired Thor held her hammer up high. And an excited Iron Man showed off his super powers.

The prize for participation: an autographed edition of the first Captain Citrus comic book.

More than two dozen children took part in Marvel’s Captain Citrus Costume Event held Sunday at the Javits Center as part of New York Comic Con. The Florida Department of Citrus, who teamed with Marvel earlier this year to redesign Captain Citrus, also debuted a printed version of the first Captain Citrus comic book to fans at Marvel’s booth and displayed a life-sized cut out of the new super hero.

“It’s been great to see how well Captain Citrus fits in with this larger universe here at Comic Con. Hardcore fans of the genre have accepted him for what he is, and he’s earning his ‘street cred’ because of the way he’s been developed and launched,” said David Steele, FDOC’s director of public relations. “From our initial announcement in a Tampa Bay comic shop to this weekend’s event in New York, it’s always been about authenticity. We’re doing right by our brand and by the consumers we want to reach.”

In its 10th year, New York Comic Con is the second largest comic book gathering in the world. Spanning four days and attracting people from around the world, the event is an annual highlight for people of all ages and interests.

Once the realm of solely die-hard comic fans – people who spend a year crafting elaborate costumes of their favorite characters – comic book conventions have gone mainstream, bolstered by the success of blockbuster super hero movies and the popularity of things once considered “nerdy.”

This year’s event demonstrated its mass appeal with a sold out crowd of 151,000 people and a popular “Family Day” on Sunday, which allowed young families to attend for a low cost.

Among the attraction, hundreds of vendors selling collectors’ items, appearances by famous actors (George Clooney reportedly stopped by on Thursday) and panel discussions on a variety of topics ranging from diversity in comics to new television shows.

As one of the industry’s powerhouses, Marvel had a large presence at New York Comic Con, even hosting a live video stream throughout the event for fans who couldn’t be there in person. Featured on the show Sunday were Marvel’s Creative Director Bill Rosemann and FDOC Executive Director Doug Ackerman. The pair, along with writer Ralph Mocchio, shared the story of how Captain Citrus was developed.

“What is Captain Citrus like? What sort of qualities do we want to get across? And part of it was nutrition and how fit he was and we began with that,” Rosemann said. “We went through many designs until we hit the winning look.”

While Captain Citrus may serve as a mascot for the Florida Citrus industry, it’s not his job to sell juice. According to Steele, Captain Citrus is “more about building a relationship with fans.”

“Right now, American families are already buying all of the orange juice Florida can produce. Captain Citrus doesn’t ‘fix’ our short supply, but he does give us a chance to connect in a fun, informational and inspirational way with young fans and their families. Those relationships will be a value to Florida Citrus now and for years to come.”

For those who couldn’t get their hands on a printed copy at New York Comic Con, a digital version is available at