Back in Anaheim for 2017 after spending the previous year in Los Angeles, Wondercon returned the weekend of March 31- April 2nd. This event is put on by the same production that brings Comic-Con to San Diego each year. Attendees come from up and down the coastal state to see what new Pop figure they can find for a good deal, what TV Show panel they can sit in line for or heck even some comic books! Many call Wondercon Comic-Con lite, but I call it fun!
Badges are bought in advance either for the entire weekend or on a day by day basis. The one thing I have learned attending this Con year after year is buy your badges early so you don’t miss out. RFID chips are embedded in the badges, so you have to swipe in and swipe out each time you leave the perimeter, but I think the team was pretty efficient in getting the attendees through the gates. However, lines can never move fast enough when you are standing in them. It’s just reality and whatever you do, don’t change lines. You will be sorry. Badge pickup has been smooth each year and my observation is the Volunteers make this happen. Yes you can volunteer but these lists fill up fast so it is good to keep your eyes peeled on the website for dates to apply if you are interested. Cheers to all the Volunteers of Wondercon 2017! Don’t forget to grab a program and a lanyard and you are on your way to get in your first line of the day and wait.
Hall D fills up, row by row of all the anxious attendees who can’t wait for the ok to storm the floor.Planning where to go first, what time to get in line for their favorite panel and what time is lunch! Lottery drawings for autographs from the various panel members are popular. You draw a ticket and you either get a happy face equaling a signature or a sad face equaling no signature. A 50/50 chance for something free, not too shabby! Finding friends in these lines is a way to make the wait just fly right by. Now we are off to execute our plan of attack!
Old and new comic books fill Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center and old school toys are another delight to adorn the racks. Comic books of all forms are boxed up or laid out for the collector to peruse through. Be it a single issue or trade paperback the chances of you finding it here are pretty high. I even spotted some rare high-priced issues that were kept in sight, but out of reach. Wheeling and dealing was commonly heard and eventually a transaction was made and smiles filled both parties faces. Success!
Crossing into Halls B and C was where the new met the old and the excitement grew even higher. Toys, music, pins, books and posters drew the guests to the booths and basically just took their money. Capcom brought along a huge display of both new and retro video games to be played and compete with other attendees. Funko POP Vinyls were everywhere and everyone was buying them in multiples. I myself added a couple to my collection.
HerUniverse, a clothing company for geeky women in the world did not disappoint. Speaking of clothing, I discovered an apparel company, Whosits and Whatsits, inspired by your favorite childhood Disney stories. Great find. I acquired some new music from Disney Music Emporium… Disney: The Legacy Collection and the new Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack. “Traveling with Your Octopus” is a fun read by author Brian Kesingger. He has an octopus friend that he incorporates into his books and drawings. So many cool things to see and buy. Many needs were surely being met at Wondercon.
The last few rows of the convention floor are dedicated to artists in Artists’ Alley. Within these rows artists bring their own personal creations display them, talk about the inspiration behind them and sell them. At least that is their goal. Many parodies to Disney, Marvel, DC and even some Horror pieces occupied the tables. A personal favorite of mine- Ghoulish Bunny Studios, where Diana spins different themes and makes them… well… Ghoulish. Dakota Kid Creations makes cartoons of well-known characters. He had an HR Puff’n’Stuff and Witchypoo which are now hanging on my fridge in their magnet form. Etonomous, created by Erwin Osias creates artwork and t-shirts showcasing Boba. This year I added the “Straw Wars” shirt to my collection.
I thought the showroom floor felt a little light this year with the amount of vendors and artists, but if they would have added more I don’t know where all of the attendees would have gone. It was a very packed and sometimes over crowded show floor this year with attendees. Maybe it is time to open up into the adjacent halls and spread out a bit and take Wondercon to a new level.
There of course is one major component of Wondercon… Cosplay. Dressing up as your favorite character or the newest and coolest arch-enemy is a favorite of many attendees. Some of these costumes are simple and others look like they could have been made by Hollywood Costume Designers. They roam the convention center floor all weekend and mosey out to the courtyard area for some modeling. Some of these Cosplayers can not move a foot without being stopped to pose again. A famous Cosplay group is the 501st Legion, an all volunteer group of Star Wars enthusiasts. Many of the well-known Cosplayers have Facebook and Instagram accounts and hundreds and even thousands of followers. It is always a treat to see what has been created each year.
Panels are another area of interest at Wondercon. The arena and some of the rooms on the 2nd and 3rd levels of the convention center house various panels. Hundreds of attendees line up to learn about writing, makeup and cartoon voices or to get a glimpse of their favorite stars of popular TV shows and maybe hear some scoop of what is coming up next. I attended my first panel at Wondercon this year of one of my favorite TV Shows Lucifer. Often the scheduled appearances of the stars can change due to shooting conflicts and this was true of the top characters of Lucifer. Even though I knew this well in advance, I gambled and decided to still see what this panel thing was all about. Sitting in line with other fans listening to the stories of what panels they had attended the days previous and the secrets they had heard about early was interesting. What truly caught my attention was the ease of the conversations of all of the different people in the lines. We did not know one another, sat down to wait and just started talking because we all had a common thread- a love for this show. It was also great to be having conversations instead of just seeing who had posted the newest meme on Facebook or Instagram. The lights went dark and we were treated to a video from Lucifier and Chloe themselves and how sorry they were that they could not be there with all of us. Still bummed they weren’t there in person, but I totally understand the importance of shooting new episodes. Our panelists were Maizikeen- Lucifer’s side kick, Dr. Linda Martin- the Psychologist and Detective “Douche”- Chloe’s Ex-Husband and Executive Producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.
Laughter and what seemed to be genuine good vibes between the actors was felt as they shared their favorite scenes or episodes. They did however throw Detective “Douche” under the bus for staying out a bit too late the night before and getting a little crazy, but he laughed it off. I was intrigued to learn they have shot 4 stand alone episodes that focus on different characters and their specific stories. Interesting. To end the panel, we were first to see an exclusive preview montage teaser trailer of the upcoming episodes. Can’t wait until May when Lucifer returns.
After a long day of combing through comics, people watching and collecting some goodies, we ventured into the Arena for the Cosplay Fashion Show. The founder of HerUniverse, Ashley Eckstein hosted the event to a full arena. Cosplayers submitted their costumes and were given about 2 minutes to show it off. It seemed a bit amateur, but I give the contestants huge kudos for getting up on the stage and parading their creations in front of all those people. The day was long so we headed out early and did not see the winners. It seemed as those on stage and in the crowd were enjoying themselves thoroughly.
Wondercon is an exciting and full event. It is really fun if you are a true comic book fan. I hope they will step it up a notch and bring more TV and Movie panels to the show floor, but I can always go to ComicCon if I really want that. Check out Wondercon March 23-25 in 2018 back again in Anaheim, CA. See you next year.
Renee lives in a small suburb of Los Angeles with her husband. Each day she crosses the border into Orange County to go to her desk at a large HR outsourcing company. If you catch her in an elevator, she will usually check out your shoes and wonder where you got them. Renee enjoys most things Halloween, taking photos everywhere she goes, bouncing around theme parks and listening to her rock music at very high decibels. FOLLOW @rcsbelle on Twitter FOLLOW her blog: https://rcsbelle.wordpress.com