WonderCon, the sister convention of the more well known San Diego Comic-Con, wrapped up its 27th installment this past year and yours truly was lucky enough to attend the event. The con took place at the Anaheim Convention Center for the 3rd straight year since the initial move from it’s original home in San Francisco. While not at last year’s event I was able to attend in 2012 and my first impression was, damn. In the relatively short 3 years the con has grown significantly. The exhibit floor was massive compared to how it looked in 2012 with a stronger presence from bigger companies as well including the likes of Nintendo. However, just because a con is bigger doesn’t mean that by default a con is better.
Now I am not going to say that the con itself wasn’t enjoyable and definitely worth my money because it was but there was definitely a problem that could have been handled a bit differently. Parking seemed to be an overall mess the whole weekend, at one point I was stuck trying to park my car for a good 90 minutes. There was a lot of runaround going on and ultimately they stuck overflow parking in either Gardenwalk or Disneyland parking. Although I had heard from various accounts that the latter was not allowing convention attendees parking in their lots. Now parking problems is nothing new for a convention but I just wish the powers that be had a bit of a better plan for the weekend. Although maybe even they were surprised with how bad the situation was. Perhaps next year things will be slightly better? I hope so and definitely think it’s very possible
In spite of this slight hiccup in my weekend there was still so much awesomeness going on that I was able to get over the less than stellar wait for parking. The actual set up as you approached the entrance of the convention was rather nice. As you made up your way down the stretch of hotels and parking lots you were greeted by several delicious food trucks along the way(note to the Organizers, please bring back the Viking Truck next year). After passing up the trucks you would find yourself at the Convention Center’s fountain, a centerpiece that would become the hot spot for meet ups with cosplayers as well as photo shoots. It was also an excellent spot to sit down and do some people watching if you wanted to get some fresh air. Not to mention it’s just a nice looking fountain.
As with any con the exhibit floor is where one spends most of their time and was my first stop after arriving. Yes even I am shocked my first stop wasn’t to acquire tater tots, sometimes you just have to have a little bit of self control. I did some browsing throughout the whole weekend but didn’t really settle on purchasing anything until the end of the weekend. Truth be told I am not a big spender but I am always enamored with what I COULD buy. The beautiful statues, the fabulous prints, and the amazing action figures are all constant reminders of how broke I am but I’ll be damned if they aren’t nice to look at. I did however pick up a pop vinyl toy and a few shirts without breaking the bank.
Then you have the panels. I didn’t hit up as many as I usually do when I go to a convention but those I did attend I feel I definitely got my money’s worth. The two standout panels in my mind were the All New Marvel Now panel and the Batgirl Begins again panel. The former featuring one of my favorite writers for Marvel at the moment, Mark Waid, among others discussing upcoming plans for their books as well as the upcoming crossover, Original Sin. I honestly felt like the panel just really had a lot of fun and chemistry together that showed especially during the Q&A session. My only real regret the whole weekend, as far as panels go, was not being able to make it to the Bob’s Burgers panel. With how my work schedule ended up I had to miss most Saturday and didn’t make it with enough time to line up. With the show being as popular as it is I didn’t think I would make it in but I had to at least try. Next time!
With the weekend selling out completely, Saturday and 3 day passes selling out first but the other two days selling out the weekend of, Wondercon has proven that it is becoming a force to be reckoned with. While nowhere near the level of San Diego Comic Con, that isn’t out of the realm of possibility. With the proper push, sponsors, and larger parties wanting to get involved we could see a much larger con in the years to come. Take that how you will but I for one would be stoked on it.
So remember to buy early come 2015 and I’ll see you there true believers!