The 27th annual (2nd in Anaheim) WonderCon is a wrap. Tens of thousands of nerds, geeks, and freaks descended upon the Anaheim convention center. I had a blast. However, between tickets, lines, crowds, and parking, WonderCon was eerily starting to resemble it’s big brother in San Diego. What’s interesting is that I don’t think the events or programming is what was driving the madness- with the San Diego Comic-Con selling out last month, I think many SF, LA, SD, and OC fans felt that this was their one shot at a SDCC like experience. I talked to so many fans that didn’t have a ‘die-hard’ agenda but merely wanted to be together for 3 days of cosplay, shopping, and nerding out. Our tribe is transcending the genres and becoming more about the community experience. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is cooler than awesome programming, but at WonderCon it felt like fans were gonna come no matter what- and that they did. Here are a few highlights:
First off, the Anaheim Convention Center was used much more effectively this year than last. Using Hall A, B, and the Arena, the con was in a much larger and much better part of the building. The street that ran between the Marriott, and Hilton was removed and a new plaza was created which formed ‘cosplay central’. There was a lot of concentrated energy out in front which was lacking at last year’s WC (plus it did rain last year which dampened the experience).
The showroom floor was much larger than last year with a nice balance of larger companies, local vendors, toys, and art.
There wasn’t a ton of studio pieces but this ship from the movie Oblivion was very impressive.
I thought the cosplay community came out in force.
The addition of The Arena was perfect for WonderCon. It gave a real ‘Hall H’ feel to the show and was a great vibe.
There were several awesome panels like Pacific Rim, Much Ado, Dean Koontz, and the Warner Bros TV line up- but my favorite was my panel of course 😉
With all the things to see and do, may favorite part of the show was connecting with old friends and making new ones. I was so grateful for the fans of this site that stopped me just to say thanks. When I was leaving my panel, I had gal dashed up to me saying that she came to WonderCon hoping to meet me. She began to explain how she has read every one of my posts and they have been extremely helpful to her since she began her convenioneering a few years ago. I seriously had to choke back the tears. It is ya’lls feedback and praise that keeps me fueled to continue writing during a long and tiring year. I am so honored to meet any of you at these conventions and hope in some small way my posts can help your comic convention experience.
Overall, I thought WonderCon was an enormous success. However, it won’t be too long till it has a similar ticket dilemma and massive over-crowdedness that characterizes the behemoth of Comic-Con. Until then, all we can say is that it’s a WonderCon life.