This last weekend has been one of the nerdiest weekends I have had in some time (and a very badly needed four-day vacation). On Thursday night, I went to hear the great Neil Gaiman speak. I heard him a few years at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and let me tell you, he is a fascinating person to listen to. His insights into creativity are inspiring. If you ever get a chance to hear him it is well worth the cost of a ticket.
However, the next two days after that was Wondercon! So, I am going to focus on that and fill in more about Neil Gaiman in the next post.
Wondercon is a great convention to attend, especially if you can’t get into SDCC. Located in sunny Anaheim (just down the road from Disney) this convention draws around fifty to sixty thousand people. The cool thing is it doesn’t really feel that big. The showroom floor is huge and you really don’t have much trouble getting around. It is also fairly easy to get into the panels you want to see. Sure, it doesn’t get the big Hollywood names like SDCC does, but it does have a solid TV lineup such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Magicians.
One of the things I like about it is that because they don’t get a lot of Hollywood celebs there is a stronger emphasis on comics, artists, writers and local talent. It also has more unique vendors as well. Things like handmade journals and carrier bags, makeup artist with live models, interesting clothing vendors and of course Pop Vinyl’s, lot’s and lot’s Pop Vinyl’s. As with any good con it has loads of great cosplay as well.
I tend to hit the more creative panels which led me to the Dichotomy Between Good and Bad panel. This was an interesting panel that covered everything from superhero’s who take a fall, villains who occasionally do good, and anti-heroes such as the Punisher and Rorschach, who ultimately do good regardless of the costs. It was a great discussion on wrong and right and what makes characters relatable to their fans.
I also went to the Writing Great Dialogue panel which was also fun and it gives a creative writer plenty of food for thought on how to construct realistic and meaningful dialogue. Marv Wolfman is also one of the key members on this panel and he is chop full of good advice. Weirdly enough, I ended up riding with him on the bus to the offsite parking lot.
Then there was the Riverdale panel that I ended up in quite by happenstance. I’ve never watched the show but I must admit that a dark version of the Archie comics does merit some intrigue on my part. I wasn’t expecting much out of it but the panel was surprisingly entertaining. The cast was funny, energetic, engaging and seemed to truly appreciate their fans. It was my first foray into a CW panel and while I am definitely not in the CW demographic I enjoyed it overall.
But for me, ultimately, it is the people that make con’s so great. Reconnecting with people I have met at other conventions is always cool and meeting new people even cooler. At the end of the day I think the best thing about Wondercon is the sense of belonging you get while you are there. It is the one place we can relax, geek out, and know that everyone else there gets it. We understand each other.
So here is to you Wondercon! Thanks for making more great memories and fun times. If only it didn’t go by so fast!
You can follow Jefferson @nerdsinrecovery.