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Reflecting on WonderCon

By Shawn Marshall| March 21, 2012 | Comments Off on Reflecting on WonderCon

This past weekend marked the first time that WonderCon moved from its cozy home in San Francisco to the entertainment hotbed that is Anaheim, California. With the renovations to the Moscone Center continuing, Comic-Con International (CCI) was forced to look for a new spot for the 2012 show. Upon the initial announcement of the move, there was much said about the move being temporary, but as time has marched on the rhetoric has changed. In fact, it was interesting to see that very little about the San Francisco roots of WonderCon was even mentioned in this year’s program guide. Furthermore, the letter to fans stressed how many are referring to the 2012 show as Anaheim Comic-Con (ACC) instead of WonderCon. Is this foreshadowing? I think it is. I feel very confident that there will be a 2013 CCI show in Anaheim. I hope that this show is in addition to WonderCon, but I’m not so sure. Regardless, I think that there are too many positives in the geography of an Anaheim show for CCI to not come back. Although the only thing certain in the future of WonderCon is that there will be months of speculation, I want to take this time to share some of my favorite moments of the convention:

Panels: One of my favorite things about WonderCon was the accessibility to panels that were on par with San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), but without the same time commitment. Outside of the mania surrounding only the most popular panels in the Third Floor Ballroom, attendees were able to see their favorite comic creators and stars without dedicating silly amounts of time. I was able to thoroughly enjoy panels like IDW Showcase, Spotlight on Scott Snyder, 21 Jump Street, Superman vs. The Elite and more with nearly no wait. This allowed me many valuable minutes of fun on the exhibit floor, rather than in lines.

Guests: Although much was made of stars like Charlize Theron, Kristin Stewart, Jonah Hill, and Channing Tatum, the show had a deep stable of talent. In particular, WonderCon brought out the mega stars of comics. Beyond the biggest stars of Stan Lee and Jim Lee, the show also put a spotlight on mega talent like Scott Snyder, Mark Waid, and Marv Wolfman. Having so many amazing creators in attendance allowed for a weekend full of highlights. One of my personal favorites was at the outset of the con when Mark Waid wandered into the IDW panel in full Rocketeer costume. The announcement of Waid on the book set the perfect theme to a weekend that was full of fun surprises.

Exclusives: Although WonderCon didn’t offer a ton in the way of exclusives, it did offer more than most rival shows. Beyond some Clone Troopers from Koto, the big grab of the weekend was Gentle Giant’s 3-D Yoda bust. Again, it wasn’t a huge strength for the show, but the combination of a growing show and a hot start to the exclusive department bodes well for the future of the show if it truly does become ACC.

Surrounding Area: Prior to WonderCon I wrote, and tweeted, on this topic quite a bit. That being said, it cannot be overstated the importance of the geography to this year’s WonderCon. Being able to access so many amazing restaurants and activities in such close proximity to the convention center was outstanding. If one chose to stay local to the show, there was plenty to do, but if they wanted to take a break from the con there was no shortage of choices.

In closing, WonderCon 2012 was an absolute blast. We checked in Thursday afternoon and were one of the last to leave on Sunday evening and all I can say is the experience was too short. The convention center was filled with energy (and attendees!) at 5PM on Sunday and it was clear that this party had a lot left in it. Unfortunately, the doors did close and we were all left to ponder the future of WonderCon and the possibility of Anaheim Comic-Con

What are your thoughts on the topic? Tweet me at @The_Con_Fluence for more con talk.



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