As of last weekend, I’ve been to more WonderCons in Anaheim than San Francisco, and more with a kid in tow than without. And I’m finally at the point where I’m no longer comparing the current incarnation of the con to the previous one, and just taking it on its own terms.
(Jump to the Photo Gallery if you don’t want to read my ramblings on the con.)
WonderCon is still a lot like old-school San Diego Comic-Con, with the mix of various media presence but without the cattle-drive crowds. It’s the kind of con where you can find the high-profile events or guests and actually visit more than one in the same day!
The era of gigantic booth displays (other than the tower of T-shirts) seems to be over, or maybe exhibitors are saving them for the bigger cons. I was surprised that DC didn’t have a booth, since they’ve been heavily involved in WonderCon every year I’ve gone, though they provided the program cover/T-shirt as usual, hosted panels, and of course were well-represented by artists and writers.
Even without giant booths, the main floor filled most of the convention center. Artist’s Alley was probably about the same size as at SDCC, but easier to navigate. It’s a bit of a blur, actually, but I remember:
Looking at a lot of art
Comics sellers (though I only took the time to look at the discount books that were actually organized)
Antique keys, tools, drafting instruments and the like. (In some cases the artifacts weren’t actually that old. There was a Swiss Army Knife that looked pretty much exactly like the one I was carrying in my backpack, for instance.)
Talking to several artists including: Phil Foglio, from whom I bought a Girl Genius-inspired card game; Amy Mebberson, who got a kick out of Spider-Elsa; the writer of an indie comic about airship combat with amazing artwork called Skies of Fire.
I did something different at Long Beach Comic Con this year: I went for two days instead of just one! Well, one and a half days, really, but it is a first. The con is still small enough that I can do the whole thing in a day, but there were Saturday-only events and one Sunday-only event that I really wanted to attend.
Before I left, I skimmed over my posts about previous years’ cons. Last year I felt particularly unfocused most of the day until I figured out what I wanted to do…at the end of the day. So this year I approached LBCC with a few goals in mind:
Young Justice panel
S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit (an interactive promo for the Flash TV show)
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland cosplay out there, so here’s a feature post on Katie’s Alice costume from Comic-Con International.
She made the necklace and the vest, and beaded together two narrow belts to get the right look. Blouse, skirt, tights, belts and boots (plus material and beads) were obtained through shopping trips and online searches. Katie’s aunt helped adapt the pattern for the vest and do fitting. I helped with finding the pattern, sewing, transportation, and keeping our three-year-old son from melting down on those many shopping trips looking for just the right pieces.
This year, we approached Comic-Con International a bit differently than usual. For the last seven years we’ve been staying in town for all four days. With the baby, we decided to do Comic-Con 2011 in just one day. So we left him with relatives and took the train down to San Diego for the day. We arrived in town about 9:00, walked down to the convention center, and had our badges just after the floor opened at 9:30.
Planning a trip to Comic-Con is always about trade-offs. It’s so big that you can’t see everything, and there are so many events going on that you can’t attend them all. With four days, there’s some wiggle room. With just one, it seemed like I was constantly thinking about those choices.
One of the first choices I made: No news panels. I could get that the next day online (and did). I wanted to focus only on what was unique to the con: exhibits, meeting people, the art show, etc. Basically, I wanted to experience as much of San Diego Comic Con as I could in one day.
Katie decided to pick two things and build her day around them: visiting The Field, an Irish pub our friend Sean introduced us to a few years ago, and seeing the new Thundercats screening. Continue reading →