As I walked out of the Anaheim Convention Center late Sunday afternoon, a familiar wave of emotions washed over me. First being exhaustion, second was bittersweetness and third was disappointment that this con was only three days.
For the past several years WonderCon had reminded me of the old days of San Diego Comic Con with small crowds, intimate panels and a lively gathering of like minded geeks. This year was a little different for me and my family. The popularity of conventions like these has driven the attendance through the roof. Which is good on one hand and not so good on the other.
The WonderCon 2017 show floor was huge and well laid out. Vendors ruled the majority of the floor with rows and rows AND ROWS of nerdy goods for purchase. I saw it all here this weekend; light sabers, corsets, knock off art, plush animals and the like up the wazoo. I fought the urge to buy shot glasses, nerd culture journals, vintage toys and other geeky sundries. I did give in to a few things during this weekend like an adorable sloth shirt from LookCuter, two children’s books about zombies and pirates as well as some amazing artwork that unleashed a torrent of raw emotions from this mommy by the exquisite artist, Heather Theurer .
WonderCon had made ample space for artist alley which was quite crowded throughout the weekend with people admiring and buying from small to big name artists. Artist Alley has always been one of my favorite places to shop because supporting art is a good thing. Thankfully, WonderCon has realized this and doesn’t stick these talented artists in a dark corner.
The gaming space was large, something I haven’t paid much attention to until this weekend. I was intrigued by the people pitching and selling their games as well as the place set aside for people bringing their own games to play with other attendees. I am going to make an effort to explore this niche at the next con I am lucky enough to experience.
The fan table section was small. There were just a few booths but they tried hard to make an impression. This was the “blink and you miss it” of WonderCon 2017. That makes me sad because if it wasn’t for the fans and their fandom…there is no WonderCon/ComicCon/Whatevercon.
So WonderCon is growing and that is great. I love this convention but in order for it to continue to grow I think that they need a big boost in what large media outlets bring to this convention. Sure, ComicCon has the huge movie studios that fill six thousand fans in hall H screaming and applauding at previously unseen footage. Star filled cast members take their seats and indulge their fan base in tales of behind the scenes shenanigans during the movie making process. Robert Downey Jr. runs down the aisle slapping high fives to fans as he makes his way to the stage. What WonderCon really needs is to capture that essence of excitement for their own fan base. The movie studios won’t bring their summer blockbusters because SDCC is just a couple months away. So why not focus on other large fan bases? With exception to “Shield’ and “The Goldbergs” there were a smattering of other television shows. Sure “Lucifer,” “Gotham, “Riverdale” and the new “Midnight Texas” had a big presence. Yet, “The Flash,” Arrow” with a present and dedicated fanbase as well as other “geek chic” oriented shows were non-existant.
Perhaps the smaller movies that need a boost should bring a special something as they get set to release into theaters. A few years ago Luc Besson met with thunderous applause at the sneak peak of “Lucy.” This year Warner Bros. brought “Annabelle Creation” and “Wonder Woman” which was fantastic but there was not a cast member to be seen. With all of the promos plastered on billboards and busses for “Wonder Woman” this woman was left wondering what was so spectacular about the panel that they presented. Yes, the director is great and so is the producer but throw us a bone please. One cast member or two for Q&A? Not to mention out of a scheduled two hour panel, we got just about an hour. Did something go wrong? Did someone cancel? I don’t know. I’m just Mommy Fearist making a few observations along with Daddy Fearist.
My hope is that Wondercon continues to grow and evolve into something special apart from the grand daddy of Cons, SDCC, to bring something unique and special to the table of their fanbase.
What did go right is all of the stunning cosplay that I saw this weekend. Each year the cosplayers raise the bar in subtle and not so subtle ways. From makeup to props to costumes the cosplayers continually take it to another level. I appreciate them all, even the not so polished because they got out there and expressed themselves.
One of my favorite things about attending these conventions has always been the cosplay and truthfully, it’s worth the price of admission.
My wrap up thoughts are this-it was a long, fun, exhausting weekend that was peppered with some head scratching and raised eyebrows. But hey….what con doesn’t make me do that?