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Comic-Con’s Sister Convention WonderCon Kicks Off Friday In Anaheim

Three-day pop culture convention highlights comics, movies, TV and gaming

Photo caption:

Photo by Beth Accomando

WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center in 2015.

Silicone Vs. Foam Vs. Gelatin … That’s not the next superhero film from Hollywood, but it is a panel on make-up effects that you can find this weekend at WonderCon.

WonderCon takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center this Friday through Sunday and is run by the organizers of Comic-Con International. It serves up the same geeky fun as Comic-Con but on a smaller scale. You can find a big Hollywood studio panel like Warner Brothers’ one on Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One — on Saturday in the Arena — as well as smaller panels on how to publish your own comic or how to write great dialogue.

Other program highlights include a great mix of pop culture: Friday at 3:30 p.m., Fanbase Press presents a panel on “Quince,” a 15-issue comic book series being released in English and Spanish about teenager who discovers she has superpowers at her quinceañera. Then at 4:30 p.m., there is a spotlight on the Jim Lee, followed at 5:30 p.m. by a celebration of 80 years of Superman with DC Action Comics. Also at 5:30 p.m., Vince Hernandez moderates a panel that will debate Comic Character Sheets: What is the Best Super Power.

Or Friday at 5 p.m., you can choose to attend the Star Wars Mock Trial: Can R2-D2 and C-3PO Sue the Mos Eisley Cantina for Discrimination? It will be overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman.

Then you can end the day at 7 p.m. with the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment world premiere of its animated feature, “Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.” There will be voice actors from the film on hand for a post-screening Q&A. Or can choose Lawyers Vs. Kaiju: What is the liability for monster attacks? The panel poses such questions as, “Is King Kong protected by the Endangered Species Act?” or “Does Gamera have a duty to save children?”

Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. with the world premiere of the first episode of the animated “Constantine” series and the Her Universe fashion show. There will also be a panel on Selling the Hit: What You Always Wanted to Know About the Stunt Industry, which includes stunt performers from “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and more.

At 11:30 a.m. there is The Forgotten Trio: Colorists, Inkers, and Letterers, which pays tribute to those unsung comic book heroes behind the scenes who put in hours of work for minimal recognition. 

Saturday also features such TV panels as Netflix’s “Lost In Space” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” There’s also a “Fear the Walking Dead” — 3:30 p.m. in the arena — moderated by “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick with a number of the cast members in attendance.

A Comic-Con and WonderCon favorite annual panel is Quick Draw, hosted by Mark Evanier with cartoonists such as Sergio Aragonés and Scott Shaw engaging in cartooning improv. This is always a hilarious and wildly entertaining panel. It starts at 4:30 p.m. and I recommend getting there early.

Convention favorite Nathan Fillion will be on hand at 7 p.m. on Saturday night for an advanced screening of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” second season premiere. Also at 7:00 p.m., artists can learn how to adapt their style at a panel called How to Draw in the Different Studios’ Styles.

Saturday closes with the 14th annual Masquerade at 8:30 p.m. in the arena.

Sunday, the closing day of the convention, begins with Warner Brothers TV screening an all-new episode of “Black Lightning” with series star Matt Ryan on hand to field questions from the audience.

On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., Going Crypto: How Digital Coin Technology Is Changing How We Live Our Lives might prove interesting. Or at 11:00 a.m. you can attend The Writers Coffeehouse at WonderCon where a bunch of writers just sit around talking about writing. No agendas, just casual discussion about markets, pitching and selling, and defeating writer's block. 

Evanier will also host the annual Jack Kirby Tribute at 3 p.m. A crowd-pleasing closer for the convention is Starship Smackdown hosted by Mark A. Altman. This year it’s Starship Smackdown Ultimate: Star Wars versus Star Trek.

WonderCon will also be celebrating 25 years of “The X-Men” as well as 20 years of “Cowboy Bebop."

You can find the full programming schedule online with the option of creating a customized schedule for yourself.

As with Comic-Con, a key attraction at WonderCon is the exhibit hall. WonderCon features more than 900 exhibitors in a 412,000-square-foot hall where you can find original art in Artists Alley as well as toys, comics, clothing and collectibles.

Comic-Con International sells out every year, but WonderCon is easier to get into. The three-day convention runs Friday through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center. Saturday badges are sold out, but full three-day badges, as well as Friday or Sunday badges, are still available online. No badges will be sold at the door.

Silicone Vs. Foam Vs. Gelatin … That’s not the next superhero film from Hollywood, but it is a panel on make-up effects that you can find this weekend at WonderCon.

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