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WonderCon Wraps Up And Comic-Con’s Around The Corner

Sister conventions have different personalities

Photo by Beth Accomando

Some of the cosplayers on hand at WonderCon over the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. March 31, 2019

WonderCon just wrapped up in Anaheim. Some people may not know that the pop culture convention is run by Comic-Con International, which takes place every summer in San Diego.

WonderCon used to be in San Francisco but moved to Anaheim a few years ago when the Moscone Center underwent renovations and the convention needed to find a new venue. But the personality the convention developed in the Bay Area has traveled with it to its new location.

Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer pointed out the differences between the sister conventions of WonderCon and Comic-Con.

"Comic-Con is a lot of people, sometimes it’s a little frantic," Glanzer said on Sunday as WonderCon was winding down. "WonderCon is growing so there’s more people, but it's a lot less frantic, it’s a lot more relaxed. We have a great facility up here in Anaheim, which allows us to expand and grow. So our numbers have grown slowly, but they've continued to increase. Anaheim did a couple of really interesting things recently. They built North Hall a couple of years ago and we utilize some of the space there. Another thing they did was they created a plaza out front. There used to be a driveway that would come in right in to the front of the convention center that has since been paved over and it's a great function space."

Attendance this year is estimated to be around 66,000 (final numbers were not yet available) and that's about half the size of Comic-Con. So it's easier to get around the floor and to get into panels and far less time spent waiting in lines. There are also better food options with a host of food trucks right outside the convention doors. And unlike Comic-Con, WonderCon still has room to expand at the Anaheim Convention Center.

This year there was a focus on Batman because it is his 80th birthday. There were booths and panels celebrating the DC superhero. DC served up birthday cake and cupcakes at one event while The Legal Geeks explored eight decades of legal questions about deputizing Batman and issues about Arkham Asylum housing all those super villains. Plus the Comic-Con Museum booth had one of the Batman cars for people to check out.

Photo by Beth Accomando

This Wonder Woman cosplayer made her costume out of tiny beads. March 30, 2019

Because WonderCon started in San Francisco where there was a strong focus on anime or Japanese animation, there seems to be an even higher degree of cosplay with one Wonder Woman costume made entirely of tiny beads and some clever Deadpools.

In terms of panels, there was a full house for the one teasing Jordan Peele's reboot of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" that had people excited. There was a lot of nostalgia for the YouTube original series "Cobra Kai" that is revisiting "The Karate Kid" saga with the characters grown up, and with a sense of the new landscape for film and TV production and distribution. Attendees also heard the announcement that Mark Hamill would be taking over voicing duties for the iconic horror character Chucky in the new "Child's Play" film.

The nonprofit organization running Comic-Con has not expressed any desire to leave San Diego for another location. But it recognizes the problem of having Comic-Con be so popular that not everyone who wants to come can get in. WonderCon is one option for people looking to get the Comic-Con experience without having to deal with the capped attendance in San Diego.

The other thing Comic-Con International is doing is opening the Comic-Con Museum, which had a booth at WonderCon. Although not officially opened it is holding events every month and people are so excited that they sometimes grab up tickets in minutes and come hours early to wait to get in. The museum is hoping to offer a kind of Comic-Con experience all year long. It is planning to close for renovation of the old Hall of Champions building in Balboa Park at the end of the year and then take a year or 18 months to finish the work.

WonderCon just wrapped up in Anaheim. Some people may not know that the pop culture convention is run by Comic-Con International, which takes place every summer in San Diego.

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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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