The WonderCon Experience

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By: Willden Doherty (@Willden)

WonderCon is a comic convention that takes place in Anaheim, CA. It is run by Comic Con International, which also created SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con). Having never been to WonderCon before, I went on Sunday to get my first exposure to the event.

WonderCon could be described as a scaled down version of SDCC. There were panels, signings, and the exhibit floor, just like most conventions. The panels varied in topic from animation, film, TV, clubs, and comics. There were also opportunities to get tickets for special event signings. The main focus of the event was the exhibit floor itself. It is one of the bigger sized ones I have walked through. A couple of big companies had booths such as D.C. and Capcom, though mostly there were smaller vendors and artists selling merchandise.

Of course, there was a section dedicated to comic books. You could purchase single issues both new and old. Many vendors had rare comics that were worth a higher value for those interested in collecting. Many comic companies such as IDW, Valiant, and Dark Horse were in attendance. Graphic novels and merchandise could be bought at their booths which showcased their most popular titles.

One entire section of the floor is dedicated to Artists’ Alley. This area can be the most addicting place to hang around. There are many posters and collectibles that are handmade or drawn by fans. It’s a great way to meet new people who have the same passions about pop culture as you.

If you’ve never been to a big convention such as SDCC or NYCC before, this would be a good event at which to start. While there is still a huge attendance, it’s not as crazy compared to SDCC. It would be a good opportunity to learn how to navigate large crowds and understand the environment. There are not as many lines to worry about compared to other events. The experience will prepare you to not be overwhelmed at bigger sized conventions. Tickets to attend the convention were available online. By purchasing a ticket, you get a badge. The badges had to be picked up at the convention itself for this event (it varies by convention whether you get badges mailed or not).

Cosplayers are a staple of comic conventions and WonderCon is no exception. They’re everywhere, and many attendees like taking photos of them. Navigating around the photo ops can be a pain, but you get used to it.

Finding parking at the convention center was a bit of a problem. I was lucky enough to find a garage in a small shopping area nearby. The directions on the road signs became confusing. I heard others had similar issues as well. It should be noted the badges had to be scanned going in and out of the center grounds. I don’t know if this is just for WonderCon or if SDCC will have a similar system. It didn’t really hinder my experience enough to be a problem.

Overall, WonderCon is worth going to at least once. Try to fit in all in one day if you can. I felt that I got everything I wanted from being there for one day instead of three. It is a fun experience to have either by yourself or with friends.


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