WonderCon 2012 was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, across from Disneyland, on March 16-18. Billed as a one-time venue change from its usual home in San Francisco, the convention was a huge success, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Comic-Con organizers or another group puts on more Anaheim conventions in the future. I estimated that there were probably around 8000 to 10000 attendees at WonderCon, much fewer than Comic-Con, yet large enough to warrant plenty of good programming and a large exhibition hall. There were really never any lines and only a few presentations were “sold out.” The main ballroom was probably about the size of Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20, and there was another very large room for other popular presentations. There were a good number of smaller rooms for everything else. The exhibition space was always bustling, but never overly crowded. The convention center was also hosting a girls’ volleyball tournament, so there is plenty of room to grow if this or another similar convention comes to Anaheim in the future. About the only minor glitch to the weekend was that it rained most of the time, but since I was inside the whole time, it didn’t really affect anything. Parking was also a bit of a nuisance, but there was plenty of parking across the street at Disneyland, and there was also remote parking with a shuttle bus.
WonderCon had a greater emphasis on comic books than Comic-Con. The Small Press and Artists’ Alley areas were quite large, at least in comparison to the Dealers’ area of the exhibition hall. There were a number of presentations by the big publishers. I was most excited about some of IDW’s upcoming titles. In addition to the well received Rocketeer anthology series, they announced that Mark Waid would be writing a new Rocketeer mini-series, and the preliminary artwork for that series looked great.
Speaking of Mark Waid, he announced major plans to start a digital comics publishing endeavor. He is actually selling off his entire, large collection of printed comics to finance this digital start-up venture.
I had more of a chance to wander through the Small Press area than I usually do at Comic-Con. I like to pick up what look like promising books. Usually, small press books aren’t very good, but I did find a couple of titles that were interesting. Vigilante Project: The Guitar Hero by Chris Dickens, Chris Campana, and Nik Poliwko caught my eye as a pretty well written book that explores how a hero might actually act in the real world. The protagonist might win his fights, but he will look like a bloody mess afterwards. Another small press book that I liked was The Dinosaurs Are Dead: The Truth Behind the Extinction by Stephen Linquist, Travis Linquist, and Miguel Cervantes. From the outside this looks like a children’s book, but it is definitely not. It is a graphically violent look at the zombie infestation that killed the dinosaurs.