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Last weekend I attended WonderCon in Anaheim and took a few photos. Nothing like previous years (regular readers know I can get a little nuts taking photos), but I wanted to take my time experiencing the convention and documenting that as simply as possible. Here are some key things which stood out for me (and as always, you can enlarge each photo by clicking on it):
It’s been a few years since I attended a WonderCon and so this was my first experience with WonderCon in Anaheim. As a former resident of San Francisco for many years, I can attest that the Moscone Center was never this beautiful (sorry Northern California, but you can’t beat the weather here). Anaheim was brilliantly sunny, with a perfect breeze in the air, the convention center has high ceilings and plenty of natural light which made for a fantastic atmosphere. And it wasn’t just about the space inside the convention center, but the masses of space outside it for all sorts of fun…
Since WonderCon was held over Easter, there was a strong contingent of religious signage. Yes, they’re always at Comic-Con in San Diego too, but there were more of them here, and not all of them had the ambiguous signs, some had homemade ones that were a bit angrier. It was all very impressive. The benefit of all of this signage was that it made it much easier to find people (e.g. “I’m standing near the guy with the ‘God Loves You’ sign, where are you?” “Oh, I’m standing near the ‘God Hates Sinners’ guy!”) In terms of the reception they got, it seemed pretty civil and I even overheard some interesting debates as I passed these people.
The costumes were great! Out of all the conventions that I’ve attended over the years, I was most impressed by the costumes at this one. Not just for accuracy, but for inventiveness and imagination. There were plenty of costumes I’d never seen before, as well as gender play ones which were done with a lot of flair (including this fine gentlemen doing his best Princess Leia impression pictured on the left).
WonderCon also had a large proportion of toddler attendees who (despite the usual insanity of conventions) seemed to be having a genuinely good time. I’m not sure why, but in panels and on the floor, the small children and parents that I saw all seemed much happier and relaxed than I’m used to witnessing at cons. This little girl (pictured right) was actually cooing and giggling while her mum changed her, maybe the secret is to dress up as Finn from Adventure Time?
Perhaps they’ve always been there and I never noticed it, but this was my first experience of an insurance company setting up at a comic book convention (see left). Overtly targeting collectors is understandable, and I suppose it speaks to how large the mature collectors market has become. Still, in amongst all of the ebullient art of the other tables, they looked pretty incongruous and I’d be very curious to hear how business went for them over the weekend.
Costumes for couples are notoriously difficult, especially since so many superheroes are too busy being heroic to be seen making out with their partner, even when they’re overtly couples (see right). This was the best Tank Girl I’ve seen at a convention, and the only one who brought her boyfriend Booga. Of course the best thing about this comic book couple is that they can make out in public, slouch, check their phones, even fall asleep in a hallway and STILL be perfectly in-character.
WonderCon had a whole lot of food trucks outside, which was good because in the food court-area-thingie they were keeping bags of plastic cheese warm (see picture, left). I’ve actually got nothing against highly processed bags of cheese-food-product, but when I’m dragging myself around a convention all day and interacting with thousands of people’s new germs, I find it best not to challenge my body by throwing fake food at it. Luckily there were plenty of healthy options and everyone seemed to make it through the weekend relatively unscathed.
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