Update: Photos are up!
The trip to San Francisco was spread over several days during which we stopped at various tourist traps and visited friends. We got into town late Friday afternoon and spent the evening visiting family.
The Exhibit Hall
The main floor reminded me a lot more of SDCC than Wizard World Los Angeles, though everything was smaller. I wandered around for several hours over the course of the day, spotting people in costumes, looking unsuccessfully for back issues*, and looking more successfully for deals on books and other stuff. At one point I spent probably 45 minutes looking through the unsorted boxes of a booth selling trade paperbacks for 50% of cover, and ended up getting $80 worth for $27.
Lines were a lot shorter, even for well-known celebrities like Kurt Busiek or Terry Moore. I spotted Phil Foglio at the Studio Foglio booth, and Sergio Aragonés had his usual table. I snapped a shot of JMS on the escalator, and he gave a sort of embarrassed “Oh, crap, I’m getting attention” wave. It was a bad angle, though, so I deleted the photo from the camera.
We both caught panels on the making of last year’s Beowulf, specifically animating Grendel and the dragon, and on Tokyopop’s manga licenses with Jim Henson: Return to Labyrinth and Legend of the Dark Crystal. I hadn’t realized that the first volume of the latter was already out, but I’ll be picking it up as soon as I have a chance. Though I have to admit that I picked up the Labyrinth sequel last year, and haven’t read it yet. 😳 (Sadly, I skipped the JMS spotlight to go to this, which means I missed a bunch of announcements.)
I almost went to the “DC: Countdown to Crisis” panel just to ask why the heck they think killing the Flash is a Crisis tradition, but killing Supergirl isn’t…but decided against it.
Oddly, people at this con didn’t seem to be interested in seeing specific things. They’d drop in on a panel for 5-10 minutes, then leave and do something else. It was like they were trying to sample everything.
After New Frontier, we met up again and made our way back to our hotel through the cold rain and gusty wind. By then, it was the kind of rain that comes at you sideways, bypassing any attempt at shielding with an umbrella. Even though it was only a 10-15–minute walk, it was infinitely more miserable than the same walk had been that morning, when it was marginally warmer and—more importantly—dry.
I’d definitely go to WonderCon again, though I’m not sure I’d make it an annual visit. If we do go again, I’d definitely do a few things differently. For one thing, I’d make sure we had more time in San Francisco proper. It’s too far a trip not to spend time sightseeing. We basically saw the hotel, the con, and the area right around my brother’s apartment! Though we did manage to catch a few nice views from across the bay on Friday. I’d also try some more restaurants. As for lodging, the Hotel Mark Twain was okay, but there are plenty to choose from. It might be worth staying in the official con hotel. And finally, I’d want to do something about the trip home. 12 hours, even with breaks for food, is just too long to drive.
*Regarding the back-issue hunt, it’s the same problem as other conventions. There isn’t a lot of Golden-Age material out there, and stores only bring the high-grade books they expect to sell. If you’re looking for readers’ copies, like me, you’re better off looking online. More recent books are more likely to qualify for the quarter bins—or, these days, the one-dollar bins.
See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups