Tag Archives: WonderCon 2012

WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim – A Great Weekend Comic-Con

Captain America and BuckyWonderCon’s first year in Anaheim* was a lot of fun despite the rain and wind. I actually enjoyed it more than the last one I attended in San Francisco (WonderCon 2010). Partly that’s because a lousy trip into SF soured my mood, and partly it’s because I spent all three days at the con this year, but it’s also because this year’s con had everything I’ve come to expect at a WonderCon, with more space, so the crowds never got unbearable.

»Skip to the photos if you’re so inclined.

There was a very strong comic book focus to the con, maybe not so much as at Long Beach, but all the major comics publishers were there, plus many of the minor ones. I was surprised to find webcomics wrapped around the large-press area and not hidden off in a corner. The small press and Artist’s Alley areas were huge (especially when compared to Wizard’s Comic Con in the same hall two years ago). And there were comic book dealers all over the place.

TribblesThe only real complaint I had about the layout was that it seemed a bit haphazard. Marvel, IDW, and DC were front and center, but Studio Foglio and the Winner Twins were stuck in between IDW and DC. Zenescape was off in a corner rather than being clustered with fellow indies Archaia, Aspen and Avatar. And when I say the comic dealers were all over the place, I mean scattered all over the place.

Bane: Free ShrugsThe rest of the convention center was being used by a girls’ volleyball tournament and a cheerleading competition. I was encouraged by the fact that the players were just as interested as the fans in taking photos of and with the people in costumes, from Captain America and Bucky through Optimus Prime.

*They’d like to return to San Francisco after Moscone Center’s renovations are done, but that’s still up in the air.

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WonderCon as a Test Case for Comic-Con in Anaheim

Nighttime Convention Center ViewWith all the talk of Comic-Con International moving out of San Diego someday, it was pretty much impossible not to consider this weekend’s WonderCon as a test case.

The Anaheim Convention Center definitely has the floor space. WonderCon used about 1/4 of the main floor this weekend (all of Hall D, unlike Wizard in 2010, which only used about half to two-thirds of it), not counting registration downstairs.

Rooms for programming might be a problem. As near as I can tell, WonderCon used all the meeting rooms on level 2, and the large ballroom that takes up most of level 3. The Arena might be a good replacement for San Diego’s Hall H, but for the smaller panels they’d have to spill over into the nearby hotels. Fortunately, those hotels are next to the convention center, not at opposite ends or across a railroad like in San Diego.

Nighttime Stairway ExodusParking was the major breakdown this year, and Comic-Con will need even more. (I’d guess a lot of the people at the volleyball and cheer competitions were staying in hotels from out of town, or bused in from closer schools.) I suspect if they can use the stadium lot all four days and direct people to it clearly (including signs between the freeway and convention center letting people know that the convention lot is full, and accurate directional signs all the way to the stadium lot), it will probably be all right.

Food could be a problem, but it’s easily solved by bringing in food trucks or encouraging people to walk a few minutes. You know…like we do in San Diego. (Though hotel restaurants and a half-empty mall have nothing on the Gaslamp District.)

Hotels, to me, are the biggest open question. Most of the pro-Comic-Con-in-Anaheim articles I’ve seen sort of gloss over the fact that Disneyland is right across the street, or use it to bolster the claim that there are lots of hotels.

But you know, Disneyland visitors are going to be using those hotels, too. Especially during the height of summer.

Update 2017: The convention center is building a whole new wing with 200K more square feet. WonderCon is now using 3/4 of the main floor for the exhibit hall, the remaining section for registration, and programming is spilling over into the Hilton. There are a lot of new hotels in the same block and the next one over. Restaurants are about the same, but they’ve brought in more food trucks every year. Parking’s still a problem, though.