Tag Archives: WonderCon

Two Years Without a Con

Surprising no-one, WonderCon will be online-only again this year. Last year’s event was canceled just as we all started to realize that Covid-19 was spreading in California. And while the winter surge in cases is finally slowing down, the coronavirus is still more prevalent out there now than it was last March.

They’re still hoping to do San Diego in July, but even with multiple vaccines, there are still too many variables (vaccine distribution, mutation speed, mask and distancing practice, etc.) to know whether it’ll be possible to hold a convention by then. I guess we’ll see.

Well, other people will see. Much as I miss going to comic cons, SDCC feels unsafely crowded in normal years. Even in the best-case scenario, my anxiety would go through the roof.

Besides, I’ve already read The Last Stand of the California Browncoats.

No Fair(e)

Anyway, the local Renaissance Faire canceled this season again, too. On one hand, it’s all outdoors, which helps a lot — and you know the Faire folk would be serious about safety — but on the other hand, it’s still a big gathering, and April isn’t that far off.

I could maaaaybe see doing a smaller convention in fall, if things improve by then. Long Beach Comic-Con’s and LA Comic Con still show their September dates. For now. (I was worried about LBCC for a bit since their website was offline when I checked a few days ago, but it’s back now.) But again, way too many variables in the war between public health and the virus to predict whether it’ll even be possible for them to hold it. Though I’m pretty sure LBCC will be more responsible than LA Comic-Con.

Of course, even if someone can hold a convention safely by then…would it actually be fun? Or would it be a day of white-knuckled agoraphobia as we plunge into a crowd after a year and a half of semi-isolation?

Maybe we’re probably better off not trying to hit a convention until next spring anyway. We’ll need time first to re-acclimate to being around people!

No Wonder

WonderCon has been our main fan convention for the past decade or so. We’ve been every year since it moved to Anaheim in 2012, and several years back when it was in San Francisco.

But this year it’s not happening.

By February we were already looking at what was going on with the new coronavirus and starting to think, do we really want to go somewhere with huge crowds and lots of travelers? This could easily turn into ground zero.

By early March it became clear that a convention in April wasn’t going to be ground zero — because the virus was already here and spreading. An outbreak would be pretty much guaranteed.

So we weren’t surprised when they officially canceled the event on March 12. California had only started ramping up restrictions on gatherings, but WonderCon is a lot bigger than 250 people (the cutoff at the time, which sounds like a huge crowd now after weeks of “safer at home”). They refunded the tickets, which I hear some conventions had problems with.

This weekend was going to be one of chaos, crowds, comics, cosplay, and crafts. Instead we’re sitting at home, like last weekend, and the weekend before, and the weekend before. Sure, there’s the online “WonderCon@Home”, but it’s more something to check in on once in a while, not an all-encompassing event.

Summer’s still up in the air. If they’ve made a decision about Comic-Con International, they haven’t announced it. On one hand, it would be a huge blow to fan culture for them to cancel San Diego. On the other…I’m not sure who’s going to want to be there. Even if the current wave of the pandemic subsides before then, and even if it fades during summer (which is just wishful thinking at this point), cramming 100,000 people into a convention center for five days (plus setup/tear-down) seems like asking for trouble. [Update: A few days later, they cancelled SDCC too.]

I haven’t even tried to get tickets to SDCC in five years. I suspect they may be easier to get next year. (Or not. People are good at forgetting risks, as long as they’re abstract enough.) But I’m not sure I’m even going to want to attend a smaller con until we come out the other side of the pandemic.

Cosplaying WonderCon 2019: Paper, Spider, Trelawney

Trelawney and the Spider Jockey.For this year’s WonderCon, Katie refined her Professor Trelawney costume from Long Beach. The biggest change: extending the skirt instead of using actual layers, because it was warm in Anaheim. Just for the weekend – it jumped about 10°F just before and was expected to drop 10°F afterward. She remarked, only half-jokingly, that if she’d tried to do Whitney Frost, the makeup would have melted.

The great thing about Trelawney: Not only is she instantly recognizable to almost anyone (though she did get mistaken for Dr. Olivia Octavius at one point), but there were a lot of Harry Potter cosplayers at the con! Every time she ran into an Umbridge, she’d pretend to hide.

The Paper!For Sunday, she reassembled her Yomiko Readman (a.k.a. The Paper from Read or Die) costume from a few years back. Weirdly enough, more people seemed to recognize her than used to when she wore it in San Diego!

The kiddo wanted to wear the Minecraft Spider Jockey costume again, and it was just as big a hit this year as last time. And even though the straps left his shoulders sore (Katie plans to redo them with actual backpack straps), he wanted to keep it for the second day. Unfortunately that was a bit too much, and we ended up leaving early Sunday afternoon.

For more photos of all three costumes, and a bunch of other cosplayers we ran into at the con, check out the full gallery on Flickr.

Going Mirrorless: WonderCon 2019 Cosplay Photography

Last fall, I conceded that phones have caught up to casual cameras and I’d have to get a nicer one to get better image quality. Well, I finally bought a mirrorless camera. The kiddo found my old SLR, and we’ve split a few rolls of film (re)discovering how to shoot with it. Then he started asking about a modern digital equivalent. Since it was going to be two of us using it, not just me, I felt like I could justify the expense.

I read a bunch of reviews and asked around for advice, finally settling on a Sony Alpha a6000. It’s a few generations back in their advanced amateur line, making it a bit more affordable.

We brought the new camera to WonderCon, and I made some discoveries:

  1. It actually handles the light level inside the convention center!
  2. I’ve gotten waaaay too used to just capturing costumes when shooting cosplayers, instead of composing interesting shots. Most of the photos I took on Saturday had good image quality, but were ultimately just snapshots.
  3. Because of #1 and #2, I ended up with a lot of busy backgrounds. I tried to cut down on the distraction by adding vignetting to some of the photos afterward.

Originally we planned totrade off who had the good camera, but he ended up wearing his giant Minecraft Spider Jockey costume the entire time, so he didn’t have much opportunity to take photos. In the end, he only took one all weekend…but it was the best-composed shot of the entire day!

Women dressed as Joy, Sadness and Disgust from Inside Out

I took the lesson from that, and while most of my pictures on Sunday were still utilitarian snaps, I did manage to take a few that I think worked out better, like these three:

My full cosplay gallery is on Flickr, including these four photos and all those snapshots.

A Gallery of Harry Potter Cosplay at WonderCon

There was a lot of Harry Potter cosplay at WonderCon this past weekend! Here are some of my photos, featuring Bellatrix Lestrange, Hagrid, You-Know-Who, Professor Sybill Trelawney (who should look familiar to regular readers!), Hogwarts Professors Dolores Umbridge, Gilderoy Lockhart and Albus Dumbledore; Arthur Weasley, and Rita Skeeter.

There are a lot more that I missed – people dressed as the Malfoys, students of course, News Scamander, other professors, and so on.

Check out my full WonderCon 2019 album on Flickr!