For those who don’t know, WonderCon is held annually and currently at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Artists, publishers, entertainers and all others come from all over the world to display their craft and geeks like you and I travel from all over to meet with other geeks and to just plain have a great time, celebrating the things that make us nerds.
This year was the biggest WonderCon event that I personally have attended. I did my very best to see every inch of the convention floor, get as many pictures as possible and attend every cool attraction and event as possible. I think it goes without saying that I’m absolutely exhausted. However, with great exhaustion comes an amazing time with my fellow nerds.
So allow me to break down the events of the weekend and at the end you can decide if next year, you’ll also attend WonderCon or you’ll hit up any of the many conventions of your choosing.
At the present time, WonderCon is held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calofornia. This year, the convention was held in three halls instead of the usual two that people who regularly attend the event remember. It was HUGE. I tried my best to get to see everything that the con had to offer however with everything else going on around me it was a hard mission to accomplish. The space didn’t go to waste as the walkways were noticeably bigger and you didn’t crash into people and/or their props as much as you would had the walkways been narrow.
As with most of these conventions, there was a weapons and prop check before going to the main floor and as with all WonderCon events you have to buzz in and out with your badge.
Something that I didn’t have to deal with but heard many stories about was the parking situation. For many, this was an insane ordeal with wait times to park getting up to 90 minutes at the close by Honda Center. While this sounds like a lot, and it most certainly is, the silver lining is that there were shuttles taking attendees back and forth from the lot.
The way the Anaheim Convention Center is set up is weird in my opinion. You walk in and unlike the Los Angeles Convention Center you don’t venture back you have to go side to side, if that makes sense. Unless you’re going in directly after picking up you’re badge there’s no true “front” of the convention floor. However on day one of WonderCon, where I had to pick up my badge, I was thrilled to see that Artist Alley was the first thing you ventured into. As a supporter of independent artists and a lover of art and nerd culture, it wasn’t great to not have to go all the way to the back of the convention to see some of my favorite artists and give them my money for a portrait of Prince.
Major publishers were present as well and the selection of comics, graphic novels, collectors items and props were excellent. One of the best things about these comic conventions and this WonderCon in particular is that there was something for everybody, even the kids.
What’s a con without food trucks? Right!!!! Every year food trucks from around LA and Orange County come out to WonderCon and treat the attendees with culinary delights. If you’re a fan of standing in long lines, which subconsciously you probably are if you attend these things, check out the variety of food trucks available.
If you’re like me and want to save more money for other things, bring a lunch and pop a squat at the many areas where you can take a break from all the action happening around you.
WonderCon was also the site where fandoms of all walks of life got to meet each other and partake in their fandom. There were several meet ups to attend regarding gaming, podcasting, cosplaying, prop making and even makeup tutorials.
There were several after parties to attend through the weekend and many opportunities to network and meet new friends.
The panels that were hosted at WonderCon were also delightful, giving an in depth look at different fandoms and also the serious issues that come with the culture. Notable panels that I attended were Comics on Comics and the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army panels where I learned a lot about others in my fandom realm and myself as well.
My favorite part of any con is the cosplay and as an avid cosplayer myself, I must say that this year at WonderCon set the bar much higher for those looking to get more serious in the field of cosplay. I took so many pictures of so many amazing cosplayers that it’s going to be extremely difficult to curate the gallery of photos I’ve taken. There were several events for those who partook in cosplay as well, such as the Masquerade held on Saturday night and the many cosplay group meetups that occurred throughout the entire weekend.
The best part of the cosplay community and being a cosplayer, in my eyes, is the look on children’s faces when they see their favorite character or favorite superhero, or even in my case this weekend, their favorite singer and they get so excited. Almost as if the world had stopped for them at that point and they finally get to do what we as nerds have been wanting to do for as long as many of us could remember and that’s meet their favorite superhero. Those moments are larger than life.
So with any other convention, on Sunday, WonderCon came to an end and all of us superheroes had to go back to our alter egos in the real world. It was a great time, not perfect but close to it and I had a blast. I met new friends and saw old ones and it was truly like leaving summer camp. You owe it to yourself to check out WonderCon when they come back next year.
Comedian, Cosplayer, podcaster and Hug Dealer, Aaron has been a lifelong geek and loves to share his nerddom with the world. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Aaron now lives in Los Angeles sharing his talents with the world and just plain being a geek.
You can check out Aaron’s podcasts: Aaron Explains the Universe and Stupid Movie Tuesday on iTunes.