By AlwaysBeClothing 5 Comments
I recently had the time (and funds) to attend my very first convention ever, in Anaheim. Wondercon was low cost and local to my area so I resolved to use this as my "starter set" into the convention scene. There's no adequate way to describe the whirlwind of activity that was experienced over the weekend but I'll be writing about the con through a pair of blogs detailing my experience and my favorite panels I attended.
Feel free to ask me anything about my Wondercon stuff but:
After much waiting for both my badge and entry into the center, there was immediately a feeling of being overwhelmed. Merchandise and booths further than one could see, swarms of people just passing all around, frankly I had no idea what to do. Being my first convention I had scheduled a paper thin plan of panels but what was actually done at conventions for fun? Wandering around in a haze, I got swept into the "lines" of people just moving past booths and decided to start taking pictures.
As it turns out, there are plenty of cool things to see at a convention given that you are even remotely interested in what the "theme" of the convention is. Even if you only somewhat like Comics, there were booths like Nintendo and Capcom demoing video games as well as TV/Movie panels. Continuing in the flow of people I ended up circling the halls two times but really only seeing a few booths because if you stopped to look at something you would essentially stop the line. This is especially bad in Artists Alley where the tables are crammed together and the paths to walk past are even smaller than the other areas.
In spite of the cramped space I did manage to find items that spoke to me and after wandering around for a few hours I went upstairs to see about the "panels" I've heard about. Wondercon's layout had the booths and panel rooms completely separated from each other which is great as well as vexing. On one hand its nice to not have to fight through the crowd to get to the panels, you know its in a completely different area. The issue for myself was finding my way out of the two large vendor halls to the lobby entrance where access to the upper floors is located. Several times in my con experience I had to search for the landmark booths and to figure out how to get to the lobby entrance. This is more reflective on my poor sense of direction and general inexperience with navigating convention halls. However this is one aspect in which I feel going to Wondercon is beneficial. As a "smaller" con, the space is less labyrinthine than I've heard other halls described and the lines for panels is far less.
In that regard, as long as you were 10-30 minutes early you could get into any panel you wanted. One of the first panels I attended was for the illustrious James D Robinson, despite the fact that I've never read Earth 2 nor his Starman titles. He always seemed such an affable chap that I wanted to support someone whom I've often heard on the ComicVine podcast. James' Panel was a fun and intimate affair where he answered questions from the audience and regaled us with audacious stories of his twitter antics. Particularly his story about trolling Chick Fil-A convinced me that I should be following him as well as giving his titles a try.
Marvel seemed to have no presence at Wondercon which I found odd but DC was there to represent. I wandered into a few of the DC panels where fans of the Invincibly Massive Comc Book Podcast of Stuff would be delighted to find a veritable buffet of guests. The Booch, James again, as well as Scott Synder who talked about his Cat and his son. The panels were pretty standard, artists talking about upcoming books then opening up the floor to questions. Questions are always hit or miss, most often with fans asking specific character questions that DC P.R. would never allow to be answered. It was still informative if you really care about sneak peaks into upcoming DC titles. The DC panels were fine but I was more interested in other panels throughout the day.
Its somewhat unfortunate that I went to the convention alone. My friend who got me interested in going ultimately had to work that weekend but I still curious about going. I'm very glad that I did because it was an incredible time that led to me having copious amounts of fun. I was able to randomly speak to fans who were passionate about different aspects of Comics and gaming as well as put my 3ds through its very first street passing sessions which became incredibly addicting in a con atmosphere.
My recommendation is going to a local convention to see if its something that you would enjoy. I guarantee that whether its panels, merch, or just random items you will find something to enjoy at a convention that interests you!
Even though I was attending the convention for comics and television stuff, I will admit another thing that appealed to me was the chance to meet Tony "G-Man" Guerrero (@g_man) and Norman "#Chan" Chan (Also Joey Fameli). As a fan of all Whiskey Media offerings I set out to find them armed specifically with food gifts that I would deliver to them given the chance. One thing I really hadn't accounted for was Conventions are really big, even a smaller scale convention like Wondercon. Hoping that a frantic Norman along with a camera toting Joey would be easy to find I scoured the Hall looking for any sight of them.
However between the panels and the sheer size of the halls appeared to be too much of a hurdle. Most of the day had passed so I resigned myself to a Tony-less fate and headed for the advance screening of the new DC animated movie Superman Unbound. As luck would have it, Tony and Norm were out meeting in the lobby having just finished interviewing the cast of the Superman Unbound. I rather creepily stood in front of them as they conversed and then rudely barged into their conversation and introduced myself.
As a freak coincidence when I headed to the Superman Unbound screening I went the wrong way straight to where Norm, Tony, and Andy Bauman? were loitering about. This allowed me to deliver a can of fresh Pringles to Tony and a small packet of Pocky to Norm. In retrospect I was very rude to Andy, even though he graciously took my picture for me. It reflects poorly on me as a human being, ! This is actually the second time I've met Tony and Norm, the first being when I visited the Whiskey Media offices where I met them as well as Corey "Undeadpool" "Two Cats Comic Book Store" Schroeder and Joey . (Here's the Tested themed side of my trip recap). Joey was unfortunately already hard at work editing videos so I was unable to re-meet him.
Unfortunately I didn't end up with very much Comic stuff. I had a limited budget but still managed to find a few choice items as well as some free entertainment. One of the few comic book related items I picked up was a hardcover signed copy of Hybrid Bastards which was written by Comic Vine/Anime Vice's very own Tom Pinchuk! Tom was very approachable and incredibly down to Earth so getting the chance to speak with him is something that I recommend heartily.
Another item I obtained while speaking to Tony are two those great ComicVine stickers at the top of this blog post. I believe Tony gave them to me when I introduced myself as a CV user. However one of the items that give me the greatest joy is something incredibly dumb, but I still love it so much. Back when Screened was being run by one Matthew Rorie they would give out DVD/blu-rays in contests for users (as well as posters). I somehow managed to win a copy of a helicopter blu-ray documentary (which I reviewed) and it came to me signed by Rorie and Norman. After I managed to find Norm and Tony, they graciously agreed to sign my blu-ray. I managed to talk Tom into signing it as well, making it my tribute to Matthew Rorie as well as a piece of Whiskey history. I really wish Joey had been there to sign it because his work on Screened is still fantastic. Someday I can try to get Alex Navarro to sign it, then Giant bomb will be represented along with double Screened.
In more tenuously related comic related swag, I obtained quite a bit of Adventure Time stuff. I will be writing about Adventure Time extensively in my 2nd blog about my favorite panels but here's a look at the cool stuff that I obtained. The bulk of it is related to Andy Ristaino who was a character designer on the show but is currently the (lead?) story-boarder. He was very cool, giving away free sketches to anyone who asked at his table in Artist Alley. I ended up buying the gorgeous character print from his table as thanks. He was even worried about selling it to me because the corners were slightly dented, but I feel that just makes it even more personal for me. Another AT item that I obtained are these postcard prints of Marceline and Marshall Lee drawn by Amber Harris of www.orcish-illustrations.com. I initially saw them as I passed by her table but then immediately went back and bought them. She was selling them for ridiculously cheap and I feel the art is stunning.
Arguably the coolest thing I obtained was this amazing Adventure Time print that cosplayers dressed as Finn and Marceline handed out to the crowd at the Adventure Time panel. As if it wasn't enough to show exclusive clips from upcoming episodes they gave away a free print!
Ok, here's what most of you are really here for. My apologizes in advance, but some of them are blurry. I'm certainly no Norman Chan, and as such I certainly don't have the volume nor the quality. I only took pictures of Costumes that really spoke to me but that made it easier to sort them for you. Enjoy!
And that's the end of the first Wondercon blog. Here's hoping the 2nd one is less rambling and inane! Thank you for reading.
I feel it would be remiss if I did not mention my time at the Twistory booth. I inadvertently stumbled into getting my picture taken with Danielle Vasinova. I'm not really sure what the booth was about or why they talked to me, but I believe they were promoting their service and their upcoming game/manga/something? I am so unphotogenic that the picture taken is not fit for human sight but bless her, she handled my awkwardness like a true professional. She also gave me a signed postcard from her shoot for "13 Chambers"?
In any case it was an extremely odd situation for me, I think they mistook me as someone who was actually important. But hey, as AlwaysBeClothing I guess there's nothing wrong with posting a picture of a pretty cool looking dress.