Second Con Experience - Wondercon 2014: 2 Wonder 2 Con

Once again I had the pleasure of going to Wondercon in Anaheim! This is my second convention ever as well as my second time to Wondercon. Things were a bit different for me compared to last year but I still had a blast either way. I managed to hit the panels, spent a whole mess of money, as well as deliver pringles to @g_man himself, Tony Guerrero. It was an amazing time so join me as I recall how I spent three days at Wondercon.

I visited less panels and took less cosplay pictures this year but if you're only interested in that, skip to the bottom of the article!

Wandering The Show Floor

This year I had the immense pleasure of attending Friday with a college buddy of mine. As the convention pro he picked out the schedule so we saw things like the Sergio and Mark show and Oddball Comics. I forced him to go see the Son of Batman animated movie so I was largely mollified. To be honest though, most of the convention was punctuated by a lot of aimless wandering through the show floor. There were the heavy hitters like the Nintendo booth and many places where one could lose a lot of money real fast. Last year it was overwhelming to me to go through the t-shirt towers and merch booths, whereas this year I had a better handle on things. I actually enjoyed wandering through artist alley the most and found that I have an addiction to collecting buttons.

There were large swaths of cool things to see, of note was the Star Wars block. The 501st legion was there as well as a Mandolorian group, but what really caught my eye was the row of R2 units. The R2 builders club and the Wall-E builders club had partnered up and had two booths. I first became aware of them from Tested.com's Wall-E video but seeing it in person was another matter entirely. Several of the units were remote controlled and they drove them out in front of the booth much to the delight of con-goers. They were really awesome about pointing droids toward people taking pictures and playing sounds to delight kids, so I wanted to take a few shots to showcase the builders.

Builders of Dreams - Wall-e and R2

There were the requisite figure booths like Kotobukiya and the DC area had several collectibles on display. There was a movie prop reproduction house which had several of the Cap America shields as well as other Marvel props like Thor's Hammer and Iron Man's Helmet. Wouldn't you want a showroom piece for as little as $600? All the pieces are incredibly detailed but out of my price range.

Among the floor there were also hidden oddities. Apparently the original model for Tinkerbell was at a booth answering questions and doing promotional work. Nearby booth people actually stopped us from taking a picture, until they realized we were interested in Tinkerbell and not stealing their art print layouts.

In one of the merch booths there was also a giant statue of Godzilla. Oddly appropriate given the upcoming movie, but retro Godzilla still is a hero of the children.

One word of warning about aimless wandering during a convention. Be prepared to be tempted. Tempted A LOT. I think I parted way with almost all of the money I brought by wandering Artist alley and picking up many prints which I will showcase later on.

Other than spending all my money and checking out the sites I did manage to partake in a few other activities. I managed to track down Tony and Mat Elfring near the DC booth when Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato were signing. I delivered Pringles to Tony and then left, forgetting to ask them for a picture. As a consolation prize Tony gave me a Comic Vine button which is honestly one of my favorite things I got from Wondercon this year, no joke. Also another Viner dressed as Ravager was excited about finding Tony which was great to see.

Panel Time

The only thing I had really set my heart on this year was making it to the Adventure Time panel. It was the thing I had the most fun with last year and I even got a sweet print which I got sketched on by Andy Ristaino. This year, I found out that there would be an Adventure Time signing so I resolved myself to a long wait and potentially missing the panel. I got in line about 90-120 minutes before the autograph signing and I was still behind about 30 people. It was worth it because in line during the signing they gave out a sweet print by Andy Ristaino for the staff to sign. In total the people signing were Andy Ristaino (Storyboard Artist/Character Designer), Kent Osborne (Voice of Joshua/Head Writer), Jack Pendarvis (Voice of Rootbeerguy/Writer), Jesse Moynihan (Storyboard Artist), Steve Wolfhard (Storyboard Artist/Writer/Designer Jake's Pups), Adam Muto (Exec Producer/Artist/Writer) and an empty chair meant for Pendleton Ward! I brought the print they gave out last year which Andy had already drawn on. I think he was amazed that I would bring something from last year and he drew me a Finn to match the Flame Princess from 2013. I had a feeling that the other artists would enjoy working with more space than afforded on the new print so I got amazing doodles from everyone, including Jack who said, "I can't draw, but here goes". I take pride in having a one of a kind specialty drawing.

This is my prize of the show. It was actually really convenient that Andy drew Finn and Flame Princess because nearby in another booth Jessica DiCicco and Jeremy Shada were also doing signing. They were both incredibly gracious and Jeremy actually had quite a few nice things to say about my print. Jeremy called out T.V. and how he likes to play games. He also said "Whatevs" just like in the show, so naturally. They were really nice and I'm glad I was able to meet them.

Adventure Time Panel

From the signing I rushed to where the panel was held and got in line that was a pre-line for the actual line to get into the panel room. It didn't help that the panel before was probably the most popular panel of the convention (Batman 75 anniversary). However, 90 minutes later I was inside the room and able to enjoy the showing. Penn Ward was there after being caught up in traffic and they did a special "radio" drama as well as showing multiple clips from the upcoming season. It was another fantastic panel.

So Blurry, but Bob's Burgers Panel

The panel right after was the Bob's Burgers panel. Loren Bouchard, Dan Mintz, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts, Larry Murphy. This was my surprise of the show because it was probably the panel I enjoyed the most. The cast was there just having fun and making jokes, it was almost an improv show. They even broke into song singing lyrics to the theme song about half way in. I have to admit, Dan Mintz' deadpan delivery made me laugh so much during the panel. I hope his dream comes true and one day he is recognized by voice when calling customer support. There were also surprising insights into where the character voices came from.

Swag

I spent way too much money this year, but I really love the stuff that I got. These are the first prints that I've bought and I'm in the processing of hanging them (despite how expensive that is). I'll probably go through everything because its still not that much but I wanted to highlight the artists.

Rob Osborne Prints, I had seen his work randomly on the internet before seeing his booth at Wondercon. I'm not sure I can describe why I love the piece as much as I do. Its a combination of the dot style and the throwback to old romance comics. I had a lovely conversation with him where I babbled randomly about how much I loved it. I am very tempted to transfer it to a larger frame with a proper mat.

He also had these amazing spider-man prints in an updated style that I wish I had gotten. Maybe next year.

While wandering Artist Alley I met Mike Vasquez. He had quite a few mash up prints as well as custom drawn covers. I was drawn to his booth due to his Adventure Time stuff but when I saw that he had Stickers for only $1 a piece I went a little crazy. I picked up "a few" symbiote related things and he told me all about Mania when I asked. He is a really cool artist and I'm probably going to get more stickers from when again whenever I have the chance.

I was really drawn to the Extra Curricular Activies booth because I saw another print labelled "Business Cat". Their booth also had a nice old time Japanese shop set up with the prints laid out on shelves. I love the artstyle and something about animals sitting down to a nice piece of cake was the right kind of whimsical for me. The other prints were similarly fantastic with Cats in tanks and a Tiger with an ice cream cone. I hope they make that into a print someday cause I'll buy that as well.

Orcish Illustrations

The Marcy/Marshall prints were the first things I bought in Wondercon 2013 and quite surprisingly the Chie print was the first thing I bought this year as well. Orcish illustrations opened the floodgates and all my money disappeared. I ended up framing the Vampire prints so I thought I would just throw that in there.

This is the adventure time print I got for waiting in line at the autograph signing. Its a larger print that Andy Ristaino actually had with him last year. I'm in the process of getting frames for everything and then I can open a mini Ristaino gallery.

And lastly, buttons! I ended up checking out quite a few shops for their buttons. I want to transfer them to my backpack but I'm worried about them falling off so they're going to wait till my next convention. I am absurdly excited about having a Comic Vine button though. My friend put me to shame though, at the end of the day she had acquired roughly 20 buttons to my 3 I picked up on Sunday.

Cosplay

I didn't take nearly as many Cosplay pictures this year but Norman Chan has got you covered.

Nintendo where Kart Racing is king

twitter.com/xnivalisx as Blitzcrank
Ed, Bebop
Green Ranger
Jubilation Lee
LonsterMash as Wolverine
Zap Brannigan with bonus Peter Nguyen

And that's the end of this 2nd Wondercon blog. Though it was no less inane and rambly than the first one, I'll still continue to write these as I attend. Here's hoping for a Comic Con 2014 entry down the line. Thanks for reading/looking at the pictures!

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My First Con Experience - Verdict: Wonder-ful - WonderCon 2013

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:

You can also skip past all my ramblings to the bottom where I posted the COSPLAY pictures (even the blurry ones).

My Experience

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!

Whiskey Media

I don't think I could be more awkward

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, so thank you very much Andy for being so polite while I was tired and starstruck! 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.

Swag

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!

Cosplay Gallery

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!

Adventure Time

Fighting Games

Marvel

Misc

Transformers

Young Justice

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.

Small Addendum:

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.

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Shattered Dimensions

Got Spider-man a few days ago, really excited to play it.
 
Currently reading Marvel Advenutres Spider-man, that's my favorite on-going.
 
Getting ready for the live live show live

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