(The)Wonder(of)Con(s):2016 Edition

My con blogging started with the topic of WonderCon, so it’s a great thing to have been able to come back to the even where my passions were revitalized. This year’s event fell during it’s frequent time slot, Easter Weekend, but in a temporary location at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Another convention, Comikaze, also calls the convention center its home, but each event has it’s own flair and brings with it unique talent and atmosphere. The bulk of the programming was held at the center itself, but hosted the largest programming across the way at the Microsoft Theater.This event also featured RFID badges, like Silicon Valley Comic Con, likely as a way to test run the system before SDCC later this year. DC also had a big presence with their Rebirth announcement and a plethora of their talent on hand. While the event provided everything that was typical of a WonderCon event, I am glad it is moving back to the Anaheim Convention Center.

Highlights of the Conventions:

  • Inspirational Individuals: First and foremost, what I seek from WonderCon is inspiration. I get that from being able to simply say hello to people I respect, and perhaps get the bonus of striking up a small conversation with those people. Over the years, I have found more and more people that become inspirational and motivating. Experience has taught me that I can learn a lot from anyone, and WonderCon has been consistently the place I find jacks of all trades to masters of one. On day one alone, we got to bump into few great folks: Emily Ong, Chris Gore and Tony B. Kim. Each one provided a good chat, and a great memory. I appreciate them most because each contributes to the culture, and develops their own content and insight, which helps encourage me to continue to put in the time. We also visited a few artists that we love Patrick Ballesteros, Dave Wilkins and Ethan Castillo. Each of those artists has given us something great, so we always make sure to say hello when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Meeting Creators: Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity to meet face to face with creators. While many people enjoy being in the big atmosphere of panels, I enjoy the opportunity to come face to face with the people that create the works I read. Since DC was announcing the details of “Rebirth”, they brought along many of the big writers and artists on their current books. Because of this we had the chance to meet the Batman and Batman and Robin Eternal creative teams. This was hands down the best moment because we got to have small conversations with the creators and it was fun to watch some of the creators geek out over us a little bit, especially Jeanette. I also had a chance to bump into Gene Yang while in line and even ended up as part of his Twitter feed.
  • Attending Panels: As our convention interests have changed, we find ourselves attending less and less panels. This time around, we tried to make sure to attend a few that interested us. On the one hand, we got to see two interesting panels: an Image creators panel and a Jim Lee spotlight. The Image panel was great as it introduced a lot of new titles, and the creators were very engaged in discussing their work. The panelists were Joe Harris (Snowfall), Keenan Marshall Keller (The Humans), Brian Schirmer (Black Jack Ketchum), Jimmie Robinson (Power Lines), and Brian Haberlin (Faster Than Light). Faster Than Light and  Power Lines caught my attention the most with their premise. I would suggest doing some research and see which one might peak your interest. I love attending Image related panels as a reminder of the diverse works they help promote and how creative and strange these books can get. After the Image panel, Jim Lee had a spotlight panel, where he talked about art philosophy and had a very casual discussion with a packed room. One of the best things he pointed out was that its just little lines here and there that make up art, and that its important to understand the nature of drawing and what we can do with it. Jim is also pretty funny and off the cuff. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing him speak, it’s always worthwhile.
  • CCI Organization: I would like to make a note about how WonderCon did a great job of using the RFID and how they ran the event smoothly, with only minor hiccups getting the badge (standing outside at noon for 15-20 minutes in cosplay is terrible). The entrances and exits were well managed in order to prevent too many choke points, and the grounds were still generally open for people to pop in and out. CCI tends to utilize queue systems, and this was done well for attendees who arrived before the exhibit hall opened. People scanned in before being lined up inside, which prevented any congestion that scanning may have created. I also can only remember one person having to be sent to reset their badge, which is pretty good. I’d say any complaints would be location specific, not organization related.
  • Cosplay and Friends: Currently, a major draw for us is cosplay. WonderCon maintains a special place for us, as this is when we dove in, so for the past few years, we try to come out dressed for success. We had the pleasure of spending time with like minded people grabbing quick memories outside the exhibit area, and having friendly photographers capture us with their creative eyes and apertures. David Ngo, Gil Riego, James Rulison, Nelson Seralbo, David Su, and Steven Alexander are a variety of photographers that covered the event and may have a photo of me somewhere.

    We of course took a plethora of selfies, so here’s a bunch of them.

    All in all, WonderCon still lives up to my expectations. It is still a wonder filled place, with wonderous moments, and wonderful people.

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