Wondercon Chronicles, Part 1

Written by sean

Posted on March 20, 2012

Wondercon has come and gone, and what a great show it was!

The show was in Anaheim, which is a change. It is usually in the Moscone Center, nestled by Downtown and Union Square in beautiful San Francisco. The Moscone center is also a 10 minute walk from my apartment, so the 7-hour drive down from SF to Anaheim was a bit longer of a commute.

Before The Storm

I arrived to the Anaheim Convention Center very early Friday morning due to a misunderstanding on my part about when the show began. Anaheim Convention Center has four halls on the main floor, Halls A, B, C, and D. Wondercon was in Hall D, while a women’s volleyball tournament was being held in Halls A, B, and C.

The Wondercon Convention Floor, before the doors opened

The Wondercon Convention Floor, before the doors opened

I picked up my press pass about 2 hours before the doors opened, and by a fluke, I ended up on the show floor, an hour and a half before the doors opened. It wasn’t deliberate, badge services were one level lower than the convention hall, so I hopped on the escalator nearest the Press booth, and it took me right up onto the show floor.

It was odd to walk down the aisles of the convention floor, before they were packed with people. I walked around, found the lay of the land, and took some pictures of the pre-show convention floor. Eventually, Bob from the Comic Book Page found his way up to the show floor, and we walked and talked comics for a bit.

At San Diego Comic-Con, being on the convention floor before the show starts is the dream, because you get first crack at the best convention exclusives. That wasn’t the case with Wondercon, it wasn’t a show with a lot of “convention exclusive” merchandise.

Friday Doors Open

The doors finally opened at noon, and the throngs of convention goers flowed in. Usually, the first thing I do is wander through the convention to get the lay of the land, and figure out what I want to do for the day. I already knew the lay of the land, so I just had to figure out what to do. I’m always a bit bewildered at the beginning of a convention.

I first purchased a few copies of Saga #1. The shop near work sold out the morning it came out, and I missed it. I read it on Comixology, and loved it. I wanted to own a few hard copies of the first issue.

The X-O Manowar Talking QR Code Poster

The X-O Manowar Talking QR Code Poster

With that purchase made, I took to the dealer booths that I had only glanced at before the doors opened. I figured out who had what, where the best deals were, who had the modern stuff, and who had the gold and silver stuff.

As I was walking, I noticed Dinesh and Fred (of Valiant Entertainment) talking to a dealer. I said hello, and met the rest of the Valiant team, Atom! and Hunter. We chatted a bit about what they’ve been up to, how the launch is going, and the OTV podcast. Most exciting for us, they were more than happy to sit down to record an interview with us for the show. We tentatively scheduled that for Saturday afternoon, and I went on my way to explore the show, while they went on to conduct the business of selling the best comics this year.

I got several of the talking X-O Manowar QR Code posters, and finally saw the talking poster in person. It was a visceral experience to see this in person, much more so than any video can convey. Luckily, Hunter was kind enough to give me enough posters to share, so keep your eyes open for a contest of some sort here on OTV to get one for yourself!

Hustle And Bustle

Valiant Gold Books on the walls at Wondercon

Valiant Gold Books on the walls at Wondercon

Elveen arrived at the show, and we hanged for a bit, wheeling and dealing. I bought a copy of Rai #0, and X-O Manowar #5. We talked while he shopped, and I wandered a bit while he poured through long boxes of comics. Our buddy Brian was at the show, another true blood Valiant Fan, and he came by for a bit to hang out and enjoy the show.

I picked up my big purchases from the show, several Artist Editions from the IDW booth. I picked up the two exclusive versions available at the show, the John Romita Spider-Man, signed by John Romita and Stan Lee, and with a pencil sketch of Spider-Man on a plate inside the book, and the Wally Wood Artist Edition, with a convention exclusive cover. In addition, a friend of mine asked me to pick up a Wally Wood for him, so I had a total of 4 Artist Editions to carry around. Heavy, heavy stuff!

After a quick bite to eat, and a drop off of our purchases, ‘Veen and I were back on the floor, this time in Artists Alley. Veen, of course, auctions comic book sketches for charity. He made the rounds, though the story of the sketches is his to tell.

After a few panels later in the day, I met up with some old and new friends from the Comic Page Forum and Comic Geek Speak forum for a tasty Chinese food dinner and good, geeky conversation. It was a great wrap to the first day of Wondercon!

A flock of R2 units at Wondercon

A flock of R2 units at Wondercon

Check back for Part 2, featuring Valiant Comics, shots of whiskey, and more comics!

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