The convention was conceived by retailer John Barrett (a founder of the retail chain Comics and Comix) and originally held in the Oakland Convention Center, where it remained until 2003, when it moved to San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The show’s original name was the Wonderful World of Comics Convention.
Retailer Joe Field (of Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff) and his partner Mike Friedrich owned and operated the convention for fifteen years. In 2001, they brokered a deal with the management team that runs the San Diego Comic-Con International to make it part of the Comic-Con International convention family. This gave the San Francisco show a wider audience and has made it a venue for previews and early screenings of major motion pictures, in particular ones based on comic books. These have included Spider-Man 2 in 2004, Batman Begins and Fantastic Four in 2005, Superman Returns in 2006, 300 in 2007, Watchmen in 2009, and Kick-Ass in 2010. All of these events featured the stars of the films fielding questions from the audience. In addition, WonderCon features an event called “Trailer Park,” wherein trailers for upcoming films are shown.
While the main attraction of WonderCon has always been various retailers selling back issues of comic books and action figures, the exhibitorship has grown to include retailers of specialty DVDs. There is also an “Artists Alley” featuring mainly comic book artists selling artwork, signing books, and doing sketches; and mainstream celebrities signing autographed pictures. Academicians and comic industry professionals have held the Comics Arts Conference in conjunction with WonderCon.
In addition to the comic and movie previews is the Wondercon masquerade, which usually takes place on Saturday after the convention closes. Awards are given to those with the most creative performances, but anyone can participate.
In 2010, the convention had an attendance of 39,000 fans with 34,000 fans in 2009.
As a matter of fact, I will be able to attend WonderCon 2012 in March at Anaheim, CA. I will be there to enjoy the convention itself and be able to help the staff with certain jobs. I will be recording videos and taking pictures and will upload them here in wordpress.com, my facebook account http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1385634522, and on my tumblr account http://chubbyavenger.tumblr.com/. If you guys want an update from my perspective on WonderCon 2012, just follow me.