The first time I heard about WonderCon, my mind was too preoccupied with San Diego Comic Con that I just ignored it. Even with the fact that WonderCon held its convention in San Francisco. I was living in Milpitas at that time and thought I wouldn’t be able to go to San Diego with that much ease. It would mean driving to San Diego for SDCC and spend 9 to 10 hours on the road. Then I thought, why not just go to WonderCon. It’s pretty much the same. Then it said on the news that the next WonderCon, WonderCon 2012, will be held at Anaheim. Obviously it was just a coincidence, but a couple of months after that news, we moved to Riverside, CA because my Pops was transferred to Riverside Marriott. Anaheim is a 30-minute drive from Riverside and an hour and a half drive to San Diego. Now, I’ll be able to attend both.
After registering as a volunteer to WonderCon, they emailed me their policies and safety guidelines that included a form that I have to fill up and give to them so they can give me assignments to work on there at the convention. The way this works is I have to work three hours a day inside the convention and I get to be there the rest of the day to enjoy everything the convention has to offer. I’ll be volunteering for three days which gives me access to the entire convention.
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.”