WonderCon 2011 was a breath of fresh air. (I say that because it was in San Francisco, and the air up there is much nicer than in Los Angeles. Also because it wins the Goldilocks Choice Award that I just made up for conventions. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small... you get the idea.) This convention is run by the same folks that put on San Diego Comic Con and APE, but in contrast to Comic Con's frantic atmosphere, WonderCon was an ideal mix of laid-back and busy.
This was my first time attending WonderCon, and I mostly attended for fun. This means I didn’t push myself to go to several press events or to sit in on every panel. I arrived soon after the exhibit hall opened on Friday, and I immediately ran into friends. We headed to the exhibit hall floor and went right to the Geekscape.net booth where Jessica Mills, creator of Awkward Embraces (check out Teresa Jusino's recent interview with them) was signing autographs. By this time, my eyes had already focused on HBO’s Game of Thrones banner. They had an Iron Throne for crying out loud.
The crowd was light on Friday and no one was waiting to sit in the throne. I usurped the throne and drooled over the costumes they had on display. The Maester’s chain is gorgeous, and the Daenerys costume they brought was stunning (yes, making a Daenerys costume is in my near future). After I pried myself off the glass around the Dany costume, I visited some friends that were exhibiting and then beelined to the Archaia booth. They had a “buy one get one free” or “buy two get three free” deal on their titles. I’m not making that up. It was a great opportunity for me to try new books, so I walked away with a significantly heavier bag.
I wrapped up Friday evening at the convention at Richard and Wendy Pini’s panel. In case those names don’t sound familiar, they are the creators of ElfQuest. They discussed the final quest, Wendy’s newest project—Masque of the Red Death, and the upcoming release of the ElfQuest fan film/ trailer. The creative forces behind that project, Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes, joined the Pinis to discuss the project. They showed a teaser trailer that was amazing, and the finished product is equally stunning.
After I left the Moscone Center and met friends for dinner, I went to BarBot. Robots making beverages, how could I resist? The space was set up with seven or so drink stations. Each robot had a specialty drink. If you were afraid of the robots, you could order from a human-manned bar in the back. For the sake of science, I should have a tried a drink from every robot, but I just couldn’t. The drinks I did try wouldn’t win any awards, but the fact that they were made by a robot made up for it. It was all about the experience, and it was a fun one.
Saturday was all about attending panels. I woke up early (for a convention) to make sure I would get to Archaia’s panel. They had announcements about upcoming releases like the original anthologies of stories based on the movie Immortals and Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.
Before my next event, I was lucky enough to see Grant Imahara of Mythbusters be inducted into the 501st Legion as an honorary member. Next was a panel titled “Life After Trauma—To Be a Superhero or a Supervillain?” The panelists discussed how trauma affects our favorite heroes and villains and how good and evil result from trauma. It was a fascinating panel, and I hope that it will appear at future conventions. The final panel I attended was about The Clone Wars. Supervising Director Dave Filoni and special guests discussed the third season of the series and the recently aired season finale. We even got a brief teaser for season four.
I had just one panel to attend on Sunday. Bonnie Burton hosted a Star Wars Crafts panel (she just released The Star Wars Craft Book) for kids, but I wasn’t the only adult crashing the party. I made a Kit Fisto bag puppet and bonded with my friends over glue and construction paper. We had at least as much fun as the kids. After I put my puppet in a safe place, I headed to the exhibit floor. I wandered Artist’s Alley and among other things, purchased my very own ElfQuest drawing from Wendy Pini. The Sunday crowd was reasonable, and it only took me a few hours to get through the entire floor.
From what I heard, WonderCon is getting bigger. The convention floor was crowded on Saturday to the point of barely being able to move. It’s still tinier than it’s big brother, San Diego. I had plenty of time to spend on the exhibit hall floor and with friends. There was even time for me to sit down in a convention hallway and rest. Not something that happens often. I also really enjoyed the setting. San Francisco is a beautiful city (just don’t try to drive in it), and so many restaurants and hotels are within walking distance of the Moscone Center. I also saw a lot of shirtless, male cosplayers at this convention. For that reason and many more, I will be making WonderCon part of my regular convention circuit.
Amy is a fan of most things sci-fi and fantasy. When she’s not writing, she’s either dressing up as Han Solo, reading comics, playing D&D, or attending conventions. It usually happens in that order. Visit her blog Geek with Curves or check out her Twitter feed for rambling on all those topics.