WonderCon Anaheim 2017 is officially behind us, and after a very rocky last year in Los Angeles, this year proved to be almost nothing but smooth sailing. Sure, a little more guidance on where to park for the convention would have been nice, and that line for badge pick-up on Friday was maybe a little ridiculous. But for the most part, this was a nice, stress-free convention that offered up plenty of fun and variety.
Our crew breaks down some of the best things about this year’s WonderCon:
The Return to Anaheim
Shawn Marshall: The biggest highlight of WonderCon for us was just the simple fact that it returned to the Anaheim Convention Center. Of all the convention centers we visit in covering shows, Anaheim is in the top handful of our favorites. The convenience of having so many hotels within walking distance makes it one of the few Convention experiences where we get a room within walking distance. Furthermore, the proximity to the Disneyland Resort adds greatly to the experience.
Outside of the return to Anaheim, we really enjoyed the mix of exhibitors on the floor. There was a good variety of vintage toys, and although con prices on vintage toys are some of the highest in the country, there were still some good deals to be found on an eclectic mix of items. The floor was very competitive on pricing for new toys. We found a number of ‘better than eBay’ deals on Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legends and Funko Pops!. Lastly, the comic selection was the best we’ve seen at WonderCon. Although cons the size of WonderCon often feature a number of wall books that are fun to marvel at, it’s rare that they have discount bins. With bigger conventions carrying much larger price tags for booths, it’s not economically feasible for exhibitors to take up booth space with such small price tag items. That said, we were pleased to find a few dealers with .50, $1 and $2 bins.
All in all, we had a tremendous time at this year’s show and we were sad to see it end on Sunday. We saw director Patty Jenkins talk Wonder Woman and we saw nearly the entire cast of Riverdale step into the spotlight for one of the first times. We saw the debut of DC’s newest animated film, Judas Contract, and we bought 40 year old Hanna-Barbara soap bottles. The show was many things for us and all of them good and enjoyable. WonderCon is a special show that is often taken for granted because of its uber successful older sibling, San Diego Comic-Con. That said, it is one of the premier cons in the country and we are fortunate to have it just a few months before SDCC each year.
Evic Oropilla: The thing I liked about this year’s WonderCon was undoubtedly missed by most or a big complaining point by others (especially if you didn’t get your badge in the mail), who probably were too mad to realize the magnitude of freedom that moving a few RFID portals granted them. I really liked the RFID check in/out perimeter set-up around the convention walk-up points instead of the RFID portals being at each entrance door, escalator or panel entrance.
Once past the portals, it was really easy to get around the convention center. There was no bottleneck traffic where there shouldn’t have been (looking at you, Los Angeles Convention Center) and the ability to flow back and forth from the exhibit hall to panel rooms without any obstacles is a must for me as I am always driven by time and like to make the most out of my con experience. The Anaheim Convention Center has a lot of great natural set-up areas that allow people to easily congregate and still not to be too far from the main convention hall. For example, the food truck line in front of the convention center is by far the best set-up anywhere, as it’s both visually pleasing and functional. You can buy something to eat while waiting in line to get in to the convention! This is a natural winner, right? Imagine the possibility if this was the set-up for the Hall H line at SDCC!
Another awesome natural set-up area that the ACC has is what is now referred to as “cosplay fountain” which is also in front of the main entrance of the convention center. A really beautiful spot where a lot of the cos-players congregate to have their photos taken by professional photographers or by con-goers passing through. It seems that every year cosplayers are pushing the envelope and making some amazing designs along with some incredible props. I will be making it a point at future cons to carve out some time to check out and photograph you all. To all you cosplayers, I salute you. I definitely appreciate the hard work you all put into your craft!
The Little Things
Lisa McDowell: This was my very first Wondercon experience, and I have to say that my favorite part of Wondercon was actually the experience of it all and the little differences between the San Diego Comic-Con convention and Wondercon. As a long time Comic-Con attendee and a newbie at Wondercon I found myself comparing the two conventions quite often. However, the things I found myself enjoying the most were the little things that I find lacking from it’s much larger sister show.
I fully enjoyed the sales floor and the variety of booths and artists that exhibited there. While it’s still no comparison to the larger more spectacular booths found at SDCC (I will always love San Diego Comic-Con for that), I found that the smaller artist alley and exhibitors had a wonderful variety of art and items to fill the geeky fandom void.
Finally, although there were crowds, I fully enjoyed the ability to find places to sit and relax without having security shoo me away. I personally loved the Anaheim convention center balcony’s. They were a quiet place to take a rest and grab a much needed snack.
So yes, it was all those little things that make Wondercon what it is, which helped make it an amazing experience for me.
James Riley: I had a few things that were the highlight of WonderCon, but I’m going to single out the panel for Midnight, Texas. The whole reason for lining up early and getting into Room 300AB was the Agents of SHIELD panel in the middle of the day. Of course that meant having to sit through three panels that we wouldn’t have attended if AoS wasn’t there. We call these “sit-through panels” for the obvious reason.
The thing about having to sit through panels you weren’t planning to is that you can be exposed to shows, artists, companies, comics, products, etc., that you likely would have never checked out on your own. Sometimes you end up becoming a fan of whatever is in a panel. This has happened before and it happened again this year for me. We got to see the pilot for Midnight, Texas and a fun and interesting Q&A with some of the cast and creators of the show. Based on the pilot, I’ll be watching the show when it airs. There’s also something to be said for panelists that don’t act like they’re there just to spout PR approved lines about the show. Whether or not you’re a fan of any particular panel, it’s always better to see a fun and lively one. It brings up the enjoyment level of your whole con.
The Convention Itself
Robert Warners: My favorite thing at WonderCon isn’t a cut and dry answer. The convention, to me, didn’t amaze me in one particular way or another. Don’t let that fool you into thinking I didn’t actually enjoy WonderCon. I did, a LOT. Not one panel, booth, or guest signing blew me away, but you know what? The entire offering put forth by WonderCon was just simply awesome. A wide variety of interesting panels, a stacked artist alley, a huge list of exhibitors, and some of the best cosplay seen on the west coast made WonderCon a great experience for me.
What was your favorite part about WonderCon Anaheim 2017? Let us know in the comments.