Wondercon Recap (Part 1)

April 6, 2011 @ 3:02 pm | Filed under:

Before I forget!

My parents arrived last Thursday to look after the kids. Scott and I got on the road Friday morning and drove the scenic, and sometimes fragrant, I-15 / I-210 / I-5 route to San Francisco.

I took a lot of very bad pictures with my phone and sent them to Facebook. Some of my camera photos came out marginally better.

I took this for my children. Some of them have never seen snow. This boggles my mind.

We reached Oakland as rush hour was winding down and were surprised by how relatively rapidly we made it across the bridge.

Approaching the Bay Bridge. I couldn’t see Alcatraz from the car. I wanted to.

This was our hotel, just a couple of blocks from the Moscone Center where Wondercon took place.

WHY didn’t we go up to the top and take in the view? I am kicking myself now. We were so busy the whole time, it just never occurred to me.

After we checked in, we headed over to The Thirsty Bear to say hello to our pal Mike Costa. This is the best part of cons, in my book: the chance to spend time with our writer and artist friends. We hung out there for a while with Mike, Rebekah Isaacs, Christos Gage, Amy Reeder Hadley, and Mike’s friend Josh Hauke, who writes a webcomic for kids, Tales of the Brothers Three, that I’m looking forward to checking out. Because restaurant noise drowned out the introductions, we didn’t actually catch Amy’s full name and it wasn’t until the next day, when we ran into her on the floor, that Scott realized she was Amy Reeder Hadley the artist, and then he geeked out adorably because he’s a huge fan of her work.

Saturday morning we breakfasted in the hotel, where we had the privilege of paying an insane amount of money for eggs, bacon, and burned toast. Burned! Really! Then we walked over to the Moscone Center, got our badges, and took a first walk around the floor.

It was nice and empty, at that point. Later in the day the con sold out and there were wall-to-wall bodies. Note to self: next time, shop for the kids early, before the crowds get thick.

No line! Should’ve grabbed the chance.

We ambled the aisles and encountered some friends and other familiar faces in Artist Alley, including fellow San Diegan Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze series, Oz graphic novels, and many other works); artist and total sweetheart Joel Gomez; and the talented Hope Larson, whose graphic novel, Mercury, happened to be the book I had brought along for the trip. (Scott stole it from me and finished it before I did. But I got my chance on Sunday evening, and it was very good—a sort of eerie and mysterious tale that weaves in and out of two time periods in Nova Scotia. Very cool.)

Eric Shanower signs a book for a fan.

I lingered a while over the handiwork of this nice woman at Blue Moon Designs, whose handsewn bustles and other goodies made me a little swoony.

A weird thing about digital photography is that I can track what we did each day by the timestamps on my photos. iPhoto tells me that we left the con at 11:30—Scott’s panel wasn’t until the next day, and we had decided to spend part of Saturday exploring San Francisco since it was my first time there.

Don’t fret, Jean Grey! We’ll be back.

We went back to the hotel to drop off our swag. The red-brick church next door is St. Patrick’s, where we went to Mass on Sunday morning.

For the next few hours, Scott and I wandered around San Francisco. We walked up Powell Street, which we’d been warned was a little hilly.

It only *almost* killed me.

This post is getting really long. I’ll be back later with Part 2.

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5 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Mary G says:

    my brothers, sister and I used to take the cable car to school (a French Catholic grammar school right inside China Town … how’s that for intl?)
    Moscone’s kids went to school with us and the pictures really bring back memories of the “old days”!

    So glad you enjoyed!

  2. tanita says:

    Ohhhhh, home, home, home.
    Lovely pictures.

    And I’m wistful over the shop full of monster babies! Love those. Should probably try and make my own…

  3. Hannah says:

    So, enlighten a lay person. What is the difference between Wondercon and Comic-con, besides size and availability of LOST panels?

  4. Melissa Wiley says:

    Those two cons are run by the same organization, so they are similar in lots of ways. The way the con floor is organized, for example. SDCC is WAY bigger—over 140K attendees vs Wondercon’s turnout of 40K this year. But that too is huge, and I heard from many pros that it was much more crowded than in years past.

    A lot of people complain that in recent years SDCC has become more Hollywood-centric, with a big emphasis on movies, lots of visiting actors, etc, shoving comics to the background. There’s also a companies previewing new games, etc. Wondercon is still almost entirely about comics. Even the movie and TV panels and booths were comic-book-related, like the Green Lantern movie and the Dr Who panel with Neil Gaiman.

    The structure of the events seems quite similar to me. All through the day you can attend panels where writers and artists talk about their work. I LOVE this aspect. At SDCC (where Scott was always having to work shifts at the Wildstorm booth or doing portfolio review), I spent most of my time attending panels. It’s a pretty rare treat, this chance to go and hear, say, the legendary Denny O’Neil talk about his 40+ years as a comics writer and editor, or hear a half dozen fantasy writers banter and answer serious questions about their work.

    On the (big, crowded, often overwhelming) floor, you roam through the aisles and aisles of publishers, artists, and merchants. Lots of nifty handmade stuff, small press treasures, AMAZING steampunk accessories, clothes, etc. Truth is I always get overwhelmed and seldom buy anything. But I spend a lot of time at the publishers’ booths (big and small), looking for new books to share. And there is art for sale EVERYWHERE. You can commission a sketch in artist alley, or buy a print, buy a page of original art from a comic, all kinds of things.

    There is always a section where TV and movie actors are at tables, selling photos and signing autographs. Lou Ferrigno was at the booth next to Charlotte Stewart. The Soup Nazi was there. Some original Battlestar Galactica actors. Several Star Trek folks—this time, the guy who played the lizard monster who attacked Kirk on the rock planet. šŸ™‚ Actually, these appearances can be a significant source of income for actors who’ve had the mixed blessing of becoming famous, iconic even, for specific roles, and may therefore find it difficult to land subsequent roles even when they’re extremely talented and suited for the part. (Wil Wheaton has fascinating stuff to say on this point in his book, JUST A GEEK, and on his blog.)

    Many, many con attendees dress up in costumes, and of course that’s a huge part of the fun. And because they’ve worked so hard putting the costumes together, they are usually very happy to pose for a photo.

    The pictures above are from Sat morning when the floor was uncrowded. Later that day we were packed like sardines.

    There was a room down the hall where you could go and play any of a number of board games and card games (Pokemon, Munchkin, etc). At some cons you’ll find D&D adventures going on.

    A heads-up for moms is that there are a lot of scantily clad women in view at a comic con, both in the flesh (so to speak) and on display in artwork all over the place. I only saw two Slave Leias this time, which is a record low.

    I think an wonderful thing about comic cons is that artists and writers are right there in front of you, happy to chat with fans face to face. That’s pretty cool, right? I’m lucky to have been able to meet a lot of these interesting, creative people in social settings and some of them are my dear friends, but at any given con I’ll find myself chatting with artists and other creators total strangers for long stints. I really really love to hear creative people speak about their work. šŸ™‚

  5. Ellie says:

    Joshua just went tearing off through the house yelling: “Calli!! Call!! You need to come see the shop full of UgliDolls just waiting for homes!!”

    (she came and was duly impressed)