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WonderCon 2014 Today's Date:

WonderCon 2014: Friday

This, by the way, is almost the extent of the exterior advertising.
Plus small banners for the upcoming Rosemary's Baby.

It's been three years since WonderCon left the San Francisco Bay Area and found a new home at the Anaheim Convention Center.

We in the Bay Area grumbled and sort of pouted, but the timing worked out this year for a few Fanboy Planet (and Moron Life) staffers to go to Anaheim and spend a few days outside "the Happiest Place On Earth" and go where, yeah, actually, we're still pretty happy.

For one, WonderCon feels removed from the hubbub, which is odd, because for us itis the hubbub. Several major hotels surround the Anaheim Convention Center, but they also effectively block it off from the main drag, Harbor Boulevard.

Luckily, there's relatively plentiful parking within walking distance, if you're not in one of the close hotels, And when you do get there, though Friday had a crowd for registration, it wasn't the overwhelming cacophony that San Diego is, of course, nor even what the entrance to WonderCon was when it was at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

We cannot yet speak to the convention food inside, though the snack bars all looked to be of pretty high quality. There just didn't seem a point. You stepped back outside and on the long walkway winding its way between the Hilton and the Marriott, a line of gourmet food trucks had been parked. (And rearranged for Saturday morning.)

At about the usual food truck prices, and equal to the Baja Fresh inside the Hilton.

At the risk of this sounding threatening, there's plenty of floor space left within the Exhibition Hall as well. Fifteen years ago that was the case at Comic-Con, and it's notable here because this is a convention that feels major, but still manageable.

One publicist I spoke with wondered if it wasn't that "Hollywood" feels like Anaheim is too close. WonderCon just isn't the vacation getaway that it was when it was in San Francisco. (Though an X-Men presentation is here, along with How To Train Your Dragon 2 and a few smaller movies and TV shows.)

And then there's The Room, defying categorization and offering what's wrong and right with this country..

Proof that Cons are where it's at -- from a little indie book ten years ago to an indie film premiering Saturday --
Black Tiger has held on -- including with our own Mish'al Samman as the villain.

Most of the major publishers are represented. Marvel is sending talent for panels on Saturday and Sunday, and they're all creators who are either specifically guests of WonderCon already, like James Robinson, or brought because they have books out of Image or Dark Horse, like Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Once past the majors, artist's alley, the small press area and just downright interesting objects for sale are both reasonably organized, but also overlapping so it's hard to remember which category your'e looking for. Here's a rundown of creators we think you should take a look at yourselves.

Ben Costa, brother of our own Nate Costa, but Xeric-award winning cartoonist in his own right.
If you haven't ready, pick up Pang, the Wandering Monk

Joshua S. Henaman, creator of Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman.
He will talk comics and beer with equal alacrity.

There's something strangely appealing about superheroes in misery....

But mostly what we're seeing is what the Cons always claim to be. A place for families, a place for anybody who likes popular culture, and a place where we get to see the next generation coming up to out nerd us.

How many issues has the new Ms. Marvel had? And already there's child cosplay? You've got a hit, Marvel..


Derek McCaw



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