For the second year in a row, WonderCon 2013 was held in the Anaheim
Convention Center. Sunshine on Friday morning was the first of many omens of good things to come. There were definitely some
changes in comparison to last years’ show. Most notably was the size of the exhibitor floor. It was much larger in scale
than last year. Because of this, some of the aisles were significantly wider. The layout was different as well, with artist
alley sharing space with the autograph section.
Friday was my day to roam the exhibitor floor and find the
cool little (and not so little) nooks and crannies scattered about the room. The biggest thing to be seen, literally, was
one of the full size Bubble Ships from the upcoming Universal Pictures flick Oblivion. Photography was encouraged and attendees
were giving toy paper versions of the ship as well as posters and MP3 downloads of the film score. The scale of the ship was
quite impressive to see in person.
The next thing I saw to blow my mind was the reveal of action figures based
on the 1979 classic film, Alien. Super7 is making the figures based on the molds originally made by Kenner back in 1979. These
figures were never produced…until now. The toys are nothing short of charming, right down to the vintage
style packaging. If you remember getting Star Wars drinking glasses from Burger King back in the early 80’s, then you’ll
appreciate the Alien drinking glass set they are making also. Both the figures and the glasses will be available this summer.
What’s a convention without panels? At 4pm on Friday,
I found myself in the panel for the CW’s Beauty and the Beast. (What can I say; I’m a fan of Kristin Kreuk.) After
showing footage of an upcoming episode, Kreuk and executive producer Kelly Souders talked about the intensity required to
film each episode. Apparently that is also a distinct talent as Kreuk admitted that the cast often crack themselves up between
takes. While I am not the shows target demographic, it was a very enjoyable panel. After an early dinner I turned in early
because I knew the next day was going to be crazy.
Saturday saw more sunshine as the masses descended on a second
consecutive sold out day. First up was the Warner Brothers double feature panel of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim
and to open the show, James Wan’s The Conjuring. Look, I’ll just come right out and say that it takes a lot to
creep me out but the world premiere of The Conjuring trailer…..man, that very last shot had the whole lot of us jumping
and screaming in our seats. I really hadn’t heard much about this film prior but it is definitely worth checking out.
It’s hard to pinpoint if it’s a monster movie or a ghost story with a possession angle but in either event, it
is apparently based on a true story. Wan was on hand to discuss his approach to the story along with actual members of the
family that this story occurred to. They kept their comments vague so as not to ruin anything. Naturally, this just heightened
my curiosity. Best of all, the MPAA recently gave the film an R rating. When asked what in particular caused the film to secure
the rating, Wan was told by the board that the film was just too damm creepy to be a PG-13 film.
Pacific Rim ison my list of top ten movies to see for
2013. After the all new trailer debut, make that top five! Del Toro’s enthusiasm for this project cannot be denied.
He was practically bouncing in his seat after the trailer. He broke the news that there will be a prequel comic book called
Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero that will explain some of the back-story of the giant monsters in the film. This was the
also the first showing of the cover artwork. Del Toro also talked about how much of the film was actually practical work as
opposed to CGI. He talked about the scale of some of the pieces of the robots that were built for the film for close-ups.
A second look at the trailer just hammered home the awesomeness of the film.
Continuing with highly anticipated films, the panel for Evil
Dead rocked the house! While producer Sam Raimi was unable to attend, he did send along a video greeting to introduce an all
new trailer as well as two never before seen clips from the flick. The cast, along with director Fede Alvarez and producer
Bruce Campbell, were on hand to trade barbs with the fans. In all my years of attending cons, few can handle a crowd like
Campbell. His playfulness and jabs kept the crowd in stitches throughout the afternoon. Alvarez spoke of how amazed he was
that the film got an R rating as he was expecting the dreaded NC-17. Early buzz on the film is that it’s one of the
goriest, bloodiest films to be released under a major studio. (By the way, stay through the end credits for one final surprise!)
After that intensity, it was time to lighten the mood so…how
about the end of the world? This Is The End is an ensemble comedy from co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They were
on hand along with co-stars Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. We knew we were in for a treat when Rogen came out dressed as
Wolverine (chiding his cast mates for not dressing up as well) and Goldberg came out in a male dominatrix outfit!
After presenting the green band trailer and two clips from
the film, the funny foursome talked about the joy of killing off friends and celebrities. I won’t spoil anything but
there are A LOT of surprise cameos in this film. Rogen mentioned that pretty much everyone they approached to participate
in the film leapt at the chance to portray an alternate version of themselves…and possibly die on film. Alright, I’m
exhausted by this point so it was time to head back to the floor to pick up a few comics I’d had my eye on and call
it a day.
Happy Easter! Sunday morning saw virtually no crowds at the
onset. Parking was the easiest it had been of the three days and I started to wonder if the crowds wouldn’t show up
because of the holiday. Silly me, how wrong I was! The crowds did show up in time for the first major panel. After all, how
could they not, with the promise of being in the same room as Joss Whedon! Whedon and pretty much the entire cast (the exception
was Nathan Fillion who was ill) were on hand for Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon’s contemporary spin on the classic tale
of love. Keeping the original dialogue but moving the location to a modern setting was an interesting choice. I’ll admit
seeing the footage definitely piqued my curiosity. Naturally, there was much love in the room. It was quite hilarious to hear
the actors talk about how they all came to the project. Whedon emailed each of them to which they all thought, “Aw,
after Avengers, Joss has cracked. Poor guy!”
Alright, time to pick up a few more goodies on the exhibitor
floor. Picked up a cool lunchbox for someone for Christmas (because it’s never too early to start shopping for presents)
as well as a few more books for myself. I try to make a point of seeking out something different and fresh at every convention
I attend. Those little hidden gems are just a great addition to your convention going experience. Conventions like this are
a great place to discover new original works whether it is comic books or purses. Wait, what? I want to mention two independent
artists I met at the show.
As I was walking the aisles, my eyes fell upon a simple handbag
that was made from original Star Wars bed sheets from 1978. I then noticed some other patterns such as Marvel and Family
Guy. The creator, Carly Breslin, can be commissioned for her work. She even makes women’s clothing upon
I was also pleased to see the works of Sebastien Millon. (http://sebastienmillon.com/) His animal cartoons have a lot of heart and humor…and sometimes
a little something twisted. No matter your preference, you’ll find something to make you simply smile.
Well folks, that’s it for WonderCon 2013. As of this
moment, we don’t know where next year’s show will be. No dates or venues have been selected but I can guarantee
you that if it is back here in Anaheim for a third year, then I will be here to give you the heads up on what up.