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We're Back from the Big Show!

Written By: Abel Pinedo

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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.

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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.

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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 Super7 is making the figures based on the molds originally made by Kenner back in 1979.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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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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 request. (https://www.facebook.com/misscarlyfornia)

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.

About the Author: Abel Pinedo has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He's also an annual visitor to such conventions as Comikaze, San Diego Comic Con, Wizard World and More. When he's not touring the convention circuit he can usually be found at his keyboard telling the World about his adventures.