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Return to the Wonderful World of WonderCon

Written by: Abel S. Pinedo

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Three days of sore feet and smiles means only one thing in my book, WonderCon has come to a close. But did I enjoy myself? Is the agony worth it? The answer is a resounding yes! So let's dive right in as I present my case of why WonderCon is just such an amazing show.

Friday morning, I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center well in advance of the opening time. I was greeted by a large group of cosplayers who were already gathered near the fountain and the courtyard. I took a few photos and then I made way to the front door of the con. The Convention Center recently completed a large expansion, which included a spacious new parking area and several new panel theaters. It took me a moment to familiarize myself with the new layout, but once I did I was ready to go. I jumped into the line with my fellow fans and we eagerly headed inside.

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I did a quick flyby of our friends at Golden Apple to check on their signing schedule for the weekend. Next, I made my way to one of my favorite retailers, Super7. I've been such a fan of their ReAction line ever since its debut. I had some questions about their reveals at New York Toy Fair this year but as expected, no details could be shared as plans are still being finalized. They were excited and swore I would not be disappointed. I decided to purchase a couple of action figures while I was at the booth. I hit the jackpot when I bought one of the new blind box Alien figures and scored the Supernova variant; only one per case! This was a good sign of things to come.

My next stop was to cruise through Artist Alley before the crowds really filled in. I have always been a big fan of the art scene. I greatly support independent creators. You might have heard me say in the past that you never know what you're going to find in the Artist Alley. I spotted a few prints early on and I knew I would come back for them later in the day.

There were two panels on my agenda for the day. The first was SubZero and the Evolution of Mr. Freeze. I'm a big fan of the DC Animated features and Batman: SubZero is one of my favorites. It is finally making it's Blu-ray debut, so to commemorate this, Warner Archives gave us a look at the making of this classic. There were a lot of production stories that were shared. Probably the biggest revelation for me was that originally Bane was to be a major player in the film. Also, there was a comic book sequel planned that focused on the continuing relationship between Robin and Batgirl but it was sadly, never published. We got a few glimpses of footage and a few lucky guests won advance copies during the Q&A.

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Immediately following the panel, I took part in an interactive look at the new AMC miniseries The Terror. Loosely based on true events, the series tells the tale of the HMS Terror, a Royal Navy ship tasked with finding a trading route through the Northwest Passage in 1846. The ship subsequently disappeared in the arctic. The story is a fictional look at what may have happened. We watched a few minutes of footage while sitting in a makeshift lifeboat with fake snow blowing all around us. No spoilers except to say that there may be something else hidden in the snow and ice.

The other panel I saw was a favorite a mine; a panel of 'geeksperts' look back at the films of 30 years ago. In this case, the films of 1988 were dissected. Under the microscope were notables such as Die Hard, They Live, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Midnight Run, Beetlejuice and Willow. This panel is a two-parter. Some of the films will be discussed at San Diego Comic Con in July.

As I only had an hour left at this point, I did some roaming about the exhibit hall and picked up an old issue of Detective Comics I'd been seeking for several years. Quite a steal at only three bucks! My night ended happily chatting with an old friend I hadn't seen in two years.

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Saturday started off in a big way. I attended an early panel called the 'Golden Apple Books Creator Showcase'. As many of you know, Golden Apple Comics is my favorite comic shop. This year marks the debut of their new publishing division, Golden Apple Books.  The first three to be published are Sparrow by Darick Robertson and R. Eric Lieb, Adventure Van by Michael McMillian, and Blastosaurus by Richard Fairgray and Paul Eiding. All three looked pretty sweet. The 10 page sneak peak issue of Adventure Van definitely got my attention. If you like slackers, fantastic other worlds, and stories about fulfilling your destiny, this just might be the book for you.

The other highlight of the day was the Warner Brothers panel for Ready Player One, with the major cast in attendance! The crowd was definitely excited to hear tales of working with Steven Spielberg and the challenges of bringing the novel to screen. My takeaway was I had no idea Ben Mendelsohn was so funny! He completely played to the crowd and had us roaring with laughter while he told great stories about the production of the film.

I spent some time covering the remainder of the exhibit hall and ran into another friend that I hadn't seen in four years! We played catch up and I just kept thinking about how great it was to run into an old friend with a shared love of comics and pop culture in THE location for it.

My next stop was a return to the Golden Apple booth to meet actor/writer/creator Dan Fogler. Some of you may know him from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He was just a lovely person and came across to me as very appreciative of his fame. I purchased a copy of Moon Lake, a horror comic anthology that features several of his best stories.

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Sunday was a little more relaxing. I spent the day checking out the multitudes of cosplayers and then doing some casual shopping. The last day of a convention is usually a great time to find deals. I scored some sweet deals on a few back issues of Batman I'd been seeking. Then I returned to the Artist Alley. I purchased three Killers Class prints from Chris Uminga, you can check out more of his work on his Tumblr site (LINK). I also scored three prints from Will Terry (LINK), a brilliant children's book illustrator with a very unique style. Next up I bought several different items from artist Justin Harder, who drew the awesome end credits for the Deadpool movie (LINK). Finally I grabbed a piece from creative genius Brett Bennet. I can only describe it as Jack Torrance from The Shining meets Slimer from Ghostbusters (LINK).

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With arms bulging and wallets light, it was time to bid adieu to WonderCon and head off into the night for a well earned dinner with friends. Dates have already been announced for WonderCon 2019. My final thought is, see you then!

About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He's also an annual visitor to such conventions as WonderCon, 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.