Recap: WonderCon 2019
WonderCon Anaheim concluded this last Sunday and brought a lot of big players to what usually is a small convention. Last year was my first year attending WonderCon, but I’m already noticing so much growth to the convention infamously referred to as San Diego Comic Con’s little sister. Programming included big name films like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Shazam and the much anticipated, Tolkien. As well as big name television shows like Agents of Shield and Fear the Walking Dead. Although badges sold out for both Friday and Saturday, there was a relaxed atmosphere to the convention, which draws a lot of people who no longer enjoy SDCC due to its insane amount of attendees. All of the arena panels were walk-in, Shazam and Tolkien screenings were being handed out like candy throughout the day and photo ops on the exhibit floor had no lines. WonderCon proves year and year again that it can be a great time for casual fans or fans who can’t (or simply don’t want to) deal with crazy crowds.
As always, there were loads of amazing cosplayers from Game of Thrones to Star Wars and many others. I would argue that there was maybe more cosplay this year at WonderCon than I’ve seen at SDCC in recent years, where the amount of cosplay seems to be dwindling as the years go on. While there is a huge focus on panels, off-sites and parties at SDCC, WonderCon is more laid back and many attendees go solely for the purpose of showing off their best cosplays that they’ve worked on for months or even years, and it certainly shows. Cosplayers were hanging out having dance battles and photo shoots in front of the convention centre at all hours of the day and you could feel the community of it all just from observing- it was a wonderful feeling. I wore my Spider-Gwen cosplay from the hit film Into the Spider-Verse for the first time on Saturday and it was amazing to see so many other Spider-Gwen’s and Miles’ of all different ages and ethnicities. One of most powerful messages from the film is that anyone can wear the Spidey suit and be Spider-Man and I saw that message ringing true throughout the con with all of the passionately inspired cosplayers.
WonderCon continued CCI’s new annual lottery based signings and some were ecstatic with the outcome and others… not so much. The lottery based signings have become a huge debate throughout the attendees with some people enjoying the fact that they don’t have to miss out on sleep or other panels to line up for signings, while other people are disappointed with the fact that they now have what seems like no chances of winning a signing. This year they fixed the system and added an allotment of tokens for each day which can be either all be used for one signing or used separately for multiple signings. I was lucky enough to win a signing with the Cloak & Dagger cast, which was super exciting considering that it’s currently one of my favorite shows. They had the signing in a private room, which was nice because I got one on one time with the cast members instead of having fans swarming the table and screaming while I’m having my moment. Olivia Hoult was very gracious and sweet when I told her I see her winning an Emmy one day and Jeph Loeb told me, “Everything will work itself out”, when I mentioned the cancelled Marvel Netflix series… could there be a possibility for them to move to Hulu? Only time will tell!
Whether you’re a nerd or just an observer, WonderCon is a great experience that brings tons of exciting programming and exhibitors for everyone to enjoy. I’m excited to see it grow as the years go on, but I do hope that it stays low-key as it always has been, so that attendees who can’t endure the craziness that is SDCC can continue to come and enjoy the awesomeness of nerd culture at WonderCon.