At first, a convention is a bit to take in. There are so many people crowded into the center. The overall attendance was more people than live in the town I grew up in. People are constantly moving, constantly looking around, asking prices, seeking a sketch or an autograph. Being an exhibitor must be nerve wracking, but completely worth it. Within the chaos of the convention are some great people and some great works, most of which are just waiting to make it big.
It’s kind of assumed that the bigger conventions are more about showcasing the big publishers like Marvel and DC. While that is true (at least for DC since Marvel was non-existent), the majority of the booths on the floor consist of smaller publishers or artists and writers who self-publish their work. It’s a great place to be exposed to some great undiscovered talent, which is what I found myself the most excited about.
And what is truly great about WonderCon is that everyone feels like equals. There are some movie stars and other Hollywood personalities (which included Jake Gyllenhaal, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicholas Cage and Kevin Smith), as well as some less mainstream actors like Brent Spiner (Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and James Marsters (Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer). But overall, it is a bunch of comic book lovers who just want to know more about the books and characters they love. And the big guns of DC, Image, IDW were incredibly nice and accommodating to their fans. After I sat in on the panel for DC writer Judd Winick (“Batman,” creator of “Barry Ween: Boy Genius”), I was part of a group of fans who got to walk down to the DC booth with him because he had to do a signing. But he promised us that we would be first in line. Jimmy Palmiotti (writer/inker, currently on “Jonah Hex”) and Amanda Conner (artist “Power Girl”) were also incredibly nice during their signing. I got to see as Conner received an Air Force token that was unofficially used as a drinking game token for enlisted men and women.
Conventions provide all sorts of moments like this, quiet moments that can’t be found when meeting famous people from other forms of entertainment. While I would’ve loved to meet James Marsters, the $45 price tag on his autograph wasn’t enough to convince me. But I got to gush over the US Premiere of Matt Smith’s “Doctor Who” to DC editor Ian Sattler and exchange a joke with JT Krul (writer, “Green Arrow”). Instead of sitting through Kevin Smith’s lecture (which I posted a video snippet of in the previous post), I got to talk animation with Mike Gray, an animator I am now completely in love with.
And to the tens of thousands of people at WonderCon, meeting someone like Geoff Johns is like meeting George Clooney (except nothing Clooney has written has given me as much joy as Johns’ work).
And, even though it isn’t technically a comic book, I do want to take the time to talk about the new “Doctor Who,” which premiered its first episode Saturday for several packed audiences. For fans that have reservations about Smith following the absolutely brilliant run of David Tennant, do not worry one bit. Smith makes his Doctor immediately accessible and totally his own. The show is in great hands, with fan favorite writer Steven Moffat now as show runner and setting up what looks to be a stellar run. (And as a fan myself, I pretty much freaked out the entire episode)
My favorite part of WonderCon was the undiscovered writers and artists I got to meet. Everyone was incredibly nice and over the next few weeks, I am going to be doing posts directly about their works. Some will get a little blurb or a link, while others will get the full blown treatment. I’ve included links to all the people I met at the end of this post. Please, check them out. This medium is just filled with phenomenal talent and these people are just the tip of the iceberg.
I highly recommend going to WonderCon. I would suggest checking out Comic-Con this summer in San Diego, but it is completely and utterly sold out. I’m banking on another press pass and even that won’t guarantee me a spot and I’ll still miss out on so much. Also by the fine people who put on WonderCon and Comic-Con is APE (Alternative Press Expo) this October. There are also several conventions all across the nation, the most immediate being StumpTown in Oregon at the end of this month.
But if you are a comic book fan, you owe it to yourself to hit up a convention. There is something there for you that you won’t even realize you’ve always wanted until the moment it lands in your lap. And please check out the links below. Not only are they showcases of some great works, but some nice people worked incredibly hard to produce the art and writing you’ll be seeing, as well as fun clothing stores that were at the con as well. And check out Four Colors soon because there are some exciting posts ahead.
PS. I have a lot of pictures that will be posted in the next 24 hours. Probably in another post, bringing the total of WonderCon posts to 5, a record for the blog. Exciting times!
Kid Beowulf (by LOCAL Alexis E. Fajardo)
Mike Gray – Pencil for Hire (creator of “The Infinite Goliath”)
K Chronicles (by Gentleman Cartoonist Keith Knight)
Jane’s World (by LOCAL artist Paige Braddock)
Brittney Lee Art (by BAY AREA artist Brittney Lee)