While I’ve attended Comic-Con many times, this past weekend was my first WonderCon in San Francisco. Since getting back, many friends have asked me how did it compare to Comic-Con and is it worth attending. The simple answer is WonderCon is Comic-Con…ten years ago.
Before Hollywood and the video game companies invaded San Diego Comic-Con, the convention was a lot smaller and more focused on comic books – with the occasional toy dealer. While the convention is still called Comic-Con, you have entire sections of the convention floor devoted to toy and video game companies. In fact, for large stretches of the convention floor, you might not see anyone selling comic books. That is not WonderCon.
More after the jump:
While San Diego has become a melting pot of pop culture with comic books, movie stars and toy vendors everywhere you look, WonderCon looks and feels like Comic-Con from the late 90’s as the convention floor is almost all comic book dealers and a lot of indie toy dealers.
Instead of huge rooms filled with thousands of people and massive lines that stretch outside and everywhere you look, WonderCon has a lot of smaller rooms with reasonable lines. Also, on Saturday, I was able to walk on the convention floor without any problems. Trying to walk the convention floor in San Diego on a Saturday is like trying to walk through quicksand.
But this doesn’t mean WonderCon is perfect. The dealer room is decent, but you don’t need more than a half a day to see everything in the room. Comic-Con, on the other hand, has a dealer room so large and diverse, you could spend two full days walking around and still miss cool stuff.
Also, while WonderCon had some great panels on Saturday, I thought the line-up on Friday and Sunday was decent…but nothing you’d be sad to miss. And the night programming was lacking.
Comic-Con starts on a Wednesday night and it’s loaded with things to do all the time until the convention ends Sunday at 5pm. They have night programming, free night time screenings, and the convention feels alive 24/7. WonderCon does not have that vibe.
But…I think WonderCon is going to slowly get closer to what Comic-Con is – especially if they keep the early April date. The Hollywood studios that attended loved being able to promote their summer movies close to when they were coming out and I’m sure they loved the response to the footage shown.
Also, many journalists (myself included) attended the convention for the first time and I think word will spread about how cool WonderCon is and how relaxed everything is when compared to Comic-Con. Of course as more attend, that will change.
While I think Comic-Con is worth the money to fly to if you can afford it…WonderCon is really more for local residents and die-hard fans. Saying that…I think in a few years, we’re looking at an event that could rival Comic-Con.
As long time readers of Collider know…I love taking pictures of people in costume at Comic-Con, as well as the convention floor. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to take pictures at WonderCon, and I didn’t see as many people dressed up as I expected. But I still was able to snap a number of people in costume. Here are the highlights:
click on any image for high res