02048-20220403 WonderCon-Anaheim Convention Center-exhibit hall & outside-R3

WonderCon 2022 — a pop culture shopping paradise

The world, as we knew it before COVID-19, is more and more returning to normal with each passing month.  For fans of pop culture, that means a return to the popular and well attended conventions presented by Comic-Con International.

First, in the latter part of 2021, there was “San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition” — a smaller-scale version of San Diego Comic-Con that successfully tested the waters for a return to live, in-person, pop culture conventions. You can read about that in AutoMatters & More 719, entitled: “2021 San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition,” here: https://automatters.net/2021-san-diego-comic-con-special-edition/ Alternatively, you can just type the title or even just 719 (the column’s number) in the search bar on the home page of http://automatters.net.

A few months earlier, San Diego Comic-Con returned with a special in-person edition.

With that convention’s success, the next logical step was the triumphant in-person return this year (face masks required) of WonderCon to the Anaheim Convention Center — for the first time since 2019, and for the ninth time that it has been held in Southern California, after moving here from the San Francisco Bay area.

WonderCon, like San Diego Comic-Con, is a place where people come to renew old friendships and make new ones. Attendees came from countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and, of course, here in the United States.

WonderCon fulfills a broad range of interests, including cosplay…

… gaming…

… programs and panels, anime, comic books…

… pop culture merchandise…

… artwork…

… and much more, with many special guests.

Naturally there was a full, three-day schedule of panels, programs, games, the Saturday evening WonderCon Masquerade and more, including special presentations from CBS Studios, Discovery, Disney Television Studios, Disney +, Prime Video, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. Television and Home Entertainment, Tubi and ABC Entertainment — as described in the event program book that was emblazoned with the image and in the style of Wonder Woman, by comics artist Jen Bartel (artwork that was originally slated for the cover of the book for the COVID-cancelled 2020 WonderCon). Best known for her work at DC, Marvel and Image, Jen won the 2019 Eisner Award for Best Cover Artist.

However, my focus for covering WonderCon this year was to see and experience much of what was in the massive exhibit halls. I spent my entire Sunday there.

In addition to the numerous and widely varied vendors and their merchandise, there were areas for the Artists’ Alley, Gold and Silver Age Comics, WonderCon photos…

… fan clubs, gaming tables…

… Small Press, signings and more.

Comic book sales were brisk.

While I did not go to WonderCon with the intention of buying anything (I do not need any more stuff), nevertheless I did see something that I felt I just had to buy. I should have known better when I asked Sonia of “Nerdy Novelty Design” (one of the many friendly vendors) if she had any Muppets oven mitts? I mean, what are the odds that they would have THOSE? Well, sure enough, she did have Muppets oven mitts, and she even offered me a discount if I bought two instead of one — so of course I did. They are REALLY COOL — so cool that I do not want to get them soiled, burned, etc. — all the things that happen to oven mitts over time, so I leaned them against my kitchen counter backsplash and there they sit, to enjoy every day.

Elsewhere I watched, with sheer delight, as one of the many talented artists in attendance sketched one of my favorite animated characters — a Minion. Steve was there doing caricatures, and representing The National Cartoonists Society and NCSFEST International Comic Arts Festival (ncsfest.com).

Throughout, attendees were dressed in the costumes of their favorite characters. Photographers had no lack of entertaining subjects to shoot, and places to shoot them — including cosplay at the Anaheim Convention Center’s iconic outdoor fountain.

Make plans to attend WonderCon 2023 from March 24-26, in Anaheim. To learn more, visit: www.comic-con.org. Here you will also find information about the return of the full-scale 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, which will be held in-person from July 21-24, plus Preview Night on July 20.

Coming July 20-24, 2022
The Comic-Con Museum will open in San Diego’s Balboa Park on June 30, 2022 with an amazing Spider-Man exhibition.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #742

Jan Wagner

4 Comments

  1. Alberto on May 20, 2022 at 12:47 am

    Thank You for sharing your detailed report of WonderCon 2022. Although I missed being there but your wonderful photos gave me the exciting feeling of me being there.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Jan Wagner on May 20, 2022 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Alberto,
      It’s nice to hear from you again. I’m glad that you enjoyed my WonderCon coverage. That means you will probably also enjoy my coverage of the upcoming “STAR WARS Celebration” in Anaheim, CA (May 26-29/22). I’ll be there for that.
      I sure wish that I had someone to help me by doing social media, so that I could get the word out about what I have been doing since 2002 — in 742 columns to date, mostly with my own professional photography). Someone who is talented at doing that could make some money for both of us (since i cannot justify hiring someone. It would add to my already considerable expenses). A recent short5 video that I did has already had over 111,000 views on my AutoMatters & More YouTube Channel. If I had the time I would like to do short versions of that and learn how to put them on TikTok and Instagram. I should also post some of my photos on Instagram. I just do not have enough time to do everything…
      Jan

  2. David Sperry on May 20, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    This looks like an exciting event. Your feet must have been killing you by the end of the day! The closest I ever got to this world of comics was reading them as a youngster. That’s before I moved to a higher level with Mad Magazine haha. My favorite comic character was Captain Marvel. He would point his arm to the sky and say Shazam!

    This event is suitable for kids, but I note from the pics that most of the attendees are adults. I guess we are all kids at heart.

    • Jan Wagner on May 20, 2022 at 7:53 pm

      Hi David,
      Actually this event did not tire me.
      I read lots of comic books as a kid. I still remember the kitchen drawer full of them in our house. They disappeared when we moved. I don’t want to think what that drawer full of comic books would be worth today. I guess because so many people threw them out, that is why those that are remaining are worth so much now.
      I just went through all my SPAM comments. Apparently what some people do is write generic posts and include a website address that they benefit from. Search engines apparently find those links. I just learned about a way in WordPress to create a blacklist of links, email addresses and odd words, and then automatically delete those SPAM comments. Hopefully those comments will get deleted from now on so that I do not have to continue moderating them individually and marking them as SPAM.
      Today I also started replacing the broken photo links in my columns from when DriveTribe shut down and I had inadvertently linked my photos to the ones that I posted there. It is a lot of work for the columns that have a lot of photos for me to upload now, but at least I had made screenshots of all of my posts on DriveTribe, so I just need to match the photos in those screen captures to their originals on my hard drives, and then upload them here, one at a time. It is monotonous work but I must be careful or I make mistakes.
      Jan

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