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WonderCon 2024

WonderCon, celebrated annually at the Anaheim Convention Center, is run by and similar to San Diego Comic-Con, but without much of the participation by the movie, TV and streaming production studios, with their incredible off-site activations (interactive scenes, complete with sets, props and costumed talent). WonderCon is significantly smaller, which makes it more intimate and accessible. Whereas San Diego Comic-Con badges sell out quickly every year, badges for WonderCon still could be purchased on the weekend of the event. That meant that anyone who wanted to enjoy many of the entertaining and informative program panels; shop for comics and at the many other vendors in the huge marketplace…

… choose from over 100 different games to play with likeminded competitors (including in tournaments)…

… watch Children’s Film Festival screenings from around the world; marvel at the craftsmanship and creativity at the WonderCon Masquerade on Saturday evening, and revel in the high energy moves of The Corps Dance Crew and The Saber Guild at intermission while the votes were being tallied; visit with artists (literally from A to Z) in Artists’ Alley, and the Small Press, WonderCon and Fan Tables…

… and, of course, people-watch, perhaps while wearing a costume that you created. It is a photographer’s dreams come true!

The full schedule of panels each day covered a wide variety of topics, described in the WonderCon app and listed on several pages in the WonderCon Program Book. “WonderCon’s Program Schedule is always full of returning favorites and unexpected surprises,” and this year was no exception, “with panels including comics publisher discussions, movie and television events, animation showcases, comics and costuming workshops, interactive presentations, and much more.”

Cosplay was everywhere, with large gatherings of popular and less well-known characters, too, for photos on the terraced steps of the iconic fountain in front of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Fan Tables offered memberships in groups celebrating cultural icons from STAR TREK to STAR WARS.

There was even a collection of life-sized, custom-made droids, with people there that were ready, willing and able to help you make your very own!

The fun did not end when the exhibit halls closed on Friday and Saturday. As was previewed in the WonderCon Program Book & Complete Schedule, programs and special events continued until 10:00 pm and included some of your favorite podcasts, nerdy trivia, geeky debates, and deep dives into the topics you hold near and dear. You might have met your next creative partner at one of the networking events, sought help with your cosplay questions, and gained valuable insight into how to become the next Avatar or how to write like a pro. You could do all that and more during WonderCon After Dark.

Next up is San Diego Comic-Con — the largest of its kind, and famous worldwide. Do not be discouraged if you were unable to secure a coveted San Diego Comic-Con Badge, because one huge difference between WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con is that it is enormous — so much so that it is far too big to just be held within the walls of the San Diego Convention Center. Outside there are free activations, pop culture giveaways, food…

… cosplay, mammoth movie and TV show themed wraps covering the outside of big buildings, and so much more to see and do — all on the streets and in the storefronts and buildings that radiate outwards in all directions from the San Diego Convention Center. In fact, despite my having a Press Credential, each year I eagerly look forward to spending much of my time checking out as much as I can outside the Convention Center, where a San Diego Comic-Con credential is not usually a requirement. Everyone can enjoy San Diego Comic-Con!

The dates for San Diego Comic-Con 2024 are Thursday, July 25th through Sunday, July 28th, plus Preview Night on Wednesday. For more information, visit https://www.comic-con.org.

Do yourself a huge favor and avoid parking downtown. Instead, save yourself the expense and the hassle, and use public transportation. The San Diego Trolley is convenient, runs often and offers reduced multi-day tickets during Comic-Con, and has free parking available at a variety of station locations.

In the meantime, check out the San Diego Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park and at https://www.comic-con.org/museum/. To explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, with the most photos and the latest text, visit “AutoMatters & More” at https://automatters.net. Search by title or topic in the Search Bar in the middle of the Home Page, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes and browse.

Copyright © 2024 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #835r1

Jan Wagner


  1. David Sperry on May 10, 2024 at 3:37 pm

    Jan, it looks like fun and a lot more “doable” in one day than Comic-Con. David.

    • Jan Wagner on May 10, 2024 at 6:06 pm

      There are a lot of panels to see at WonderCon but there are a lot less activations than at San Diego Comic-Con — and none of those are outside the Anaheim Convention Center, from what I could see.

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