WonderCon 2006 had to be one of my favorite conventions in a long time. I usually attend three or four conventions a year, but I don't usually go to WonderCon. But this year's guest line-up and surprises like Brandon Routh making an appearance made it a worthy trip indeed.
I arrived at the show rather late on Friday due to a nasty fight with a sinus infection, but I wasn't going to let that stop me (note: flying on planes with a sinus infection which leads to an inner ear infection is not fun). I only had about two to three hours on the convention floor, which was just enough to time catch up with some friends and get a feel for the layout of the floor before Saturday, when the convention would get noticeably busier. In talking with a handful of retailers on Friday, most said that sales were average to a little slow, but they were all looking forward to Saturday. Almost all of them said, "If Saturday in 2006 is anything like last year, we'll be doing just fine." While the convention floor was a little light Friday night, it was very late in the day so I can't say it's really an informed view of how things went on Friday. Still, the traffic was better than some other regional shows I attended in 2005.
Saturday was a different beast entirely. Attendance seemed fantastic, even with panel discussions that sometimes moved thousands of people off the convention floor and up to the panel rooms. In fact, it got so busy at one point that the San Francisco Fire Marshall shut down the convention floor for about 15-20 minutes. Some retailers I spoke with inside said they felt like it was an over reaction because the con floor just wasn't that over crowded when they closed the doors. Regardless, it was only about 20 minutes or so and returned to normalcy.
I attended a handful of panels myself on Saturday, including the "Superman Returns" panel and the press conference afterward. I also did something I've not done in a long time-- I went to a panel as a fan. The J.J. Abrams "Mission Impossible III" panel was fantastic. They showed loads of scenes from the new movie, which got me excited about the movie. Considering I didn't really like the first two films, that's saying something. Abrams handled the crowd wonderfully and talked about how he loved going to conventions. Let's hope this isn't his last appearance.
Overall I'd have to say that WonderCon 2006 was one of the best regional shows I've been to in a long time. Wait, scratch that, one of the best conventions I've been to in a long time. The enthusiasm of the fans, the wide variety of costumed folk (you all know my love of taking pictures of the costumed folk) and the guest list just made it a very enjoyable experience and a great way to kick off the convention season. Next up is the New York Comic-Con in less than two weeks, and myself and the CBR crew will be in attendance.
In the mean time, enjoy our regular convention tradition, the CBR Photo Parade.
|Convention season begins and I'm already tired!||Frank Miller signs at the CBLDF booth on Friday.|
|This lovely thing at the Dark Horse booth greeted you as you walked into the convention hall.||"Tron's" Landry Walker|
|"Tron's" Eric Jones||SLG Publishing's Dan Vado|
|Arcana's Sean O'Reilly||"Atomika's" Sal Abbinanti|
|"Sandman" represented nicely at WonderCon.||"Hatter M's" Frank Beddor|
|I just love that the Troma guy is hanging out in the background, looking like he's ready to pounce.||And there's our lovable friend!|
|Bill Morrison, Misty Lee and Paul Dini||Peter David|
|Walking around San Francisco, you never know what you're going to see, like Fonzy storm trooper on the left. "Ayyyyyyy!" (Too old a reference? Damn.)||Universes collide! Massive Explosion! Everybody dies! Universe reboot!|
|No, I would NOT like to ballroom dance.||OK, this guy scared me. We all know there's an Elvis Storm Trooper and the Samurai Storm Trooper is one of the greats, but Sherlock Holmes Storm Trooper? Complete with English accent (faked, but accented none-the-less).|
|Usually guys in trench coats just try to sell you a watch.||This is what the lobby looked like right after the fire marshall closed the doors for a short bit.|
|The weirdest set of Fett's I've ever seen. We've got jungle warfare and snow warfare Fett's and one has a righteous beard going on.||Obi-Wan and Elvis Storm Trooper do a little dance while the princess looks on from behind.|
|OK, how is that knife not illegal?||I'm sure they're manga characters, I just don't know which one. People, help me out here.|
|"Uhhh, Batgirl, a crime was committed in my hotel room. Could you come back with me to my hotel room to investigate? I've got a bottle of champagne and everything!"||Chris Gage|
|Ross Richie, Johanna Stokes and Mike Nelson at the Boom! Panel.||Boom!'s Mike Nelson, Ross Richie, Johanna Stokes and Joshua Hale Fialkov|
|Bruce Timm||Great Crow costumes. Two of my favorites from this weekend.|
|Gerard Jones||Mark Badger|
|Captain William "Buck" Rogers. Or so I'm told.||This shot is great, for obvious reasons, but it's even better considering that's Erik Larsen going through long boxes in the background and I hadn't noticed when I took the pic.|
|Watch where you point that thing, Mr. Smith Dude!||Wait a second, I liked these costumes a lot, too.|
|You know, they may be little, but they could still bring the Force down on you like the bad little mutha's they be!||"Amazing Joy Buzzard's" Mark Smith|
|Art Adams signs for fans.||Steve Lieber. Steve, it's only the first con of the season! You shouldn't be this tired already!|
|"True Story, Swear To God's" Tom Beland||"Gun Fu's" Howard Shum|
|Stuart Moore||Greg Rucka talks with a fan at the DC booth.|
|Hey, Buddy!||Eric Nguyen and Rick Remender|
|Dude, you're about to get the pink knocked outta ya!||So, what, he's now Blade the Zombie hunter?|
|I don't know, but it scared the crap out of me!||"Gloomcookie's" Serena Valentino|
|I'm not sure, but I kinda dig it. Groovy.||My, what a long tail you have Mr. Alien, sir. Please don't eat me.|
|Brandon Routh and Bryan Singer at the "Superman Returns" Press Conference||More with Brandon and Bryan.|
|Still more.||Great Green Lantern costume with Freakazoid|
|The series may not have been published for years, but "Starman" lives on in the minds of fans.||Damned Pirates! They better not be downloading comics illegally! Wait, no, wrong kind of pirates.|
|Geoff Johns talks with fans at the DC booth.||My favorite pic from the weekend. That's "Seal Team 7's" Zachary Sherman with "Amazing Joy Buzzard's" Dan Hipp growing out of his neck.|
|Zach, this time sans Hipp.||Frank Cho|
|I really do love low rent costumes. They crack me up.||Angel Medina|
|Al Gordon strums a tune.||Always good to end a convention with a costume.|