You know that feeling you get when you’re a kid and you go to Disneyland for the first time? For adults I’d equate it to maybe going to Las Vegas for the first time. You arrive at your destination with vague expectations, but once you see it with your own eyes you become a bit overwhelmed and you’re left somewhat speechless. Well that just happened to me on Saturday when I attended my very first WonderCon.
I’m no stranger to conventions in general. I’ll admit that I have been to two separate Star Trek conventions but it’s been at least 15 years. As a part of the film/TV blogging community, I read about WonderCon and Comic-Con every year. Comic-Con is the mother of all comic conventions. It’s held every July in San Diego and attracts all aspects of the comic/film/tv industry. For three days every April, San Francisco plays host to WonderCon. Being the sister to Comic-Con, WonderCon isn’t as big, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t become Comic-Con’s equal in the next few years.
I had an idea of what to expect when I walked through the doors of the Moscone Center. I had prepared my bag with camera, notebook, and pen so that I could record all of the happenings. It turns out, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. The minute we arrived, I was overwhelmed by every aspect and all my preparation went right out the window. I was bombarded with people in costume, crowds moving in every direction, lines at booths and bathrooms and a feeling of somewhat organized chaos.
I went with a dear friend who has been attending this event for years. He knew exactly what to expect. I was the rookie of the group and I’m afraid to say that it really showed. I knew people dressed up in costume for this event but I didn’t expect to ride BART with Lt. Uhura. I really wish I had gotten a picture of her because her costume was pretty great. Once we arrived and I was able to get my bearings, I started to take pictures. I had taken my camera, but honestly, didn’t use it. Thank goodness for smart phones.
The friend that I went with was on a mission to fill in his comic collection. My mission was to hit up the HBO booth and sit on the Iron Throne. Once I was able to do that, I was game for pretty much anything else. We headed over to the HBO booth and I got in line. HBO’s new series Game of Thrones is set to premier in just a couple of weeks. I’m just about finished with the book, and quite addicted to it so I was really excited to see that they would be at the con with the throne. We got in line, which turned out to be a speedy one, and next thing I knew, it was my turn. I approached the throne, got my picture taken, and hesitatingly removed myself so that my friend could have his turn. HBO did a great job with this booth. They were doing professional-type digital pictures and had a table set up with three iPads. Once your picture was taken, you could see it at the iPad station and email it to yourself, or post it to your Facebook or Twitter. Well played HBO, well played indeed.
After I seized the Iron Throne, we pretty much just wandered about. We looked at all the vendors who had loads of goodies on display, took pictures of various cosplayers, and I started to become a little more comfortable in the sea of bodies. I’m very uninformed on the topic of comic books and comic book artists. My friend is the one who knows all the ins and outs, and he’s patiently educating me, but going into this I really didn’t know squat. I spent some time with The Punisher about 20 years ago, but aside from that I haven’t really been part of the comic book scene. We made our way to Artist’s Alley to have a look at all of the incredible art that was featured at each artist’s table. We stopped at one table that had some pretty awesome superhero art, namely a huge vertical banner of Thor. Come to find out, this was the table for Colorist Jeff Balke. I had just read a write-up about Jeff from his appearance at C2E2 a couple of weeks ago so I had a vague idea of who he was. Not only is his art amazing, but he’s a super nice guy and very engaging. I ended up buying a Wonder Woman print that he was kind enough to sign and personalize for me and it’s all kinds of awesome. On a side note, it’s also how Wonder Woman should look. I’m just sayin’. Check out Jeff’s website and be sure to look at his gallery (under “Collaborations”, the fourth row has the WW print I bought.)
After Artist’s Alley, came Celebrity Row. We wandered down the row to see who all was there and came across Lou Ferrigno. My friend tried talking to him, but ole Lou didn’t seem very interested so we moved on. We saw John Stanley, who used to host Creature Feature back in the late 70′s/early 80′s, Peter Mayhew who you should all know played the mighty Chewbacca, Jim Kelly from Enter the Dragon along with loads of others. The real treat for me was the table at the end of the row. I looked up and had to do a double take because right in front of me was Richard Hatch! If you’re thinking “that’s the guy from Survivor right?” you’re wrong. Not that Richard Hatch….THE Richard Hatch. He was Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica and played Tom Zarek on the new Battlestar Galactica. I got to meet someone from BSG! I’m ashamed to say I did get a little star struck but I got to shake his hand and I quickly snapped a picture albeit a blurry one.
After that the rest of the day was a bonus. We wandered around the showroom floor and took in the sights. I wandered off while my friend shopped for his comics with the intent of hitting up a panel or two but unfortunately that didn’t play out the way I would have liked. As we were leaving we came face to face with the creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman. He took a couple of minutes to talk to us as well as take a couple of pictures. He was very gracious and nice guy to boot.
At the end of the day, I had a great time with my buddy and his son and I’ll definitely go back next year. Now that I have that first one out of the way I’ll be able to plan better for next year and really lay out the things I want to see and do. I was hoping to have some good info for you all on upcoming movies but hopefully the gallery of pictures will be just as entertaining.Tags: Apollo, Battlestar Galactica, Captain America, Chewbacca, Comic Books, Comic-Con, cosplay, Creature Feature, Enter the Dragon, Game of Thrones, HBO, Iron Throne, Jeff Balke, Jim Kelly, John Stanley, Lou Ferrigno, Moscone Center, Peter Mayhew, Richard Hatch, Robert Kirkman, San Diego, San Francisco, The Incredible Hulk, The Walking Dead, Thor, Tom Zarek, WonderCon