I’m from the bay area, so I’ve been going to Wondercon since I was… 11, maybe? It was in Oakland back then. It seems to have followed me down to Southern California. I’m fine with that, although I do feel like it’s missing some of its charm from when it was in the bay area.
Day 1 is mostly walking the floor, which is light on spectacle but has a good balance of comics and other stuff. Artist’s Alley is huge.
I sign up for the Comic Creator Connection and essentially speed-date with a bunch of comic artists to see if we can find a good partnership. A couple of them are great; a couple of them are okay; but most of them don’t even have sequential art samples. It’s a mixed bag in terms of style, but all it takes is to connect with one or two good artists to see if something good can come out of it, and I’m able to do that. I think.
We catch one panel at the end of the day and it’s the Geek & Sundry panel. My close friends, the 2 Broke Geeks, have become a part of the vlogging team there, so I’m tagging along and learning what I can about vlogging culture. Felicia Day (their boss?) and Wil Wheaton host the Q + A, followed by a presentation of SPOOKED, directed by Richard Martin at Bad Hat Harry. I had the pleasure of meeting with Richard earlier in the week by pure coincidence, just to talk TV. In the meeting, he was so humble that he didn’t even mention he was the director of Spooked; he simply mentioned it was one of many exciting projects the company was doing. Omar (one of the 2 Broke Geeks) and I have been going to Wondercon for 10 years and as far as I know this is the first panel we attend where we both personally know people in front of the mics.
(I’m the one without hair)
We wrap up the night with a trip to Denny’s (a Wondercon tradition from the bay area), where someone who linked up with us over the course of the day hooks me up with a 3 day pass. I thought my Wondercon experience was over, but it’s actually just beginning.
Because we’ve been going to Wondercon for 10 years, Omar has this tradition of writing scripts about our whole gang of high school friends going to Wondercon. Except there are robots and magic and some of us die and come back to life and the fate of the world usually is in question. This is what I’m reading in the morning before the day starts.
In the afternoon we sneak into the Fox panel, where, in a giant arena, I happen to sit down next to a friend of mine I used to work with in the mailroom at CAA. They show us previews of upcoming Fox movies. Dawn of Planet of the Apes looks amazing.
Then there’s more convention floor wandering, before Chris (one of the many members of our wondercon gang) organizes a flash mob with all the people in costumes from Frozen he can find. He’s disappeared for a while, and we’re nervous, until he shows up and says “I found a band.” Sure enough, there’s a dude dressed like Goku with some of his buddies and the flashmob begins, growing twice in size over the course of all the disney songs they sing.
There are TONS of people in costumes everywhere. A lot of Deadpools. A lot of Harley Quinns. I was hoping to see someone in Falcon gear from the Winter Soldier movie but never see one.
I do, however, see two guys in costume from Tim Burton’s Batman movie, which started my obsession with superheroes in the first place.
We stop for drinks at Trader Sam’s near Downtown Disney, and then I’m back at the con for one last panel with Marvel writers.
Last day and I’m exhausted from the morning. Start off with another Marvel panel: how to break into comics. Lots of great advice from all the successful people up there. The take-away piece of advice comes from Sam Humphries, who highlights exactly what I’ve been doing wrong when he says that he made the comic that would not otherwise exist without him. That’s exactly it: I’ve been making derivative shit that’s more of the same. So now it’s time to course correct, and I’ve already got ideas and stories for more “personal” comics that only I can create.
Afterwards, I catch up to the editor who hosted the panel, Sana Amanat, who is a personal hero of mine for creating a mainstream Muslim superhero within the Marvel Universe: Ms. Marvel. The character in this comic, Kamala Khan, is as relatable as Peter Parker, and to me that’s an amazing feat.
The rest of the day is scrambling the hall looking for comic book deals (nothing spectacular, but I still spend more money than I should), playing Firefly trivia at the Browncats booth, and attending a packed hall for a panel about writing awesome female characters.
Wondercon closes and we’re still wandering around taking pictures and meeting people. My favorite change over the past ten years? Having to stop every time someone wants to take a picture with Omar, because the 2 Broke Geeks are celebrities.
Wondercon has changed. There aren’t as many comics, and I’m barely conscious of which writers and artists are doing signings because I’m too distracted by all the presence of TV and Film. On the other hand, that affords me new networking opportunities. It’s a baby Comic-Con. A very fat baby.
My goal is to have a completed comic book that I’m not ashamed to show to people by the next Wondercon. I can already feel the clock ticking.
I Just fucking love this ♥
I had the most interesting comic-con ever, having been behind the scenes of some of this stuff for once. My least favorite moment was being told that my signing was canceled because they lost my comics in the mail. It was a hard lesson to learn that there are things out of your control and sometimes you just have to be patient when bad things happen. But my favorite moment of the convention was when someone who had only ever read WATCHMEN asked me what he should try reading next. I recommended SAGA. I hope he becomes a life-long comic reader, because it’s a great art form and one of the greatest storytelling mediums — well worth celebrating with 125,000 people every year (even if most of them are only there for the movies that often bastardize such comics).
I’d love to be more specific about the things I’m learning while working in television, but for now I’ll just say that to have a day job working on something that millions of people watch and many are passionate about — that’s a dream I’m grateful to be living, and getting to see the fans up close was a great reminder of that.