WonderCon in Anaheim March 16-18 2012

WonderCon 2012

WonderCon decided to hang its hat in The Anaheim Convention Center this year instead of in Northern California. Apparently, their usual hang out was undergoing construction, so they flew south for 2012. From what I heard, it was also a quasi-experiment to see how well the accommodations, traffic, parking, etc worked for a possible future permanent move. Lots of different opinions about that bouncing around but when Bill and I tried to go down on Saturday mid-morning WE COULD NOT PARK. We drove the hour plus journey to Orange County on the wonderful interstate 5, in the rain, then circled around and around and around the convention center area for about 45 minutes until Mr. Wu announced, “ENUFF. We will come back tomorrow. Early.”

Marv Wolfman
Marv Wolfman

Signage both inside and out were confusing in that, outside, the City of Anaheim had flashing lights directing con attendees to park in the stadium… like far away. Not true. Anyone could park closer in the convention center (if they arrived early) or in the Disneyland lots (a walk, but doable), so that was… weird. Inside the center, not only were there no obvious signs that said “WONDERCON HERE” but there were hundreds of teenage girls there for their volleyball and cheer leading tournament. Not a bad mix, considering each under-aged girl seem to have a pit bull mom attached keeping gawking fan boys at a safe distance. Sure. Go right ahead and do back bends and splits in french cut body suits directly in front of the comic book guys who have never kissed a girl. Not a problem. But by the end of the day, the more awesome comic costumers were taking group shots with the girls. It was funny. No. Really. :)

Michael Golden and Art Adams
Michael Golden and Art Adams

Once inside however, WonderCon so had the look and feel of a mini-Comic Con. It was AMAZING. Bill spent a lot of time in artist alley. Like Indiana Jones, he recently uncovered a couple sketch books from his younger fandom years in storage and was able to share them with many artists. Some, like Paul Guinan, even said they were happy to “not have to cringe” at their 20+ year old drawings!

Paul Guinan
Paul Guinan

I was touched when William Stout drew a sketch of Walter daydreaming about being a big dinosaur… awww iguana dreams…

Walter looks at Bill Stout's drawing of him

Of course we dropped by and said hello to Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman. Corinna and I used to work together at the LA Zoo so we have many shared memories of “those daze!”.

Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman

Max Brooks
Max Brooks
Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks, was signing copies of his zombie books and posters where we hung out in the long line with fellow bookhunters Max and The Ogre. Just gotta say, our bookhunter friends are just awesome. You would think we would be in competition with each other, but it’s so not like that. Those guys have always had our backs and we have theirs. It can get ruff out there in the book jungle, long lines in 100+ degree weather with no shade, freezing cold under a dripping umbrella, late nights, early mornings, having to be on your toes to figure out sometimes confusing rules, where to get tickets, where to find books, how to find a train to ship boxes of books back to LA from NY Book Expo… daunting. But I don’t know how many times The Ogre has quietly slipped me a ticket and tucked me protectively in line in front of him, or how when our only copy of a signed book got lost in the mail Max saved our rep and mailed our customer his copy, or how often J&N call to give Bill tips on important signings they caught wind of, or how Dr. Dave has stood in line with us to help us get extra books signed… serious trench buddies. All of them.

Bill Wu and Jon Armstrong
Jon Armstrong

Bill is not only a book guy, but a magician. So it was super fun for him to spend a lil quality time with Jon Armstrong toward the end of the con. He worked on the illusions in the comic Smoke and Mirrors so we got some signed. Ah-sumness.

Just to name a few, we also saw Art Adams, Michael Golden (signing a card), Renae De Liz and Ron Lim.

Somehow, we managed to miss our friend Ken Estes the entire con so as we were leaving we finally found each other. He had the longest face I have ever seen, like, seriously, you gyz are leaving NOW? No, of course not. So we relaxed in the nearby hotel lobby with some Starbucks drinks for a while. That was one of the best parts of the con for me… sipping a latte and watching those two do magic tricks. We actually have adopted Ken, we just don’t have his room ready yet. ;)

Click here to see all the photos from Wondercon…

Until our next wondrous adventure…
P~
WilliamWuBooks.com

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