Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 29, 2013

Festivals Extra: WonderCon Launches Today

I remain semi-fascinated by the fact that the traditional Spring show WonderCon has just sort of decamped to southern California for a couple of years as a result of a kind of rambling dispute with convention infrastructure officials in its traditional home, San Francisco. A lot of the reaction to that bit of news depends on seeing one side or another as acting in bad faith: that city and convention center officials in San Francisco should in the interest of basic reason be much more solicitous of WonderCon's needs, or, conversely, that WonderCon engineered the whole thing in order to get a convention going in Anaheim. I don't think either stance reflects the truth. I think the first is a strategic choice and the second is Comic-Con strongest play in response. In fact, I hope things work out for Comic-Con to stay in Anaheim, whether by adding a fourth show, by keeping WonderCon where it is this weekend for the near-future, or by keeping the Anaheim show and revamping APE into a broader convention. I don't think they have any plans in any direction; I'm just talking about my personal preference: it would be nice to be able to count on a big mainstream-oriented Southern California show, and one hopes this might even in the long term trigger an alt-show of some kind in LA proper. But with WonderCon, the thing is I think CCI's collective skill-set is such that they're the best people to put a convention on in Anaheim the Spring before a summer movie season, and that unlike many of the other candidates for putting on a show of that size and scope they remain comics-interested, so that should remain a core of such a show. Los Angeles is also super-convenient in a way that San Francisco is not, which in the years to come will be a bigger and bigger deal.

Anyhow, for comics fans that might want to spend a day over there -- not Saturday, which is apparently sold out -- or have already purchased tickets, I'd recommend the traditional Quick Draw! panel, the Jeff Smith spotlight and Smith's panel with Terry Moore. I'd attend the Elfquest anniversary panel, too, although whether or not you go to that one I imagine is already something you know walking in the doors. Jeff Smith is there promoting this Fall's RASL color hardcover, and he's a friendly, articulate panel presence that tends to speak his mind. Oh, and I also enjoy the comics made by the writer Jeff Parker, who will be talking to Pat Loika along with the talented artists Gabriel Hardman. There are Comics Arts Conference presentations, which can be dry for a lot of people but are usually fun for the subject matter of individual presentations and the fact that they tend to feature folks that you don't see on a lot of other panels. I'd enjoy hearing other views on Matt Kindt, for instance.

My personal memory of WonderCon in San Francisco is that it's a strong show to see original art and to buy from the dealers that specialize in that work, but in Anaheim I'm not as certain.
posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink

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