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

March 5, 2007

WonderCon 2007: In Summary

These are my thoughts from a vantage point 1/3rd of a continent away on this year's WonderCon, which took place last weekend. They are an advertiser on this site.

* It seems to have been well-attended, although 1) anecdotally maybe a shade off of last year's attendance when there were enough people on hand that fire marshal issues cropped up and 2) more of a typical con attendance cycle than most other conventions at this point, spiking Saturday, although not as big a spike as what used to be traditional for show like this. In other words, there wasn't a quiet day, but there were noticeably less crazy days.

* It's decidedly not comics, and it's not something I understand in the slightest, but people's costumes are incredible these days. I know they've been doing costumes since the Seuling Cons in the early 1970s, and probably before that, but the variety and general professional quality strikes me as its own thing right now. It's not just anime-related cosplay (I probably just sounded like my dad the way I phrased that), although that is certainly where the numbers come from. It's all the costumes, all types. I went to a Wizard-sponsored show in the late 1990s with a brother that was hoping to see a bunch of people in costumes, and barely anyone fit the bill. But now...

* I like how Mark Evanier has become his own programming track at such events -- although I'm jealous that he always has a panel to attend in which he's interested -- and one of the best things about it is that his involvement seems to encourage some of the older artists to talk about their art on panels devoted to technique and craft as opposed to simply being accessed as resources for industry and character history.

* I think these things develop convention to convention as opposed to naturally falling to a show because of a date, but the mainstream panels definitely had more of a "reaction to what was announced at New York Comic-Con" vibe, at least from my vantage point. This may be a moot point because New York moves into the Spring next year. It should be interesting to see if WonderCon can become a place for the kind of new book / new creative team / new direction talk that whips American superhero comics fans into a frenzy.

* By far the most interesting thing to come out of the weekend's panels was Dan Vado's declaration that if he had to do it over again, he'd own everything. What's interesting is that Vado speaks out so infrequently no one knows exactly how to take his statements.

* I expect there will be talk in the general and in various convention offices about the state of bootleg DVD sales at cons and the salacious aspects of shows, two criticisms lobbed at WonderCon from the Mercury-News blog. Since the former has in the past led to police on convention show floors, I would think this to be a more immediate concern.

* Look for WonderCon to lock its film-related programming into place, continue to play its proximity to West Coast cartooning communities in terms of bringing in creators for spotlights, and I suspect try to become a place for early summer mainstream comics announcements starting in 2008. The show seems pretty solidly attended but a little bland, so becoming the first big show of the year should help it fashion an identity.

The Collective Memory for WonderCon 2007 can be found here.
posted 8:42 am PST | Permalink

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