Strange things are afoot in Convention Land.
The Bay Area’s loss was Southern California’s gain this year. WonderCon, the little brother to Comic-Con, moved for the first time to Anaheim to avoid construction of The Moscone Center in the Bay Area. Safe to say, even with the crummy weather, WonderCon’s first Anaheim show was a very solid success. Record crowds were recorded for the show. It apparently it had doubled in size, and everyone got that Comic Con feel with the dealers and Hollywood without the Comic Con hassle.
At the time of that show, I had declared that this was the testing ground to see if WonderCon would be making a permanent move to Anaheim .
Turns out I might have been right.
With The Monscone Center not taking any bookings for the Spring of 2013, it looks like WonderCon, or a form of it, will be returning to Anaheim March 29-31. I’m giddy. Can’t deny it. I’ve longed dreamed for a Comic-Con Esq style show in my area. While there are MANY wonderful shows in Southern California, in the greater LA/OC area, there is almost nothing like Comic-Con in stature sans Anime Expo.
Now, you noticed I said “form” of WonderCon. The Comic-Con International folks (CCI) were faced with a bit of a situation when deciding to return to Anaheim. See, the dates for next years WonderCon are Easter Weekend. Friday and Saturday shouldn’t be much of a thing, Sunday might prove to be a bit of an uphill battle. But those were the only dates in the Spring time available. Why? Well, The Moscone Center told CCI that they would have dates for the Fall of 2013 available. Meaning that WonderCon could have been held off, and possibly done in the fall (in competition with the New York Comic Con) Although that time frame wasn’t locked in place by the center, CCI had to make a decision. Anaheim said they had a Spring date ready to go. Back to Anaheim, or hold off and see if the Bay Area opens up? Decision: They’re going to do both dates if available.
What does that mean? It means if the Fall 2013 date opens up (and CCI will know in a few weeks) then WonderCon will happen again in the Bay area for 2013. But that also means that CCI will have their Spring show in Anaheim this upcoming Easter weekend. That show, if the Fall WonderCon show happens, will be CCI’s first NEW show that they’ve created since their formation. While the group came together from the founders of the Comic-Con gang, they have never started their own show beyond Comic-Con. WonderCon and APE (Alternative Press Expo, which is held in San Francisco) were acquired by the CCI years ago. Anaheim would be a brand new, and probably an exclusive new show to Southern California from now on.
A few years back, when Comic-Con was thinking of moving out of San Diego, Anaheim was the strongest contender for the relocation. After speaking with the people who run the convention center, it seemed that even if Comic-Con didn’t move to Anaheim, CCI was very impressed with the facilities. Anaheim is the largest convention center on the west coast, with their own arena. With Comic Con’s biggest draw being Hollywood, a Spring show to showcase upcoming Summer films has become one of the biggest draws for WonderCon in the past few years. With Anaheim being literally 30 miles from Hollywood, it would make things a million times easier for the show to garner that Hollywood crowd.
I would rather it be that way. Comic-Con use to be about debuting stuff that’s not coming out for almost an entire year. Now, most studios push stuff that’s coming out in a few weeks on their panels. Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios were about the only ones that had any goodies that the public won’t see for a good long while. With a Spring show, panels can be held for films we the nerd public are gearing up to see anyway. Perfect for showcasing the upcoming Summer slate.
I loved WonderCon last year. Felt like my early days at Comic-Con before the madness. Anaheim made sure the event went smoothly, and sans the rain, I think they did a fairly good job. The only down side was parking, as Disneyland takes up A LOT in the area, but Angel Stadium (which is down the street) along with the Honda Center, helped accommodate the overflow.
I’ve said many time, Anaheim is the town that’s perfect for a pop culture super show like this. Next door to Disneyland. The area is clean, plenty mid priced restaurants and entertainment, and it’s family friendly up the Wazoo! So if Easter weekend is or isn’t WonderCon, there will be a CCI run show in the area, and I’d expect some big things.