WonderCon 2010 main exhibit hall
|Venue||1987–2002: Oakland Convention Center
2003–2011: Moscone Center
2012-2015 Anaheim Convention Center
2016- : Los Angeles Convention Center
|Organized by||Comic-Con International|
WonderCon is an annual comic book, science fiction, and motion picture convention, held in the San Francisco Bay Area (1987–2011) then, under the name WonderCon Anaheim, in Anaheim, California (2012-2015), and most recently WonderCon Los Angeles starting in 2016.
The convention was conceived by retailer John Barrett (a founder of the retail chain Comics and Comix) and originally held in the Oakland Convention Center. In 2003, it moved to San Francisco's Moscone Center. The show's original name was the Wonderful World of Comics Convention. The WonderCon logo was designed by Richard Bruning and Tim Zach.
Retailer Joe Field (of Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff) and his partner Mike Friedrich owned and operated the convention for fifteen years. In 2001, they brokered a deal with the management team that runs the San Diego Comic-Con International to make it part of the Comic-Con International convention family. This gave the San Francisco show a wider audience and has made it a venue for previews and early screenings of major motion pictures, in particular ones based on comic books. These have included Spider-Man 2 in 2004, Batman Begins and Fantastic Four in 2005, Superman Returns in 2006, 300 in 2007, Watchmen in 2009, and Kick-Ass in 2010. All of these events featured the stars of the films fielding questions from the audience.
The show moved to Anaheim in 2012 because the Moscone Center was being remodeled and was rebranded WonderCon Anaheim. Originally Comic-Con International stated they would be returning to San Francisco after renovations were complete, however the convention ultimately stayed in Southern California with the Bay Area receiving a new convention in the form of Silicon Valley Comic Con in 2016. In 2016 WonderCon relocated from Anaheim to Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Features and events
While the main attraction of WonderCon has always been various retailers selling back issues of comic books and action figures, the exhibitor list has grown to include retailers of specialty DVDs. There is also an "Artists Alley" featuring mainly comic book artists selling artwork, signing books, and doing sketches; and mainstream celebrities signing autographed pictures.
In addition, WonderCon features an event called "Trailer Park," where trailers for upcoming films are shown.
The WonderCon masquerade competition usually takes place on Saturday after the convention closes. Awards are given to those with the most creative performances, though anyone can participate.
- Pimental, Joseph. "Can Anaheim lure Comic-Con? Here are four reasons it could". OCRegister.com. Orange County Register. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- "WonderCon Moves To Anaheim With Costumed Avengers In Tow," CBS 2 San Francisco (March 17, 2012).
- "WonderCon Anaheim 2013 :: What's New". Comic-con.org. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Albert, Aaron. "Wondercon Profile", About.com.
- Boucher, Geoff. "WonderCon shows the comic convention circuit's power is growing". Los Angeles Times. April 6, 2010
- MacDonald, Heidi. "WonderCon Brings Fans, Publishers, Excitement to San Francisco", Publishers Weekly. April 4, 2011
- Press release. "2003 Harvey Awards Banquet Cancelled, Awards Unaffected, Comic Book Resources (January 24, 2003).
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