The Conning of Wonder – 2017 Edition

So, here I am, posting a comic strip and writing about something I did three months ago. That said I won’t take up a bunch of time here with a blow by blow of what I did and things that I saw while I was there, I’ll just give a few highlights.

The inspiration for the strip came to me in the first hour or so after arriving at the convention. At WonderCon in previous years, the convention routed you through lines for registration, and the registration staff handed out bags with the convention’s program and a lanyard for your pass. Not so this year, as passes were mailed ahead of the convention, so there was no need to go through a registration line. Convenient, right? So, where do you go to get a bag and a lanyard? I was not the only one to be caught off guard by this as I approached one of the convention staffers and started to say, “Excuse me where do I get a…”

“Hall D, just keep walking that way,” they said, not letting me finish, and with the air of someone who was already tired of answering the same question, but knows they’re going to be ask a minimum of a thousand times before lunch. I’m not exaggerating that much. Attendance at WonderCon is huge. I took his advice and kept walking, and did eventually find Hall D at the extreme far end of the convention center. If you’ve never been to the Anaheim Convention Center, it’s big. When I got into the Hall there was nothing clearly saying “Lanyards and Assorted Paraphernalia,” so I just wandered around until I eventually found it. As I walked around searching for the sacred lanyard from which would hang my writ of passage (convention pass) it occurred to me that I was on a sort of quest, complete with a Dark Knight, as a Batman cosplayer walked past me looking confused and holding a pass that was, likewise, not on a lanyard.

Speaking of cosplay, the cosplayers at this convention were unbelievable. Convention cosplayers are almost always pretty good, you will always see someone who makes you think “awww, you did the best you could, bless your heart,” but there were staggeringly few of those at WonderCon this year. When I was getting ready for WonderCon I packed my camera with the intention of only taking pictures of the best cosplayers I could find. I wouldn’t take pictures just because someone was in costume, or because the cosplayer was hot and showing a lot of skin. I would take pictures because they had done something really exceptional. I took far, far more photos than I had planned. Another thing I was not expecting was the number of the cosplayers who asked if I posted online, and if I would tag them. I would be more than happy to, if had remembered to post the photos. I may still post them up on my Instagram account (@geekspeakcomic), but so much time has passed that, like this post, I’m not sure the photos are still relevant.

Most of Friday was spent in panels. The best of those I attended on Friday was, as it is most years, the spotlight panel on Jim Lee. As usual he seemed as happy to see a roomful of his fans as we were to see him. He was just as generous with his answers to questions, and his willingness to engage with everyone who stepped up to the microphone as I remember. I finally got the opportunity to ask him if something he had said about demystifying the artistic process was a personal philosophy, or part of something bigger. Turns out it’s more the former, but was both at one time. He then dove into talking through his process as he drew Batman on a sketch cover.

After the day’s events I met up with my friend TeaLeaf and his wife, CelluloidGirl, for dinner at a sushi restaurant not far from the Convention Center. The sushi restaurant was Hana Maru Sushi, a hole in the wall between two other restaurants. It also serves some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. We had a great time hanging out, resting from walking around all day, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

In previous years I’ve tended to go on and on with these posts, so I’ll wrap up here with just a few of the year’s highlights:

  • Hanging out with friends including TeaLeaf, CelluloidGirl, LittleCrane, and AgentBennie
  • Getting to meet and spend some time chatting with Stephan Franck, an illustrator, writer, animator, and creator of a truly great vampire comic, Silver. You can learn all about it on the comic’s website,
  • Having my caricature done by Tom Richmond, whose work can be found in Mad Magazine. It was fun finding out that he and I came to appreciate Mad Magazine in much the same way, reading it at an early age, well before we could understand the jokes.
  • Attending the “Quick Draw” panel and having the opportunity to watch Sergio Aragones show everyone how it’s done. If you have the chance to see Sergio work, take it. It’s well worth it.

I think I’ll wrap up my nearly annual WonderCon post there. I’ll put some of my favorite photos from this year’s WonderCon in a later post

WonderCon, was, as always, a way for me to reconnect with a part of myself that I frequently neglect. I spend so much time worried about taking care of my responsibilities, that it can be easy to forget that I occasionally need to do something good for myself. Going to comic book conventions is one of the things I do for myself.