Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gettin' my geek on at Wondercon...

                I love comic books!

Emperor's Royal Guard

                That probably comes as no surprise to those who know me but to those who don’t I’ll give a brief background.  I’ve been collecting comics in some form or another since I was about 8 or 9 (that’s around 1982 or so for those of you keeping track) and trading GI-Joe issue #25 (along with a gazillion other comic books) back and forth with my best friend on the front porch of his house.  Back then we were quite upset when the books went from sixty-five cents to seventy-five cents.  Comic books were my gateway drug to the science fiction and fantasy books I took up in my late teens and continue to worship at the age of 39.  There was maybe a year or two around 18 that I stopped but it wasn’t all that long of a period of time.  I read them, I read about them and I listen to podcasts about what’s going on in the industry.  I’m hooked. 
                Over the years I’ve gone to about seven comic-cons in San Diego.  (Once I went to a Star Trek convention but that’s another story for another blog post) Back in the 90’s the San Diego comic-con was a fairly humble affair but really fun with great deals to be had and new products to ogle.  Slowly it has gotten to the version we have now; a large four day orgy of pop culture.  I took the family two years ago and while it was fun and filled with eye-candy galore it was PACKED!!!!  The San Diego International Comic Convention has reached epic proportions, which is cool for the industry and awesome if you have the time and patience for it.  I have neither. 
                So along came a new year and a growing desire to check out a comic-con.  I didn’t really care if it was San Diego or not.  I just wanted to attend one.  I did a little research and came up with Wondercon 2012.  The Wondercon is a yearly affair but usually held up in San Francisco.  Due to some construction on the hotel it’s usually held at they decided to move it down here.  (According to rumors running rampant there is a more sinister reason for the move but I won’t go into that here) For twenty dollars a single adult could go. (kids under 12 are free which as a father of three I think is just awesome…great way to take a relatively inexpensive family day)  So we got two tickets and the time off and prepped to venture out into the unknown.

Our Badges and Lanyards!

                The con ended up being on the one weekend this winter that Southern California has had a ‘real’ storm.  It rained, and it rained hard and, though the walk from the car to the convention hall was relatively short, we got soaked!  All was not lost as the kid’s flagging enthusiasm regained momentum at the sight of about a dozen stormtroopers in full regalia just inside the convention doors.  I believe I read they are from the 501st but don’t quote me.  Whoever they were the costumes were simply awesome.  There was also a volleyball tournament and a cheerleading competition going.  It was quite the site to see all of these people mixing in the foyer.  Cheerleaders sharing a hallway with geeks made for some pretty hilarious looks.  The Geeks seemed shy and unsure how to look at cheerleaders and cheerleaders looking at the cos-players (people who wear costumes of their favorite heroes/heroines) as if they had some sort of skin disease.    

Bumblebee & Optimus Prime anyone?

Blair Butler from G4

                We got our badges and headed into the Con and let me tell you, I was excited.  The best part of the day?  The convention didn’t let me down.  To be honest it was pretty much perfect.  I’d have liked to see a few more of the comic companies there with slightly bigger displays but everything I wanted was there.  We had stars (I saw Blair Butler, Kevin Pereira, Jim Lee & a host of lesser known comic book artists), we had cool cosplayers (I already mentioned the 501st but there were also some other really awesome costumes like the Baroness, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Han Solo), and there were the deals.  It was nigh on perfect.  It really took me back to some of my first San Diego cons where the aisles weren’t totally packed and the dealers were friendly.  Artists were smiling and generally everyone seemed to be having fun. 

                I have to admit I’m a little bummed that this is a one-time deal because if it wasn’t I’d already be planning my trip for next year with an extra day to attend so I could go by myself one day and really get into the artist alley.  With the kids it was a little difficult to do much more than skim the surface which was fun, but getting deeper and chatting with some of them would’ve been the icing on the cake.  There were also a bunch of panels that I just couldn’t get to because the kids would not have wanted to sit still that long. 

                In the end though the Twins had a blast and I think even the Five year old enjoyed himself.  My wife is always supportive of my comic book love and I think she too had a great time.  She doesn’t read the comic books but we’ve been married for nearly 19 years and she’s picked up a nugget of information from me over the years.  All in all Wondercon 2012 was a roaring success from this comic book loving fathers point of view.

A very cool nearly life size Hulk sculpture from Gentgiant Studios

Some replica props from the upcoming Avenger movie.

A very cool Shadow Trooper from 501st

Zantana (Zartan's Sister), The Baronness, & a Cobra Soldier (I think they might've been looking for the Joes)

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