I’m finding it difficult to blog objectively and interestingly about WonderCon, the San Francisco-based little sister of the better-known Comic-Con in San Diego. I only was able to attend two out of the three days of the convention (Held from April 2-4 at the Moscone Center South) and during those two days, I had volunteer duties to fulfill. Due to time constraints and extremely large crowds, I couldn’t get into the more-anticipated panels of the event. However, I am happy to share with readers some of my personal observations and experiences from those two days, as well as summarize some of the highlights from the entire event.
To sum up WonderCon in a nutshell: It is the largest gathering in northern California for comic book, animation, film, and television fans. Basically, it’s a NERD convention. You can show off your goods in spandex and a cape and a mask, come in as a scantily clad vampire or anime character, live out your furry fantasies (Uh, somewhat), or even go all out like this dude to my right and nobody will give a damn. In fact, people might even ask for a picture with you! You can’t do that unless it’s Halloween. In addition to the impromptu walking faux superhero and character shows (There’s also a masquerade that happens every Saturday night during the convention), vendors will try to sell you things and entice you with freebies, and names and faces known in the geek culture sign autographs and pose for photos (Usually for a fee though). In addition, creators, animators, cast members, and other awesome and important people speak at panels and exclusive TV, film, and trailer screenings – including A-list stars (Jake Gyllenhaal, anyone?) – making these events at the convention some of the biggest spectacles, as well as bringing tastes of Hollywood over to San Francisco.
Day 1 of WonderCon on Friday, April 2nd, was highlighted by Kevin Smith‘s appearance. Also on hand were exclusive screenings of new episodes of the shows V and Fringe.
Click the cut for my Saturday / Sunday recaps, pictures, and video clips!
DAY 2 – Saturday, April 3
10:45AM-12:30PM: Meet up with local fandom friends from ontd_startrek for breakfast at nearby Denny’s. Chat and nerd out about all things Star Trek plus fandom in general. We were planning on hitting the Disney/Pixar panel together, featuring exclusive sneak peeks at Prince of Persia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Toy Story 3 (Plus appearances by Gyllenhaal, Nicolas Cage, and Jerry Bruckheimer), but there’s a long line and the doorman says the ballroom is full. Because the ballroom looks like it’s going to be filled to capacity for a while, I miss out on the Resident Evil: Afterlife panel (Featuring Ali Larter, who I love from Heroes, but only as Niki/Jessica), a Warner Bros thing (Apparently Zoe Saldana was there for The Losers?), Trailer Park (A half-hour showing of trailers for upcoming films), and a panel for the upcoming film Kick-Ass.
12:30-2:00PM: Explore the Exhibitors’ Hall, Artist Alley, and autograph tables. IT IS PANDEMONIUM. People in costumes and in normal clothes clog up the floor as they line up to meet various stars, artists, and creators, buy rare merchandise, score freebies, and try out new video games. I purchase movie posters for Star Trek and The Hangover from PosterParty.com.
2:00-3:10PM: I attend The Spirit of Star Trek talk, featuring Rev. Curtis Webster and Deep Space Nine star Chase Masterson. This panel is a spin off of a regular session that goes on at Webster’s First Presbyterian Church in Encino, CA, where episodes from the various Trek franchises are screened and discussed. Religious, moral, and ethical themes are explored. Webster and Masterson talk about the regular sessions and present examples of episodes that are particularly of deep spiritual interest before addressing questions from the audience.
3:15-5:30PM: I report to the WonderCon freebie table to pass out Warner Bros. gift bags for those who received a blue ticket from the afternoon Warner Bros. panel. Yup, that’s what I do for my volunteer shift! The bags contain promotional items for The Losers. I’m too shy to ask for one despite the surplus (In fact, I think everyone who went to the convention the next day got one for free!), but I still receive the freebies from the general table: large double-sided posters for Cop-Out, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Clash of the Titans and the WonderCon EXCLUSIVE mini-poster for Iron Man 2.
5:30-6:15PM: Check out for volunteer shift, receive these goodies as a thank-you.
6:15-7:00PM: Switch back and forth between the Comics Journalism and Star Trek: Between the Cracks panels. The first one discusses how comics and manga are handled in media and offered very valuable information about coverage through new media in general. The Trek panel is awesome just because it’s Trek.
DAY 3 – Sunday, April 4
11:00AM-12:15PM: Arrive for scheduled volunteer shift with Press desk for 11AM-2PM – gets told that there are enough people and to check in with the general volunteer desk for another shift instead. Some other guy and I get led downstairs by a staff member to work for on-site registration but gets told by that coordinator that they also have enough people. I feel useless but I get signed out and get to enjoy the rest of the short day at the convention! I receive the same goodies after my last volunteer shift plus an alarm clock with the 24 and FOX logos on it. Coffee break at Starbucks follows.
12:15-1:15PM: Sit and wait at the Esplanade Ballroom for the day’s big panels. Didn’t get to check the ones out from yesterday so might as well do them today, yeah?
1:15-2:25PM: Human Target screening and panel! This FOX show (Which premiered this past January) is based on a DC Comics series where a security guard goes to great lengths to save his clients’ lives. The screening is of a work-in-progress episode to premiere in two weeks and set off many, many cheers among the audience as a plethora of well-known guest stars appear on screen. I had never watched the show before, but the episode was very intense and interesting. The guests for the Q&A are executive producer of the series Jon Steinberg, Mark Valley (Who plays main character Christopher Chance), and another series star, Jackie Earle Haley (Well-known among geekdom for his portrayal as Rorschach in last year’s Watchmen). The men discuss plans for a possible second season, career accomplishments, friendships and antics on-set, and Valley’s training in pillow fighting, thumb wrestling, and rock-paper-scissors for his stunts (That was a joke he made).
2:30-4:00PM: And the highlight of the final day of the show is the presentation for the hit NBC show, Chuck! Oh man, this is definitely the most screaming I’ve encountered throughout the convention, but after seeing the screening and the panel (Again, I admittedly have not seen the show before), I understand the hype. The Q&A moderator goes up to the podium to say that the original plan was to show a reel of exclusive clips but at the last minute, WB makes a switch to show this week’s episode instead – before the rest of the world gets to see it! Pretty cool. I oooh, ahhh, and laugh along with everyone else – I am just feeling it! And I’m loving that everyone else is loving it. Then again, it’s WonderCon and lots of enthusiasm is genuine and expected. The panel offers more fun and hilariousness with the co-creators and executive producers Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz and series stars Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin, and Joshua Gomez. Discussions include the episode that was shown, guest stars for future episodes…and farting? And Subway sandwiches?
WARNING: The first clip contains possible spoilers, just in case you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet!
4:00-5:00PM: As the final hour of the convention winds down, I take another look around the main floor to see what I may have missed – just the DC Comics freebie table, where I grab a random comic plus a crapload of buttons featuring DC Comic logos. But before that, I meet Ms. Chase Masterson at her autograph table, where we discuss my love for Trek, faith (Pertaining to the panel she was in the day before), and her upcoming projects (Be sure to check out her new film Yesterday Was a Lie, on DVD today!). Such a nice lady – WAY too pretty too.
WonderCon 2010, you’ve been legit. Thanks for the fun.
GALLERY: WonderCon 2010