PopLurker would like to thank WonderCon 2019 for providing us with Press Passes in exchange for event coverage.
Going to WonderCon 2019 was like going on a date with someone you haven’t seen in a few years.
You’re not sure if they’ve changed, or if you’re a new person now.
I will preface with this– WonderCon 2019, at the Anaheim Convention Center, was ultimately a fun and well organized show. It was one of the few shows I attended both days for (often I can only do one day, that whole parenting and work obligation thing). But for this show, there were work and networking opportunities that made me realize that attending both days was not only smart, but advantageous as well.
But with that, I noticed that the large, sprawling convention center seemed rather…low in attendance.
When I first attended WonderCon in 2017, sporting my Pearl Forrester cosplay, I was insanely happy. The show was full, I had my friend Breana dressed as Brain Guy at my side, and people were asking to take our picture. This time around, I had my eyes open for toys, but I was also promoting my websites PopLurker and Toy Wizards, as well as bringing awareness to Long Beach Comic Con, and my own debut convention that I’m running alongside Scott Zillner which is called Toon-Con.
Needless to say, I was busy.
The point I’m trying to make here isn’t to flash my convention feathers and prowess to anyone here goodly enough to read my word rambles. It’s to discuss the change that suddenly makes WonderCon not seem so magical anymore. Is it really a convention geared toward the cosplaying community? Or do we comic and toy collectors stand a chance?
Inside the exhibiting area, the space was split up per retail designation. Meaning, there was a toy area, and a comic book area. The toy area was consistently more full than the comic book area, although it did not appear like many people inside were buying. Inside the artist’s alley area, I saw many frowning faces from small, local artists trying to sell their products and bring awareness to their brands. On the flip side, the small press area had a more lively vibe, and the authors and indie comic book creators seemed happier than the sticker and art print makers.
Going back to the toy area, I definitely saw vendors who were unique to WonderCon. Often at conventions, the person booking the vendor hall will let anyone in who applies. Therefore, you get the same rotation of exhibitors for many shows. This is fine if you have retail vendors savvy enough to bring new and unique product tailored to the shows they’re at, but often that doesn’t happen. At WonderCon, I was happy to see people coming in just for that show, and get my money they did, indeed.
In terms of panels and programming, WonderCon has hoards of panels happening at once, and that can’t be an easy job for the people organizing this part of the show. They have my utmost respect for consistently filling those rooms. From fan panels to industry panels, everyone got their turn to have their voices heard at WonderCon. I was even on a panel myself, with my loves from the Geek Say What? Network on Sunday, where we had a discussion about The Matrix for the film’s 20th anniversary.
The convention was well organized and overall, a really nice time. My only complaint, and this can be said for any show, is that the volunteers were sometimes lost. I had gone upstairs Sunday morning for a workshop, but then the volunteers wouldn’t allow me to go down the escalator into the lobby. I had to make an escape down an elevator– guys, unless there is some sort of legitimate emergency happening, never tell an over-caffeinated Loryn that she can’t go down some stairs. That energy needs a place to dispel.
Again, big congratulations to the WonderCon team– it was a fun and successful show. There were too many vendors and artists for the number of attendees, so I’d personally like to see some focus happening. However, with that, the cosplay community had a blast. WonderCon is a destination show and for those who are not con-carnies such as myself, it might be the only show they attend all year. And if WonderCon is the only show you attend all year, or one of very few, you could really do worse. It’s a special place, and it has a good reputation.
And really, when I received word that I was approved for press? You’d better believe my insides freaked out a little.
Toy Wizards WonderCon 2019 Image Gallery:
Toy Wizards WonderCon 2019 Toy Image Gallery: