If you’ve taken more than a passing glance at the Comic-Con website, I’m sure you’ve seen that there’s also a sister convention they host called WonderCon. There are a lot of similarities to SDCC, but also some key differences. We’ll be taking the next two weeks to post a little about WonderCon, since it’s occurring 03/23-03/25. Don’t worry, we’ve got tons more SDCC to tell you about after we’re done!
Like SDCC, WonderCon is also considered a comic book and pop culture convention. Instead of being located in San Diego, it’s actually in Anaheim, CA, making it even closer to LA and the major studios. While SDCC focuses more on blockbuster movies, WonderCon tends to focus on TV and home release movies. That doesn’t mean it’s any less cool or fun. If you’re a fan of NBC, CW, SyFy, or Hulu shows, for example, you can actually attend panels about them. Or how about those really cool animated DC Superhero movies? Wondercon has you covered. Online superstars like The Nerdist and Geek and Sundry also show up every year, giving you opportunities to see special, live versions of their web series’ and podcasts you may know and love.
WonderCon does offer some other cool options outside of the convention center. Official offsite activities both outside of the convention center and inside the hotels (especially at night) allow the fun to continue after the convention hall has closed. Unlike SDCC, WonderCon also brings in a ton of various food truck options to choose from, in addition to the usual convention center food options. The official blog (and app) will have information about what trucks are available, and they usually link to the trucks’ websites so you can look up what might be on the menu for the weekend. The food trucks usually take both cash and card (and if you’re lucky, some may take Apple or Android Pay), but be prepared for lines and limited seating.
WonderCon will also generally offer a larger Artist Alley, which makes it a fan favorite. There are some incredibly talented artists in the area, and WonderCon even draws people from across the country (and sometimes even internationally!) to showcase and sell their work. If you see something you like, stop and have a chat, and maybe even grab a business card to buy more from their online shop later. Since Wondercon is a (relatively) smaller convention, you’re able to spend more time directly with the artists. A lot of the artists are also open to commissions, meaning you can actually buy a custom piece of artwork made just for you!
Cosplay at both SDCC and WonderCon are everywhere. To be honest, you’ll probably see even more cosplay at WonderCon than you’ll see a few months later at SDCC. There are some great meet up opportunities to find other fans, take photos, and participate in unofficial events at the convention with your fellow fans. Make sure to be respectful and polite if you want to take pictures, but have fun! There are some really fun, unusual cosplay you can find here, so I highly recommend doing a little people watching. If you aren’t a seasoned veteran and you want to get more involved yourself, there are also official cosplay panels to help you step up your game.
A lot of people think SDCC is the perfect place to get noticed professionally. While there are a ton of professionals there, it’s not exactly the best place to get noticed amongst the millions of other people there. Wondercon, however, also offers portfolio and pitch reviews (in case writing, illustration, or animation is your thing), and even does costuming and makeup panels, and contests in case your skill lies in fabric, foam, and makeup.