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Is WonderCon moving to Anaheim?


There’s been much chatter out there that WonderCon doesn’t have dates yet — and indeed construction on the Moscone Center in SF means that the con doesn’t yet have dates. Now, retailer Chuck Rozanski suggests, the big spring convention might be moving to Anaheim!

I will close today’s newsletter by passing on that Wondercon, which San Diego purchased several years ago, has reportedly just lost their annual dates in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center (due to remodeling?). The reported solution (confirmed separately by two senior officials of the convention) is that Wondercon will be held in Anaheim next year on a date yet to be announced. While this change will in some measure act to blunt Disney’s current competitive thrust against San Diego (not to mention seeking to block further expansion by WIZARDWORLD…), I will be very curious to see how this new Southern California convention will impact San Diego. With little warning massive revolutionary change is now at hand, and our world may never, ever, again be the same. I just hope that enough magic remains when the dust settles to keep making all of us cry sometimes with joy, when our most beloved of dreams come true in San Diego.

While this comes squarely under the heading of scuttlebutt, it should be remembered that Anaheim is one of the cities that vied aggressively for the big San Diego con when it was thinking of moving, so Comic-Con officials are very familiar with the offers made by that city’s facilities. The convention center is one of the biggest in the land, and while the area surrounding Disneyland isn’t as fun as downtown San Francisco, you could certainly host a lot of people there.

OTOH, it was suggested to us (by knowledgeable sources) that San Francisco officials are aware of the potential move and are not eager to lose the show. So….developing.

Update: Tom Spurgeon talks to David Glanzer who confirms the uncertainty, so to speak. WonderCon as yet has no venue and no dates and it migth be Anaheim, but SF is also in the mix and nothing is decided yet.

Asked why the process hadn’t been completed yet, Glanzer offered a very good excuse: all of the organization’s resources were at this point devoted to the CCI event in San Diego. “Because of Comic-Con we have not had the opportunity to look at this new proposal in terms of dates or even which facility is available. So the long answer to the short question is we are uncertain as to next years dates and location for WonderCon. But we are well aware that exhibitors need to plan ahead as far as possible and the decision made needs to be the best for them, and our attendees.”

  1. 1) what does he mean by that last sentence?

    2) Wonder Con uses a fraction of Moscone. If this is about renovation, SF should have been able to move the show to another part of the center.

    3) This allows CCI to test the Los Angeles market for a large comic con. Long Beach and Wizard show that smaller cons are possible. If you add a strong manga/anime track (the other mega show in California), it will probably succeed. Schedule it for Autumn (SF Spring, SD Summer, LA Fall) or Winter to compete with ReedPop.

  2. I’d love a show in LA, but man, I’d hate to not have a good (deductible) reason to go to San Francisco. And Anaheim’s no San Francisco, that’s for sure.

  3. I’d say no to Anaheim. Having originally been from SoCal but relocated to Norcal for school, it took me a long time to find a con to go to in Norcal, since all of the big conventions are either down south (ie SDCC) or out of state (ie Dragon Con). Wondercon was an absolute pleasure to discover and now my friends and I have been going for years. Plus, it gives us an excuse to travel to SF.

  4. Torsten is correct: There are 3 major convention halls (actually more, if you count some of the rest of the facility) in Moscone, and Wondercon only uses one of them.

    This would be a disaster for northern california fans, too, as that would mean no more conventions in the region.

    Would this also mean the reuination of Wondercon? I would hate to see it become the movie festival that ComicCon has become, with almost no emphasis on comics…. (Shouldn’t ComicCon be renamed MovieCon or maybe Movie & TV Con?)

  5. Thanks, Doug… I kinda figured that.

    As to holding a convention in Anaheim:
    Anime Expo, in 2006, had attendance of 40,647 during the Fourth of July weekend at Anaheim.

    They have since moved to the Los Angeles Convention Center, where attendance was 47,000 people (128,000 attendee-days) earlier this month.

    WonderCon in 2010 attracted 39,000 people.

    As for Rozanski’s newsletter… why would a retailer set up in the Convention Center, where attendance (and attention) is limited?

    Why not rent the ballrooms at the Hyatt (which seems to have divorced itself from Comic-Con programming) and set up a bazaar, open to everyone (restricted only by the Fire Code)? The cost of the room is paid by the retailers. Free admission. With four ballrooms, subject specific retailers can be segregated for maximum effect, including an etsy/craft fair, toys, comics… Meeting rooms can be reserved for single retailers, such as vendors of original art or adults-only fare.

    Panels can also be held, to educate consumers, as well as encourage future collectors.

    Extra income can be generated by running a locker service. Too much swag from Comic-Con? Drop it off at the “locker room” at the Hyatt and pick it up later. (Purchase items at the Bazaar, get free storage.) Need a taxi? The bellhop will assist you with your treasures for a small gratuity.


  6. My theory:
    CCI uses Anaheim to test the waters for an LA-based show.

    Once Moscone is back to normal, WonderCon returns to its Spring dates in San Francisco.

    CCI can then schedule an LA show in the Fall, to promote upcoming movies (Oscar and otherwise) as well as encourage Holiday shopping.

    Remember, CCI has registered “Los Angeles Comic-Con” and “Anaheim Comic-Con” as trademarks. Eventually, we might even see a “CCI:San Francisco”, since the “Comic-Con” brand is greater than the “WonderCon” brand.


    Moscone West (not part of the renovation), is booked solid. North and South have no dates between March 26 and May 18.

    Why would North AND South be closed at the same time, thus reducing income?

    Could WonderCon use a Dragon*Con model, and use the Marriott, the Westin, and the Four Seasons for events?

  7. @Tony
    Yeah, almost no emphasis on comics at comic-con just look at the guest list this year:

    Gerry Alanguilan, Sergio Aragonés, Jean Bails, Ed Benes, Anina Bennett, Jordi Bernet, Yves “Balak” Bigerel, Joyce Brabner, Patricia Briggs, Chester Brown, Ernie Chan, Jo Chen, Seymour Chwast, Alan Davis, Dick DeBartolo, Tony DeZuniga, Eric Drooker, Garth Ennis, Mark Evanier, Joyce Farmer, David Finch, Dave Gibbons, Tsuneo Goda, Paul Guinan, Kim Harrison, Jonathan Hickman, John Higgins, Charlie Huston, Jamal Igle, Joëlle Jones, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Peter Kuper, Richard Kyle, Mell Lazarus, Jim Lee, Paul Levitz, David Lloyd, Richard A. and Patricia Lupoff, Patrick McDonnell, Rebecca Moesta, Christopher Moore, Grant Morrison, Alex Niño, Ethan and Malachai Nicolle, Anders Nilsen, Jerry Robinson, Bill Schelly, Scott Shaw!, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Jeff Smith, Frank Stack, Steranko, Cameron Stewart, Dave Stewart, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Tatulli, Roy Thomas, Maggie Thompson, Peter J. Tomasi, Scott Westerfeld, and Ashley Wood.

  8. re: “While this change will in some measure act to blunt Disney’s current competitive thrust against San Diego (not to mention seeking to block further expansion by WIZARDWORLD…)”

    I guess I’m missing something, or reading that wrong. What does Disney have against SDCC or the Wizard Con?

  9. This could be really interesting. But considering the Long Beach Comic Con has been growing very slowly I have a hard time imagining a show in Anaheim making a dramatic splash. Would the crowd from San Francisco really follow Wonder Con down the coast when they certainly aren’t going to the Long Beach show? I guess we’ll see!

  10. Thanks, Secret Identity for the feedback…. Good to see the creators still attending.

    I did not see one mention of comics themselves in Entertainment Weekly and TV Guides stories on ComicCon. (Yes, that is not their likely focal point.) But I saw lots of news of television and movie stars.

    My friends who have attended in recent years all said they regretted attending due to the emphasis on video-related (movies, tv, etc.) instead of comics. They said that smaller conventions are the only way to buy comics and get some time with creators and other fans….

    As comics fans, do you really want our biggest con to be Spielberg-oriented or more comics-related?

  11. I can’t afford to follow WonderCon much farther than Oakland. Adding a hotel and airfare for a show in addition to Comic-Con just isn’t in my convention budget for the year. Hopefully things get sorted out with the Moscone soon–can they really be renovating all of their buildings at the same time?

  12. That would be interesting and nice to the fans who couldn’t go to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, to go next year’s possible Anaheim WonderCon. I have nothing against WizardWorld’s Anaheim Comic-Con, and I would go to 2 comic conventions in Anaheim to make up for not being able to go to SDCC 2011. I am still upset that SDCC made it sooo hard to buy tickets to this year’s big event. And they had the nerve to sell next year’s tickets to people who went to this year’s con! What about the people who couldn’t buy tickets this year or in previous years? Talk about being unfair! Non-profit organization, my fat fanny! Going to this year’s Long Beach Comic-Con will help heal the wound a little for not being able to go to SDCC this year!

  13. What no one is wondering is if the Moscone is unavailable, why does Wonder Con have to move all the way down to Anaheim? The original WC started in Oakland. There is the Oakland Convention Center. Unless CCI’s long term plans are to establish a Los Angeles or adjacent show, why not simply move WC across the bay and keep it as a Northern California event?

  14. [quote]Remember, CCI has registered “Los Angeles Comic-Con” and “Anaheim Comic-Con” as trademarks. Eventually, we might even see a “CCI:San Francisco”, since the “Comic-Con” brand is greater than the “WonderCon” brand.[/quote]

    I’d be ok with that as long as we don’t see CCI:Miami. Who wants a con with poor writing, obnoxious stars and the sunglasses?

  15. @ TonyJazz: Don’t worry, you’ll still have APE to kick around. That show is not moving from SF anytime soon.

    Yeah, as a former Comic Con committee member who used to attend the monthly meetings, I can attest: the committee only works and is focused on ONE event at a time. No one wants to stress out on three events at once, otherwise there would be utter chaos and perhaps bouts of unexplained spontaneous human combustion left in its’ wake.



  16. I wonder if this is an “in your face” attempt to San Diego, and their inability to build projects on time, and on budget. Like they are saying “we will try one of our conventions in Anaheim to check logistics. That way, if you in San Diego can’t get the convention center bigger, we already know what to expect with moving our summer show just a bit north”. Make San Diego worry more, that they are really loosing their summer cash cow in 4 years.

  17. Man, it seems like SoCal gets all the fun with its theme parks, hot weather and beaches, Hollywood, Anime Expo, and Comic-Con.

    I’m praying this will eventually be solved and SF, or at least, anywhere within the Bay Area, will host Wonder-Con. I like Anaheim and all, but I’d rather have Wonder-Con stay in my hometown so we’ll earn more tourism and money (plus, it beats the cost of driving/flying and staying in a hotel).

    And another thing (maybe not so related to this issue): the organization within Wonder-Con is hectic. For instance, there’s tons of unnecessary space between the building entrance and ticket redeeming booth, while the exhibits and vendors aisles are too packed. That space is mainly empty in the middle of the day and should be utilized; so, have more visitors wait outside the entrance, while using line ropes and security for crowd control.

    Plus, last year there was a “broken” (for lack of better terms) line to claim some swag (in the form of superhero buttons, tattoos, and comics). “Broken”, meaning you first wait in one line, then you’re directed by a worker to walk to another line and wait again until you reach the final destination. I saw a lot confused visitors asking others what they’re waiting for, or not knowing they’re at the correct end of the line, thus cutting others. There should’ve been line ropes, signs and workers to signify what the line is for and direct the end of the line is.

  18. Move WonderCon OUTSIDE of SF?!? That’s blasphemy! If they end up doing that, I guess I’m going to have to muster up all my super-human strength and wit to throw one on my own ;D

  19. This is driving me crazy. For the past 10 or so years me and some friends go to SF, get a hotel, go to wondercon, then go drink all night, and the repeat the next 2 nights. Wondercon is the one big thing I look forward to every year in my favorite city. If it moves there’s no way I’m attending. I’m so tired of hearing it’s good if it moves because then People who couldnt make comic-con have another chance. Well good for them. And it’s good for the loyal fans around SF because if they couldnt make it to comic-con they can go fuck themselves.

  20. OH cry cry cry.. Time to chage routine, go out there and explore more cities! Where is your sense of adventure FANBOYS?!
    Wherever it is held it will be great. Anaheim has alot of attractions besided Disneyland, I am sure it will do fine with attendees for the extra things to do. Recomend House of Blues, ESPN, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and the movie theater serves alcohol you can take inside to watch your movie! Can’t wait!

  21. Wondercon 1st morning So far. Don’t like. Anheim is doing a vollyball convention bigger then wondercon. Mixed together in same building. Anheim convention people are looking at everyone with the look of comic book disgust. It never rains in LA but its raining today. They are mixing lines together. SDCC so much better

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