By: Nick Eskey
Signaling the end of the three day WonderCon weekend, Comic-Con International’s board of directors president, John Rogers, was joined by Con-goers for the “Talk Back” panel.
As opposed to the SDCC Talk Back which normally has a litany of people with grievances, WonderCon’s is known to be almost completely made up of praises. This year wasn’t any different.
The first woman to speak said that she was disappointed that nothing big was in the Arena this year, but still had fun with the smaller panels. A few others came forward saying simply that they loved the convention, some even admitting to liking it better than SDCC.
Not all were compliments though. As it goes for questions and concerns, the issue of the why WonderCon always falls on Easter was addressed. Whether it was intentionally planned that way or not.
“Believe me, we would have preferred if it wasn’t Easter weekend,” said John Rogers. “It really comes to how everything falls when it comes to scheduling, availability, traveling, hotels… and it just turned out that we had to during Easter.”
A new addition to the convention was having badges first checked right before entering the front of the convention center with the fountain. It was asked what the intention of doing this was, as well as checking badges as you get into exhibit halls. “We were seeing that once you would get to the glass doors, people were being blocked by others with pamphlets and cards,” said Rogers. “It caused some congestion at the front. We felt that this would keep the doors free and accessible.”
Another concern was regarding the signature raffling, saying that it didn’t seem fair for those that would wait in line early, to find out that it was a raffle, putting them with equal footing for those who came later.
“The ticket raffling is the preferred method for CCI. We instruct all exhibitors that approach us regarding signings to do raffles… What we would foresee is that people would start lining up quite early, and then next time even earlier than that. This gives everyone an equal chance regardless of when they line up.”
But definitely the biggest question to come of the panel was, “Will WonderCon stay in Anaheim next year?” John Rogers straightened in his chair, and began with “Um… well.”
As it turned out, it was confirmed that WonderCon would not be returning to the Anaheim venue next year. “Unfortunately there wasn’t any availability next year for the convention center.”
Where then will it be?
“When we were looking for other venues and approached LA, it turned out that they had a cancellation and welcomed [the convention].” After being in Anaheim for three years, San Francisco before that, WonderCon will now be making the move to Los Angeles.
“This is going to be a whole new city, a whole new market, new facility… But we are thankfully foreseeing some fairly decent deals for the hotels.”
It’s sad to see Anaheim losing WonderCon. It personally makes sense to have it there with the abundance of hotels around it, and with Disneyland just being in fifteen minutes walking distance. But because the whole scheduling and negotiation of venues is a difficult business, I can understand the board’s decision to go.
With LA in the conventions future next year, we can rest assured to aspect some road bumps in its execution, and unfamiliarity from con goers. Let’s all hope for the best!