Every year on WonderCon’s last day, the “WonderCon Talk Back” is one of the last programs of the day. Here, attendees can address any issues, concerns, suggestions, or praise directly to John Rogers, president of Comic-Con International’s board of directors.
This year, WonderCon tested the waters with a lottery for limited signings. One attendee asked how they went. Rogers’ answered, “We don’t yet know how they went overall. Yet clearly, this was a trial run.” Once WonderCon officials get the numbers and feedback, they will decide if it’s feasible to keep it for next year. Another attendee complained that he felt the signings were too limited. “We weren’t even allowed to take our own pictures or bring our own stuff to sign,” he said, going further to say that it felt more as a form publicity for the studios instead of something for the fans. A separate attendee asked if we were to expect the lotteries to be enacted at Comic-Con. “We have to wait first how they went here,” was Rogers’ answer.
The largest complaint for this year was the subject of parking. “The convention keeps getting better every year, which means it keep getting bigger every year too,” said one attendee. Quite early on each convention day, the parking surrounding the Anaheim Convention Center were filled. Worse yet, Disneyland prohibited convention parking in their lots. Many late attendees had to park all the way at the Honda Center and be shuttled over, cutting into their convention time. “And if we were thinking about staying here late, the shuttle ended everyday at 10 p.m.,” complained an attendee. However, the Honda Center’s parking said they would stay open each day until the last car left. “It would nice if next year they pushed the shuttles out to later,” added the attendee.
Convention security seemed to be larger this year, both in personnel and boundaries. In front of the convention center, there’s a center strip of walking space where the food trucks park and attendees can eat and hangout. Unlike years prior, security staff members were set up at each entry point to this strip check for badges. For those who needed to still pick up their passes or didn’t yet have their lanyards, security staff seemed to be no nonsense, readily telling people to go which way for the badge pickup or ordering those with badges but no lanyards to “go get a lanyard right away.”
“There needs to be better communication between staff and security,” said one man who was allowed to get out of a line and use the restroom, only to get turned away by staff. One man said he appreciated the amount of security present this year, even asking if Rogers would consider enacting bag checks. “That’s why we had the sniffing dogs this year,” said Rogers, adding, “They do a better job at sniffing than most humans.”
Fifteen minutes into the Talk Back, it looked like there were no other comments for Rogers. He was about to close it, when an attendee asked if he could ask a question about San Diego Comic-Con. “Sure,” said Rogers looking non-plus. This seemed to spark other people to take to the microphone and ask about Comic-Con or voice their concerns, mostly regarding the infamous Hall-H and the overnight lines. One man made it a point to approach the microphone five separate times with different questions.
Overall, WonderCon seemed to be a success this year, which is not a surprise as many people consistently comment how it’s one of their favorite conventions. The best news from this year’s Talk Back, to me at least, has to be that it will be back at Anaheim again next year. “How long will it be here?” asked one person. “As of right now, one year,” said Rogers. “We look ahead one year at a time.”
For those who attended WonderCon this year, what were some of your notable memories or complaints for the convention weekend? Go ahead and comment below.
Nicholas Eskey is an avid reader and writer. When not contributing to The Beat, he works on his personal projects, the latest being a fantasy novel called “My Personable Demon.” He lives in San Diego, California, and is frequently bossed around by his cat.