By Nicholas Eskey
During the tail end of last year’s Wonder Con, it was announced that the convention which had spent the last three years in Anaheim would instead next be hosted by the city of Los Angeles. The change was for a simple reason; the Anaheim convention center already had another event booked for the customary Easter weekend. Luckily for the convention’s organizers, the city of L.A. had a cancellation and was more than willing to have Wonder Con. As a new venue for the event, it was to be expected that organizers and convention goers alike would be testing the waters to such a change. For this reason, yesterday morning’s early press preview played both as a sneak peak of things to some of the convention’s more prominent showers, but also as a look into the unfamiliar convention grounds.
We collected news outlets were greeted by David Glanzer, public relations supervisor for Comic-Con, hours before the convention officially opened the main floor. Glanzer thanked us for coming, and commented on the new venue. “L.A. was a fluke, with dates not being good for the Anaheim convention center… However this gives us a chance to explore a new facility.” He further explained that the location change was decidedly announced on the last day of Wonder Con because organizers didn’t want to “take the spotlight away” from the convention. Granzer also announced that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was personally coming to Wonder Con to give the show a warm welcome.
After the briefing by David Glanzer, we were led to the South Hall of the convention center to get a sneak peak of six booths. I must admit the L.A. convention center is a little awkward in layout. It’s figure eight shape is surrounded by an outside food plaza, the stadium for the L.A. Lakers, and the Microsoft Theatre. This leaves the possibility that a convention visitor might have to leave one hall and traverse to the other by means of outside or a twisting second floor passage way to get to another panel. If Comic-Con were to ever move here, I don’t see it as an easy take to get to vendors or panels.
The first booth we visited was Comic-Con HQ. An official part of Comic-Con International, Comic-Con
HQ will be a full interactive news experience. Calling it a mere website doesn’t do it justice. Comic-Con plans to expand the type of news we typically hear during the convention into year round coverage, keeping fans in the know with everything popular media. Not only that, but the site also has in the works a number of original and exclusive content that can only be found through Comic-Con HQ. Some big names already tying themselves to the project is G4TV’s Adam Sessler and Kevin Periera. The site will launch on May 7th (free comic book day) and will be available for free through a promotion with Diamond publishing until the last day of Comic-Con.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles booth. Later in the year they will have the second movie, Out of the Shadow, releasing to theaters, as well as a video game entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan published by Platinum Games (the same studio responsible for the Bayonetta series). This Wonder Con is the first time a playable demo of the game will be available for fans.
Next on the agenda we had some first reveals coming from Sideshow Entertainment. The company is best known for their highly detailed and well crafted figurines and sculptures. The first thing they shared was a two and a half foot tall Voltron statue. Though it was not its first time being shown, it was the first time shown fully colored. Designers decided on the use of the 80’s variation, where everything down to the battle damage on its feet were painstakingly done. It should be available at the end of the year. Following Voltron, we were shown for the first time a trio of He-Man statues: He-Man, Skeletor, and Evil-Lyn. It had been agreed upon by designers that instead of using the cartoons, the three would be depicted as if they were real life. The armor each character boasts looks as if they were not part of the pieces, but instead being worn by them. Their colors however pay homage to the early 80’s show. Each should be out sometime between the end of this year to the beginning of next year.
IDW Publishing has much in store for this year. Recently, the company has slowly extended itself into shows and other media while still maintaining the publishing of books as their main focus. A few show exclusives for the company are variant covers for Godzilla Oblivion and Jem and the Holograms comics. Other exclusives include the debut of over sized hard covers for Locke and Key, March book one, and Star Wars. The item that IDW is most proud of however is the series premier of Wynona Earp. Wynona Earp first started as a comic for the company, which has been described as Buffy meets Supernatural. The story is that Wynona is the descendant of “Wyatt Earp.” When the closest family member in the Earp line dies, Wynona inherits a cursed demon killing gun. When the vengeful spirits of those Wyatt Earp killed return, it’s up to Wynona to use the gun and put them back in the grave. The show will premiere on the Sci-Fi channel on April 1st.
Boom Studios, the largest independent publishers in the world, has a Wonder Con exclusive variant
cover for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0. The same comic will also have alternative variants releasing at Emerald, Comic-Con, and New York Comic-Con. When all 4 issues are brought together, they form a large mural. Debuting at the show is a variant cover of Steven’s Universe, done by Steven Sugar, the brother of the creator and the person the comic is based off of. Also debuting is a new comic by Sam Humphries called Jonesy, featuring a high school girl with the power to make others fall in love (at least with everyone except herself).
Lastly, DC Entertainment had some exciting items and toys to share with us. As part of the touring Art of the Brick: DC Comics, DC had brought with them a suspended lego Superman from their newest Batman v Superman movie that boasts glowing red eyes, as well as a life sized functioning Batsignal. Doing very well for the company, DC also had a series of Super Heroine dolls. These dolls depict super heroes such as Wonder Woman and Batgirl in cute fashion. Modeled to look like Barbie Dolls with realistic athletic curves, these Target Store exclusive toys have been having a tough time keeping in stock. This might make the consumers unhappy, but to DC this is very exciting. “We’ve seen a big increase in the sales for girls,” said a spokesperson. Some other noteworthy items directed for little girls is a novel that goes with the doll series, as well as a Wonder Woman play set, featuring her iconic shield with a few added surprises.
All these announcements and exclusives were only made sweeter when Mayor Eric Garcetti came to speak in front of collected press and convention attendees to officially start off Wonder Con. He thanked the convention for being there, emphatically repeating that L.A. was the hub of creativity and deserved such an event as this. He admitted that another reason for his excitement was that he too had a close connection with comics, still having in his positing the first issue of Wolverine which he had gotten when it first came out. It was a very nice gesture for the mayor to take the times out of his busy schedule to welcome everyone. Unfortunately for him and the city of Los Angeles, it has already been confirmed that Wonder Con will be heading back to Anaheim next year, as the convention couldn’t secure the dates it wanted with L.A. I’m sure this isn’t a huge lose for the mayor or the city. Now that they haven had Wonder Con here, it might grease the wheels their way in securing Comic-Con should San Diego lose it.