This year’s special Anaheim edition of WonderCon wrapped up as a success with larger than expected crowds, and generally strong sales. After a string of misfires, it was the best show in the SoCal market (aside from the big one, the San Diego Comic-Con) in quite some time.

However, just where the 2013 edition of WonderCon will take place is still a “complete question mark” according to CCI’s David Glanzer. San Francisco’s Moscone Center cannot give them dates, and although the intention is to return to Northern California, obviously the show needs a home.

We’ll have more of Glanzer’s comments shortly, but the bottom line for now is that WonderCon simply doesn’t book enough hotel rooms through the official hotel booking channels to show that it brings in money to the local economy from out-of-towners and the like. Thus, it isn’t being given priority for show dates at this time.

The Anaheim show was certainly fun and served the local market—perhaps especially for people who had gotten shut out of San Diego badges just a few days before—so a return to this location wouldn’t be a disaster. But it isn’t the Bay Area, where WonderCon is a local tradition, either.

Another possible venue: nearby San Jose, which has a good-sized facility. However, according to Glanzer, there might not be enough hotels and amenities for a WonderCon-sized fest there.

It’s ironic that after a yearlong quest to settle the San Diego Comic-Con’s home, the folks running both shows are now faced with another location dilemma.

Although there were many people at the show having a good time, or simply watching the volleyball and cheerleading competitions taking place elsewhere in the facility, the sheer number of people definitely taxed the parking facilities and amenities. Parking was, simply, a nightmare, with people sitting in line for an hour getting off the freeway only to find the parking lot they were headed for had closed an hour ago. Lines at the mere handful of concessions servicing three large shows—both the volleyball and cheerleading events included lots of kids and their parents—also tried the patience of many.

Still, this edition of WonderCon has proven you can run a full-scale convention in the LA/Orange County area and succeed.

No attendance has been announced yet for this year’s WonderCon.


  1. The Moscone Center can give them what they want. Everyone knows that the Moscone Center went under a 55 million renovation. They have upgraded everything and still no leaks.
    Wonder Con is just wanting more of hollywood to its show. wonder con has lost its feel from the its beginnings. It is a lot easier to find a hotel or motel in the S.F. bay area. The same with restaurants.
    Maybe The Big WOW! ComicFest in San Jose, California May 19th & 20th will take its place. It has less hollywood and it is a younger show so more about comic books and less movie stuff.

  2. Count me as one of those who really enjoyed the show. I was in artist alley and the crowds and enthusiam was great. On Friday and Saturday I lucked up and got in the parking lot attached to the convention center, BUT on Sunday we missed out and we had to do the long haul to the sports stadium parking lot (over a mile away) and we had to take the convention shuttle — which was a very nice bus, indeed. Also nice is that the bus pretty much drops you right at the front door of the show.

    So there were ups and downs, but the ups win. I would not mind seeing the show return to Anaheim, but I understand that if the money ain’t talking then it ain’t walking (hotel bookings, et).

  3. I was going to head to WonderCon this year – to see San Fran for the first time – but then they changed venues. If it stays out of San Fran, I won’t be going. That was a huge part of the draw for the show to me. Otherwise, it’s just San Diego-lite, especially if they add more Hollywood stuff. Not interested.

  4. It’s amazing that Moscone can not guarantee dates more than six months out, considering they have shows scheduled through June 2013.

    March and April 2013:

    Can the data from San Diego be approximated for San Francisco? So many attendees multiplied by so many dollars spent by each attendee?

    Or does something more grassroots need to be done, such as giving people tiny comics stickers they can attach to credit card receipts and checks, to show local businesses how much WonderCon spends on the local economy?

    Did anyone take MetroLink or Amtrak to Anaheim?

  5. I too was planning on going to WonderCon this year until they changed the venue. My brother lives in the Bay Area and I was going to make a week of it. Now, I’m going in May and will be taking in Big Wow.

  6. The Moscone Center is booked in advance sometimes as far out as 5 years. Wonder con did not continue to book they made the last booking to end the year before construction started and never made plans to go back. Check with The Moscone Center. wonder con likes the hollywood stuff and could care less about its fans or origins.The Moscone Center would welcome any talks with won con.

  7. Anaheim convention center Exhibit Halls Capacities 813,607 Total Square Feet.
    The Moscone Center more than 992,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
    Now why move to a smaller and older location?
    The Moscone Center has made major improvements.
    Anaheim Center has done nothing since 2009.

  8. @Torsten You bring up a good point but one that’s not often done. That is to say trying to track attendees not staying at the host hotel. In fact San Diego kind of did something like this. While the hotel room block, back in the day, may not have reflected a good indicaiton of the attendance of the show, it was very difficult to ignore the thousands of people in the relatively small gaslamp area even before the gaslamp was the destination it is today. The San Diego Convention Center took a gamble and decided that the normal formal used was, for some reason, not a good indicator for our show.
    It is the policy of the facility in San Francisco, as it pertains to OUR event, to give us dates (if available) no longer than six months out. There is still the possibility we may get dates, it’s just frustrating to exhibitors and attendees alike to have to wait until the last minute.
    A way to track our attendees who are not staying in the host hotel is a great idea. I’m not exactly sure how that would work, or if they would accept that formula, but it is a great idea.

  9. To fill the entire Anaheim Convention Center, Wondercon would have to be as large as the San Diego Convention. I went to Wondercon this year because I’d stayed away from S.F. due to the expense. A friend of mine went a few years ago and because the Moscone Center didn’t allow underground parking (it exists, just like at the San Diego Convention Center) because of a fear of a “terrorist attack”, the only available parking was $50 a day, which makes the $20 a day at San Diego a bargain. It only cost me $12 to park at the Anaheim Convention center which I arrived at Sunday around 10 AM and was able to get in behind the convention center in just a few minutes, although I know it filled up shortly thereafter. Only someone who went to the S.F. Wondercon can compare the size of this one with that one. And I have to think that being across the street from Disneyland is an attraction. And I saw little of the so-called “Hollywood” influence there and most of the dealers were comic oriented, not movies or games like in S.D.

  10. WonderCon only uses about 1/4 of the convention halls, in either SF or Anaheim, — comparing the total size of the centers or moving to a smaller center is irrelevant.

  11. Drew is right — Especially when talking about Moscone Center, which is housed in separated units (Moscone West / North & South, et.) on the next block on 4th st.. To use the logic that it must fill the space is misleading.

    It would never use all the space in either SF or Anaheim, which is exactly what we saw over the weekend as it shared space with a volleyball and cheerleading event. And yet, in my opinion, WonderCon was still well served and ran smooth for the amount of people that attended the show.

    The hotel numbers… that’s another issue.

  12. I think WonderCon in San Jose could transform the town the way Comic-Con does to San Diego. SJ is a pretty quiet place, and a huge con could do wonders for it’s place on the map.

  13. I have attended WonderCon since the 1990s when it was in the Oakland Marriott, when it moved to San Fran and this year’s Anaheim. I’ve also been to San Jose’s Big Wow, Ape and SuperCon. I have gone to the events as an attendee and also as an exhibitor. I have dealt with parking, hauling, setting up as exhibitor, hotels and travel.

    WonderCon is not the *small* show that it used to be. It will not fit in Oakland. It will not fit in San Jose. At this point the show rides the fence of needing a bigger rather than smaller space because it has the potential to get even bigger, which means finding a *just right* size would be bad planning.

    Anaheim did work. Moscone did work, as well. Both have hotel issues, and both have some parking issues. This is not a clear winner takes all. BUT, I will say, out of *all* the WonderCon shows that I’ve attended (since the 1990s) this was by far the biggest I’ve ever seen. They added an additional 100 exhibitors due to demand (and I was still on a waiting list). The crowds were enthusiastic and heavy — even despite the weather.

    Going back to San Francisco would be *nice*, but I’m not sure I would do event planning based on *nice*.

  14. I had a great time this year (fourth trip to WonderCon), and while I would like to see the show go back to San Francisco, I really looked at this as a trial run for SDCC.

    Anaheim has the floor space, but not the meeting rooms. (WonderCon, as near as I can tell, filled up all the meeting rooms in the convention center itself except the arena). Fortunately there are all these hotels in the same block, instead of across a set of train tracks, so SDCC could expand.

    But parking and hotels are going to suck. I’d guess a lot of the people at the volleyball and cheer competitions were traveling from out of town or bused in from schools, which means they probably didn’t use much of the parking that individuals and families going to the con used, and the thing that always seems to get glossed over when analyzing the number of available hotels is that it’s across the street from Disneyland.

    If the big con arrives in the middle of summer, we’ll all be in competition with vacationers going to Disneyland at the height of tourist season.

  15. Nobody seemed to notice that there was free parking south of the convention center on West Street, in the residential area (near my house :-)). NAMM attendees have figured this out long ago.

  16. Not on Saturday, Chris. Cops were routing people out of the residential area on no uncertain terms. I had the same idea and was disabused of that notion pretty quickly by the Anaheim PD.

  17. I started attending WonderCon in Oakland, and I’ve never missed a year—until now.

    I will never attend WonderCon again unless it moves back north. It is just not worth it to me for the additional expenses nor effort to attend in the south.

    Please bring it back (or start another one in SF).

  18. TonyJazz — that kind of thinking is exactly the problem here.

    I grew up in the Bay Area. I also attended Wondercon in Oakland, back from the very first one. I CONTINUED to attend it (using out of town room-nights, which are KEY) when I moved to L.A. So I MAKE the extra effort and expense, for a good show. I also go to SDCC every year and haven’t missed one since the late 80’s. And that is a HUGE expense.

    There’s plenty of us who DO make the effort and expense to go to a really good out of town show like Wondercon. but now all of a sudden you’re pooh-poohing it just because it’s six hours away. The Anaheim area has a LOT of inexpensive hotel choices, UNLIKE San Francisco!

    Bottom line is this — room-nights are what drive the group and convention travel industry. Living in the Bay Area, do you actually book a reservation for Wondercon, or do you just drive or take BART over? If you do the latter, YOU are part of the reason why the con would leave. They are given a required minimum of room nights (usually several thousand) and if they can’t fill them, they don’t get the priority treatment.

    Therefore, they are not given the way-in-advance booking at Moscone. Which means they can’t sell tickets, etc. way in advance. It’s a downward spiral.

    It is the FANS that drive the bus here. If fans are local and DON’T book room nights (‘to save money’), then it is the FANS’ inaction on that front that is forcing CCI to seek greener pastures for Wondercon.

    People need to learn the realities of group and convention sales before they start blaming “Hollywood” and “greed.”

  19. Weird on the parking thing, though — we had absolutely NO problem parking even on Saturday. But then we spent the extra money and parked at the Marriott where there was plenty of room, AND a secret gate door that expelled you directly in front of the hall. Well worth the $24 for the convenience.

  20. @Vera in CA – Your words speak the truth. I’m a Bay Area native, so as a local it was great when WonderCon was just a bus or BART ride away from my front door. However, when it moved to Anaheim I still supported the show and I drove down, booked a hotel and paid my parking as expected.

    What should happen, as noted earlier in this thread, is to form a way to get information about attendees how they travel and the hotels they book — for future reference and leverage. When I booked my hotel nobody knew I was there for the WonderCon event.

  21. Parking in Anaheim would not be a problem once people learn to park at Anaheim Stadium. We got right on one of the buses and were at the venue in five minutes.

    SDCC will always sell more hotel rooms because all the Los Angeles comic fans try to go. To us, San Francisco is like going to another state and most won’t attend.

    And anyone who says WonderCon is selling out to Hollywood wasn’t there. None of the huge booths you see in San Diego were on the floor. No “Star Wars,” no Warner Brothers or Fox.

  22. One of the strongest pluses for WonderCon in San Francisco is how accessible the show is to BART mass transit.

    That is also one of the reasons why more hotel rooms are not sold for WonderCOn in SF–it is more of a commuter show than a vacation show, like San Diego.

    My hope is that Comic-Con and the City of San Francisco will be able to work things out. But knowing how business-unfriendly SF is, who knows?

  23. Attendance at WC 2011 was 49,000, up from 39K in 2010, placing it among the biggest shows in the country.

    Media is usually involved in some way, although never to the level that they are in San Diego. DC has premiered movies at WC, and there were a few newsworthy items announced last weekend.

    WC uses a small part of Moscone West, and the site has great potential for expansion. WC could even replicate the Dragon*Con model, and use the Marriott, the Westin, and the Four Seasons for events (with the W and St. Regis for overflow), bypassing Moscone completely.

    Hmmm… somehow, Dragon*Con, which has similar attendance, sells out their host hotels. Why is WonderCon less of a destination convention? Is it because D*C is held on a holiday weekend, encouraging travel, while WC doesn’t have something similar to anchor it? (Holy Week? Memorial Day?)

    Also, why is it that a comics convention which adds media is criticized, but a science-fiction convention which includes comics among the other tribes receives few complaints? Is it because the comics crowd is afraid of being marginalized, while at a SF con it’s more about being invited to hang with the cool kids?

    Another question: how many official hotel rooms did CCI sell when it attracted “only” 49K to San Diego?

  24. briguyx: “Parking in Anaheim would not be a problem once people learn to park at Anaheim Stadium. We got right on one of the buses and were at the venue in five minutes.”

    Getting to the Convention Center was no problem for me using this shuttle Friday morning. However, getting back to the Stadium on Saturday evening took about 45 minutes.

  25. Vera in CA, thanks for the post.

    I agree in part, however, the fan’s inaction of booking hotels, especially local fans is ludicrous. It’s another example of corporate greed and/or business model flawed.

    With WC 2011 attendance almost at 50K up more than 25% from 2010, SF and the Moscone Convention Center are leaving money on the table by not offering CCI/WC advance priority dates greater than six months. It’s a pity the local SF Bay Area comic/pop culture community is denied a WC event due to the lack of hotel bookings associated with priority convention dates.

  26. Amazing to learn that though I thought that I’ve attended 13 San Diego Comic-Cons, 2 WonderCons, and 2 APEs during which I stayed in a hotel and spent a lot of money on lodging and restaurants, I’ve actually have been at only one of those conventions because that’s how many times I booked a hotel through Comic-Con’s website.

    @Matt M.

    How far south on West Street did you try? (Note: I’m curious, not judgmental.) The “No Stopping Any Time” and “Resident Parking Only” zones end south of Orangewood Ave. (in the city of Garden Grove) and just north of Cliffwood Ave. Two friends and one family member parked in front of my house or nearby with no problems. I keep aware of NAMM (the biggest Anaheim convention) dates because people park in front of my house, and traffic around the convention center is a nightmare. Cars were again parked all along the street last weekend for the Natural Products Expo.

  27. To Mister Glanzer, thank you for a great convention this weekend. As for the complaints: WonderCon doesn’t control the weather so I can’t be blame them for the rain. Yes parking was a nightmare but there were other things happening in the convention center not to mention Disneyland is right across the street. That being said, lots of these things were out of WonderCons’ control. I had a fantastic time at the con, the artists alley was awesome, there were tons of vendors, every person seemed to be enthusiastic to be there (vendors, fans, artists). I have no complaints on my part. Hope it comes back next year to socal

  28. I think Joe that you should start another comic book convention. Since you were one of the best and everyone copied your success. We even have you to thank for free comic book day. Any show you make in Northern California would be a huge success.

  29. @David Glanzer

    I’ve not attended the S.F. version, but have attended in San Diego.

    We would love to see a famous Hall H type panel in the big arena attached to the Anaheim Convention Center! Just imagine all the people that could fit in there and the “high” that Hollywood-types would get from that kind of energy in one room and one giant screen (I’ve seen some at concerts that could work).
    I went to a Star Trek convention there in the late 90’s and they had a drive-in type screen that we all watched previews on. It was amazing!
    NAMM is proof the center can handle large crowds. Two freeways adjaent make travel simple. Those who complain about parking typically arrive late morning hours. Parking and driving in downtown S.D. can be a nightmare if you arrive to the con after 8am and I hear S.F. parking is expensive.

    My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed Wondercon in Anaheim and hope it returns. Loved the extra artist space as it seemed there were many more. We actually bought a few prints for the first time!

    The layout of the convention center seemed nice. Not like S.D. where it feels like many addtions have been done and you have to walk all over the place and around just to find things. In Anaheim it was simple. Level 1,2,3.

    More food vendors next time please! Maybe get the famous O.C. food trucks to line the street between the Marriot and Hilton?

    Another consideration is that Disney, who nows owns Marvel is right across the street! Many out-of-towners could attend if tickets were still available on slower days.

    Thanks again for the chance to see this one at a great central location. We had such a great time, and lasting memories…

  30. Torsten, I think WonderCon is less of a destination convention because if people are going to fly to California, they might as well go to San Diego, and as I said, people in L.A. are less likely to travel to SF than SD.

    Of course, San Francisco is a major metropolitan area and deserves a big convention. It’s just not every convention is going to be a national draw (especially when compared to, say, a convention of doctors from around the country)…

  31. Ak-Rev, how can you possibly say “denied”? It is not denial, it is the reality of convention booking. Talk to any meeting planner. It has NOTHING to do with greed.

    I AM a meeting planner. Go try it sometime. Maybe volunteer for CCI so you can see just how much of a PITA it is. ROOM NIGHTS ARE KEY. Bottom line. If you’re going to continue speaking of ‘greed,’ well, it cuts both ways — fans who don’t book room nights, so they can spend that money on action figures or other stuff, are ‘denying’ if you will, the ability of the same fans collectively to have better space, priority treatment, better dates and earlier space booking confirmation.

    And Michael Price, based on what I was told at the con by board members, they are trying to AVOID the “Hall H” syndrome. This convention had, wait for it, A LOT OF ACTUAL COMIC BOOK VENDORS!!! Holy cow! They are trying to NOT make this just “Son of Comic-Con” or “Consolation Con for Those Who Didn’t Get In On SDCC Tickets” — Wondercon has always had a little more focused and relaxed vibe, and they’re trying to keep that.

  32. SwanShadow — do tell. What hotel(s) did you stay in for three nights at past Wondercons? Did you book through the con group?

    I’m born and raised in the Bay Area, honey. I go to BOTH Wondercon and SDCC, every year. I’ve been going to Wondercon since the first one. I don’t care WHERE Wondercon is. Yeah, I live in LA now, but I love any reason to go up to the BA every chance I get, con or no. And I shell it out, every year. So this year I heard all the BA “oh noes, we have to actually spend money if we want to go.” Sauce for the goose, sweetheart.

    I “put up” money that’s just as green as yours, and stay in the con room blocks at both cons, because that’s the name of the game.

  33. And another thing– People, why don’t you try taking your wrath to the SF Convention and Visitors Bureau? They don’t just hand out free maps and tell tourists where are good places to stay and eat. They’re the ones who set the final terms of the convention/hotel contract, not Glanzer or any of the others. If you want the con back in SF, tell them to shake loose and offer them good terms. If Anaheim falls all over itself, offers good rates, a relaxed room-night requirement and other perqs, why wouldn’t CCI take advantage of that?

  34. Vera,

    My comment related to the Hall H content in the Arena was not meant to be directed at Wondercon only. I brought it up because it would be a great location for SDCC or any potential new Con that may want to call Anaheim home.
    I understand and also loved the more “comic book” atmosphere, however there was also a lot of Hollywood there. Not all comic book based as Community is an example. The big movie previews on Saturday also were very similar to SDCC, at least for me.
    Whatever the end result of this endeaver by CCI I think they and other potential cons know what is possible in Anaheim.
    I’m really happy to finally see so many people enjoying them, especially those who are new to this.

  35. I’ve removed SwanShadow’s insulting comments. This isn’t Operation MarketGarden, people. It’s a CVB that wants a certain kind of business and a consumer show that offers a different kind.

    Anyone who thinks the non-profit CCI folks are operating out of “greed” are living on a different planet.

  36. The show was nothing like Wonder Cons I’ve attended in the past and was more of a CCI-lite. I’m not saying that’s bad thing considering San Diego is becoming so difficult to get in to. However, it wasn’t “Wonder Con”.

    Perhaps, moving a spring convention to Anaheim on a regular basis would placate the west coast fans who are getting shut out of San Diego in the summer time. Still, the Bay area should have their show. Personally, I would love to see APE merged with something like the Image Expo recently held in Oakland.

  37. I’d like there to be an SF con because I love to go to up there (I live in LA), and the rate for the Marquis the one time I went to WonderCon was great for a nice hotel in that location. But I do not get why any venue would turn down what is clearly a growing event. The 6 month thing seems to me to be a hello! would someone please take these dates so we don’t have to have WonderCon here again message. I’m hoping the numbers are large for WonderCon Anaheim.

    I did have a very good time at the con. The energy was great, and there was a lot of enthusiasm. More places for food would have been handy. More signs saying what was in which direction would have helped. When I first got there I just followed people, and lucked out that I managed to head to badge pickup. I don’t remember any signs pointing towards that. It gave the impression that the venue wasn’t prepared to me.

  38. Yes, the reality of convention booking is a flawed business model.

    Vera’s 7:19PM post finally hits the mark.

  39. It’s ironic that after a yearlong quest to settle the San Diego Comic-Con’s home, the folks running both shows are now faced with another location dilemma.

    Is that the Alannis Morrisette meaning of “ironic”?

    (And kettlecorn is my favorite.)

  40. @ ~chris

    They had a police stop between the first and second intersections on the street. As soon as you turned from Harbor it was stop and go and inquiry as to where you were headed.

  41. I highly doubt that WonderCon will be coming back to NorCal. It is going to stay in SoCal where the money is at and a larger attendance is at. Anime Expo started in San Jose and moved south. WonderCon will do the same thing just you watch.

  42. @arrowshaft said “Anaheim convention center Exhibit Halls Capacities 813,607 Total Square Feet.
    The Moscone Center more than 992,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.”

    Rereading your post, you are skewing the numbers. By your own statement, you are counting JUST the exhibit halls for Anaheim, but meeting AND exhibit for Moscone.

  43. My girlfriend and I are L.A. locals and we attended this show for the first time this year. We made it a “staycation”, booked the convention hotel and went to Disneyland using the con discounted tickets. Given L.A.’s crappy on a good day traffic we just didn’t want to hassle with driving back and forth from the Valley all weekend. The hotel rate for the convention was better than anything we’ve gotten for SDCC the last few years. The proximity of the hotel to the convention center couldn’t have been better (well maybe if the con itself was on the Disney end of the center instead of the other but that’s being picky). Yes the food court in the Hilton was crowded and the Starbuck’s line was never less than a dozen people deep at all hours of the day but that’s a given for SDCC too. We parked at the hotel on Thursday and didn’t move the car until we left. Had the weather been more cooperative we would have walked to some of the restaurants in the area but instead we stayed in and had all of our meals at the hotel or at the convention center. If the show were to come back to Anaheim next year we’d definitely make a weekend staycation of it again.

  44. Anaheim convention center

    813,607 exhibit halls
    Second Level Meeting Rooms Capacities
    65,583 Total Square Feet

    Third Level Meeting Rooms Capacities
    Meeting Rooms-15,840 Total Square Feets –

    895,030 total
    all the space was not for use by Wonder con
    no skewing it is smaller.
    The Moscone Center more than 992,000 square feet. More than add another 75,000 sq. ft.

    For all the people who said The Moscone Center was too small it is not. There was plenty of other options to have Wonder con up north were it started but it was not even considered.

  45. Not sure where @arrowshaft is getting his/her figures from but the Anaheim Convention Center IS the largest on the West Coast, clocking in at around 1.145 million square feet of combined meeting/exhibit space, while the Moscone Center is about 960k square feet combined. Get your figures straight before posting your facts

  46. One of the reasons ComicCon was looking into moving to Anaheim was that its outgrown the SDCC, hence the move to expand SDCC to match Anaheim’s current size. What some people don’t know is that Anaheim is also working on expanding its convention center to stay larger than SD, SF and LA to compete for large conventions, in addition to having lower priced hotels.

  47. @arrowshaft, I have personal knowledge in both convention centers, so I know their figures. ACC is larger than SF, SD, and LA. The only convention centers bigger in the western united states are in Las Vegas

  48. I never said Anaheim wasn’t smaller. You included meeting hall space in your Moscone number– puffing it larger, but failed to including the same statistics for Anaheim in your original post.

    Thank you for correcting your mistake/distortion with your later post.

  49. I was just referring to all comments that said that it out grew The Moscone Center. Anaheim is nice but it would have been better to keep one of the shows up north.
    Wonder con didn’t try to look very hard for some place up north it seemed they wanted to be down south. I have enjoyed Wonder con from the very first show and it seems to drift further from the original purpose about comics. Featuring movie stars and movies that will be coming out seems to be what brings the public out.
    That is why I will be going to The Big WOW! ComicFest in San Jose it has more about comic books and talks with writers and artists. They even have Frank Cho drawing and talking with people.The programs there will be more like when Wonder con started with less on hollywood and more about the industry.

  50. @ Matt M.

    That is disappointing. If WonderCon returns to Anaheim*, then turn north on West Street from Garden Grove Blvd. or Lampson Ave. or Chapman Ave. at the latest. The NAMM attendees have had a few years to figure that out, I suppose.

    *Being able to walk from my home to WonderCon was terrific, but I think it belongs in SF.

    BTW, of course the Anaheim weather yesterday and today has been simply gorgeous.

  51. @arrowshaft— thanks for the kind words. I really don’t have any grand desire to get back into the convention business.

    I’m hoping to visit Big Wow ComicFest in San Jose this year. It really is a comic and comic art centered show.

    That is a great thing for those who attend cons just for comics and for meeting comics pros. It’s not such a great thing for show organizers since a comics-only specific show caters to a more select 9and smaller) audience than a general interest pop culture event, such as those produced by CCI.

    Still, I am hoping for a WonderCon return to San Francisco, for sentimental and obvious reasons. I’d hate to think that the 25th anniversary of WonderCon in 2011 was it’s NorCal swan song.


    Moscone South/North:
    Halls A-E = 442K
    Moscone West
    Level One = 96.66K

    So the total exhibition space is about 539K.

    Include the various ballroom configurations, and that number rises to 662K.

    Halls A-E = 813,607K
    Arena = 28K (seats 9,100)
    Third Floor Ballroom = 38K

    Spaces WC has used:
    2012: Hall D has 221,284 sq.ft.
    Moscone South A-C: 260,560 sq.ft.

    If CCI does initiate Anaheim-Con®, then it would be best to use Halls A+B (291K) with the Arena used as “Hall H” events. Or Halls D and E can be combined for 364K.

    As for looking for space in the Bay Area:
    Oakland Convention Center = 48K
    San Jose CC = 143K
    Sacramento CC = 134K
    …nowhere near the 260K used by WC in 2011.

    Los Angeles has 719,575 square feet in three main halls (South, Kentia, West)
    San Diego: 615K

  53. This was my first Wonder Con and it certainly was convenient, as I’m only about a half hour from Anaheim. I can understand regular attendees being disappointed by the move, but I expect it will be back in SF next year.

    I was only there on Friday, but my two friends & I had a great time. It wasn’t as overwhelming as SDCC, but there was still enough going on to make everyone I spoke to happy.

    It would be great if the promoters felt that an annual event (not necessarily WC) in Anaheim was worth their returning next year. Maybe later in the year after SDCC and before Mid-Ohio.

  54. @arrowshaft: I did.

    North + South
    “Halls A-B-C-D-E 442,000”
    Esplanade Level
    “301-310² 42,675” (ballroom configuration)
    Gateway Ballroom
    “Rooms 102-104² 24,825”

    “Exhibit Hall “96,660” ” (First Floor)
    Second floor has meeting rooms
    Third floor has meeting rooms; some can be reconfigured into a ballroom:
    “Ballroom “56,294” ”

    So: 442,000 + 96,660 = 538,660 sq ft. of *exhibition space*. I do not know what Moscone includes in their definition of “exhibition space”. Myself, I use “Hall” as most convention centers seem to use this designation. Generally: large, open, tall unfinished rooms which can maintain large floor loads.

    Ballrooms are carpeted and not usually used for exhibits (given the weight of displays). They can be utilized for Artists Alley or booths utilizing nothing more complex than a few chairs, a few tables, and maybe a simple display (as seen at SPX). Or they can be configured into theater seating (chairs and a stage), as CCI:SD has done with Room 6 and Ballroom 20 at the convention center, and at various hotels nearby (Eisner Awards).

    Meeting rooms are similar to ballrooms in design. Some can be combined into larger rooms, but they are rarely used for exhibits.

  55. @Steve
    I have suggested that if Anaheim was successful, CCI could add a third “large” convention to their schedule in the Fall, to balance with WonderCon (Spring) and CCI:SD (Summer). Autumn allows them to compete with NYCC, which could easily become as influential to Hollywood as San Diego.

    1) Fall allows for the promotion of new television shows, as well as the Oscar hopefuls and holiday blockbusters, as well as teasing March releases and summer blockbusters (as seen with the Avengers panel last year).

    2) Every major studio has an office in New York. It’s not difficult to fly talent in to talk to media AND make an appearance at NYCC. Booths do not have to be epic like Marvel’s SHIELD layout; Legendary Pictures had a nice, functional booth with display cases and a signing area. Most of the action will be at the panels or autograph sessions, the booth is just another way to advertise.

    3) NYCC is rapidly approaching the attendance seen at San Diego, with lots of space to grow (Halls 1B and 1C were practically empty, and the North Pavillion had lots of empty space towards the back.) If you have San Diego-sized crowds, and San Diego-style media attention (in the media capital of the United States), then publicists are going to show up to promote everything.

    HOWEVER, the Long Beach Comic Con is in November. Perhaps move WC to Fall in SF, and the AC-C to Spring in LA.

  56. If there’s one thing I’ve learned at The Beat is that you do *not* go up against Torsten Adair when it comes to facts and figures, hahah!

    The man always gets to the bottom line — and he backs up his facts with links to prove it.

    Simply put, Anaheim is bigger. However, I think the pith of the debate was lost in the splitting of hairs over the size.

  57. I don’t make arguments, I just try to find the facts to answer someone else’s argument. (I’m currently at 2,432 Points on Yahoo! Answers, but I haven’t been active lately.) I’ve got a library degree, and I know how to use it.

    You know what would be cool? WonderCon filling up Moscone, Anaheim Comic-Con filling up Anaheim, and CCI:SD taking over San Diego à la Angoulême. Then it all becomes moot.

    (And if that happened, we’d probably see NYCC filling up Javits, and C2E2 filling up McCormick!)

    Imagine an entire hall just for Artists Alley! And then that getting spun off into a Comiket-like show, like MoCCA or SPX or APE, but with 30,000 people showing up!

    Yup, I dream big. I read too many comics as a teen!

  58. I attended Wonder Con in SF last year for the first time. I did not book a hotel through the con’s website because, frankly, they are way too expensive when compared to a hotel near a BART station. Sorry, Con Site Tracking Folks, but that’s the real reason you do not see the numbers you want. S.F., to stay in the city, is out of reach for anyone that wishes to have some $$ left over for the floor.

    Last year, I attended four panels. That’s it. I do not think they held any outside of just two rooms. There were many more panels available this year and the space to hold them. Point: Anaheim.

    For everyone that complains about mass market media attending, there is a reason that SDCC is the biggest con in North America and it isn’t because DC’s booth has padded carpeting. The show has everything; and while I am one of the complainers about it’s shrinking vendor space, I get it. Wonder Con, even here in Anaheim, still strikes a great balance.

    And, I love that the show is held on a Fri during the school year. Fri allows those of us that can take that time off to enjoy a “big” convention without the crowds for one day. Whether in Anaheim or SF, I was able to talk to creators for more than 20 secs before someone hit me over the head with their stroller.

    Speaking to a number of artists there, they unanimously said that they felt it was the Moscone Center and SF that was forcing the Con OUT of the area. They were not interested in a show that had become “too big” for the SF image (their words, mind you) and that it was NOT CCI that wanted to move. Anaheim seemed to bend over backwards to accommodate the show. That is going to go a long way in determining where the show ends up. If Moscone has no interest in the show, why would fans want it there?

    Parking was simple for us, as the shuttle service from the stadium was extremely easy. I had no trouble returning on Sat night, but I headed back late.

  59. I’m a Norcal soul and if I’m going to schlep myself down to SoCal for a comic convention, might as well get myself down to SD for Comic Con. I like the idea of three conventions in Spring, Summer and Fall though, as someone commented earlier. Otherwise, I’ll go to San Jose. I think there’s plenty of us in NorCal for a comic convention of our so I hope Wondercon is back next year in SF.

  60. How big is The Moscone Center?
    The Moscone Center (Moscone North, South and West) consists of more than two million square feet of building area, including over 700,000 square of exhibit space, up to 106 meeting rooms, and nearly 123,000 square feet of prefunction lobbies.

    Moscone West covers the better portion of one city block and rises to three levels, 110 feet, above street level. Moscone West is a freestanding building.

    How big is the exhibit hall floorspace?
    The Moscone Center has six primary exhibit halls. Halls A, B, and C are in Moscone South with a total of 260,560 square feet. Halls D and E are in Moscone North with a total of 181,400 square feet. Moscone West offers 99,916 square feet of dedicated exhibit space on Level 1, with an additional 199,432 square feet of flexible swing space on Levels 2 and 3.

  61. Don’t worry fellas, WonderCon may or may not be back to Anaheim next year and go back to SF but I’m sure the organizers got a feel to what Anaheim has to offer in terms conv center size and hotel package and if San Diego doesn’t get their conv center expansion plan passed then goodbye ComicCon in SD and hello Anaheim.

  62. I went to WonderCon in Anaheim on Friday and Saturday, and hope that it returns next year to Anaheim. True, the parking was a nightmare, there weren’t enough food vendors, the celebrity autograph signers were very lackluster, not so many Hollywood-type panels, it was raining, not all the convention space and rooms were used, and the girls’ cheerleading and volleyball tournaments only added to the already big crowd, but overall the event was good.

    Anaheim needs its own comic book convention, and WonderCon fits almost perfectly (parking is the biggest problem). WonderCon also needs to take some exhibitors from Comic Con so there will more room to walk at Comic Con. But if WonderCon doesn’t return, then WizardWorld needs to step it up and come back to Anaheim!

    What I don’t understand is why San Francisco has both WonderCon and Ape Expo, and San Diego only has Comic Con? After reading about Ape Expo on Comic Con’s website, all I can say is that “Ape Expo sucks!” Really? A convention just for small independant comic companies, alot of exhibitors, and very little programming? Sounds more like too much time and effort for such a small, lousy event. The only reason for me to go to Ape Expo is to see Shannon Wheeler, and I’ve already seen him at Comic Con! Even Long Beach’s one day Comic Expo is way better than two days of Ape Expo! Tell you what the organizers of Comic Con should do: Keep WonderCon in Anaheim, and Ape Expo in San Francisco! Better yet, make Ape Expo more like WonderCon and Comic Con so more people go to Ape Expo! And change the name too! No real apes show up at Ape Expo!

  63. Oh, another thing! Comic Con won’t work in the Anaheim Convention Center! Parking and traffic was a nightmare for just WonderCon; not nearly enough parking!

  64. Your parking arguement is weak, there is plenty of parking around the conv center, including hotels, the GardenWalk, two Disney satellite parking lots plus angel stadium if needed. Parking is a problem for all major conventions in all cities including Los Angeles, SD, SF and Anaheim. The biggest difference is between all those cities is affordability. We can all agree that SF is the most expensive and Anaheim would be on the low end of prices from those four cities. Cheap affordable parking and hotels speaks volumes if and when ComicCon moves from San Diego.

  65. Everyone can sputter out square footage of the Anaheim Convention Center all they want, but when you look at the actual layout ( ), you can see that it doesn’t really look like it’s meant to house one large convention. Those red and white boxes are the bathrooms, food eateries, etc., and they don’t move as they are part of the brick and mortar of the center. It’s hard enough getting around the SD Convention Center when the whole thing is wide open… imagine in Anaheim trying to get from hall to hall with everyone else being funneled through one of three connecting sections.

  66. Here’s a radical idea:
    What if San Diego and Anaheim traded places?

    Anaheim Comic-Con takes place in the Summer, and can handle the big crowds (although it would have to compete with Disneyland).

    CCI:SD takes place in the Fall, and runs a show for about 100,000 maximum.

    APE has its own concerns:

    I’ve always wondered why nobody uses the art festival/street fair/New York is Book Country model for comics. Booths on a street, panels in a nearby building. Weather is the wildcard, but if hundreds of book festivals survive and thrive, why not try it for comics? Perhaps on the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park?

  67. With no doubt, this year’s WonderCon is way better than Anaheim Comic Con (Wizard World) last year. I imagine WonderCon will move back to Moscone Center next year anyway, then may be Wizard World will be back.

    Parking is not so much an issue if WonderCon did better job to promote the surrounding parking lots. There are plenty of parking spaces in the nearby hotels, Garden Walk, and Angel Stadium…etc. Like there are many empty spaces at Mariott and Hilton, but they costed double than the convention parking rate.

    I enjoyed the con overall, if they ever host it at Anaheim Convention Center again, make sure it won’t fall on the same dates as some big events (volleyball and cheerleader tournaments) at the other halls simultaneously.

  68. To be fair, the volleyball and cheerleadin things were probably already scheduled way before WonderCon was pencilled in for this past weekend, hence why so much stuff. as for Wzard World (Anaheim Comic-con), don’t hold your breath for that to return for a while, twice they’ve pulled out of LA after they said they were gonna be there, and they yanked their Anaheim Comic-Con from from the schedule with little to no fanfare, so don’t expect them to come scrambling back to anaheim for their little convention. I would love for wonderCon to come back and come back in the same weekend as this year, considering they had such little time to prepare, they did a fantastic job. But more conventions in the fall here in the LA area would be rough.. there’s already Long Beach Comic-Con (the fighting kid) that’s only three years old and has a loyal fanbase, then there’s Comikaze Expo (the new kid in town) which pulled off an admirable effort last year and got a great turnout in just a small amount of time, let’s not hurt them. I would prefer a con in January just because there never seems to be one at that time, except for Anime LA, but really that’s a hotel lobby, not a convention center. Let’s hope we all get an answer from CCI

  69. I hope WC returns to SF next year. SoCal already has a good number of cons, especially SDCC and Anime Expo, along with tourist attractions like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and Hollywood. SF plus the rest of the Bay Area doesn’t attract as much visitors as SoCal, so it needs as much financial income as possible. It’s fair and enjoyable to give a comic/sci-fi/pop-culture fest to NorCal residents, too.

  70. Just move it to Anaheim if it did so well. People up north already have the Ape Expo, and some of us can’t afford the ridiculous prices of Comic Con.

  71. The shuttle bus was great and easy. The crowds at the Convention center itself was like Elvis had risen from the dead and was putting on a free show.

  72. If I have to travel all the way to Southern California for a comic-con, I’m going to do San Diego. Moving it hours and hours away because the convention center you normally use wasn’t available is just insane.

    I’m sure there are other venues that were much closer and offered similar amenities…it’s not like there’s only one convention center in the entire bay area.

  73. So what if SoCal has a lot of cons. I’m sure you’re unaware of the fact that many Southern Californians were very upset and unable to attend SDCC this year because the badges sold out insanely fast. Getting to SDCC becomes more and more of a joke each year. The reality is that it’s impossible to get a SDCC badge these days. SDCC has become an international convention hijacked by Hollywood. It would be nice to keep WonderCon in Anaheim so REAL comic book fans in SoCal can have a convention they can actually attend.

  74. For those of you wondering whether San Jose could handle WonderCon, check out Fanime for anime fans. It meets in San Jose every year and is as large as WonderCon, I believe, In my opinion, it can be done.

  75. Sf wondercon 2011 soldout ……Anaheim wondercon did not. Case closed. SF and Northern California need Wondercon….

  76. SF WonderCon 2011 did not sell out. Sunday had little crowds. When WonderCon 2012 moved to Anaheim, Sunday was packed. For those who say that SoCal has to many conventions, that’s because we support our conventions. SF doesn’t support their cons as much as we do. What’s more, SF is more concerned about hating on SoCal and LA more than they should, granted WonderCon was in the O.C. last year.