WonderCon 2012 resided in Anaheim California. As opposed to San Francisco in past years. Many of the vendors were a bit anxious due to this change of location and venue. Local convention enthusiasts were stoked not to travel as far for a major comic convention. A large number of vendors were from the bay area. Many of the artists in artist alley and small press were the San Diego Comic Con crowd with a dash of locals sprinkled in.
With the loose facts stated I’d like to express my observation of the the show. In One word: Awesome!
The place was packed from the beginning to the very end. What more could you ask for from a convention?
Being an independent Comic/art hustler I can only give you a meat and potatoes view of the show. While in the trenches there is no time for shows, panels, movie stars, swag, ect. Only hustling, networking, promoting, and visiting fellow Convention warriors. I opened up the show assisting a bay area vendor. He has been doing conventions for years and traveled with a small posse of other Bay Area vendors. He confessed sales were good. The Bay Area in him stated sales were not as good as SF, but he was satisfied. He went on to make a good point: For fans of comics (zines excluded) there were are only two yearly comic shows in San Francisco, Wonder Con and Ape. People didn’t have to save money for the next show. They were free to splurge. In Orange County/Los Angeles there is a related show just about once a month. The buyers “Con Fund” must get spread a little. Only for the show necessities. Finding new artists and searching for new titles going to wait.
That being said, there wasn’t much satisfaction in the artist alley. I compare this to the over all input I received. I have attended comic shows along the West Coast for a few years now, I can agree with one statement I’ve heard, “SoCal is not as interested in, or receptive to Independent artists as SF is.” Those might seem like fighting words, but I’ve noticed this to be somewhat of a reality.
With hundreds of film and animation companies residing here in SoCal, the independent artist is thought of as a “wannabe” without a known studio name tagged after. I say this referring to myself as well.
This may seem to be an uphill battle for indie artists, but if you live on the West or East Coast your communication skills and presentation has to be sharp. Persistence, perseverance and innovation (personal if at the least) is key. It’s not a competition with other artists but with studios, locals have become accustomed to this.
I have to say though, the independent side of the crowd did put on a good show. I did not see many “frowny faces” and crossed arms which can only mean people had a great time. I honestly can’t imagine why it would not stay in Anaheim.