For the past few years on Easter weekend, Anaheim has played host to WonderCon, a miniaturized version of the wildly popular Comic-Con. Crowds of godless weirdos like myself devoid of anyone to spend Easter with, descend into the Southern California town thats only really known for housing Disneyland to celebrate all the nerdy things that make us
forget how lost we really are smile. In 2012 when I heard the convention was moving to Anaheim I was overjoyed. When the weekend finally came, I scraped to find someone to come with me but all my friends were armed with perfectly legitimate excuses like “Its a holy day” and “I think you have the wrong number” so I found myself in the car on Easter Sunday driving solo to my first convention.
After searching countless parking garages for a space in the over parked chaos of the final day of the Con, I finally
just parked in someones driveway found one and made my way on to the concrete path that lead to the convention center. Scores of super-fans dressed in elaborate costumes walked along side me as we made our way to the entrance. Sights usually only found in the weirdest of fan-fiction filled every corner of the hall. If it were a different time and place normally one might be thrown off by the sight of Sonic the hedgehog tongue kissing Tifa Lockhart but here in the hallowed halls of WonderCon no one even bats an eye. While all this started out mostly for comic purists, the Comic-Con family of events are now a celebration that is inclusive of all fandoms and its a special thing to see.
Inside the main hall was a consumer paradise bulging with merchandise from six or so decades of movies, cartoons and comics. There were booths of artists and writers showing off their latest creations, meet and greets with ex-Power Rangers and a galaxy of other wonderfully geeky pitstops. I spent much of my time marveling at the incredible
breasts memorabilia on display. I lost what must have been an hour drooling over and eventually buying original hand painted animation cells and sketches from 80s and 90s cartoons like Beetlejuice and The Real Ghostbusters. Being a SoCal resident, I only spent the day there but I like to think for the many who came in from afar and booked hotel rooms that the phrase “what happens at WonderCon stays at WonderCon” was in full effect for their stay. I can imagine no greater place to have a fling with someone. You’ll find no greater concentration of sexually repressed, imaginatively dressed indoor kids then at a convention.
After a long day of smiling and brushing up strangers my wallet was empty and my bag was full. The final hour of the convention had arrived so I made my way out of the steel doors, through the crowds of porcelain skinned cosplay beauties who stole this fanboy’s hearts and headed back down the path to the parking garage. On that final march back to the car as I walked side by side with a guy walking alone dressed brilliantly as Booker from Bioshock Infinite, I realized something beautiful that perfectly encapsulated the spirit of this most magical gathering. I was not the only one who came here alone. Many here were just like me, lonely wanderers who were drawn in to be a part of something wonderful, something uniquely ours. So now, when the Con comes back to town, I no longer make my usual half -hearted pleas to already occupied friends. I just throw on my rarest vintage Batman T-shirt, turn on the “Lost Boys” soundtrack and hit the I-5 south with a smile, knowing that I’m headed to one of the few places on earth a geek can go where everyone he sees will greet him with a knowing nod of understanding. I heart you WonderCon. See you next year.