Last Saturday I took a day to go to Wondercon, the large regional comic book convention that’s been a Bay Area staple for 25 years, and which I’ve always meant to go to but never made it there. The big reason I’ve never made it is that I’m always insanely busy in late March/early April, and by the time I realize when it will be held I already have other plans. But I put it on my calendar this year, and even though I was still insanely busy, I made the time to spend the day up there.
Unfortunately, Saturday is Wondercon’s busiest day; apparently they sold out for the day, probably drawing over 40,000 people, and the convention floor was a zoo, just packed.
And I’m not really a crowd person.
I enjoying looking through the dealers’ booths. I picked up a few comic books from the 70s, and was happy to see that Travis Hanson was there with the latest issue of his comic The Bean. The big booths were impressive: DC is pushing the upcoming Green Lantern film heavily, and they were also promoting the GL animated films and the Young Justice TV series. The small press and artist booths were fun to stroll through, too. I think I’m about 15 years too late to really enjoy the floor, since I don’t really buy many back issues anymore. Most of the ones I want have been collected in paperbacks or hardcovers in that time, so there’s not much I’m looking for.
But ultimately it was all a bit too overwhelming for me. If I’d had more time then I probably would have gone to a few panels (assuming they weren’t packed, too), but I only had the one day. If I go next year Ill try to plan things out better.
I did manage to meet a couple of folks I’ve “known” for years but have never met in person. One was Johanna, whom I’ve followed on LiveJournal for some years, having connected through a mutual acquaintance. The other was Jason, who I’ve known for over 20 years since we were both part of an Amateur Press Alliance together, and who is now the editor-in-chief of the web site Comics Bulletin. I had a good long while chatting with Jason and a friend of his while we were all taking some downtime, but I only had a short while to talk to Johanna while she was on break from the booth she was helping at. But it was good to meet both of them.
I also enjoyed chatting with another congoer when we were eating lunch next to each other at Mel’s Drive-In, talking about the book I was reading, Doctor Who, GalaxyQuest and similar things. A nice semi-random encounter.
Overall it was an okay day. I think I enjoyed APE more when I went last fall, as I found more books I was interested in, and generally found the booths more interesting to peruse. On the other hand, I felt like I got all I could out of APE in one day, whereas if I went to some panels I could probably fill a couple of days of Wondercon. (I might not be social enough to enjoy going to dinner or parties after the con, though.)
Maybe not a ringing endorsement of the con, but I do feel conflicted about it. I wish I felt more comfortable around people I don’t know. But, I yam what I yam.