Bookin’ Around WonderCon: Recap & Once Upon a Time Journal Giveaway

This will be my fifth year attending San Diego Comic-Con, but my first visit to WonderCon. When my sister offered me tickets last week to attend WonderCon, I couldn’t resist heading over to Anaheim to check it out. I didn’t know if it would be a mini Comic-Con or what to expect at all. Tickets were still available even during the event, so it was a nice option for locals shut out of Comic-Con tickets. The halls and panels were busy and crowded but not overwhelmingly so. It was a relaxed atmosphere and the smaller scale made for a more personal experience. My main interest was to go to the author panels and signings, but we managed to do some of the TV and movie panels as well.

We got up early Saturday and braved the pouring rain to pick up our badges at the convention center. The convention center seemed to be a similar size to San Diego’s but we found out when we entered that only about a quarter of the convention center was used for WonderCon. The rest of the convention center was used for a girls cheerleading and volleyball competition held at the same time. My husband thought it was strange that all these young girls were cosplaying as Claire from Heroes, but that was not the case. It certainly was amusing to see the cheerleaders walking amongst the stormtroopers, zombies, and superheroes in the convention center halls. It was a piece of cake to pick up the badges and it was easy to find our way around.

Saturday was the day for movie panels, so we mainly stuck to the Ballroom on the third level (about the size of San Diego’s ballroom 20) to check those out. Sunday was the day for TV panels, as well as the YA author panel, and several author signings throughout the day.

Some of the highlights from my visit to WonderCon:

1. Spotlight on Ernest Cline – The author of Ready Player One and screenwriter of Fanboys was on hand to talk about how he got his start in writing. Like a few other authors and filmmakers he started out by working in a video store. Ernie is a very engaging speaker and he talked for an hour about the turbulent making of Fanboys and the writing of Ready Player One. My husband and I both loved that book and it was great to see so many fans of the book in attendance. Ernie talked about his next book, which will be a coming age book about growing up in the 1980’s. Can’t wait to read it! There’s a good recap of the panel here.

2. 20th Century Fox Panel featuring producer Tim Burton’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Ridley Scott’s Promotheus – The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter panel started with a video explaining why Tim Burton would not be there and showed a bizarre clip of a fake decaying body (Tim Burton) attended by two attractive nurses and by doctor Andrew Weil. We were asked to #PrayforTim when the clip ended. So strange! The trailer looks awesome, and I am more interested in seeing the movie than I had been. The author Seth Grahame Smith moderated the panel and said he was inspired to write the book when on book tour during Lincoln’s 200th birthday he would see a display of Abraham Lincoln bios side by side with a display of Twilight books. Damon Lindelof moderated the Prometheus panel with guests Sir Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender. This was most likely the most popular panel of the whole Con and the crowd was enthusiastic. I still don’t know that it’s my type of thing, but it was an entertaining panel regardless. Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender acting out the Prometheus trailer was a standout moment.

3. ABC’s Once Upon A Time – For this panel there was a screening of the episode that aired Sunday (Heart of Darkness) followed by a short q&a with series creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horovitz. They said they would love to add the Little Mermaid, Mulan, and Rapunzel to the show at some point. The panel ran a little late and I had to run to attend the…

4. Shivers, Shakes, & Swoon: The Young Adult books we can’t put down panel – This panel was moderated by author Andrea Cremer (Nightshade series) and included Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Kami Garcia (co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels), Gretchen McNeil (Possess), Lissa Price (Starters), Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky) & Ann Aguirre (Enclave). Great line-up, right? Andrea was a fabulous moderator and asked about their books and their favorite cosplayer at the Con. The authors took some questions from the audience, and premiered the book trailers for Starters and Under the Never Sky. There were a lot of people coming into the panel late that didn’t look like YA fans, and it turns out they were there for the next panel: Naruto: Shippuden! New YA fans in the making?

4. Author signings– One thing I missed from Comic-Con is group author signings. Because all of the signings were held at the tiny Mysterious Galaxy booth, they could only accommodate two authors at a time. So every hour I would dash back down to the 1st floor exhibit hall from the 3rd floor other end of the convention center, dodging cheerleaders along the way, to get to the MG booth for the next signing. Snuck in some good exercise there! I was disappointed to miss the Gretchen McNeil & Andrea Cremer signing in the morning but was able to pick up signed copies of Possess and Ten later. Yay! Kami Garcia was paired with Ransom Riggs so I got my copies of Beautiful Chaos and Miss Peregrine signed. There was not a rushed feeling at all, and the authors had time to chat and sign. Next I met Veronica Rossi who is really sweet and told me she is working on writing the next book in her series (Under the Never Sky). Finally, I met Lissa Price and Ann Aguirre. Mysterious Galaxy was giving out ARC’s of Ann’s book Outpost with a purchase of Enclave, so I snapped those up. Ann has written a lot of books – very impressive! And Enclave is her first hardcover book. Lissa Price had a big line of Starters fans, and she was ready with swag in hand. She told me she had heard of my blog and I don’t know if that’s true or not but it made me happy.

5-7. Alcatraz, Fringe, and Dr. Horrible – The Alcatraz and Fringe panels featured the cast and writers and took audience questions. I don’t watch either show but the panels were interesting anyway. The Con closed out with aΒ  screening of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I hadn’t seen it before but my daughter is a big fan. It is hilarious!

8. The Exhibit Hall – There were a good mix of exhibitors and no big studio booths at this Con. You could walk around without too much pushing and crowding. Good comics presence and Artists’ Alley. My daughter was happy to find a My Little Pony Doctor Whooves t-shirt. The only bad lines at WonderCon were the food lines, which I avoided altogether.

9. The Sound of My Voice panel – The first 12 minutes of this cult drama about a woman who claims to be a visitor from the year 2054 were screened. If you like cults this may be the movie for you. I’m intrigued by the creepy mystery of it.

10. Cosplay – It’s always a fun part of the experience to see the creative costumes attendees put together! I didn’t have my camera with me, but here’s a gallery of highlights from Comic Vine.

I was not able to attend Friday, and missed a few other big movie panels like Snow White, Spiderman, and Looper, but I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to get to. A great time was had by all at WonderCon, and I would absolutely go again, even if/when the event returns to San Francisco. With tickets to Comic-Con so hard to come by, WonderCon is a nice easy-going alternative.

Giveaway has ended:

The winner of the Once Upon a Time journal is Reut! Congrats!


26 thoughts on “Bookin’ Around WonderCon: Recap & Once Upon a Time Journal Giveaway

  1. I love when you do recaps. It is so weird to think that I saw Lissa Price on Saturday and then you saw her the very next day hundreds of miles away.Anyway, I’m jealous that you get to go to Comic-Con and WonderCon. I am excited for Ernie Cline’s next book–I loved Ready Player One and I bet he would be hilarious writing a coming of age book about the 80s. Also, I hear nothing but great things about Ann Aguirre and how nice she is in person. It makes me happy every time I hear that:)

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks Flannery! Lissa Price is going all over the place – it is crazy that we saw her one day apart. She’s really nice, as were all the authors I got to meet.
      Agreed – can’t wait to read more from Ernie Cline. He has definitely found his niche. Hope the Ready Player One movie is as awesome as the book.

  2. miki says:

    i wish similar event could be help in europe
    thanks you a lot for thinking about us and making us dream thanks to your giveaway

  3. beckireads says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  4. Great post Lucy! I’m so disappointed that I missed Wondercon. I woke up Saturday with a bad cold and just couldn’t face the drive to Anaheim. I hope it comes to SoCal again next year so I can check it out. I’m especially jealous that you got to see Ernest Cline. I loved his book:)

    1. Lucy says:

      You were missed, Tammy! Sorry to hear you’ve been sick. The weather really was dreadful.
      Ernie Cline is an awesome speaker. I was bummed I had to leave early and miss his signing. Maybe we’ll see him at SDCC though πŸ™‚

  5. reutreads says:

    That YA panel and signing sounds awesome! And I’m so happy to hear they might be adding Mulan and Rapunzel–I LOVE THEM. But I love Mulan more.

    1. Lucy says:

      Based on last week’s episode looks like we’ll be seeing some Aladdin characters soon. Can’t wait! Mulan is my absolute favorite so I’d love to see her on the show too.

  6. How fun! I’d never heard of this event! And I loooooove Dr. Horrible – it’s the only video I have downloaded onto my iPhone so that i can view it at any time.

    1. Lucy says:

      Dr. Horrible is really great – can’t believe it took me so long to watch it. So fun to watch it with a big group! Love that you have it on your iPhone πŸ™‚

      1. Are you a Nathan Fillion fan? πŸ™‚ Firefly/Serenity, Castle…!

        1. Lucy says:

          Am a Joss Whedon fan and love Buffy and Angel, but I haven’t seen much of Nathan Fillion’s work beyond a little of Firefly/Serenity. Must catch up sometime – I know I’m missing out πŸ™‚

          1. I totally love Buffy, but never finished watching Angel. I know I should! Loved Firefly! Didn’t get into Dollhouse. You should check out Castle if you like murder mysteries because Nathan Fillion plays a writer. πŸ™‚

  7. bookchelle says:

    Nice! I wish I was able to go. But soon, we will have Comic Con! Great round up and great haul of giveaways and signed stuff!

    1. Lucy says:

      Oh yes SDCC is right around the corner! We will have to meet up at the author panels. WonderCon got me fired up to go.

  8. So extremely jealous right now. I want to read Ten sooooo bad!!! Once Upon a Time is my favorite show. Thanks for the giveaway and recap.

    1. Lucy says:

      Ten does look good- I was pleasantly surprised to find it. OUaT is one of my favorites too. Wish the cast were at the panel. Hope you have some author signings in your area soon. Thanks for stopping by, Devan!

      1. Me too, but MI rarely has any authors stop by. I just need to move somewhere more literary.

  9. Vyki says:

    Wow, sounds like a really good time! I used to go to the big anime con in orlando, but haven’t been in years. I would love to be able to go to a convention with YA writers!! I’m so jealous πŸ˜‰

    1. Lucy says:

      An anime con sounds fun – I haven’t been to one of those yet. It’s nice that more of the big Cons are featuring authors now. Hope that trend continues and spreads to other cons across the country.

  10. Candice says:

    Wow!!! First off, I’ve wanted to go to Comic-Con for a while now but sadly live way too far away. Wonder-Con sounds great though! I got a bit smiley when I saw you got an autographed copy of Miss Peregrine’s… it’s seriously been one of my favorite reads this year! And Once Upon a Time?! Oh I love that show! OK… need to stop squealing over your fun! πŸ™‚

  11. squee1313 says:

    Ready Player One, Earnest Cline? I would go for that reason alone. Love it love it love it. I’m on South East side of the Country. We do DragonCon in Atlanta. Not too bad. The parade is the best part. Also a huge fan of Tim Burton, but I”m not sure about the Abraham Lincoln adaptation. More excited to see Dark Shadows with him and Depp. Also, I love Once Upon a Time.

  12. VeganYANerds says:

    Lucky you! The YA panel sounds like it would have been great to attend!

  13. Mary Preston says:

    One day I would love to attend either or both. So jealous!! A fabulous post that highlighted what I was missing out on.


  14. fishgirl182 says:

    great recap! i went to a lot of the same panels. i agree that it was much more manageable than comic con. and it was hilarious that all the con people thought the cheerleaders and volleyball players were in costume and vice versa. πŸ™‚ can’t wait for sdcc this summer!

    1. Lucy says:

      Yes looking forward to it! It certainly added a strange element to have the cheerleaders and volleyball players there πŸ™‚ Glad you were able to go too and hit a lot of the panels.

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