WonderCon 2014 – Part 1 (Panels, Floor, and Shenanigans)

IMG_0129WonderCon is a trip for me because it’s grown so much since I first started going to it up in Oakland back in 2002. Just in the few years it’s been in Anaheim it’s gotten a lot bigger. It’s a great balance between the little conventions and Juggernaut that Comic Con has become.

Mama Jedi and I got a 3-Day pass and headed up to WonderCon in Anaheim from San Diego after working a half day on Friday so we were there for the latter half of Friday, all-day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. Saturday is the day I crossplayed as BBC Sherlock and I got Mama Jedi to Crossplay as Dr. John Watson. It’s the first time Mama Jedi has dressed up for a Convention and no one had any idea who she was dressed as even when she stood right next to me. Unless we told them. Oh well, it IS a pretty subtle costume, I guess.

We even ran in to a few friends and acquaintances while we were there. Shout outs!

Top row, left to right: my sister-in-law, Reba’s friend Cat (Mario) ran into us over by John Mulhall’s booth, my High School friend Rich (who did this amazing HNG Delilah art) and I spent 10 minutes trying to find each other near the food court, where I then randomly ran into Paige (red hair) who is the best friend of my friend Cris.

Bottom row, left to right: Geek Outlaw and I met Daniel at Comic Con in 2012 and seem to run into him at every Con we go to, we met Capt. Seekerman at ConDor last month and have since hung out with him sans amazing Steampunk Costume at the LRH Writer’s of the Future Awards (coverage of that coming soon), and through Capt. Seekerman we met Andrea.

And these don’t even include what we call our “ConFam” – the writers, artists, and cosplayers we see at most of the conventions we go to and have gradually developed friendships with. You’ll see some of them later. This year, I even ran in to someone who might turn out to be ActualFam. This illustrator and concept artist’s name caught my eye while I was making my way towards my friend Brett’s booth in the Small Press section. I zeroed in on it because I am also a Doering and it’s not a surname you see very often in the US. Matt Doering was incredibly nice (and uber talented) and I think we even kind of look alike (Maybe? A little?). Who knows if we’re actually related but, either way, he’s officially one of my new favorite artists.

Watch out, there’s two Doering’s in the hizzouse

Speaking of Brett (the guy who’s booth I was looking for when I ran into long-lost-maybe-family), he’s been a good friend of mine since High School and he was there representing his hilarious online web comic, Orky the Porky Orca. It’s possible we love Orky a little too much.

Brett also wrote and illustrated a book about 101 Random Conversations with Strangers (most of which are true) that is turning out to be very popular thanks, in part, to it’s extreme hilarity. Mama Jedi bought one and I caught her laughing out loud for real in her hotel room while reading it.

Artist Mike Hicks is a recent addition to our ConFam. We met him at (I think) Long Beach Comic Con and were immediately drawn (heehee) to his unique style. He creates beautiful drawings using one continuous line that never crosses or touches. (Want to follow the line and see for yourself? Click HERE). The first time we met he offered to do a piece based on one of my Batgirl poses. When Hayden found out, he naturally wanted a Geek Outlaw one as well. We finally met up with Mike again at WonderCon and were able to pick up the originals. Thanks, Mike!

I was already a fan of Patrick Ballesteros‘ art when he sent me an email about his latest piece a couple of years ago. I was only too happy to share it! Since then we’ve connected at several conventions and he’s one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. See that adorable Firefly picture behind him? I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my office 

Another member of the ConFam, we met author John Mulhall at a convention a couple of years ago (we had a whole conversation trying to remember exactly which one and couldn’t decide) and started hanging out with him more and more at each subsequent con. Even though I bought it a looooong time ago, I only recently read his book Geddy’s Moon and, to be honest, it’s fantastic. I wish I’d read it sooner. And I’m not just saying that because he’s now my friend. I’ll write up a review of it and fill you in on exactly why you need to read it. Because you do. John also participated in a panel which I’ll get to later.

Side note: John Mulhall, Blayne Alexander of the band Idiot Stare, Geek Outlaw, and I recently started recording podcasts for a geek round-table idea that John had, the first of which should be coming out any time now. So stay tuned for that!

Hayden and I met Georges Jeanty when we had our very first booth at the LA Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention where he broke a piece off of my Mal Reynolds pistol (yes, I forgave him). Georges is one of the cover artists for Dark Horse’s new Serenity comic book series that takes place immediately following the events of the movie. We even found a girl dressed as Illyria from Angel who was really excited to get Georges signature on her costume.

Geremi Burleigh is another artist we look out for and visit at Conventions. His comics Morningstar and Eye of the Gods are great reads and Geremi is a ridiculously nice guy. He’s starting to do Cons all over the US (I think his next one is in Minnesota) so keep an eye out for him at your local con!

Mama Jedi and I first ran into this lovely Oregonian couple while we were walking back to our hotel room and got distracted by a giant blue Furrie (REALLY wish I’d gotten a picture of that) and then Guinan speedwalking past us. Together the four of us wandered over to a room labeled “Ten Forward” (this Trekkie could NOT pass up seeing that) which turned out to be the flotsam and jetsam of what I’m sure was once tables teeming with beverages and snacks but was now merely an exhausted volunteer and some leftover cans of pop. Once the disappointment receded, we chatted them up about the pink stuffed critters attached to them. It turns out that John is the brains behind the adorably terrifying and very aptly named, Tentacle Kitty. Why would school girls run away from such a cute little critter?! John has a web comic that includes a ninja kitty, a pirate kitty, and a rat tailed unicorn. I checked it out and it’s delightful! Welcome to the ConFam 

I love my new posters! Ninja Kitty and Doctor Who crossover ftw

Hey, Mjolnir! I’ve got one of those too!

The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D bridge restoration project folks were there but instead of the bridge they had a transporter room on display. We took full advantage of the Transporter Room.

A – B – C. As easy as 1 – 2 – 3!

I even took a stab at Chief O’Brien’s old job.

I would like for Chris Hardwick to become a member of our ConFam but I wasn’t about to wait in the crazy long line just to meet him or his Lego alter-ego. I only wait for Star Trek actors and Stan Lee.

And rounding out Part 1 of the WonderCon 2014 coverage, we’ve got the Panels! I only made it to four of them this year but they were good ones!

Falling Skies

Panelists: Seychelle Gabriel, Moon Bloodgood, Sarah Carter, Doug Jones

I went to the Falling Skies panel last year and enjoyed it so much that I really wanted to make it again this year and I was definitely not disappointed. They started off with an amazing trailer for Season 4 (which starts Sunday, June 22nd at 10:00pm) before they introduced Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Moon Bloodgood (Anne), Sarah Carter (Maggie), and (YAY!!!) Doug Jones (Cochise). It was worth it for Doug Jones alone.

They revealed a surprising amount of details about Season 4. I don’t want to give too much away but everyone gets split up after a very intense opening battle scene (which they showed us and which looked REEEEALLY good), we get to see Lexi all grown up, Anne become a badass, Lourdes overcompensating for her Season 3 bug, and Pope meet his match in Mira Sorvino. The general consensus was that the show is really nuts this year. One fun tidbit we learned is that Seychelle and Moon once snuck into an ER and pretended to be medical students in order to see how a real ER looked and felt and had to fend off the teaching Doctors when they were asked to perform tasks like change a catheter.

Psychology of Cult TV Shows

Panelists: Dr. Janina Scarlet, Josue Cardona, Dr. Travis Langley, Elizabeth Ann

We sought out this panel mostly because we’d seen Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) on a writing panel at a previous WonderCon and it was one of our favorite panels of all time. They basically said that it was OK to be obsessed with TV hows like Doctor WhoSherlock, and Firefly as long as it doesn’t prevent you from living a fulfilling “real” life. There was a really long line for this panel so we only caught the last third of it but it was fascinating!

Afterward we stayed and chatted with Dr. Langley and Alan Sizzler Kistler who was also on that previous writing panel and who had stayed and answered all of our questions last time we saw him. Awesome guys!

Game On!

Panelists: David Buckley, Inon Zur, Woody Jackson, Charles Deenen, Gwen Riley
Moderator: Thomas Mikusz 

This panel was about the sound and music of video games and started off with a video montage of Video Games, Live! in which a live (no, really, they’re live) orchestra performs the theme songs from your favorite video games while scenes from those games play on giant screens in the background. It actually look really rad. Video game music is tough in that the player is going to be stuck with it for several hours so it better be good. Because of that, the developers now really understand how important the music is. The original World of Warcraft had approximately 2.5 hours of music. The latest one has approximately 52 hours.

After this panel, Hayden and I had the opportunity to interview Batman: Arkham Knight Composer David Buckley!

Check out the interview here:

Surviving Well

Panelists: Markorie Liu, Cecil Castellucci, Genese Davis, Gretchen McNeil, John Mulhall
Moderator: LeAnna Herrera

We attended this panel because our writer friend and Podthingy co-star John Mulhall was a panelist and I’m glad we did. It was about how saving the world isn’t enough if the world isn’t worth living in after you’ve saved it.

As the lone male on the panel, John was able to offer a different and unique perspective from the ladies. At one point the conversation veered off into a commentary about what it means to be a “strong female character” and how that term really isn’t very appropriate.

At this point Hayden lost the hand from his Rick Grimes action figure which we found HILARIOUS.

Stay tuned for the cosplay pictures tomorrow!


Side note: the first run of HNG calendars sold out (yay!) and I need to order some more for an upcoming event. If anyone would like to get one, now’s the time to order! The calendar features all of the nerdy holidays (and the regular ones too) and a convention calendar. Order one today!


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