Warren Ellis described San Diego Comic Con as the only place that resembles SECOND LIFE, the mid-2000s virtual world video game that was limited only by your imagination/perversion. The same could be said for any major convention built on the values of chaos and costumes, or at least I had hoped that would be the case for WonderCon, my first non-San Diego convention adventure.
As we lurched and stopped in Anaheim traffic, smoke rose from the car's hood, first in a faint wisp, then in a full-bodied spill. In a video game world, this would mean the car was about to explode. In reality my friend's Scion XB was overheating, so we pulled into a lot to tend to the developing situation. It was maybe our third or fourth hang up in trying to get to WonderCon; there were lost tickets, brothers arguing and forgotten ID cards thus far. It seems that even at smaller conventions, there would always be trouble.
I went to WonderCon last week. In my imagined nerd ecosystem, the convention is the music festival. It represents a higher ranking level of cred and dedication to your hobby. It's the difference between a person that likes Radiohead and a person that likes Radiohead so much they camp out at Coachella to see them. In this system, SDCC is Coachella; it's a mainstream, 100,000 strong convention in the heart of San Diego, where comics, movies, television and general pop culture fandoms collide in one big fire hazard. WonderCon would be like Downtown LA's FYF Fest -- a smaller affair, but if you want a more manageable and intimate experience, it's a worthwhile alternative. This year I convinced myself that FYF was better than Coachella. I thought I could do the same with SDCC.