Final day of WonderCon! It will be so odd tomorrow not walking amidst a crowd of Dr. Whos, zombies, and creepy rabbits (a popular costume this Easter weekend). The energy in the hall today was exciting, but also a bit frantic as people ran around from booth to booth picking up all the merchandise they’d been eyeing through the weekend.
The High Voltage crew ended up with a few items supporting our fandoms, old and new. Everything from a Middle Erath dress to the perfect Boba t-shirt from boba-touting company Etonomous (who also threw in a sketchbook full of cute drawings of boba and other Asian treats). And no ‘Con would be complete without supporting independent artists; a favorite included postcards depicting characters from Supernatural as cats from the Jenny Parks Illustration booth. Not to mention, our High Voltage booth was located next to Spirits Comics where much time was spent ogling the brilliant artwork of Colin Lawler. I am now a fan of the Soul Collector comic created by Colin Lawler and Joseph Grabowski, as well as the adorable hungover robot sketch coming home with me.
From artist alley to the small press area, WonderCon is full of awe-inspiring artwork. The Anaheim Convention Center is basically transformed into an art museum of geekery and one could spend the entire weekend checking out all the unique artists. Beyond boxes upon boxes of more traditional comic books, you can find plenty of original characters and artwork, prints featuring twists on more classic characters (did I mention the Superhero cats?), one-of-a-kind wearable art, or even [your favorite character here] inspired furniture. The real treat is interacting with the creators, many of whom are on hand to talk about their work, sign prints, or even create original pieces by request. It’s an art collector’s dream!
Today did involve venturing beyond the convention center floor to investigate a couple of panels. The Flash panel brought people streaming into the Arena. The wildly popular WB show seems to have expanded its fan base since its debut at Comic Con last year. Carlos Valdez (Cisco), Candice Patton (Iris), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin), and Andrew Kreisberg (co-creator) were quite jovial talking about their experiences on the show and answering questions from TV Guide’s Damian Holbrook. The topic de jour was the continuing cross overs between The Flash and CW’s other crime fighting show, Arrow, with a tease about some fun upcoming scenes between Arrow’s Canary and The Flash’s Cisco. Speaking of Cisco, his portrayer, Carlos Valdez, proved to be as heartwarming and humorous as his character (despite his refusal to show off his newly acquired tap dancing skills courtesy of lessons from Grant Gustin). Kreisberg pointed out that Cisco is the character that represents the voice of the audience and Valdez was the only person they had in mind when casting him.
Other more villainous tidbits gleaned from the panel include Panabaker hinting that we might get a glimpse of Caitlin becoming Killer Frost sooner than we think and Kreisberg mentioning Mirror Master and Dr. Alchemy as potential baddies for Season 2. We also haven’t seen the last of Matt Letscher’s portrayal of Eobard Thawne.
On a slightly different part of the panel spectrum was the Psychology of Cult TV: Episode 2 panel where a few doctors and other experts discussed the importance and mind-altering power of connecting with your favorite characters on TV. Dr. Jenina Scarlet described a couple studies that demonstrated that children who watch TV tend to be more empathic, especially towards people who are different from them. Also, after interacting with a beloved TV character like Dr. Who, kids show huge reductions in depression that can last at least a month beyond the meeting. The panel also talked about how shows like The Walking Dead are helpful for war veterans who suffer from PTSD as their identification with those characters and situations helps them feel less alienated. It’s amazing, really, to think about how our love of characters from TV, movies, and books can actually be a boon to our mental health.
The highlight of the panel, however, was when all the doctors revealed their inner super fans with the arrival of special guest, voice actor Maurice LaMarche to the table. LaMarche demonstrated a few of his famous voices for characters like The Brain from Pinky and The Brain and The King from Frozen. With each new voice, someone on the panel seemed to squeal or cheer with glee. Not that the audience couldn’t tell they were huge geeks after the ten minute conversation about the science behind Dr. Who regenerations…
One of the best parts of WonderCon was seeing the passion people have when talking about the things they love. From the overly enthusiastic panelists to the cosplay enthusiasts who transform themselves into their favorite characters, to the artists who spend three solid days talking about their work, WonderCon is such an energizing and inspiring place to be. I’m already looking forward to next year.