WonderCon 2015 Excursion

My first week back in Southern California just happened to fall before the 2015 WonderCon. I had registered for the con while I was still in Oregon, because I knew that I needed to get back into the swing of things, in order to get in gear promoting Creating Graphic Novels. It was a tight week for me, but making the contacts would be a good thing.

I got a ride down to the Anaheim Convention Center with my friend Robin Reed. We got down early enough to get a good parking spot. Pro Registration check in went quickly this time. Then, of course, there followed a long waiting time because the exhibit hall and programming didn’t open until noon. When it did, I went into the hall to say hi to a few friends. Travis Hanson had his booth close up front and looked to be set to do good business. It so happened that he was located right next to the GLAWS booth, so I also got to greet quite a number of my old friends that I have not seen in six months.

At 1, I headed up to programming. I’m always interested in what Barbara Randall Kesel puts forward, and she had a “Just What does an Editor Do?” panel. Scheduled with her were Sarah Gaydos, Shannon Eric Denton, with Joe Lefavi and another gentleman (whose name, alas, I’ve forgotten). Unexpectedly, Barbara called me up to join the panel so that the gender numbers would be even. I was pleased for the opportunity, given that I need the practice of speaking in public, but I knew I was rusty and not exactly looking “presentation ready” (I just meant to be a mere attendee, after all). But even with my less than spectacular contribution (just not up to speed yet), one guy in the audience checked with me for the specifics on my book, while another woman from the audience approached me to ask if I’d be willing to speak to her writers group out in Ontario in a couple of months. That made for a good start for the convention for me.

Later in the afternoon, I attended Michael Lovitz’ presentation about comic book law – in this case about intellectual properties, copyright and trademarks. I was already familiar with much of what he had to say, but it was good to get a refresher on the points. I followed that by attending “Publicizing Your Project” with Amy Ratcliffe, Craig Miller, Joe LeFavi.

"Publicizing Your Project" panel

“Publicizing Your Project” with (l to r) Amy Ratcliffe, Craig Miller, and Joe LeFavi.

They had some good suggestions about publicizing strategies.

The last panel for me was “The Writer’s Journey: Breaking into Comics & Hollywood Scripting” moderated by Brandon Easton. Brandon does this panel frequently, and he and his panelists are always interesting.

"The Writer's Journey: Breaking into Comics and Hollywood Scriptwriting" with (l to r) Brandon Easton, Tony Puryear, Erika Alexander, Marc Scott Zicree, and Hannibul Tabu

“The Writer’s Journey: Breaking into Comics and Hollywood Scriptwriting” with (l to r) Brandon Easton, Tony Puryear, Erika Alexander, Marc Scott Zicree, and Hannibul Tabu

Robin and I wrapped up for the day and headed north.

The next morning I got up early to get to Robin’s so we could get going for that great parking again. I left Pasadena 6:30 and as I drove westward to Glendale, I saw that the moon still hung low in the sky already filled with dawn. She was bright and plump, but her lower quarter was shadowed by a remainder of the eclipse as if she had opened herself up to drain out the excess light-weight she had gained drinking in solar reflection all night long. Then she dropped lower still, peeking over Mt. Hollywood for a moment before sliding away from daylight.

(Okay, enough with the lyricism.) Robin and I did indeed get a good parking spot. Saturday had several panels I meant to attend.

At 10, I went to the “How to Get News Coverage” panel, that covered a lot of elements that I already knew, but it was good to have others recommend the approaches. This panel was held in the same room that Barbara Randall Kesel would do her “Ideas” presentation  at 12. So I sat through the panel in-between about “Whovian Costuming for Beginners.”

Barbara Randall Kesel

Barbara Randall Kesel

(Alas, I got more of Barbara’s microphone than I did of her face.) Barbara is always fun and interesting when she does her “Where Do Ideas Come From?” discussion. She goes almost non-stop during the allotted time.

I took a break from panels and went down to the exhibit hall to check out some of the booths and get some lunch. Of course, the concessions in the hall were more expensive than seems reasonable, but when you’re hungry, you end up accepting it. I did encounter the following in one of the booths —

Full size inflatable Dalek.

Full size inflatable Dalek.

Back upstairs, there was a spotlight interview with Stan Sakai about 30 years of Usagi Yojimbo.

Stan Sakai with Jessica Tseang

Stan Sakai with Jessica Tseang

Stan’s a great guy, and managed to have an upbeat or funny answer to all the questions from the audience, including a query of “Is there some other character that you think you could write and/or draw better than the current writer or artist?” His prompt answer: “Groo the Warrior” – that Mark Evanier, what is he thinking, and “Have you seen the characters? They look like potato people!” This got a good laugh from everyone – for they all knew he was close friends with Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragonés. It was a nice chat, and it made me extra glad I had earlier purchased a copy of the graphic novel 47 Ronin from Stan.

The last panel for me was “Inside the Writers Room” with a number of television writers talking about their experiences on a wide variety of shows.

The day wound down, my knees and legs were stiff for all the walking. Robin and I headed back to Glendale. And that wrapped up WonderCon 2015 for me. The last day of the con was Easter Sundayand celebrating that took first place with me. All in all, for me, it went well and gave me some things to think about as I plan for the future.

About Sarah Beach

Now residing in Southern California, I was born in Michigan and moved to Texas when 16. After getting my Masters degree in English, I moved to Hollywood, because of the high demand for Medievalists (NOT!). I love writing all sorts of things, and occasionally also create some artwork.
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