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WonderCon flies south: Will it fly back?

WonderCon Gallery: Fans from across the galaxy.

Hollywood’s stars shined brightly at WonderCon this year. But outside the celebrity spotlight, less flashy and more fun parts of the show pressed on to huge crowds.

WonderCon shifted south this year to the Anaheim Convention Center. Around 40,000 comics, movies and science fiction fans packed into the largest convention center on the west coast for the three-day event.

WonderCon had held its previous 25 annual shows in the Bay Area, with the last six at Moscone Center.

Most of the comic vendors I spoke with said they were making far less money in Anaheim than they had made in San Francisco. Some said five to 10 times less.

Daniel Gregory of FST PULP, a San Francisco comic and poster seller, said their sales were down 25 percent from last year:

“The traffic was the same, but people from SoCal were more picky than the NorCal crowd. We’re looking forward to going back north next year.”

Cory, from a SoCal action figure business he didn’t want to mention, said their business was down 50 percent from $23,000 at last year’s WonderCon:

“We’ll be lucky to make $10,000 this year. SoCal people are fickle. People from NorCal come with lists.”

Artists, on the other hand, said they did great at the show. About a dozen artists told me they were doing far better in Anaheim. The simple explanation I got was that the small shows around LA all had a lot of vendors but no talent or artists.

Tom Hodges, a popular artist from the Star Wars/Clone Wars web comic, said he had so many requests for drawings that he was backed up until the end of the show Sunday.

With Moscone Center under renovation, whispers at WonderCon were that Anaheim might be trying to wrestle ComicCon from San Diego, but that doesn’t appear likely. Their next target could be WonderCon.

Moscone Center has yet to confirm a date for next year. Staff from Anaheim confirmed that they were booked solid for the next three years.

So where does this leave WonderCon? Is it WonderGone? We’ll just have to wait and see.

WonderCon 2012 gallery

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