Monday, March 05, 2007

Final Thoughts on WonderCon

Because Moscone Center is two blocks from my office, because I would be granted a press pass and because I would be getting paid for writing about the experience, I was happy to attend this year's WonderCon. And even though nothing untoward happened, the proceedings left me oddly -- not depressed, exactly -- but disengaged.

Maybe it was the lack of any major guests who really push my fan-boy buttons. Last year, Grant Morrison was in the house. This year, the only pro who interested me was Brian K. Vaughan, and I've stopped reading both "Y: The Last Man" and "Ex Machina." (I find the pacing of his story arcs maddening.) The DC booth had little in the way of interesting trinkets, and nothing at Oni, Top Shelf, Dark Horse or Slave Labor Graphics caught my eye.

I'm also spoiled by the fact that I live within walking distance of three great resources for all things comics- and science fiction/fantasy-related: the Comic Relief, Dark Carnival and the Other Change of Hobbit bookstores. None of the WonderCon dealers seemed to have anything that I couldn't pick up more easily elsewhere, with less chance of being ripped off.

I have no idea how some of those guys set their prices. See that "Tarzan" with all the bitey baboons on it? One joker wanted $30 for it, and he had three copies! Who in their right mind would pay that? I thought that issue was awesome (Carson of Venus!!!) when I paid 60 cents for it at age 15, but c'mon!

People were selling week-old first issues of the new quasi-Stephen King "Gunslinger" book for $3, $4 or $5. Get your stories straight, folks. Scariest of all were the Eastern European gentlemen who had full runs of various comics all bound up in plastic wrap. A hundred and sixty bucks for every "Booster Gold" ever published? Such a deal. I idly picked up a block of "Resurrection Man" and was immediately pounced upon. "Is good book, no? You buy, right?" I not buy, no, thank you.

I spent only an hour wandering around the exhibition hall, and that was enough. Then I attended two panels, went home, spent the next morning writing about them, went back for two more movie-related panels and called it quits altogether.

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