Wondercon is the younger (and smaller) sibling to the giant San Diego Comic-Con, and is held the first weekend in April at the Anaheim Convention Center, just a hop, skip, and jump away from Disneyland. Being a smaller convention with much less media frenzy means there aren’t nearly as many convention exclusives. Still, the relative size of Wondercon also means that some indie shops and cool, cottage-industry wares can actually get in and get a booth.
Along the lines of indie, new, and something different were the collectibles at the Bait booth. Besides con-exclusive Starwars shirts, Bait had rare mystery boxes and collectibles from Kid Robot, Japan, and various street artists. Very cool, and definitely not the stuff you see at every con. Speaking of street style, Hoodsbee was showing adorable Hello Kitty hoodies that folded up into plush dolls. Even more striking were their LEGO baseball caps. The decal on the front of the caps was backed with velcro, and could be changed up to fit the wearer’s mood. The top of the bill was outfitted with stylized LEGO nubs, so that you could put a LEGO figurine securely on the hat for a very playful and unique look. It would be remiss not to also mention Tentacle Kitty, an adorable, plush “octopussycat” with a kitten head atop eight furry tentacles. By description alone, Tentacle Kitty sounds kind of grotesque, but it’s pleasantly cute. Besides setting up their booth to look like a cat rescue / adoption center, Tentacle Kitty got lots of positive attention by co-sponsoring one of the hotter after parties with Sonic Boombox. Espionage Cosmetics was also present, debuting some of their brand new nail decal styles. They’re worth noting as a small company with excellent products who are almost solely publicized by user photos and word of mouth. Their sense of humor is great and their nail art is awesome for gals or gents who want to kick up their cosplay or just be geek chic fabulous.
Of course, these days, it wouldn’t be a fandom convention without oodles of mystery boxes and Pop Vinyls for sale. The Wondercon Pop Vinyl exclusive was a holographic Emperor Palpatine. Naturally, the 500 of those available sold out very quickly. Besides the usual and common Pop Vinyls, there were some rares to be found for the serious collector, like a signed Stan Lee for $150. Almost every toy booth had mystery boxes and various Doctor Who stuff. Borderlands and The Walking Dead had a fairly decent showing as well, in the form of Claptraps for the former and character action figures for the latter. Also spied were the kawaii llamas that seem to show up at every fandom convention, though in the case of Wondercon, it was amusing to hear a handful of people wonder what they were and why they were there.
Even though Wondercon isn’t the biggest convention on the block, there were still plenty of big, wow-factor collectibles to be seen, and – if your budget allowed – order. PCS Collectibles didn’t disappoint with their showings. These are large, exquisitely rendered statues that cost hundreds of dollars, but are well worth it. And it was practically impossible to walk by the EFX collectibles booth without stopping to gasp in geeky awe at the incredible metal replicas of Loki’s horned helmet and Starlord’s mask. These are also seriously pricey pieces that are meant to be displayed and not worn, though it might be really hard not to wear something that looks this badass.
Wonderconners looking for something to wear beyond the basic teeshirt could revel in geek-pattered rockabilly dresses and corsets or well-made replicas of Captain Jack Harkness’ and Dante Sparda’s coats.
One thing that was especially nice about collectible hunting at Wondercon was you didn’t need lots of cash to find an awesome, personal treasure. The pricing seemed extremely fair, and there were definitely deals to be found. In all, some really good and different shopping and a lovely, friendly, mid-sized convention.
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