There was a lot to like about this year's WonderCon, as others have stated in various reports, but I thought I'd use the opportunity to kick off a new feature here at Robot Six (Who doesn't love lists?) and share my six favorite things about this year's WonderCon:
1. IDW to collect Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer: At their panel on Saturday morning, IDW rolled out several announcements about collecting more comic strips in archive format, new comics about the president and even the return of Captain Canuck. But the best thing announced at the panel, and possibly at the con, was the upcoming The Rocketeer collections they'll be putting out. The collections are in Scott Dunbier's capable hands, and it was very cool to see Stevens' friends, mother and sister there for the announcement.
2. The crowds: Typically I'm not a fan of huge crowds of people, but after months of hearing how the economy is tanking, it was really nice to see that many people show up for WonderCon -- and to hear that they were spending money.
Looking back at Publishers Weekly's various reports on the show from the past few years, it looks like the show's attendance grew from 20,000 in 2007 to 29,000 in 2008. And per this year's report by Douglas Wolk, they expect the final numbers for 2009 to be at least as high as last year, and "very likely more." So not only is the show bringing in a bunch of folks in a down economy, it's also bringing in more folks year over year. Very nice.
3. John Layman and Rob Guillory on Chew: Image had some fun-sounding announcements as well, with the stand-out for me being Chew. I think it was a combination of both the high-concept ("A guy who enforces a law that keeps people from eating chicken has to eat any number of other things to solve crimes") as well as the presentation ... Layman seemed to be really digging writing this book.
4. Keeping the band together After 100 issues of 100 Bullets, not to mention a brief run on Batman, you'd think Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso might be tired of each other. But thankfully, that's not the case. Not only is the duo pairing up again for another Vertigo title, they're also gearing up for another shot at Batman, per Azzarello at the 100 Bullets panel. Good news indeed.
5. Marvel comes to San Francisco before Matt Fraction destroys it: Although the didn't have a booth on the floor, it was nice to see Marvel hosting several panels at the convention. This is my third year to attend, and its the first time they've had a noticeable presence at the show in that time. It was great to see appearances by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Axel Alonso at the show, especially considering that they orchestrated the X-Men's move from New York to the Bay Area.
And they had some cool news to announce as well, not the least of which was a big X-crossover with the Dark Avengers that Fraction will write. Hearing fans at Sunday's X-Men panel suggest areas of the city to destroy and spare in the ensuing melee was fun and emphasized how something like a change of setting can drive interest in a comic, at least in the featured region.
Now let's see what we can do about getting you guys a booth next year, Marvel.
6. Seeing lots of people: This is always the best part of any con: meeting new people and catching up with old friends. People like Matt Maxwell, Jason McNamara and Paige Braddock, Oni's Randy Jarrell, David Brothers, Jeff Lester, all the guys at BOOM!, Jennifer de Guzman and Dan Vado, Scott Dunbier, Matt Silady, Josh Richardson, Esther Inglis-Arkell, Emily Stackhouse, Omaha Perez, Storm from Isotope, and of course, Carla and Lance, as it was the first time I've seen them since the fire. Which was worth the price of admission alone.