I managed to wangle a ticket to last week's WonderCon in Los Angeles. WonderCon is the younger brother of the truly enormous ComicCon convention held each summer in San Diego.
Since driving to the downtown convention center is no fun, I decided to travel on the newish Expo Line train from Culver City. Naturally, my train's electrical connection shorted on its way to the station, and so I joined several other lanyard-wearing WonderCom participants to wait for a bus to pick us up.
One, an older fellow, turned out be a Marvel Comics alum, the former assistant to Jack Kirby, which I thought was pretty cool. (Kirby created or worked on hundreds of comic characters, including Ant-Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Iron Man and X-Men.)
I asked whether Kirby, who died more than 20 years ago, had anticipated that the adventures of comic book superheroes would be turned into major movies.
"Oh, he knew it was coming," my new friend said. "Everyone knew from 1977 on. The first Star Wars movie was the game changer."
He also said that a new Marvel film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, might be one to watch. Put a tickler in your calendar for this November.
In the Main Hall
I had heard of people dressing up to attend these conventions, and the experience did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the characters I met.
The most popular costume, of course, was Deadpool. There were fewer zombies than I had expected. Many girls and women were dressed as Princess Leia from the first Star Wars trilogy.
One refreshing thing was that these costumed characters, unlike those in New York's Times Square, were happy to be photographed, and even to pose with regular people in mufti, without $10 or $20 shakedowns.
Another novelty was the exhibition hall, which like those at any convention, was filled with tables set up by people promoting their products. In this case, it was mostly artists, including many really good ones, who had created original characters and, presumably, stories for them. If their narratives are as original as their images, the comic book and comic movie world will be lively and lucrative for years to come.
Since this WonderCon was held on the West Coast, there was a full contingent of food trucks parked outside the center and selling a variety of cuisines to augment the usual convention fare inside.
And, since costumes and accessories can be heavy, there was a checking booth -- similar to coat-check booths in inclement parts of the country -- for people to store their fake heads, weapons and uncomfortable footwear.
A well-planned event.