WonderCon returns to SF

February 27, 2009 7:57:31 PM PST
The 23rd edition of WonderCon, the comic book convention, is underway. San Francisco's Moscone center is packed with thousands of comic books and artists -- and some TV and movie stars too. A pop culture convention, but fans wonder how it is faring in this down economy.

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There is a sea of comic books from the first one in 1934 to the latest adventures of superheroes, to the people who create them.

"These guys read the stories over and over and they love it. They quote it," said Ron Lim, an artist.

There is shopping to be done.

"How much are you going to spend. Until my dad says enough," said Samantha Baker, from Pleasant Hill.

"There was a comics witch hunt in the 50's. They were disreputable and considered damaging to children. There were comics burnings," said James Friel, from Comic Relief, in Berkeley.

That can make an original rare and pricey. This show brings out a certain breed of fans -- comic book fanatics. A lot of Star Wars references. How's it going?

"Terrific thank you, outside of the burning smell that goes through my suit," said a Darth Vader impersonator.

And you see the pages of the comics come to life. It's artistic imagination more or less.

"We are kind of real life cartoon characters. I'm Kynt. She's Vyxsin," said two fans.

"Wamprat is my call sign," said another.

Movie studios show up. "Watchmen" and "Star Trek" will be previewed. There are actresses and models, too.

"I did really well, I placed top 12 in the nation," said Flo Jalin, a model.

Matt Faction is one of the artists who give their time for the Hero Initiative which helps comic book creators in need.

Of course there is interest in the classics as well as the new contemporary art. But just like any other industry comic books are feeling the effects of the economy.

"It doesn't affect my income because I get paid by the publisher. The publisher suffers because people are buying less," said Sergio Aragones, an artist.

"Even in bad economic times we seem to be ok. We won't know until the show is over, but our advance sales are up, so we have to keep our fingers crossed," said David Glanzer, from Wondercon.

So if you're near Moscone this weekend, don't be surprised at what you'll see.


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