Updated: Aug 31
Nearly everything at Wondercon, the annual celebration of all things pop culture held at the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend, was a commodity to be bought and sold, from the Funko Pops to the actors and creators of the TV shows and films invited as special guests, plugging their various properties.
Even the cosplayers who dress up and play can be viewed as a type of indirect marketing designed to sell the whole Wondercon experience.
But after the 2020 and 2021 conventions were canceled due to the pandemic – and last year’s took place with a mandatory mask requirement – at this year’s Wondercon a different kind of commodity was at play, one that can’t be quantified economically but is just as valuable and precious, one that isn’t exchanged as much as shared.
Whether attendees were dressed as Chewbacca in drag, Disney princesses, or wearing skin-tight spandex that tells no physical lies; whether they were exhibitors hawking toys to T-shirts; or whether they were conventionally attired and there to shop, attend a panel or just to take in the spectacle, it seemed to veteran attendees that WonderCon was finally back for real.
“Last year, it was OK but nothing like this year,” said Andy Alvarez, who lives in Brea and attended Saturday with his wife and son for the second time. “We had to wear the masks, which I didn’t mind because I have asthma, but you could just feel how so many people wanted to rip them off. It felt constrained. This year the vibe seems like a lot more people who just want to have a good time and party — without the booze, of course.”
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