Grab your cape, Stormtrooper helmet and comic book shopping list, California’s city of Anaheim will once again be taken over by fan-demonium. WonderCon’s three-day festival starts this weekend (31 March- 2 April), with a chock-a-block schedule of panel talks, cosplay and onscreen sneak peeks, among a whole host of other celebrations of sub-culture.
In its 30th year, WonderCon is now run by ComicCon and currently attracts 60,000 attendees, who come to explore an 800,000 sq ft exhibition hall crammed with dealers selling collectable comics, games, figurines and artworks.
Dressing up is all part of the experience, previous shows have seen visitors in everything from homemade White Walker outfits from Game of Thrones to steampunk bodices and their own inventions like Powdered Toast Man. But don’t forget to get involved in special talks, workshops, signings and screenings. Read on for the events that caught our eye.
In What Universe?
Learn from the best in the costume biz about how they make fantasy characters come to life. Moderated by Tom Payne, who plays Paul Rovia in The Walking Dead, panelists on stage will include the zombie series costume designer Elaine Montalvo, plus makeup specialist Maggie Fung who worked on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Matrix Reloaded, and Philip Harrison, editor on Mr. Robot and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
See it 12:15pm – 1:15pm on Friday, 31 March
CBLDF: Comics Change the World – The History of Activism in Comics
Learn how comics have provoked discussion and change. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s deputy director Alex Cox will take us on a fascinating image-led parade through more than 10 years of activist comics, and how they’ve made a mark on the world.
2:30pm – 3:30pm on Friday, 31 March
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Two Decades With Feeling
Celebrating 20 years since Buffy kicked her way onto our TV screens, Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, the authors of a yet to be released oral history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, will talk us through the slayer phenomenon and how it compares to modern pop-fiction.
4:00pm – 5:00pm on Friday, 31 March
Spotlight on Jim Lee
DC legend Jim Lee (co-publisher of Batman, Justice League, Superman Unchained, and Suicide Squad) will scribble characters on a big screen as he guides us through a monumental 30 years in the comic book industry, revealing plenty of secrets from his working process along the way.
5:00pm – 6:00pm on Friday 31 March
Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Panel
Yup, it’s been 30 years since Ryu and Lee first battled it out in the video game. Celebrate how far it’s come with Capcom and find out about upcoming products to be released, and news about Ultra Street Fighter II.
2:30pm – 3:30pm on Saturday, 1 April
IndieWire Fan Favorites Showrunners
Learn about behind the scenes goings on at some of the best shows on the box right now, with appearances from Marc Guggenheim, creator of Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, actress Aline Brosh McKenna from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Raphael Bob-Waksberg creator of BoJack Horseman.
4:15pm – 5:15pm on Saturday, 1 April
U.S. premiere of Doctor Who spin-off Class
Whovians will unite at this screening of Class, produced by Doctor Who team Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin. Set in London’s Coal Hill School, the series follows four students with hidden secrets and features a cameo from Peter Capaldi, the twelfth Doctor, and the Tardis. See if you can spot any other callbacks from the series, the episode is littered with them.
7:30pm – 8:30pm on Saturday, 1 April
The 2017 WonderCon Anaheim Masquerade
See all the best cosplayers from the weekend duke it out in seven different categories, from best re-creation to most humorous and best workmanship. Trophies, prizes and a $500 cash purse are up for grabs.
8:30pm on Saturday, 1 April
Rainbow Magic: LGBTQ Disney Fandom
What happens when Disney introduces its first gay character? The recent Beauty and the Beast has thrown up much debate. Prism Comics and Disney representatives will explore why Disney has always been a part of the LGBTQ community and how the queer community identifies with characters created by the world’s second largest entertainment conglomerate.
10:00am – 11:00am, Sunday 2 April
Princess Leia: A Special Star Wars Fan Tribute
In honor of the late Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as the female protagonist in the epic sci-fi franchise, panelists will share heartfelt memories of meeting her. Expect the very best Star Wars costumes in honour of the fans’ fallen hero.
11:30am-12:30pm, Sunday 2 April
Lucifer Special Video Presentation and Q&A
Get a sneak preview of the next dose of American fantasy police drama before it’s released, and then stick around to fire your questions at series stars Tom Ellis, Lauren German, DB Woodside, and executive producers Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson.
12:30pm – 1:30pm, Sunday 2 April
Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.