|Attendee at WonderCon in Anaheim.|
Anyway, enough ranting about Southern California and too many meals at Coco's... one of the good things about WonderCon is that the artists in Artist's Alley are generally less overwhelmed and more receptive than they are in San Diego. The organizers used a large space at the convention center called "the arena" this year, and aside from some initial confusion about how to get in there on the first day, it seemed to work out pretty well. In the arena I saw The Animation Show of Shows, 10 animated shorts curated by Ron Diamond of Acme Filmworks and AWN.com. There were many excellent films but the one that follows, The Centrifuge Brain Project, had me laughing out loud!
As usual, the Comic Arts Conference (the academic conference within the convention) had some informative panels. I found the first panel of the day about publishing, scholarship and teaching methods very useful. Since I am outside of the traditional academic path and writing/researching purely because I want to, sessions that discuss options related to publishing are very helpful. In the CAC session Comics in Higher Education, I very much appreciated Robert Weiner's (Texas Tech University) and Hannah Means-Shannon's (Georgian Court University) presentations on publishing, writing and blogging. I also thought that Christina Angel's (Metropolitan State University of Denver) method of exposing her students to classic literature through comics was interesting, for example using V's speech in V for Vendetta as a way to into MacBeth. This strategy is probably common for people that are teaching in this area, but for me, as a non-academic, it was a good presentation.
The other CAC panel that really excited me was Comics and Form. I loved Karma Waltonen's (University of California, Davis) presentation on Asterios Polyp. I will re-read it soon, and will have her comments and visual analysis in mind. John Rodzvilla's (Emerson College) presentation on Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work was really thought provoking and I'm sure that I will be seeing Wood's layouts in every comic panel I look at from now on (as it should be). Rounding out this panel was Michael J. Muniz (Liberty University) talking about efforts by comics artist to break through the 4th wall, using film and film theory as a reference (like this train sequence in the 1931 Joan Crawford film Possessed, below).
There were good panels on writing, notably Barbara Randall Kesel's "how to deal with writer's block" session Where Do Ideas Come From?, Michael Lovitz and Comic Book Law School (my husband Marc will be on one of these panels at SDCC), and all kinds of spotlights on upcoming films, including Guillermo del Toro talking about his new monster epic Pacific Rim (WonderCon trailer).
All this, plus an evening at Disneyland! We did Star Tours (below) and Pirates of the Caribbean, which I hadn't been on since sometime in the 1980's. Yay (and thanks Josh & Jessica)!