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Disney, Marvel, Star Wars & ABC fans will find lots of wonderful presentations to attend at WonderCon 2014

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Disney, Marvel, Star Wars & ABC fans will find lots of wonderful presentations to attend at WonderCon 2014

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After spending the better part of yesterday wading through W2s & 1099s (Quick question: If you have a dependent who actually wear Depends, does that then count as two deductions?), I can't tell you how nice it is to be sitting here paging through the Quick Guide for WonderCon Anaheim.

I mean, given how easy this 21-page booklet is to understand, it just can't have been written by some brainless bureaucrat. A real human being who's actually been to the Anaheim Convention Center before must have put together this listing. Because -- after one quick read-through -- I was been able to zero in all of the panel discussions, comics publisher presentations, and movie & TV series events that JHM readers would probably like to attend this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Because if you're a Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, ABC or Warner Bros. fan, the 2014 edition of WonderCon Anaheim is not going to disappoint. Take -- for example -- Friday's "Frozen: The Art of Story" panel (which is going to be held in Room 207 from 2 - 3 p.m.).

Here, Disney story artists Jeff Ranjo, Fawn Veerasunthorn, Nicole Mitchell and Normand Lemay will take WonderCon attendees behind-the-scenes at Walt Disney Animation Studios and talk about the individual contributions they made to this Academy Award-winning film .

Copyright 2014 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. All rights reserved

And speaking on animation: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation have decided to given WonderCon attendees a real treat this year. In honor of the 20th installment in their ongoing DC Universe Animated Original Movie series, these folks will be presenting the world premiere of "Son of Batman " in the Anaheim Arena this Friday night from 6 - 8 p.m.

FYI: If you're just not able to make Friday night's world premiere, not to worry: There'll be an encore presentation of "Son of Batman" -- again in the Anaheim Arena -- on Sunday from 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. Whichever screening you catch, you're still going to get to see this DC Universe Animated Original Movie ahead of everyone else on the planet. Given that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment won't actually be releasing "Son of Batman" on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD until May 6th.

(L to R) Rose McIver, Jennifer Morrison, Rebecca Mader,
Josh Dallas, Ginnifer Goodwin & Robert Carlyle.
Copyright American Broadcasting Companies,
Inc. All rights reserved

If you're more into fairytales than comic books, then you may want to swing by Booth 585 on Saturday between 10 - 10:30 a.m. Because that's when "Once Upon a Time" stars Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) and Rebecca Mader (The Wicked Witch of the West) will be signing autographs along with Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, the executive producers / co-creators of this hit ABC series.

And speaking of collecting autographs ... If you're the type who just loves to add signed books to your library, then you'll probably want to check out the "Layers Upon Layers" panel (which will be presented in Room 213 from  11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Saturday). WonderCon has assembled a very impressive array of authors this time around. We're talking about accomplished writers like Peter Straub, Django Wexler, Christopher Long, Marlene Perez as well as talented newcomers like Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz.

Caricatures of Cam Baity (L) and Benny Zelkowicz.
Copyright Disney Hyperion. All rights reserved

It's Baity & Zelkowicz that Disney fans will most likely be interested in hearing about. You see, these animators-turned-authors have just had their first book -- "The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge " -- published by Disney-Hyperion. And when I say "just," I mean "just." As in this 448-page novel just hit store shelves yesterday morning.

More to the point, "The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge" has already gotten some surprisingly strong reviews for a first novel. Publishers Weekly called Cam & Benny's collaboration a ".. richly imagined fantasy ... stuffed with lavish descriptions," while Kirkus Reviews said that this first-installment-of-a-trilogy " was ... an edgy, fast-moving, Seuss-ian political allegory for a new generation."

Copyright 2014 Disney Hyperion. All rights reserved

So if you want to learn more about the "Foundry's Edge" series and/or perhaps want to meet "The First Book of Ore" authors themselves, then you should definitely plan on attending WonderCon's "Layers Upon Layers" panel this Saturday,

Getting back to fairytales now ... If you're unable to score Dallas, Mader, Kitsis & Horowitz's autographs at Booth 585 earlier on Saturday morning, you can still see the "Once Upon a Time" team in action by dropping by Room 300AB between 1 - 2 p.m. Here, you'll be able to catch an exclusive screening of an all-new upcoming episode of this ABC series. Not to mention a limited edition "Once Upon a Time" -themed giveaway as you exit this presentation.

Sean Maguire as Robin Hood on ABC's "Once Upon a Time." Copyright
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

FYI: If one of the main reasons you came to WonderCon Anaheim this year is because you're looking for facetime with some "Once Upon a Time" stars, then you may want to swing by Booth 692. Where -- thanks to 258 West Authentic and Aries Entertainment  -- Gil McKinney (who plays Prince Eric on this ABC series) and Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) will be interacting with attendees over the course of this coming weekend.

If -- on the other hand -- you prefer stories that are set " ... a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," then you need to be in Room 300AB between 2 - 3 p.m. on Saturday. This is when members of the cast & crew of "Star Wars Rebels" will be offering an exclusive look at this highly anticipated television series. So if you want to get a look at this new Lucasfilm Animation production -- which is set between Episodes III & IV -- before its premiere on the Disney Channel this Fall, you really can't miss this WonderCon Anaheim presentation.

Copyright Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved

If you're a Marvel maniac ... Well, on Saturday night, Room 300DE is where you need to  be between 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. This is where editor Sana Amanat & writers Kelly Sue DeConnick, James Robinson & Mark Waid will be talking up Marvel's all-new NOW! series.

Then on Easter Sunday from 11 a.m. - 12 noon, if you're a writer or an artist who's ever dreamed of working for Marvel, then Room 207 is definitely where you should be. Because this is where Kris Anka, Richard Isanove, Steve Lieber & Majorie Liu (among others) will walk you through how to get your foot in the door at Marvel.

Disney artists take part in a life drawing class during the pre-production phase of
"Bambi." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But if you're an artist whose first & only love is Disney, then Room 300DE is where you need to this Sunday between 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. You see, this is where Disney's current generation of master teachers -- Karl Gnass, Bob Kato & Mark McDonnell -- will be talking about life drawing. To be specific, how understanding and mastering actual anatomy has helped Disney artists improve their animated drawings & gestures. Best of all, Karl, Mark & Bob will be cluing event attendees in about the classes they run for civilians.

All in all, this year's WonderCon Anaheim has a lot to offer Disney, Marvel, ABC or Warner Bros. fans. If I could make it out there  ... Well, I'll probably be spending at least some of my time at the Anaheim Convention Center walking the show floor looking for tax deductions for 2014.

You don't suppose -- if I wore a Thor Helmet while I was writing JHM articles for the rest of this year -- I'd then be able to write off the cost of this eFX Collectibles product on my 2015 income taxes?

WonderCon Anaheim will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center April 18 - 20th. The show will be open on Friday from 12 noon to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information, please go check out the WonderCon website.

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  • I noticed that for ComicCon, many panels end up in Youtube. I wonder if the WonderCon shows will be telecasted. This saves an actual trip, which reduces wait times and gets you to see the shows you really want to see. I also noticed many actors were interviewed by blogs. Too many fans are not priviledged to see their stars in person. Thanksfully, many of these type of interviews were made available in Youtube. Nonetheless, I do notice a pattern. The actors have interesting stories to tell about their experience, but it is a mistake to ask them questions about their character arc or plot points as they don't know the future or it has been filmed and they can't say until it is broadcast.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Nancy and I have often talked about this exact thing, TomG. How -- almost immediately after a lot of panels & presentations are completed -- footage then pops up on YouTube. So the challenge for people like us is -- given that this info is obviously already out there -- how do you then report on a specific panel or presentation?

    I have to admit that I wouldn't mind if events like WonderCon or Comic-Con were telecast. Mind you, the Studios would never go for having their Hall H or Anaheim Arena presentations simulcast. If only because that's typically where they show footage from films that are months if not years away from being released (EX: That "TRON 2" proof of concept that was screened at Comic-Con back in July of 2008. A full 2 1/2 years before "TRON: Legacy" finally reached theaters).

    I often wish that Comic-Con or WonderCon would do what SIGGRAPH does. Which is make many of its panels for viewing after the fact in DVD form. Because -- let's face it -- more often than not at events like this, you're always torn between attending one panel about a topic you're interested in. Which -- of course -- is scheduled to be presented at the exact same time as two other panels that are also about topics that you're interested in.

    It's clearly an inexact science, TomG. And the folks at Comic-Con are making an effort to try & address these issues. Take -- for example -- what they did for the 2013 version of that event. Which is that they'd then play recordings of that day's most popular panels after hours in one of the San Diego Convention Center's bigger halls. Granted, it probably wasn't as much fun as being in Hall H (especially since these after-hours replays weren't then allowed to rebroadcast any of the preview footage that the Studios had screened exclusively for the people who were actually seated inside of Hall H). But, hey, it's a start.

    But I agree with you, TomG. It would be great if the folks who stage Comic-Con & WonderCon could loop in the folks who couldn't travel to San Diego or Anaheim or missed out on getting ticket, somehow find a way that these people could watch from home. But then again, there are an awful lot of hotel & motel owners in Southern California who are perfectly happy with the way Comic-Con & WonderCon are staged. If only because they can then charge people top dollar to stay in their hotels & motels over the three to four days that these events are in town. So I don't imagine that those folks would be happy to hear about a pay-this-fee-and-you-can-then-watch-Comic-Con-on-your-laptop-at-home option.

    That said, there are signs that things are changing in a positive manner (Because -- let's face it -- in this age of social media, a tweet from one disgruntled customer can travel around the world in an instant and then immediately become this huge problem for a multi-national media corporation like Disney, Warner Bros. or NBCUniversal). So let's see what happens over the next few years.

  • Not so much news for Star Wars fans....

    .... but what else is new?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: You've got to be joking. I mean, Episode VII is shooting second unit stuff  in Abu Dhabi right now. You've got a brand-new "Star Wars" animated series due to premiere on the Disney Channel this Fall before it then begins regularly airing on Disney XD. Star Wars Weekends gets underway at Disney Hollywood Studios in less than four weeks (And this year's event features the first-ever appearance by Mark Hamill). The Imagineers continue to work on Star Wars-themed attractions for Disney theme parks around the world ... All of this is going on right now, and yet you insist that there's no Star Wars news.

    Tell you what, pal. Before you start whining about how terrible Star Wars fans have it today, go talk to someone who's been a fan of the franchise since "A New Hope" came out in 1977. Ask them about what it was like during that great gulf of years between when "Star Tours" opened at Disneyland in January of 1987 and the Special Edition of "A New Hope" was released to theaters in January of 1997. That was a solid decade where absolutely nothing went on with this franchise. And yet you want to pretend -- because you're now just a few weeks or months away from new Star Wars stuff -- that you've somehow got it rough? Please ...

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