For a little more than 30 years, WonderCon was the largest conventions in the Northern California Bay Area. From its earlier days in Oakland to its later years in San Francisco, it was one of THE places for Bay Area geeks to mingle about and celebrate comics, movies, cartoons, and everything inbetween. Which is why Bay Area natives weren't too happy when WonderCon moved to Anaheim in 2012.
Initially moved due to the Moscone Center's remodeling, scheduling conflicts have been keeping WonderCon from returning to the bay for the past couple of years, and 2014 doesn't look like it's going to be any different. It's not a decision that Comic Con International takes lightly and according to marketing and PR director David Glanzer, "We still want to get back to the Bay Area." He further explains the main problem tends to be finding available dates, which has been a common issue between CCI and the Moscone Center given its prime covention location in San Francisco. Due to the number of (mostly tech related) conventions that use Moscone as its main hub, the center is understandably unable to commit to dates that would allow WonderCon to comfortably set up and not conflict with any other comic based convention.
Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of annual conventions that occur in the US, avoiding overlap over another convention may no longer be an option despite CCI's best efforts. This year's WonderCon, for instance, will be setting up in Anaheim on the same weekend as a similar covention in Salt Lake. Glanzer indicated that if CCI wants to move WonderCon back to the Bay Area, they would have to rethink how to plan around other conventions.
This isn't the first time a convention that started off in the Bay Area moved down south. Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the US, started in San Jose in 1992 and came to Oakland in 1993 before finally settling in Anaheim. And given that WonderCon's attendance has grown since its move to Anaheim (56,000 attendees in 2013), Bay Area natives have questioned whether or not WonderCon would ever return. Glanzer addressed rumors of CCI creating a new Bay Area show in order to keep WonderCon in Anaheim, stating that CCI had never launched a brand new show since its inception (WonderCon and APE were acquisitions). Talks are still going strong in hopes that WonderCon will return to San Francisco in 2015, so long as Moscone can offer dates that will work with the ever growing convention. "We just don't want to close any doors," Glanzer says.
In the meantime, CCI presence is not completely absent from Northern California: the Alternative Press Expo (APE) is still a Bay Area mainstay. Contrary to previous rumors of it disappearing this year, it has been moved from the Concourse Exhibit Center to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. So while WonderCon's fate may still be in the air, at least the bay still has one convention to flock to.
Source: Publisher's Weekly
by Richard "Rikun" Jao