In April 2015, the Powers that Be at Comic-Con International announced that WonderCon would be moving to Los Angeles in 2016 due to scheduling issues at the Anaheim Convention Center. CCI emphasized that this was not a permanent move to allay the fears of the legions of WonderCon fans who enjoy the smaller-venue feel of San Diego Comic Con’s younger sibling.
But has something changed? If you check out WonderCon’s official website, “Los Angeles Comic-Con” is boldly emblazoned underneath the WonderCon moniker. What’s more is that “Los Angeles Comic-Con” has already been trademarked, which suggests that this is more than just a temporary venue change. (Trademarking the name is also a clear response to recent court battles over the usage of the term “comic-con”) WonderCon has been moving around over the past few years; after leaving its original home in San Francisco, WonderCon has spent the past four years in Anaheim before traveling up Interstate 5 to Downtown Los Angeles for the 2016 convention.
In April 2015, Variety reported that Los Angeles wants a permanent comic convention and would love to see San Diego Comic Con make its new home at the much larger Los Angeles Convention Center. Given the chance to host WonderCon, the city seized upon the opportunity to gain a foothold in the lucrative con business. “Los Angeles is honored to have been selected as the destination for WonderCon 2016. We look forward to establishing a long-term partnership with Comic-Con International, the presenter, and helping them establish a home base in L.A. We anticipate the show to be highly attended and to set the precedent for future successful Comic-Con events in L.A.,” remarked Mayor Eric Garcetti.
With San Diego Convention Center expansion deadlocked in what seems to be a never-ending battle of wills in San Diego, could it be that the folks at CCI are moving forward and setting up shop in Los Angeles? Is it possible that the plan is to grow WonderCon into a bigger and better iteration of San Diego Comic Con without having to wait for the San Diego Convention Center expansion? It’s quite possible, and it’s safe to say that even with WonderCon in Los Angeles, the two cons can still offer very different experiences to fans; instead of traveling, the movie studios can build a presence at WonderCon so that SDCC can return to what it was ten years ago, before the studios came and usurped the prime con floor real estate.
Interestingly, Amazing Comic Con recently announced that Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con is moving from its previous home base at the South Point Hotel and Casino to the big time—that’s right, in June 2016 ALVCC will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and it’s already being billed as Nevada’s premier comic convention. Las Vegas has been pursuing SDCC as much as Los Angeles has over the past few years, and Las Vegas can certainly offer more hotel and off-site event space. Will ALVCC have any impact on Las Vegas’ bid for SDCC? Anaheim might have lost its bid for SDCC entirely if it isn’t considered to be big enough to host the smaller—yet constantly growing—WonderCon.
Obviously until we hear from CCI, the truth behind WonderCon as the official Los Angeles Comic-Con is anyone’s guess. However, all signs point to a big change in the works. WonderCon is set to begin March 25 and runs through March 27.