WonderCon 2023 Day 1

Hello fellow Skkaw fans!

Ray here, to write about my experience at WonderCon2023! Thanks to Skkaw for the opportunity to share my experience and nerd out at SKKAW.BLOG. I’ll be sharing all my fun adventures from each day of WonderCon 2023. Starting with Day 1 of WonderCon 2023 for this post, and followed by separate follow-up posts for my Day 2 and Day 3 experience.

About me: rayhom.com

I’m a tech, travel, and nerd culture blogger, and you can find my blog at rayhom.com. After about 15 years of attending cons, I have learned to have a flexible con schedule. My experience has helped me find comfort in the randomness that is NerdCulture. Nowadays, I don’t attend many panels or chase cosplayers as much as I used to. Instead, I have come to pick and choose my course on the con “battlefield”. This has helped me achieve a fulfilling and exciting convention experience. You may get a better idea of what I mean, after my tale here at WonderCon 2023.

I am not a cosplayer, but I always put a lot of thought to what to wear to the cons I attend. See below:

What you see in the image above is my “go-to” default choice of wear. I’m huge fan of the Watch_Dogs video games, and if you can’t see it (blocked by my con badge), my shirt says “I Am DeadSec”. For those who are familiar with the hacker-themed game series of Watch_Dogs, I believe the shirt is just subtle enough, e.g., not too loud, to proclaim my nerd cred. But enough about me, onward to the con!

Day 1 Activities

On my walk to WonderCon 2023, I had a couple of passerby point out my shirt. One person even took a photo of me, and I am NOT a cosplayer or influencer at all. And, along the way, another person, pointed to me, screaming “Watch_Dogs, yeah!”, only for me to notice later on that he wore the same shirt. That’s when I knew that, I was beginning the day at the right place. Here’s a photo outside the convention center from Day 1:

Being the first day, I spent the time wandering through the exhibit hall, seeking artists I had listed on my phone’s notepad. It’s a small list, I keep my “things to-do at the con” to a minimum. When traveling, I don’t create excel sheets or rigid agenda schedules. I find such processes can cause missed opportunities for organic experiences. I’ve witnessed traveling partners breakout in anxiety-inducing panic, when they didn’t get to do something on their perfectly scheduled sheet. If I missed something, I shrug off the disappointment, and move on to other options the con world allows for me…

Also, I’ve cut down on my convention purchases, as my own personal collectible museum at home is running out of room. But, I came across a post on the SDCC blog for a mini-poster of a Gremlins-themed “Lost Mogwai”. If you’re unfamiliar a “Mogwai” is what the little creatures from the Gremlin movies are called. See photo below:

I thought it would be kinda cool tacking the Gremlins-themed “Lost Mogwai” on my wall. I found the booth for the poster, named Dreamforger Studios, and the artist is named Nick Kremenek. Nice dude, as you can see in the image below. He had plenty of other artwork to sell, but I was only eyeing the “Lost Mogwai”. We chatted about the graffiti variant, and he said out loud what I was thinking… the graffiti looks too clean. And, I said, “it’s not chaotic enough.” He agreed. With that said, I’m now helping doing my part to find the Lost Mogwai. Do follow Nick at: @dreamforgerstudios

The next artist booth I visited was my buddy, Glen Canlas. I met Glen, as we were both guests, on an episode of the “Keeping It Nerd” podcast at Silicon Valley Comic Con, back in 2019. I’ve always visited his booth appearances, ever since, and even had him on my podcast, MEMCast, nice guy and a talented artist. He designs official Marvel backpacks, amongst other cool stuff. I noticed he had more artwork, and asked what was new – he showed me his own rendition of Starkiller from the Star Wars: Forced Unleashed series. I told him that my brother, Stan Hom, was the character animator on those games, and friends with Sam Witwer! We discussed loving that game series, and disappointed that it’s no longer canon. (I’m restraining from ranting about that.) Follow Glen: @glencanlas

I’m a huge John Carpenter fan. Horror movies aside, my favorites include his scifi stuff – The Thing and They Live. It’s debatable if they’re horror, I know, but I enjoy the alien aspects about them. Imagine my excitement, knowing, that his wife, Sandy King, was at WonderCon, that day! She’s the CEO of the comics publication, Storm King Comics ( @stormkingcomics ), and helps John co-produce and write some of his work. I had met Sandy last at SDCC 2019, but I could never get enough, as a fanatic of this stuff – comics and horror/scifi movies. Chatting with her, she explained that her and John are working on another movie, and four TV series! Follow Sandy King at: @theofficialsandyking

The next artist I want to share is John Giang. I own an official John Giang “Transformers vs Terminator” CGC variant comic and poster (yes, that’s a real comic series) which is signed. I proudly display them at home. He’s popular for a lot comic covers, as I love his intense style – you gotta check out his Star Wars, Harley Quinn, and Joker stuff, just to name a few… he’s also a concept artists for a lot of your favorite films like the Marvel stuff, TMNT, Pacific Rim, and more… I ended up purchasing some insane covers he did for Creepshow and Ice Cream Man (image below).

At the con, we chatted about our favorite horror flicks (you see a pattern about my interests, don’t ya?) – of course, The Shining and The Exorcist came up. Then, John, says something that shocked me, “I don’t really like horror movies”. I did a double-take, as I look at all his work, wall-to-wall, around him. He said that horror stuff gets stuck in his head. Then he told me an anecdote about how he got into art when he had a rough time when he was young, which altered his life and got him where he is now. I’ll be back again, for John, to purchasing something more horrifying at the next Con. Experience his work at John’s site: Orbital Harvest.

For the rest of the day, I explored more of exhibit hall until I decided to retire from Day 1 of the con. So as a break from the many con activities, I slipped out to L.A. to meet some friends for dinner.

That’s it from me from WonderCon Day 1. But wait, there’s more! Check out my follow-up post for the second and third days at WonderCon 2023. Onward to Day 2 and 3!

-Ray Hom, rayhom.com

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