WonderCon will go back to Anaheim in 2017, but L.A. wants it back for 2019

WonderCon attendees walk past "The Walking Dead" booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

WonderCon attendees walk past “The Walking Dead” booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

This weekend L.A. has opened up the Los Angeles Convention Center doors to binge watchers, cosplayers, comic book fans, artists and creators alike for the 2016 WonderCon convention. It’s a lucrative get for the city, so fans were noticeably shocked when the official program announced that next year, WonderCon would be heading back to Anaheim.

The three-day convention spans a collection of interests and attracts a hefty crowd of convention-goers all looking to spend money on the pop culture arts. Previously WonderCon was held at the convention center in Anaheim, and before that it was located in San Francisco. But now, it’s headed back to the town of Mickey Mouse.


This is an interesting turn as Los Angeles has been one of the many suitors also hoping to win San Diego’s International Comic-Con, a sister convention to WonderCon.

“It just seemed natural to come to L.A. where so many of the creators and the artists and the people who created these stories, and are bringing them to new audiences live,” city of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told The Times surrounded by WonderCon convention-goers. “L.A. is on the move as a destination, but it’s also the home of where this creativity comes from.”

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As to why WonderCon was headed back to Anaheim, Garcetti blamed the time line, “I’m sorry the dates didn’t work out. But I think we’re going to be very competitive for 2019, the next opening. I think if they have a great experience here, that’s going to be something.”

And Garcetti was certain to mention the big prize, Comic-Con, a convention they are clearly still angling to land in Los Angeles perhaps sometime after the 2018 contract with the city of San Diego is up. “This is a long-term relationship,” Garcetti said. “It’s WonderCon and Comic-Con. I feel good that if we can present a great time here, this year, we’ll be in good standing for the future.”

What sort of changes is L.A. looking to make to entice Comic-Con and WonderCon fans? “We’re obviously looking at redoing the entire convention center. I think also by then you’ll see a lot of the building that’s happening here. New hotels, new attractions will be done. Things like Harry Potter will be open. There’s a lot of stuff that can really attract people to be in L.A. Especially the public transportation that is increasingly opening every year. So the human infrastructure, the physical infrastructure and hopefully a redone convention center.”


Who knows where WonderCon will land in 2019, but one thing is for certain: As the popularity of the comic book convention grows, it takes more than a village to house all the fans.

Twitter: @MdellW