By Joseph L. Campos, Jr.
Millions of eccentric heroes and caped crusaders like Paraman and the Golden Protector swamped the Anaheim Convention Center March 23-25 as another episode of the iconic WonderCon event took place to the happiness of many dedicated fans. This year’s signature logo for the event featured the man of steel himself, Superman, as he triumphantly waved the American flag over his right shoulder on all of the banners for the festivities.
The entire event was sponsored by WonderCon’s parent company, Comic-Con. It was also sponsored this year by DC Comics, Warner Bros. Studios, Syfy.com, and amc.com. Many celebrities also dropped in to make special guest appearances at the show including Larry Thomas of “Seinfeld,” where he played “The Soup Nazi;” the cast of “The Walking Dead;” some cast members of “iZombie;” the Power Rangers; and many more.
“This is my tenth time attending WonderCon here,” explained Thomas. “I am originally from New York, but I love your weather here. Your weather is addicting. Once you come from a very cold place, and you spend enough time here in California, you just can’t go back to cold weather.”
In the midst of all the recent reboots of classic television shows and movies like “Star Wars,” “Jurassic World,” “Fuller House,” and quite possibly “Frasier,” Thomas gave his input on how he feels about a reboot of his own show.
“I would love to come back for a reboot of Seinfeld,” explains Thomas. “I can still remember how nice the cast was, how generous they were, and how welcoming it all was.”
Actor Larry Thomas from “Seinfeld”
When asked if he still keeps in contact with any of his fellow cast mates from the show, Thomas said, “I still keep in contact with Jason Alexander (George Costanza) and Phil Morris. I also keep in contact with many of the show’s guest stars. Jason Alexander actually wrote the foreword for my book, and I still run into all of those guys during auditions for other shows.”
Thomas’ book is titled “Confessions of a Soup Nazi: An Adventure in Acting and Cooking.” The book highlights Thomas’ trials and tribulations in life, and how hard he pushed to finally make it to the top in the film business. He also playfully throws out some of his real life culinary secrets throughout to help his fans delve deeper into the mind of his iconic “Seinfeld” character. Being the son of a restaurateur, Thomas definitely pays homage to his roots. “All young actors should go, and get a lot of training first,” explains Thomas. “There is a lot of good competition out there. You must focus on getting really good at what you do. Take classes, and never give up!”
Thomas currently is working on his new comedy sitcom titled, “Dads!” The official trailer for the new show can be viewed now on YouTube if fans want to get a sneak peek.
“My old cast mates and I always like to try to work together when we can,” states Thomas. “I would love to try to bring in some guest stars, and guest appearances within my new show.”
Thomas says that his fans can get more information about all of his new projects on his website, www.realsoupnazi.com, or check out his YouTube channel and subscribe.
Thomas also encourages fans to come see him when he attends Orange County’s annual WonderCon. “Just come on out and have a good time. There is so much to see here. You can buy all kinds of nice comic and film memorabilia. WonderCon is a great convention, and invention.”
The AMC channel also debuted a 3-D simulator that showcased its new historical horror production of “The Terror.” This new cable television series is based on a true story and actual accounts of the British Royal Navy’s journeys across the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through a secret waterway cutting through the Arctic Ocean around the Northeast coast of America and Canada. The crew crash lands in an icy wilderness, where they are soon hunted down one by one by a vicious ice demon.
There were also many festivities for children at WonderCon as well with Pokemon and Digimon trading card tournaments and free giveaways of comic books, superhero statues, and paintings. There were also costume contests held, and many photo ops where children could take photographs with Spiderman, Wolverine, Batman, Batgirl, Catwoman, and even Jesus Christ. Many of the actual artists, creators, and authors of the comic books were also on hand to take photographs, sign autographs, and to chat with their loyal fans. Artist and author Joe Benitez was there live to showcase his new female superhero “Lady Mechanika” to the crowd.
Professional cosplay models were also on hand to interact with the large crowds and to take pictures with guests. Cosplay models dress up as superhero characters and get paid for it from private artists or comic book companies. Gorgeous cosplay models like Jainah Songer (dressed as Spider-Gwen), Bunny Page (dressed as Lady Mechanika), Ms. Ziggy, Rachel Hollon (dressed as Harley Quinn), and Jazmin Vega (dressed as Catwoman) were there to make an appearance.
Rachel Hollon as Harley Quinn with a fan
Dianne Lin is one of these very talented models and artists. She showed up to the event dressed as Mantis from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Dianne Lin (left) as Mantis with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” team
“This is the fourth WonderCon that I have come to, so I have just started,” explains Lin. “I heard about these events recently, and that is what inspired me to start attending.”
The details of her costume are very important to Lin. Every stitch and accessory needs to coincide precisely with the persona of the comic book character that she is trying to portray.
“For me, these events are all about the costumes. I like to put a lot of work into the creation of my costumes,” states Lin. “This is my chance to show off my talent, and to show off my work. WonderCon is like having an art show to show off your personal art. The reception here is great as well. People are nice, and are open to your expression and art here.”
Chase Hronis is a very talented male professional cosplay artist, and showed up to the event dressed as Green Arrow from DC Comics.
“I have been coming to WonderCon for four years,” says Hronis. “I saw an advertisement for the event on the internet, and I wanted to be part of the experience. I don’t just want to go to see the comic book characters; I wanted to be the comic book characters.”
Hronis admires all of the other participants too who show up to WonderCon to display their costumes. “I enjoy meeting other cosplay artists who come from other states,” says Hronis. “These artists put in a lot of time, hard work, and dedication to make sure that their portrayal is just right. It is a great thing to see people dress up like their favorite superheroes or villains.”
Hronis understands that people who are outside of the comic book culture will probably not understand the movement, and will mock people who enjoy this type of literature, or artistic portrayal; but he says to pay them no mind.
“To me, WonderCon is all about having a great time. It is about having an awesome time making new friends. I see myself as a role model to inspire other people to participate in cosplay art, and to join in the artistic movement. Do not be afraid to come to these events, and if you want to dress up as your favorite superhero, just go for it. Do not let mean people judge you, just be strong, don’t be self-conscious, and just go for your artistic dream. If you love it, just go for it.”
From Yoda to Sherlock Holmes to The Punisher to Scruffy, many came out to express the artistic side of themselves and to tap into their inner youth from decades past. There was nothing more beautiful than seeing a bunch of strangers come together from all walks of life and all parts of the world to enjoy a day of creativity, innovation, and new lifelong friendships. If anyone wishes to be part of this event, it will be back next year at the Anaheim Convention Center from March 29-31 in 2019.
A “Star Wars” yeti attempts to scare a child
R2-D2 attempts to communicate with a young fan