We talked to David Glanzer, longstanding executive and currently Chief Communications & Strategy Officer at Comic-Con International, for both WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con. He’s been a little busy… but we just got the word back.
Rich Johnston: So what was new for WonderCon 2018?
David Glanzer: There are always new and cool things. This year we have some really amazing guests, some very cool screenings, and one special screening from Paramount Pictures. Plus we will be using the newly expanded Anaheim Convention Center for programming including a VR Lounge and our first ever Esports Lounge.
RJ: So what do you think most attendees will remember from this year’s show, as opposed to others?
DG: Well, it’s always a pretty fun show so I hope that they have fun again this year. Honestly WonderCon has such a cool relaxed feeling about it, so even though it’s the size Comic-Con was back in 2002, it’s still relaxed. I hope people enjoy the Esports Lounge, the cool programming, and exhibit floor. I know that sounds vague but WonderCon, as the sum of its parts, including the attendees, makes for a fantastic show!
RJ: You will probably be too busy to do any panels, but if you could make room for just three, what would they be?
DG: Well, with our guest list I’d love to pop into one of any of those presentations. There’s also a Star Trek: Discovery panel so I’d love to sneak into that one, but don’t tell anyone.
RJ: Promise. From what you’ve seen planned, are there any specific booths you expect will draw a lot of attention?
DG: It’s funny, I learned a long time ago to not try to figure out what will be the most talked about booth or presentation at the show. I always wait until Monday after the show and read social media to see what was a hit and sometimes to learn what actually happened. I often don’t have a chance to check it all out.
RJ: Okay, so, it’s always interesting to see new big names as guests of the show. Nidhi Chanani is a debut comic creator. What do you expect she will bring to WonderCon?
DG: I’m not sure but I can tell you I can’t wait. Since the questions in the spotlight panels are usually chosen by the moderator, there is no telling where it might lead. That is the fun of these types of panels, and this is one I hope I can sneak into.
RJ: You’ve done this job for so long and are such a familiar figure by so many — but are there are individuals you expect you will still geek out over (if only internally)?
DG: Oh yeah! I honestly try not to gush or fan out and when that happens I usually end up saying stupid stuff. Not rude or anything like that. But I will talk and try to make sentences and realize halfway through that I don’t even understand what I’m saying. So I’ve learned to just kind of smile and nod. But inside I’m totally geeking out.
RJ: WonderCon has more of a comics concentration than its sister show San Diego Comic-Con. With the comics industry dropping in sales over the last two years, is this a concern for WonderCon?
DG: I actually think both shows have a strong comics focus. I know you mean that in the most positive way but I think there is a perception that comics take a back seat at Comic-Con. The truth is, there is a ton of programming, guests, and exhibits that deal solely with comics. That being said, there is so much other stuff that sometimes you have to be sure to spend your time wisely or you may miss some very cool programs and guests. As for a concern? Well, this is a vibrant medium. It’s dynamic and exciting. We’ve seen ebbs and flows in the past and maybe we’re seeing a bit of that now. But we have to admit there are some very cool comics today. Look at our guest list. Look at what they’re doing. I hope people come away even more excited and enthusiastic and share that enthusiasm with others.
RJ: San Diego Comic-Con has done lots to reduce ticket scammers. After events at Phoenix Comic Fest last year, every show seems to have been changing security policies. How will WonderCon be responding to these issues this year? What have you learned from previous shows in that regard?
DG: As you know, we take security very seriously. We work with a variety of law enforcement officials and employ a great many security. I obviously can’t say what will be different or new this year, but security is something we take very, very seriously and spend a great deal of time, effort on.
RJ: It’s Saturday… but Saturday tickets sold out. How are levels looking for a last-minute purchase for Sunday?
DG: Ticket sales are going well. We’ve increased some numbers as we have the new facility that can allow us to accommodate more people. One of the great things about WonderCon is, if there are returns or cancellations, those tickets go back into the hopper. So it’s possible that even if a day is sold out, some lucky person might be able to purchase a ticket for that day. I hope for a good crowd this year. We have a great show, and I hope we can share it was as many people as possible!
WonderCon is happening right now at Anaheim Convention Center, and runs until tomorrow.
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