WonderCon 2024 Program Highlights

WonderCon returns to the Anaheim Convention Center and tickets are available at their website. The program schedule has been revealed and listed below are the panels I am most interested in seeing, although whether I attend them is anyone’s guess at this point. Unfortunately, the traditional DC animated movie is not happening. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any promotion for upcoming movies and very limited promotion for TV, so for those looking for a smaller, fan-based convention, WonderCon is for you.

Friday, March 29

The 24th Annual Animation Show of Shows – 3:00pm – 4:30pm – North 200A

For the kiddies in all of us, this edition is dedicated to the youngest of children who enjoy fun, sweet, and harmless animated shorts with their moms, dads, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Audience Q&A moderated by Ron Diamond (curator, producer).

Ron always puts together a compelling collection of cartoons and I am curious to see what he’s bringing this year.

The Spice Is Still Life: 40 Years of David Lynch’s Dune – 5:30pm – 6:30pm – Room 300C

The hosts of the hit podcasts Inglorious Treksperts and The 4:30 Movie are joined by Max Evry (author of the bestselling A Masterpiece In Disarray, about the making of David Lynch’s epic 1984 sci-fi classic) to talk about the troubled road to the big screen of Frank Herbert’s legendary novel and what could have been, but wasn’t. Featuring Mark A. Altman (showrunner ; Pandora, Deathlands), Daren Dochterman (associate producer, Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Director’s Edition), and Ashley E. Miller (screenwriter , Thor, X-Men: First Class).

Buy Arrow’s Dune (Special Edition) Blu-ray

I attended Lynch’s Dune on opening weekend and hadn’t revisited it until last year. The length of time in between viewings suggest I didn’t think much upon the first watch, but after a second, it held up better than its reputation. Am very interested to learn more about its making and might be talked into buying Evry’s book.

Godzilla Minus Lawyers! – 8:00pm – 9:00pm – Room 207

Lawyers love Kaiju! Just think of all the liability issues after a Godzilla rampage. Will insurance cover a Kaiju stepping on your house? What do you do if you find an orphaned baby? What are the legal ramifications of having secret wives with families in two countries? Those are questions for lawyers! A panel of attorneys and judges discuss Godzilla Minus One, Monarch Legacy of Monsters, and more, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Godzilla. Featuring Circuit Judge John Owens (9th Circuit of Appeals), U.S. Magistrate Judge Stan Boone, Monte Cooper, Esq. (Goodwin), Katrina Wright, Esq. (Best Best & Krieger LLP), Kate Bridal, Esq., and Joshua Gilliland, Esq. (Greenan, Peffer, Sallander, & Lally LLP). Panel organized by The Legal Geeks..

The Legal Geeks take a fun approach to fandom by exploring legal ramifications within pop culture properties. Imagine the premiums for Kaiju insurance.

Saturday, March 30

The Greatest Cartoons Ever – 1:00pm – 2:00pm – North 200A

Hold on to your popcorn and get ready to watch Woody Woodpecker, Popeye, and other vintage animated superstars on the big screen! ASIFA-Hollywood and Animation historian Jerry Beck will introduce the iconic and most notable theatrical shorts from Hollywood’s legendary golden age. Films include a George Pal Puppetoon, Tex Avery’s Señor Droopy, Fleischer’s Popeye classic A Dream Walking, Tom & Jerry, and more!

Saturdays and cartoons?! Where else would you want to be?

The Legendary Bill Sienkiewicz: A Career-Spanning Interview – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Room 300E

From his groundbreaking work on such projects as Marvel’s Elektra: Assassin, Daredevil: Love & War, and New Mutants to his genre-bending indie works such as Stray Toasters and Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, Bill Sienkiewicz has spent decades as a trailblazing artist who disrupted and upended the entire comic scene. Channeling abstract and expressionist influences to create edgy, subjective visual storytelling, Bill has won numerous awards as well as the enthusiastic acclaim of his fellow artists. This wide-ranging conversation will cover his early days on Moon Knight and Fantastic Four, through to his Emmy-nominated TV design work and his contributions on-set and doing promotional artwork for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Batman, Dune, Moon Knight series, 2018 Halloween remake, Logan, The Grinch, The Green Mile, and Unforgiven. Conducting the interview is indie film producer and TV animation writer Chris “Doc” Wyatt (Napoleon Dynamite, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Transformers: Botbots, Batman Unlimited, Lego Ninjago: Dragons Rising).

Buy Bill Sienkiewicz: Revolution book

I’ve been a fan of Bill’s work for decades so am looking forward to hear from him about his career.

In Conversation with Bruce Dickinson: The Mandrake Project – 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Room 300E

For the last decade, Bruce Dickinson, the iconic frontman of Iron Maiden, has been developing the story of The Mandrake Project, his saga about the century-long battle for the human control of immortality. Coinciding with the release of the second issue in the series and his solo album of the same name. Bruce is joined by Bill Sienkiewicz (Eisner Award–winning comic artist), Rantz Hoseley (Eisner Award–winning editor), Josh Bernstein (Ringo Award–winning editor), and moderator Ryan J. Downey (MTV News) to talk about the creation of this exciting quarterly series.

Buy Bruce Dickinson: The Mandrake Project CD

What are the odds Bruce says, “Scream for me, Anaheim!”? I will be there to find out.

Doctor Who: Science and History—Now with Puppets! – 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Room 300A

In all of time and space, the Doctor has witnessed (and in some cases, influenced) major historical events. The Doctor is also a scientific and technological genius, comfortable talking to scientists across the galaxy. This panel by Order of Gallifrey members explores some of the real-world science and historical events covered by Doctor Who. There will be plenty of time for your Q&A’s, and some questions may be answered by puppets!

I am usually indifferent to fan panels because hanging with my friends discussing pop culture topics can be just as if not more interesting. But we don’t have puppets.

Sunday, March 31

Fleischer Cartoons: The Art & Inventions of Max Fleischer – 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Room 211

Fleischer Cartoons is back at WonderCon with a block of brand new 4K restorations of Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman, and more from the legendary Fleischer Studios. Learn about the history and influence of this classic animation studio!

If you show cartoons at a convention, there’s a very good chance I’ll be in attendance.

The Origins of the Universal Monsters and the Birth of Horror – 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Room 300C

Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and The Bride of Frankenstein. These five films, and the indelible characters they first introduced, launched the legendary Universal Monsters. But how did it all come to be? Julian David Stone (author of the novel It’s Alive!, about the making of the 1931 Frankenstein) offers a presentation on the fascinating journey these films took to the big screen, with an emphasis on the contributions of three horror legends: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Carl Laemmle, Jr., who at the ripe-old-age of 23 was running Universal Studios at the time. This will be followed by a discussion with Antonia Carlotta (host of the popular web series Universally Me and grand-niece of Carl Laemmle) and Scott Essman (film historian and expert on renowned monster make-up artist Jack Pierce), who will explore what drove Universal to make these films in the first place, and forever established horror as one the most popular genres that continues to thrive to this day.

Buy Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror book

Like many, I am a huge fan of this franchise, and am intrigued to learn more about it.

Spotlight on Steve Englehart – 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Room 208

Steve Englehart (pretty much everything) answers any question you have about his comics and the films and animations made from them.

Englehart is a name I encountered frequently in the comics I read in the late ’70s/early ’80s, so getting to hear him talk will be a treat.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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