WonderCon, and its colorful costumes, are back in Southern California


On the exhibit floor, comic artwork and merchandise hang in various exhibit booths. A Newport Beach retailer, Toddland, has a booth decorated like the hamburger counter of the Fox animated TV show “Bob’s Burgers.” Indiana artist Terry Huddleston has his pop culture booth festooned with the colorful faces of comic book and video game characters.Fans lined up with a toy in hand to grab a signature from Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on “Star Wars Rebels,” an animated TV show and the founder of HerUniverse, a superhero clothing brand for women.
But here, I feel free.” ANAHEIM >> There’s a fake black dragon draped over Janet Alvarez’s shoulder.Barf from “Spaceballs” is roaming around, and so is a child – with a plastic knife, splattered with play blood in hand and dressed as Chucky, that creepy doll that comes alive in horror movies.After a one-year hiatus in Los Angeles, the popular WonderCon is back in Anaheim through Sunday, and that means fans are out in force for one of the largest comic, science-fiction and pop culture conventions on the West Coast.“It’s hard growing up a nerd,” said Crystal Schaefer, 22, of Riverside.” You get bullied and harassed.

She had on pointed dog ears and was carrying an empty Milk bone box, dressed as Barfolomew, the half-man, half-dog played by John Candy in the 1980s science-fiction spoof “Spaceballs.”“I’m at home,” Schaefer said.A smaller version of San Diego’s Comic-Con, organizers are expecting 60,000-plus to converge on the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend. Here, they’ll geek out on everything nerd – buying toys and the latest comic books, participating in panels, and learning how to expertly play a card game, Magic: The Gathering.
They will see a  premiere of “Class,” a spinoff of the British sci-fi TV show, “Doctor Who,” and get a preview of what’s coming at Warner Bros.“There’s a lot of camaraderie here,” said David Glanzer, a spokesman for WonderCon, in existence since 1987. Glanzer said WonderCon will remain in Anaheim for at least the next couple of years. “I’ve been coming to comic conventions since 1978, and these conventions … have grown considerably.“It’s a place where people with the same common interest and appreciation can come together,” he said.The convention moved to Los Angeles last year because of construction at the Anaheim Convention Center.