We talked about Wine Country Comic Con back in February and again in March because of their sketchy promotional tactics (which used fake Facebook accounts) and the loose relationship organizer Uriel Brena seems to have with Intellectual Property (and in my opinion just the truth in general). This isn’t even mentioning the confusing story about Brena’s involvement with the Roseland Lions Club (the answer is “They’re currently involved but Brena weirdly lied about being a Vice President”) or purposely using a similar name to the Early Learning Institute.
Since then, the story has just continued to get weirder.
On Facebook promoter Uriel Brena tried to point blame in any direction he could. We’re not sure what he said offline, but comments began to follow the story, trying to blame it on a rival convention promoter (without ever naming who). Jeff Sterck (the son of Roseland Lions Club president Pat Sterck) would later directly accuse Santa Rosa Toy Con‘s Mike Holbrook on a Facebook page he created. Though he has since deleted most of the inflammatory posts there (I was able to archive one of them) and initially denied involvement with the page, Jeff Sterck has subsequently admitted he was running it.
None of this, of course, is to speak of the biggest problem Wine Country Comic Con has before it now. You see, after all of this insanity, in the last couple of weeks the majority of Wine Country Comic Con’s non-local Guests of Honor have cancelled on the convention.
The first cancellation happened not long after we published our second article, when cosplay guest “HezaChan” publicly denounced the convention’s sketchy tactics and lack of professionalism. This was followed by Kerrigan Mahan, Barbara Goodson, and Deborah Phillips cancelling their appearances just over a week ago.
In the last twenty-four hours though, even more names dropped off the list. Margo Apostlos, Kevin Thompson and Olivia Hack first publicly announced through an agent that they would not appear yesterday morning. This was soon followed by Alan Palmer, Rajia Baroudi and Robert Axelrod all cancelling their appearances as well.
(Update: The total of cancelled guests actually appears to be twelve, as earlier materials advertised the appearance of Wendy Schaal and Bob Mcleod too. No formal announcements were made about these cancellations that we can find.)
(Update #2: Apparently cosplayer Alexia Jean Gray, who had previously announced her appearance and had been previously advertised on the WCCC website, is no longer listed as a guest at the show. Assuming that she’s no longer appearing, this brings the total to thirteen guests cancelling.)
(Update #3 4/12: Tanglwyst de Holloway has now cancelled her appearance as well bringing the total number of cancelled guests to fourteen.)
(Update #4 4/12: Apparently we missed that Sinclair “Der Klug” Klugarsh also cancelled his appearance on March 30th as well, even though he’s currently still listed on the Wine Country Comic Con website. This brings our total to fifteen cancellations.)
(Update #5 4/12: We have confirmed directly with Steve “Warky” Nuñez that he is cancelling his appearance as well. This brings the total to sixteen.)
(Update #6 4/12: Tanglwyst de Holloway and Steve “Warky” Nuñez have released an official statement about their cancellation and experiences with WCCC)
(Update #7 4/14: Cristina Vee has now cancelled as well. This ups the number to seventeen.)
(Update #8 4/18: We missed that Bob McLeod did officially announce his cancellation.)
At the time that this is being published, the vast majority of these names are still listed on the convention’s website. Right now it appears that the only non-local guests remaining at the convention are JC Lee, Steve Cardenas,
Cristina Vee, Vic Mignogna, Tanglwyst de Holloway, and Steve “Warky T Chocobo” Nuñez. While that would be normally a respectable guest list for a first year convention (especially since at least one of those names usually comes with a good sized appearance fee), when you consider it’s a list of six three out of twenty, things don’t look so great. It should also be noted that the latter three of those still appearing are still not listed on the actual website’s guest pages, so many finding the convention are going to have a very different experience than they were promised. (Edit 4/12: The guest pages on the site are pretty much just a big old mess right now, and I’m not sure of they really serve any purpose anymore.)
On a final note, we truly do wish anyone non-local trying to attend the Wine Country Comic Con the best of luck actually getting there. You see, the Santa Rosa convention is scheduled for April 23rd-24th. This happens to be the same weekend as nearby Petaluma, CA’s “Butter and Eggs Day Parade.” That event reportedly brought in 30,000 people in 2014, and notoriously clogs up the very highways required to get to the fairgrounds where Wine Country Comic Con is being held.
I was a little surprised when I discovered that the convention was scheduled against such a massive event that was just ten miles away, but I guess nothing Wine Country Comic Con has done has made a lick of sense so far anyway.
Update 4/22: So things just got a whole lot weirder (and even more unprofessional).