Wine Country Comic Con’s Uriel Brena Allegedly Threatened a Cancelled Guest’s Agent

The saga of Wine Country Comic Con has been a complicated one to follow. From a whole bunch of fake Facebook accounts to stolen logos, controversy has surrounded it for a while. Then guests started pulling out one by one, with barely any still left attending the convention.

The latest chapter in this bizarre saga takes us down a slightly darker road. One of the agents for several of the cancelled guests reached out to us this evening, saying Wine Country Comic Con organizer Uriel Brena directly threatened their safety.

They claim that Brena called them earlier today, angry about the cancellations. After a brief exchange, the Agent claims that Uriel Brena said that “it would be a really bad idea if they or their family came to wine country as it could be ‘hazardous’ to them.”

Now obviously it’s a hard thing to prove, and we only have the agent’s word on this. But with the pattern of unprofessional and underhanded tactics surrounding Wine Country Comic Con, it’s hard to ignore. While I doubt Brena really meant the threat (assuming what the Agent says is true), anyone who thinks that it’s even remotely a good idea to talk to another human being that way has pretty questionable judgement.

Wine Country Comic Con is scheduled for this weekend, but at this point you really have to ask yourself — is it worth still attending it?

  • Terence Clark

    Out of curiosity, do you know for sure the remaining guests are still attending, or have you just not directly heard of any possible cancellations? I’m wondering if the remaining guests are going to be no shows that just didn’t announce. Seems rather likely to me, honestly. I can’t imagine with that much bad press and how gutted the con is, post cancellations, that it would be all that great of an event to attend in any capacity, more or less attach a reputation to.

    • As far as I can tell the rest of the guests are still coming

    • talismanofjustice

      Well, the show actually happened but from the looks of it, some people who attended were very disappointed by it. As for the guests, the ones who actually did appear were Steve Cardenas, Vic Mignogna, JC Lee and Al Omega. On 4/14/16, Cristina Vee had publicly announced through her Twitter page that she would not be attending WCCC. The shady part is that WCCC kept advertising that she would be attending right up until 4/22/16(a day before the convention would start), when the Facebook page and website were both finally updated. Of course, following the tradition of how WCCC has never announced guest cancelations, no announcement was made and Cristina Vee’s info simply disappeared from the Facebook page and website. Don’t be fooled by the images or videos posted on the WCCC Facebook page; the event was much smaller than advertised, especially if you only see pictures showing single booth setups and not something like the entire venue or the whole vendor’s hall.

      • Yeah, the most telling photo I saw was one of a cosplayer where you can see a large part of an empty aisle behind her with no one browsing any of the vendor tables visible in the shot.

        As someone who covers a lot of conventions, I knew it must be empty immediately by the lack of any wideshots or crowd images in the myriad of images posted to the official page. That’s usually the first sign of low attendance.

        The funny thing is, from everything I read from people who went, if this had been a $5-$10 ticket, people would have loved this con. But at $35 for a day pass, it was insanely unreasonable for what little was there.

        • talismanofjustice

          From my various convention-attending-experiences and comparing them to what little images there are out there of the actual show, WCCC looks like it ended up to be more of a small scale “swap meet” type of show in which the vendors and artists were probably quite surprised by such a low turnout.

          The organizer had delusions of grandeur, especially when he submitted attendee estimates of “25,000” to this website:

          http://www.eventcrazy.com/Santa-Rosa-CA/events/details/17759-Wine-Country-Comic-Con

          He led everybody on in interesting ways by creating fake Facebook profiles, sending unsolicited messages and emails to vendors / guests / artists / cosplayers etc, reeling potential guests and attendees in with the whole “charitable” aspect of “fundraising” and then completely changing everything when being called out on it.

          This guy seemed to commit several crimes, at least in terms of their legal definitions:

          False Pretenses –
          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/false_pretenses

          Larceny By Trick & Fraudulent Misrepresentation –

          http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/white_collar_crimes/false_pretenses.htm

          Technically, if a WCCC attendee felt like it, they could sue Brena because he changed the description / mission statement of the WCCC as well as not announcing cancellations of his previous guests.

          I know that I would be very angry if I was a fan of (let’s just say) Cristina Vee and discovered at the last moment that she would no longer be there. What didn’t help was that when I personally tried to contact Brena via Facebook messaging or through posting on the WCCC Facebook page, he would delete my posts / questions and never answered any of my inquiries which were a variation of “Will Cristina Vee be there? / Is it true Cristina Vee cancelled?”.

          Although there will probably never be another WCCC, I’m pretty sure that the
          organizer will continue his underhanded and unethical attempts at duping the general public in whatever futures “comic cons” he will try to organize.

  • Wow, and the west coast is supposed to be the more mellow of the coasts. Our con is in Atlantic City and we don’t threaten folks but it would be more in character of the location to do so.

    • talismanofjustice

      What else can be expected of an organizer that has used unethical methods to promote their convention? There is so much that Brena has done wrong and I’m surprised the convention even happened.

  • A.L.

    It had a huge turn out THOUSANDS and was run beautifully.Much better than the Santa Rosa Toy and Comic Con ( who had to start a GoFund begging people to help him!) I will go back next year !

    • I don’t believe you?

      I mean, seriously — there’s no way attendance was in the thousands, just based off the photos and the physical space makes that highly unlikely.

      (And considering WCCC ALSO had a gofundme, I’m confused why you’re bringing that up)

      • A.L.

        I was there.Were you ?

        • No, but I’ve spoken with people who were — so don’t try to piss on my leg and tell me its raining.

          The event was verifiably small and lightly attended. Honestly the building rented couldn’t hold “thousands” in the first place. It was held in Finley Hall which has a listed capacity of only 1,200.

    • talismanofjustice

      A.L., You must be referring to the Butter and Egg Days Parade which really had thousands of people. If its WCCC, I would bet that maybe 200 people showed up for both days combined.