As some of you may know, I recently went to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is the second year of the convention and though of course there are still kinks to work out as with any new conventions, it was definitely a super fun time.
Now, I’ve gone to San Diego Comic Con a few times and always had a good time. However, I haven’t been in a few years because of how insanely crowded its gotten lately. You can hardly move through the crowd; it’s like sardines in a can. And forget about panels, unless you’re willing to wait in line all day long.
Comikaze is a breath of fresh air. It has everything that you want for a comic convention. It had the awesome cosplays, great celebrity guests, fantastic vendors and great panels. And the best part? It had that great nerdy, geeky feel to it without having to pay a lot (tickets ran anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars, depending on where you bought them) and without having to navigate insane crowds.
Cosplays are always my favorite part about cons and other nerd events. The time and effort that people go to to represent the fandoms they love is just amazing. I always feel kind of like a little kid at Disneyland, but instead of seeing all the DIsney characters, I see all my favorite characters from various fandoms.
I see Jedis, and Russell from Up, and Disney Princesses, zombies, and Wall.E and R2D2, The Doctor and the Tardis, and even Darth Helmet.
There were so many more that I couldn’t even begin to take pictures of them all.
2. The Guests:
There were great guests for this being such a new convention. First off, Elvira was there. She was one of the biggest guests but she did several stints for autographs and, according to my friend Lavonne, was super sweet and nice. Stan Lee was a guest as well…and this is STAN LEE we’re talking about it. He’s is the god of comics and the guy is no spring chicken anymore; he’ll be turning 90 in December. He was amazing though, signing about a million autographs, taking pictures with fans and being there for the fans. One of the coolest things I liked about Stan was that instead of having a panel for his Q and A, he did it on the main stage, where anyone could watch and anyone could ask questions. What a man. There’s a reason people literally worship this guy.
3. Zombies and Quidditch:
There were two ongoing events going on both days of Comikaze:
One was a Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course. This was held in a room off the side of the main floor and looked awesome! There were various obstacles, like climbing walls, and it was dark with strobe lights everywhere. The best part was all the people in amazing make-up, walking around, acting like zombies. Some of those guys were pretty creepy, and there were even kids too. It was fairly cheap, only about twenty dollars, and it looked like a ton of fun. If they continue to do this next year, I’ll definitely do it.
There was also Quidditch going on. Anyone could sign up to learn and play, and this was sponsored by Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter shop in L.A., and was right across the way from my good friends, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army. The game is so much fun (of course, I’ve played!) and it was a good chance for anyone to try it out, especially since there are a few club teams here in Southern California and teams at various high schools and colleges.
The Bad (and there’s not a lot)
1. The Lines
I only attended on Sunday (I had a wedding to go to on Saturday) so this is only by word of mouth. Apparently the lines on Saturday to pick up your badges and get inside the convention were ridiculous. Think HOURS of waiting in line, outside, in horrible heat. The heat obviously isn’t controllable, just a huge inconvenience. The lines do really suck though. Waiting hours in line to get badges is a real letdown, especially when you could miss out on autograph sessions or panels that you really wanted to see. The good part of this though was that they definitely learned from it and getting in on Sunday was extremely quick. The line moved super quickly and my sister and I got into the convention really fast. Its only their second year and they are bound to have mishaps. The fact that they did notice it and tried to do something about it is awesome in my book.
2. Balance of Panels
One thing that wasn’t a HUGE deal but should be noted, when a convention is going on, the panels should be balanced on the different days. I mean, obviously the bigger panels are going to be on Saturday, with the big names and whatnot. It just makes sense. But the other days of a convention shouldn’t be neglected and I felt a little bit of that on Sunday. I felt like the bigger names were on Saturday and there weren’t a lot of BIG panels on Sunday. This wasn’t a huge deal, I’m definitely not crying over. Like I said, it’s a newer con and they have mistakes to make and lessons to learn and I’m sure that the panels will get better and better.
So all in all, it was a great panel. The price was great (have you seen how expensive San Diego Comic Con is?) and the atmosphere was familiar and welcome. There were awesome vendors there (check out Elizabeth Wu and Jeremy Rathbone for some amazing fan art) and some really great ideas, with the Quidditch matches and the zombie obstacle course. This is a convention that I feel like is only going to get better as the years go by and its definitely one I would go to again.
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