Los Angeles, CA – The weekend of September 15th /16th brought out some of the hottest temperatures SoCal has experienced this year and it also brought over 50,000 cosplayers and comic fans to the L.A. Convention Center for the 2nd Annual Comikaze Expo. I’ve been making my own costumes since I was 9 years old and love cosplaying comic book characters the most so going to this year’s Comikaze expo was something I just had to do. After the massive success of last year’s inaugural event, Stan Lee’s company POW! Entertainment got involved and made this year’s event a real blowout! Attendees who went last year were amazed at how many more people came this year – there were portions of the Convention Center that resembled San Diego Comic Con with all the crowds throughout the day. When Stan Lee gets involved, you know it’s going to be big and thanks to his publicity machine, this year’s Comikaze Expo was a rousing success! Comikaze covered a little bit of everything – comics galore, video games, movies, TV shows, cartoons, steampunk stuff and to top it all off, there was a Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course for anyone daring enough to give it a try!
No convention is ever perfect and while there was a lot of great stuff happening in the L.A. Convention that weekend, there was also some not so great stuff:
The Pros of this year’s Comikaze Expo:
- Lots of cool celebrities – Sean Patrick Flanery was my personal favorite and there was a plethora of others including his fellow cast mates from “Boondock Saints,” Norman Reedus and David de la Rocco; Mark Hamill; Kevin Smith; Adam West and Julie Newmar; SyFy’s “Face Off” contestants from Seasons 2 and 3 including Jerry Macaluso and Tommy Pietch; Todd McFarlane; and of course, the great Stan Lee himself.
- A wide variety of panels – There were panels on costuming, movie and TV show reunions, how to break into the comic business, even a couple of “Dating Game” type panels. The crowd went wild for Mark Hamill at Saturday’s panel on the main stage when he did his Joker impersonation and he was clearly having a good time, too – his panel ran almost half an hour longer than scheduled much to the fans’ delight.
- Tons of people in great costumes – The lovely and ever talented duo of Kit Quinn and Tallest Silver hosted Comikaze’s 2nd Annual Costume Contest and the competition was fierce! While my Lady Chewie costume wasn’t what the judges were looking for, the crowd enjoyed my take on a Star Wars classic, I met some great fellow costumers during the contest and had a lot of fun. A variety of cash prizes and tickets were awarded to 1st through 3rd place winners in both the solo and group divisions – a good time was had by all!
The Cons of this year’s Comikaze Expo:
- The stifling heat – Last year’s event was in November – I think we all wish this year’s would’ve been pretty much any weekend other than the hottest weekend of the year. Thankfully, it will be held in November next year!
- The parking – L.A. parking is always crazy but thanks to a gymnastic event at the Staples Center and the Creative Arts portion of the Emmys at the Nokia Theater, parking was at a premium and many attendees had to park several blocks away; that combined with the heat was practically insufferable. There were no parking specials so it actually cost more to park in most lots than the price to actually enter the event.
- The lines to get tickets – There was some sort of snafu regarding pre-paid tickets versus buying on site and the line was wrapped around the building for a large portion of the day on Saturday. Combine that and the overpowering heat and you had a lot of angry attendees on hand. I know Comikaze wasn’t responsible for the weather and they were still fixing the bugs that come with a new con; thank Heavens things ran smoother on Sunday.
All in all, it was a pretty fun convention and I’m sure it will only get better in future years. If you’re in the SoCal area the next time Comikaze rolls around, check it out – there’s something for everyone!