This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, which bills itself as the “first and largest pop culture convention in Los Angeles.” Not sure how they came up with those statistics, but whether or not they are the first or largest, we really enjoyed it. Since it’s hosted by Stan Lee, you’d think it’d be a comic-first convention, but it was definitely a pop culture smorgasbord with comics, video games, cosplay, anime, tv and film.
It’s a fairly large con, attracting over 50,000 attendees in 2013, and it felt like they had at least that many this year. The attendee profile was very diverse, attracting fans from every aforementioned pop culture genre. The best thing about the attendees, however, was that everyone was so friendly and welcoming, regardless of whether you cosplay or show up in civvies, side with Iron Man or Captain America, watch Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica. Everyone was united in their love for all things geek, and it made for a very welcoming and supportive atmosphere. This isn’t exclusive to Comikaze, in fact many cons feel this way (and is why we love attending them so much), but the organizers did a very good job of creating a safe and welcoming environment.
Cosplayers came out in full force, and we saw some amazing costumes, which we showed off in our Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2014 Cosplay Roundup.
Comikaze is formatted like many other large cons, with panels, a large expo hall full of vendors, a cosplay contest, celebrity signing and photo ops, exclusive merchandise and announcements, and really anything else related to geek culture. As this was our very first Comikaze, we wanted to experience everything – but ended up spending almost all of our time exploring the expo hall! With over 600 vendors, there was just too much to see. We spent a big chunk of our time visiting all the comic book dealers with our bibles to help us buy comic books, which was a great experience because there were so many dealers. It’s one of the better cons we’ve attended for back issue hunting. We took home almost three short boxes full of comics, which proved to be a bit difficult since we flew down to L.A. from San Francisco and had to figure out how to pack and transport them all safely. We learned a lot through that process, so we’ll save that for a how-to guide in the future!
The most unique part about Comikaze is that they had a main stage that was on the expo hall floor, and that’s where they brought out the big stars and industry celebrities. We saw Stan Lee himself, cast members from Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Firefly, Arrow, Doctor Who, Batman and many others. It was perfect becuase we didn’t have to commit to leaving the expo hall to see someone, and could just watch from the main floor, which was super convenient. I hope they keep this format, but it will be hard to execute if they double in size. The amount of people and foot traffic made it perfect, where it felt busy and full, but it wasn’t crowded, which leads to a lot of rudeness. If the con grows substantially in size, this is an area that will be affected negatively, which would be unfortunate because it’s the most unique aspect about the show.
All in all, Comikaze was a great con that we really enjoyed. It was just the right size – not too small, not too big, but it FELT big (about 3 times larger than Long Beach Comic Con, which we also reviewed). The production value was very high from the main stage set up to the celebrity guest lineup. It’s also a great con for all you comic book collectors out there (that’s us!). We’ll be back again next year!
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