Comic Convention Report: COMIKAZE EXPO Review (Los Angeles, CA, (10/31-11/1/2014)
The fourth annual Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center has just passed and it continues to get bigger and smoother as the years move on. Held on the busy week of Halloween weekend on Oct. 31st through Nov. 1st, it is So. California's only third 3-day comic convention, just trailing the SDCC-backed Wonder Con in Anaheim as well as the ubiquitous San Diego Comic Con.
The big guests this year included the usual celeb names such as Stan Lee, Elvira, James Hong, a cast of Power Rangers, the Batman '66 actors, a myriad of cosplayers, as well as comic big shots as John Romita Jr., Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld and Jason Scott Campbell.
Clearing up previous admission issues, the ticket buying booths, press booths, general admission lines have been spread out and having the ability to pick up tickets the Thursday before the convention started helped previous crowd-line traffic to a minimum. Arriving just an hour before the start of the convention there were minimal lines at pick-up and the ability to wait in line at the main hall or the front doors helped alleviate crowd standing issues from the past.
Big banners hanging from the ceiling also helped direct traffic to specific aisles that attendees were looking for. The lines within the show were especially long for hot artists such as J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr., with 1-2 hour line waits not unexpected. Having their lines at the back of the convention center helped with not blocking aisle space for vendors, but when the lines started stretching longer and longer, having additional volunteers to keep crowds from veering off and getting unwieldy which happened at the Romita Saturday signing.
The comic publishers attending the show included Aspen Comics, Top Cow, Boom Studios and Nickelodeon. The Hot Topic booth had an adequate line for their exclusive items as well as a spin-the-wheel promotion where you can win fun items such as a Stan Lee Garbage Pail kid sticker card.
Guests writers and artists such as Peter David, Agnes Garbowska, Joe Jusko, Livio Ramiodelli, eBas, Joel Gomez, Joe Benitez and others kept the comic crowd event in check. Portions of the show floor had arcade games to play as well as set-ups and displays of comic art, movie/tv costumes and a main stage where guest were interviewed throughout the day.
Overall the Comikaze 2014 event was a big hit, with easy ticketing, wide floor space, actual comic guest and a fun crowd and atmosphere. Looking forward to an even bigger and star-studded 2015 event.