Fans Fill LA Convention Center for Stan Lee's ComiKaze Expo
by Guest Blogger Tina LoSasso
September 15 & 16
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TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #3718 - Fans Fill LA Convention Center for Stan Lee's Comikaze
It happens at least once every year at SDCC. Some ignorant panelist, moderator, vendor or comic book 'fan' makes a disparaging remark about Stan Lee. I want to give them a Thing-size smack down. One, since when is it cool to bash someone who's not in the room? Two, Stan sounds just like my old NYC relatives so I take this personally. Three, where the heck do these haters think THEIR careers would be, if not for what Stan Lee has done for comics?!
Fortunately, all those jerks stayed home this weekend and the LA Convention Center was taken over by True Believers and some just plain folks who wanted to take a gander at Stan. They got their fill. They got Stan interviews, Stan Q&A's, Stan signings (at a price), Stan announcements, sneak peaks and a showing of "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (a great documentary for fans and non-fans alike).
With digital cameras flashing overhead, fans swarmed the main stage mosh pit for every Stan appearance. Frantic screams went up when Stan was spotted in the hallways...much to his amusement. Tiny squirming, crying fans were shushed with "Honey, it's Stan Lee -- he made Spider-Man." (Hey, I didn't correct them. You try explaining co-creation to a 4-year-old.)
After last year's inaugural Comikaze, the organizers brought Stan Lee in to lend his name, and it worked. Fans came by the tens of thousands. Hordes braved the 100 degree heat waiting outside to get in on Saturday. Many gave up when registration bogged down. To make up for the difficulties, the organizers honored unredeemed Saturday tickets on Sunday, and they even got Activision to kick in $10/ticket toward the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Course which seemed to boost participation.
What did we see besides Stan Lee?
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, unveiled cover art for her new comic book, curled up with fans for (paid) signings, and showcased her treasure trove of Elvira memorabilia for attendees. (We got a big kick out of the Elvira satin pillow cases!) Cassandra has retired her Elvira persona, but she still looks amazing and she clearly charmed the crowd.
We thoroughly enjoyed the parade of enthusiastic cosplayers throughout the weekend, but didn't appreciate waiting for the 55-minute late start of Saturday's Cosplay Contest on the main stage. The contestants were ALL fabulous, but, between you and me, those Steampunk X-Men were robbed!
Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery had fans roaring at the Boondock Saints panel which mysteriously time traveled from Sunday at the main stage to Saturday in the big meeting room. Fortunately, I'd headed upstairs to check out the panels and walked smack into the line so I didn't miss it. (Some fan boys I met Sunday morning were not so lucky.) Despite the scheduling snafu, the room was packed. The stars of the cult flicks shared crazy stories, answered even crazier questions (example: When Willem Dafoe dressed up like a woman, were you strangely arroused?), led the audience in a recitation of The Prayer from the movie, and tried out their Irish accents once more time.
The Nerd Dating Game, hosted by husband and wife team Destin Pfaff and Rachel Federoff of HBO's Millionnaire Matchmaker, was a great concept with poor execution. Destin and Rachel tried their best, but unfortunately, the contestants apparently never saw the original show or didn't understand the concept or the value of a well-placed double-entendre. Crude and graphic language took over, making the audience uncomfortable.
We caught a few serious panels. I enjoyed hearing Marv Wolfman (Blade, The New Teen Titans) and Zak Penn (The Avengers, Alphas), share their thoughts on writing for transmedia. Kyle Winters and Mike Andersen gave an education panel on Kickstarter. Unlike most con panels, this one was packed with concrete tips on exactly how to use the crowdfunding giant and why. (I took notes for my business authors!) The Womanthology panel was the first all-woman panel I've attended at any Con that didn't embarrass me as a woman. Smart woman making their way in business and art - no matter the obstacles - is always great to see.
The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Course seemed to pick up on Sunday. To be frank, it looked rather ho-hum from the outside. But, thanks to our press credentials, we got inside to observe - and that's where it got scary. I wasn't participating and my heart started racing when those undead came after me! The professional FX artists really did a great job on the zombies, some of whom really got into their roles. A few were way too quick for a zombie, but most were deliciously disgrusting and creepy. Overhead as "survivors' left the course, "How'd you do? "I got bit." "I want to do it again."
Over the weekend, we checked out every exhibit table for artists, writers, and publishers. This wasn't a DC-Marvel-type show, exhibitors were mostly small press, independents and self-published creators which gave fans, many of whom appeared to be at their first show, a chance to interact with creators.
Stan Lee's Comikaze appeared to be a success despite the registration challenges and numerous scheduling changes. Attendees were having a fun time and seemed to look forward to next year, (November 1st through 3rd of 2013).
- Tina Lo Sasso
Here's a few links that I believe our readers would be interested in regarding this same topic:
First, here is the link to the first special photo album that I have posted on my Facebook Fan Page: 2012 Stan Lee's ComiKaze Expo. I will have more photo albums on this con, this is the link to the 2nd album: 2012 Stan Lee's ComiKaze Expo - Sunday photos by Michael.
I will also be uploading videos from the panels to my YouTube Channel at Michael D Hamersky On Comics, in the days to come.
Oh, and you can see how others thought of this 2012 Expo by checking out the ComiKaze Expo Facebook Fan Page! Plus think about attending the 2013 ComiKaze Expo... During November 1st through 3rd!
NOTE FROM Michael D Hamersky On Comics: My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now at 3,718 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!
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