After unsuccessfully trying to go the past 2 years I was finally able to attend Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, now in it’s 3rd year of existence, this past Saturday and I have to say I had an awesome time. After hearing some of the horror stories that occurred last year I was bit nervous about attending but considering those in charge of the con had said they would work to rectify their errors I figured I should give it a shot and if I was sorely disappointed I just wouldn’t return the following year. Luckily that wasn’t the case as things ran rather smoothly and I only have 1 complaint that doesn’t really bring the convention down too much. I’m honestly not of a fan of the mainstage area being standing room only. I do like the idea of keeping it in the center of the con so that everyone can get a glimpse of all the bigger panels taking place but not as much as I like sitting down during a panel to give my feet some rest. I can see the pros and cons of each but hopefully for next year’s event perhaps we can find a healthy medium? If not I’ll just have to suck it up and stand. B
But enough about my qualms with the lack of chairs and let’s talk about the awesomeness of the con. There was a diverse array of panels catered to tastes of all attendees across the nerd spectrum. From panels discussing fashion & cartoons to those delving into the realm of social issues; I found it quite enticing knowing that in the same day I could geek out over a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles documentary and witness a discussion on the portrayal of women in pop culture. The exhibit hall was packed with vendors and awesome sights to check out. Although not as large as say San Diego Comic Con it was definitely a pretty big spread and apparently has grown since last year. A few of my friends likened last year’s set up to Frank & Sons in the City of Industry but what I saw this year was definitely not the case. So if the Con keeps on seeing the growth it has over the past 3 years next year’s set up should be even more impressive.
As for panels I was able to hit up a few so in no specific order here is a list of those that I attended and a few quick blurbs on them.
Pete and Pete Reunion Q&A: This might have been the panel I was most excited for so to have it be my first panel was pretty awesome. Some of the questions asked both by the moderator and the audience weren’t the best but Mike and Danny made every answer as funny as possible. The two have great chemistry together and did a great job of keeping me laughing the whole night. The story about Mike getting drunk with the crew might have been the highlight of the whole Q&A.
Talk Nerdy to Me: I thought this would be a slightly lighthearted approach to nerdy flirting with a couple of podcasters and I was completely wrong in the best way possible. It was a couple of podcasters(Awkward Conversations Podcast) getting hilariously raunchy with the audience and vice versa through a serious awkward questions about improbable dating situations. Apparently the amount of tentacles an alien has is a serious question to consider before sleeping with said alien.
Voice-Nado: A collection of voice actors recreating famous scenes from movies and literature as various characters in their respective acting repertoires? Yes please!
Weird Al Q&A: Kind of disappointing in that it started late and ended early. It was maybe about 10 minutes tops. However, it was a great 10 minutes moderated by Dani from Fangasm. I’m not sure why it was cut so short. Perhaps Al had something come up? I’m not really sure.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles On the Big Screen-World Premiere of the TMNT Documentary: Very misleading in my opini0n. It was the world premiere of the trailer for the documentary which I will say was the most beautiful 8 minutes of the day. However, I wish I would have known this going in. I still would have attended the panel I just would have had different expectations. Also, the producers for the upcoming TMNT film next year that were on the panel had to reassure us one too many times that the movie is in fact good. Got kind of annoying but I had a great time. Kevin was a sweetheart as always which is nice to know that even after almost 30 years in the industry he’s still just as nice as ever.
Michael Rooker: A fun Q&A featuring Michael Rooker. I think he might have had more than everyone there to see him and I mean that in the best way possible. He was pretty damn hilarious throughout the entire 30 minute panel. At the end of his Q&A he picked up an official Comikaze photographer and carried her off as he made his exit. He may or may not have broken her flash.
Gender in Pop Culture: Kristin Hackett of Syfy’s Fangasm moderated a panel featuring writer’s Alan Kistler, Bryan Q Miller, Sterling Gates, and voice actress(freaking Wonder Woman) Susan Eisenberg in a discussion of women’s portrayal in pop culture, focusing mainly on comics. I had followed a few of the panelists on twitter for awhile but up until now had never seen them on a panel, at least not in person. They all had great chemistry together and each were really well versed in the subject at hand, especially Alan. I would like to see a follow up to this panel next year and perhaps see some focus on the portrayal of women of color and trans women as those were two topics weren’t really discussed in the short time given. Panel was still incredible even in spite of a particular person who had the urge to say “yeah” a lot. Also, I got to meet Molly and Kristin of Fangasm after the panel. YAY!
Comikaze Cosplay Contest: Lot’s of amazing cosplays were featured. I unfortunately didn’t stay to see who won but my personal favorites were Maleficent, Mega Man, and a Majora’s Mask possessed Skull Kid.
Titmouse Animation: I had essentially no experience with Titmouse Animation and attended this panel at the behest of a fellow Racket writer. Thankfully she has good taste and it didn’t disappoint. I mean sure the panelists were basically just drunk most of the time cracking jokes but they did show the pilot for Disco Destroyer. Not to mention there was live comics being drawn throughout the entire hour. I have no complaints and the panel was a nice way to end my day at Comikaze.
For those of you looking for a new con to attend I say check this one out if you have the chance next year. The price isn’t half bad at $25 a day or $60 for the whole weekend. You’ll definitely get your monies worth, see cool stuff, and maybe make some new friends. Hopefully I’ll see some of you at next year’s Comikaze. Also, I apologize for using pictures taken from my cellphone, I don’t have a professional camera.