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Convention Coverage: Stan Lee’s COMIKAZE 2014!

By: Von Jared Omo
Pictures by: Ron Estevez

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WHOO! This weekend was a blast up in LA for Stan Lee’s COMIKAZE 2014! The convention is ever growing and this year was no exception to the increase of attendants this past weekend. Let me break it down for you on how it went for me and my experience this year!

COSPLAY
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The cosplay at this year’s Comikaze up the ante a bit and it seemed like everyone who cosplayed brought their A game like they did last year. However, this year showcased more dynamic and complex cosplays from comic books, such as one person sporting Groot that was to scale from the movie/comics (at least, I think it was seeing that the pieces of the cosplay had to be carried by other people), and cosplays NOT from comic books, like Slenderman (which the cosplay required stilts to actually make him a to scale Slenderman). Cosplays influenced by the manga/anime industry were present as well, although, I did not see much Attack on Titan as much as I did last year. But, it does make sense seeing that this convention was more about comic books despite Crunchyroll being present with their booth and live streaming. Nonetheless, the cosplay never ceases to amaze me and did not disappoint!

SPACING

Don’t let the pictures fool you! You may be thinking to yourself “Hmm…it doesn’t look as crowded as Comic-Con/Anime Expo, therefore, it must not be that fun.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It was packed! But, there was still space for people to get around and breathe and (do I dare say it? Hell, I’m going to say it) you can actually WALK AT A DECENT PACE around the hall compared to walking like a zombie at San Diego Comic-Con (there, I said it! Hate me if you will, but you cannot deny it! Walking the exhibit hall at SDCC is a pain in the ass!). One of the best parts about Comikaze is the Hot Topic stage located center and rear of the the exhibit hall with the black carpet (yes, BLACK CARPET) leading from the entrance of the exhibit hall towards the stage. The two big screens on each side of the stage made it easy for the attendees to see what panel was going on and which actors/actresses were on stage during the panel. This is what makes Comikaze so unique and so easy to navigate through and makes the experience all the more refreshing compared to other conventions.

Not to mention they have an old school arcade located at one end of the exhibit hall

GUESTS/EVENTS

I enjoyed the guests they had this year! Including the original Black and Blue Ranger and James Hong! Not to mention the Mad TV Cast Reunion and the celebration of Stan Lee’s birthday which all took place on the Hot Topic Stage! It was awesome seeing the guests at their tables signing autographs as well as the panels taking place throughout the day. It felt like I couldn’t miss a thing. To be honest, you could spend the whole day in the exhibit hall and enjoy both panels and the exhibit hall without having to sacrifice time and energy waiting in line (unless there’s a specific panel you’re looking forward to that requires it’s own room). This Comikaze was truly one to remember and I am certainly looking forward to next year’s Comikaze!

[Comikaze is held every year during the last weekend of October/first weekend of November at the Los Angeles Convention Center. ]

For more pics and coverage of Comikaze, visit Ron Estevez’s Flickr page right here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rone/sets/72157646813858243/

Panda_Destroy Convention Wrap-Up: COMIKAZE 2013!

Written by: Von Jared Omo
Photos by: Clyde Grapa

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WHOO! Sorry for the late update, guys. To sum up this weekend’s Comikaze 2013 in one word would be most difficult, but I’m going to try anyway. Ready? Here we go. This year’s Comikaze was EPIC! And fun, too! HA! Told you it would be too hard to sum it up with a single word. Nonetheless, it was a sight to see all the actors and attendees enjoying themselves while walking through the exhibit hall without any SERIOUS TRAFFIC. Yes, I said it. You could’ve actually WALKED through the exhibit hall comfortably, which is an awesome thing compared to other big comic book conventions out there. So, what did we enjoy about Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2013? Let me tell ya!

Comikaze has come a long way. It started out in the lower parking garage of the LA Convention Center and moved it’s way on up to the main exhibit hall. This year, the convention had an increase in vendors, exhibitors, and artists. The atmosphere wasn’t as overwhelming as with other big comic conventions either. Despite the increase of booths and attendees, there was still enough walking room on the show floor for people to comfortably get where they needed to be with easy access to aisles which increased the ease of navigation. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Why is he telling me this? Why do I need to know this?” You need to know this because this was one of the main reasons I enjoyed Comikaze. No walking in crowded aisles and moving inch by inch in a crowd that would bring about the feeling of claustrophobia. Comikaze brought about a memorable experience that I enjoyed without the hectic crowds, and because of this, I will surely return next year!

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The exhibitors and vendors were more than I expected this year and the con had a wide variety of items to purchase aside from the usual video game/anime/comic book clothing and accessories, such as those made of hemp material (as pictured above with the Harley Quinn bag and hoodie from the GeekyU which was made with hemp). Comikaze also had big name exhibitors and vendors, such as I Love Boobies, NEFF, and Hot Topic, which came as a surprise to me (maybe not Hot Topic, but the other 2…YES) with Hot Topic selling a few Comikaze exclusives, such as the Peter Parker POP! Figure that I, myself, got my hands on (as seen below).

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As for the guest list? LEGENDARY. What set Comikaze apart from the other conventions was that there was a Hot Topic Main Stage placed at the back of the exhibit hall. Now, I know what you’re thinking…FIRE HAZARD! Well, nothing to worry about, children. It was located near the fire exits (and 2 gigantic garage doors, might I add) to provide safety. The Hot Topic main stage was an addition I thought brought the most out of Comikaze. The main panels took place on this stage, which eliminated the need to stand in line for hours or even attend a panel you have no interest in just to attend the panel you wanted right after. This addition of the main stage made it so that everyone in the exhibit hall could see and hear what the panels were about even without having to stand in front of the stage (1 large screen placed in the middle for all to see. You can see the picture of the stage above).

So, there you have it. A quick wrap-up of Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2013! Check out more of our pictures on our Flickr and Instagram if you haven’t done so already! The links will be placed below. See you guys at the next comic convention….which is LONG BEACH HORROR AND COMIC CONVENTION on NOVEMBER 23 AND 24!

To view more photos and see our experience at Comikaze as well as future conventions, catch us on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_destroy/ and follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/panda_destroy! Thanks, guys!