Blog Archives

Convention Coverage: Stan Lee’s COMIKAZE 2014!

By: Von Jared Omo
Pictures by: Ron Estevez

AvengersComikaze

 

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
CylonComikaze

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 Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

By: Von Jared Omo

GwenStacy

I’m going to try to keep this review spoiler-free, but just in case I get ahead of myself, be on the lookout for these [SPOILERS AHEAD] warnings if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

For the record, I’ve seen the movie 3 times now,¬† once in IMAX 3D, and let me tell ya…IT WAS WORTH IT. I LOVED this movie. Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 will always will always have a spot in my heart as far as Spidey movies go, but I TRULY believe that Marc Webb did an awesome job with Amazing Spider-Man 2. I’ll break it down for you.

STORY
There’s a few plots in Webb’s Spidey universe, ranging from Peter’s Parents’ fate, Oscorp’s plans, and Peter’s life both as Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Webb does a good job with the pacing of the film, even though it sometimes seems rushed at times. We discover the fate of the Parkers and why they had to leave Peter with Aunt May and Uncle Ben that night they left. We also discover why the spider bite is only compatible with Peter and not with any of the human trials Oscorp performed behind closed doors (hence, why there are no Spider-MEN crawling around New York).

We also see Peter juggling life as Spider-Man and as a college student and being Gwen’s boyfriend. Keep in mind the promise he made (and then broke) to Gwen’s father and how Peter being Spider-Man would endanger those around him. Although we never see Peter attend college, let alone step inside the Daily Bugle to talk to JJ about his Spidey pictures, there are subtle hints to show his struggle, such as Aunt May going to school to be a nurse to help pay for Peter’s college expenses and JJ’s emails to Peter about Spider-Man.

CHARACTERS
The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter and Gwen is beyond compare to Tobey and Kirsten in Raimi’s trilogy. Raimi’s Spidey universe depicted MJ too much as a damsel in distress and by the 3rd movie, it had become predictable as to what she would portray besides a love interest. In Amazing Spider-Man 2, we see Gwen not as a damsel in distress primarily, but a strong love interest who helps Peter overcome his enemies through the use of her knowledge in science (“That’s why he’s #2”, as Gwen would say).

The enemies and their development could have been done better, particularly Harry’s take on the Goblin and the portrayal of Rhino. I think Dehaan’s take on Harry Osbourne was better than James Franco’s in a way that Dane played the menacing role more believably than Franco. To me, there wasn’t enough screen time of the Goblin and Rhino, which leads me to my next character: ELECTRO. Jamie Foxx did an EXCELLENT job playing both Max Dillon and the Electro. He was able to show how Max as an introvert affected his life at home and at work and how he is unnoticeable to everyone (especially on his birthday). As Electro, he unleashed all the anger and fury he felt as the isolated Max Dillon.

VISUALS
The scenes with Peter swinging through the city are worth the price of IMAX 3D. It’s not from his point of view as it was in the first Amazing Spider-Man, but seen from his chest as if he was wearing a GoPro. The fight scenes are SPECTACULAR. Definitely worth watching in IMAX 3D as well! From the choreography to the CGI effects, it will definitely leave you feeling satisfied. I don’t want to say too much about it, except that there’s no way to describe it other than telling you guys that you have to see it!

Now, I’m going to talk about a particular scene in the movie that took my breath away. One that was closely adapted from the comic book. You’ve been warned!

[SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ PAST THIS WARNING UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE OR YOU WANT TO KNOW SPOILERS!]

 

 

The way Webb depicted the death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man 2 couldn’t have been done better. The whole scene leading up to it with Peter struggling to keep a hold of her and fighting off Harry at the same time gave the scene more of a feeling of desperation…and you could feel it, too. Inside, you know what’s coming, but at the same time you’re thinking to yourself “C’mon, Peter. Don’t give up. DON’T LET HER GO!” And as she falls in slow motion, there’s no music. There’s no sound in this scene other than Gwen’s last breaths as she’s falling and the sound of Peter’s web shooting out like a hand begging to reach her in time. I was holding my breath the entire time Gwen was falling and sat at the edge of my seat with my heart beating as if it was going to jump out of my chest. This is how I felt when I read it in the comics. Only this time, it was more intense. This time I could hear Gwen’s body snap as her head hit the ground and see her lifeless body hanging on the web. What made the scene even more emotional was seeing Peter’s reaction as he held Gwen for the last time knowing that maybe…he could have saved her. Maybe.

 

 

[SPOILERS DONE!]

 

To me, this is the best Spider-Man movie done so far. There’s enough emotion, action, and story to continue on to the next Amazing Spider-Man movie. If you haven’t check out the movie yet, YOU NEED TO! You won’t be disappointed…unless you’re looking for a certain character to survive at the end. And that’s as spoiler-free as I can get! GET TO IT!

RATING: 9/10

LONG BEACH COMIC-CON IS COMING NOVEMBER 23 & 24!

By: Von Jared Omo

logo

My, my…how time seems to fly by, huh? With Stan Lee’s Comikaze now done, we can look forward to our next comic convention adventure, which is LONG BEACH COMIC-CON! It’s in its 5th anniversary show this year and it has definitely grown. I attended LBCC on it’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year and with each year, it seems that more exhibitors come and set up shop for the two days of epic convention status. It’s definitely smaller than your usual comic convention. If you attended Comikaze a few weeks ago and thought it was small, you can expect LBCC to be just a tad bit smaller…which is good because it only leaves more room for the convention to grow!

So, what can you expect this year at LBCC? Let’s start with the guest list, and I sure do hope you have some idea of who they are!
– BATT
– Ryan Benjamin
– Phil Bourassa
– Eric Calderone
– Carlos D’Anda
– Kevin Eastman
– Joel Gomez
– Lance Henriksen
– Thomas Jane
– Herb Jefferson Jr.
– Jessica LG
– David Mack
– Amy Nicoletto
– Rob Paulsen
– Vampy Bit Me

And that’s just to name a few! If you’re still interested in checking out the guest list, CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE FULL GUEST LIST! and as for the exhibitors, you can check them out by BY CLICKING HERE TO SEE THE LIST OF EXHIBITORS! Gee…I don’t know if I made that more blatantly obvious than I had to!

As for ticket pricing, it’s $25 for a Saturday pass, $20 for a Sunday pass, and $40 for a 2-day pass, which saves you $5. It’s not much, but you can probably use that $5 to buy an overpriced soda pop or 2 at the convention! They are also selling a few deluxe packages that range from $70 – $375 which give you a package filled with exclusive items only being given out at LBCC, however, you get what you pay for…meaning the more expensive the package, the better the exclusives, capiche? Some packages even include hanging out with Joe Rubinstein and attending an Inking Seminar. Pretty neato, huh? Anyway, if you want to get more details on ticket and exclusive package pricing, CLICK HERE FOR TICKET AND PACKAGING PRICING! Seriously, I am making this way too easy for you to get to that website and check out all the info you need to know. SO…what are you waiting for?! GET TO CLICKING AND BUY A TICKET ALREADY!

See you guys at Long Beach Comic-Con!

Panda_Destroy Convention Wrap-Up: COMIKAZE 2013!

Written by: Von Jared Omo
Photos by: Clyde Grapa

12686_10153420612090497_279675651_n

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!

photo

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).

photo

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!

COMIKAZE 2013 Full Programming Schedule Is Released!

By: Von Jared Omo

Are you guys still on the fence about attending COMIKAZE 2013? Geez…what more do you need?! Are you not entertained?! The full programming schedule for COMIKAZE 2013 is up for your viewing pleasure. And no, you don’t need to type it up in the search bar to visit the page. Just move that little mouse of yours to the link below and click! It’ll take you to the full programming schedule. I promise!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL COMIKAZE 2013 PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE!

Stan Lee Personally Invites You To COMIKAZE!

By: Von Jared Omo

As if the guest list wasn’t enough to tickle your spidey senses, here’s a video of Stan Lee inviting you to check out COMIKAZE November 1-3, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center!

Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo Guest List Gets An Update!

By: Von Jared Omo

Well, well…look at what we have here. Comikaze Expo seems to have increased their guest list and it is looking fantastic! Would you like to know which of these guests I’m looking forward to? Let me name a few for you, and feel free to click on the names to get a brief bio on that person! Cheers!

Bruce Campbell
Edward James Olmos
Alyssa Milano
Elvira
Marc Silvestri
John Romita Jr.
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Michael Rooker
Dean Cain
James Hong

AND I’m also excited for some reunion panels including¬† Mike Maronna and Danny Tamberelli of Pete & Pete and Tara Strong, EG Daily and Catherine Cavandini of the POWERPUFF GIRLS!

Of course, what kind of Comic Convention would it be without the man himself, Stan Lee!

Stan Lee’s Comikaze takes place November 1-3, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center! CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS! See you guys there!