The 2011 Comikaze Expo invaded the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend. Fans kept coming and coming and coming. Many of them were first time comic book convention attendees. Over the two-day period, the estimated crowd of 30,000 was not disappointed with the spectacle and quality of the show. In fact, the convention was so well received, many fans dressed up as their favorite villain or hero, which only added to the carnival like atmosphere.
First, celebrities were present (some I thought I would never meet face to face,) like Ernest Borgnine, Stan Lee, Elvira, Tippi Hedren, Vernon Wells, Mark Hamill, Richard Hatch, Kel Mitchell, Tony Todd, Alaina Huffman, Herbert Jefferson, Jr., Robert Trebor, Ben Browder, Butch Patrick, Claudia Wells, Angie Everhart, Angela Fong, Chase Masterson, Erika Eleniak, Robert Beltran, Jennifer Lien, Frank Stallone, Erin Gray, Sybil Danning, Tim Russ, Leslie Easterbrook, Gary Graham, Marion Ramsey, Morgan Fairchild, Erik Estrada, Donovan Scott, Virginia Hey, Robert Picardo, Tucker Smallwood, Edie McClurg, Richard Herd, Ed Gale, Catherine Hicks, Marina Sirtis, Garrett Wang, Carel Stuycken, Alex Hyde-White, Leslie Andrews, Dana Barron, Celeste Yarnell, Bobby Clark, James Duval, Noah Hathaway, and many, many more.
Second, many artists, writers, and creators were on hand to draw, sell prints and books, or just give advice and parlay with fans. Some of these industry people included: Angus Oblong, Mike Mayhew, Céline Chapus, Elizabeth Wu, Daniel and Dawna Davis, Carl Zimmer, Shawna Trpcic, Jane Espenson, J. C. Lee, Max Landis, Jhonen Vasquez, Kimberly Komatsu, Glenn Hetrick, Cat Staggs, Philip Tan, Eric Wallace, Amanda Deibert, Joe Benitez, Mike Johnson, D. J. Kirkbride, Tim Beedle, Josef Rubenstein, Chiodo Brothers, Chris Johnson, Michael Champion, Corey Smith, Tone Rodriguez, Tanner Goldbeck, Brandon M. Easton, Jamie Tyndal, The Winner Twins, Mike McKone, Joel Gomez, and this was just the tip of iceberg.
Next, panels are a main staple of any convention, and Comikaze had an abundance of these to excite fans and inform them on their favorite topics or to see film screenings. The panels tackled subjects like: Steampunk 101, Daniel Radcliffe’s “Woman in Black” screening, Monster Abduction is REAL, John Penney’s “Shadows” film, Fangirl Foods: Comic Books and Food, Comedy Troupes are the New Rock Stars, ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining… From the Woods to the Web, Geek Chic Daily Presents The Renaissance – Branding, Marketing, and PR in a Pop Culture World, Monsterverse Comics and Bela Lugosi, Jr. Slash Open “Flesh and Blood,” “Team Unicorn’s Super Happy Fun Panel,” Zombie Books The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, PRO ARTIST TIPS for deviantART 101, All That Reunion, The World of Batman, Uncool Japan: The Trials and Tribulations of Japanese Pop Culture with Alex Leavitt, Darkness Rising: New Voices in Horror, and from there the schedule went on and on. Basically, the events were set up to be wall to wall on Saturday and Sunday. So planning your schedule was a necessary evil, especially for a diehard comic book convention attendee.
Finally, due to the surprising popularity of the show, many vendors and exhibitors purchased tables and booths to showcase their wares. They offered everything from promoting their websites: NuketheFridge.com (yes, this is a cheap plug,) Frank and Son, The Realm Cast, and Bent-Con, to games, comic books, animation cels, photographs, jewelry, t-shirts, buttons, costume accessories, art books, animal hoods, and tattoos.
In conclusion, Comikaze had a raw and rough feel to it, which gave it a down to earth quality. I am not easily won over, but this show made me wish it had been a three-day event. Next year Comikaze Expo will have its second convention. Stay tuned to Nuke the Fridge for further updates. Kudos to the promoters and sponsors for making this show a winner!
Part of the Comikaze Expo Team
And if you can’t wait for the next Comikaze, then the Comikaze Expo team has declared Nuke the Fridge Con as the official after party on Saturday, December 10th. This is an event you don’t want to miss.