Author: Frida Gurewitz
Seeing a Deadpool walking around with a little girl dressed as Princess Sophia might seem strange on a normal day — but at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo it’s not an uncommon sight. The comic and pop culture convention ran Friday to Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Founded in 2011, Comikaze has grown to become the main Los Angeles comic convention. Though it is only in its fourth year and is considered a smaller convention in comparison to San Diego Comic-Con International and Dragoncon, it welcomed around 62,000 fans this year alone, along with 600 different artists and vendors. It also hosted the first ever Cosplay National Championship and Prop Making National Championship. Overall, it is a crazy, colorful convention, and one of the only locations where one can expect to be recruited to the Night’s Watch from “Game of Thrones” by a bearded man with a poster board sign and a fake sword.
The convention center, filled to the brim with a diverse group of people in costume, was split into two halls. The main hall held a majority of the bigger vendors along with Artist Alley, Dita Von Teese, Stan Lee and Elvira. There were comic book vendors, artists selling their original prints, original geeky themed clothes designers, adorable stuffed narwhals and many booths selling Pop! Funko bobblehead action figures. The smaller hall was occupied by local professional cosplayers selling prints from their photoshoots, local vendors and The Hot Topic Main stage where a geek fashion show was thrown and bigger panels were hosted. In the lobby in front of the smaller hall, photo shoots and interviews abounded.
The second hall, however, was a hidden gem among the attendees. Despite seeming practically empty in comparison to the main hall, the smaller venue did not lack activities. The location felt like a more quiet, intimate experience with the vendors and the people working there. There was a collection of nerdy cars including a Delorean and a Jurassic Park jeep, along with some lesser-known celebrities in the Autograph Alley.
Since its creation, the convention has grown bigger and started attracting more well-known names. This year, Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia, attended, as did internet phenomenon Grumpy Cat. Pictures posted online from the event even capture the two hanging out. William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols from “Star Trek” (The Original Series) showed up and were pictured at the Hollywood Sci-Fi museum’s booth’s recreation of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” bridge.
Though Comikaze is a relatively small convention, it appeals to a variety of interests and a range of people. It hosted the first ever “Bojack Horseman” panel titled “Blood, Sweaters, and Tears: Getting in deep with ‘Bojack Horseman.'” The panel featured Bojack’s creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, art director Lisa Hanawalt and supervising director Mike Hollingsworth, while Adam Conniver from “CollegeHumor” and TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything” hosted the panel. Other panels throughout the weekend ranged from “Marketing and Promoting your Indie Film and Web Series” to “Nerdlesque: Fandom comes in all shapes and sizes.”
Comikaze was a fun, small convention welcoming to all types. In fact, it might be the only place to see a little girl dressed as Loki eating a snack with Princess Aurora, or Freddy Kruger hanging out with Scarlett Witch.
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