Comikazeon November 7, 2011 at 7:31 am
This weekend was the first annual Comikaze Expo in the Los Angeles Convention Center. More specifically the underground parking garage of the Los Angeles Convention Center. No lie, it was held in a giant underground concrete room with super high ceilings that would echo every sound in the room tenfold. More on that later.
Comikaze was billed as a Comic Book, Anime, Gaming, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Expo. In short, a standard Comic Book convention that evolved past it’s comic book roots and delved into a full blown out geek pop culture event. Something Los Angeles desperately needed.
But I felt like it was trying to hard to figure itself out; like a teenager who doesn’t know who he wants to be. The word Comic is written into the title so you would assume Comic Books would be a huge theme. Sadly, no. There were comics, but other than Stan Lee’s new title, Rome & Juliet, I didn’t see much in the way of Comic book related releases or publisher’s booths. Or maybe there was and I just didn’t notice them due to all the other stuff that was mixed and matched. That was the problem with Comikaze, it had a lot of many different thing, making it so that there wasn’t enough of any one thing.
There were plenty of celebrities signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. There was an artist alley. There were gaming tables (which where never more than 40% full). There were indie movies pimping out their new upcoming releases, (including my friend Kelly Rigg’s Light Master). And there was tons of other niche geek stores. But it was unorganized, and all over the place.
The layout was also a little weird. It sounds strange to say but the aisles felt too wide. At other conventions I could always see something from my peripheral vision. At Comikaze all I could really see was lots of black felt curtain. This gave it a warehouse feeling to the whole event. Very cold and uninviting.
The “rooms” for the panels where just separate sections of the main room, sealed off by pipes and black drapes. The panels were good, but hearing the entire convention in the background, especially the Burger King style announcers mumbling into the PA system, became annoying very quickly.
What did make Comikaze a success were the fans! Los Angeles is full of closet geeks, and this place allowed them the chance to come out in full costume glory! Without the fun costumes Comikaze would have been a bust.
I’m sure Comikaze will learn as it matures and finds more of a focus, or at the very least a running theme. I’m really excited Los Angeles is finally realizing we need a big Comic-Con style event in our city. Hopefully it will show the masses that geekdom is no longer an underground culture, and move us from out of the parking garage and into the main convention room.