With the yearly growth of Comic-Con in San Diego every year, many fans have had to face not getting to go for many reasons. From the cost of a trip to San Diego and passes, to passes selling out quicker than ever before. Many fans are now content with the feeling that perhaps Comic-Con, for them, is done. Just when it looked like all hope was lost for Southern California geeks, in steps Comikaze Expo.
Comikaze Expo is one of the first large scale pop culture conventions to be held in Los Angeles. Before you comment, "Nuh uh! What about Long Beach Comic Con, you jerk!" That's in Long Beach, not Los Angeles. There are plenty more comic book conventions that are held around the southland that slap "Con" on their name and then charge you $25 and up to get in to ballroom. Comikaze Expo is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and tickets only cost $12.
You would think that for a first year convention that is only charging $12 to get in that there wouldn't be that much going on. If you think that about Comikaze Expo, you would be wrong. To prove that they are looking to be taken seriously, they have lined up partners that cover a wide area of pop culture.
First up you'll have comic God, Stan Lee on hand as a guest of honor. While Stan Lee loves self-promotion, and is a master of it, he doesn't choose just any show to get this heavily involved with. Stan even did some great video promotions for the convention that went viral. Regina Carpinelli of Comikaze Expo told me, "Stan Lee and everyone in the office at POW! Entertainment have been some of the most awesome people I've worked with in my life. When we went in to shoot the video, he was working and was able to bust out two commercials worth of footage in 10 minutes. He was so funny and so on point."
Along with Stan Lee, TV icon Cassandra Peterson has decided that it will be at Comikaze Expo that she will retire the character of Elvira. I asked Regina what it was like for them to chosen for this. She told me, "At the time that it happened, it was the crowning achievement of my life. It's such an honor for her to come in our first year, and she chose us to be her last show. We want to do special stuff for her. On Sunday, we're making that Elvira's day. We'll be giving her an award for her contribution to pop culture."
The Comikaze Expo gang wanted to bring in other areas of pop culture. They've really tossed a curve ball here, and it's worked. For anyone who was grew up in the 90's, you may have been fans of Nickleodeon's hit kids sketch show All That. Comikaze Expo will host the first All That reunion. As of this writing they have around 15 of the cast members that will take part in a huge reunion panel. This includes Kel Mitchell, Josh Server, Lori Beth Denberg, Alisa Reyes, Katrina Johnson, Angelique Bates, and Lisa Foiles just to name some of them.
You can also expect other special guests making appearances at Comikaze Expo including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, voice of The Joker), Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club), Clare Grant (Team Unicorn), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters).
Besides all of the cool and geeky things to do at Comikaze Expo, they're also trying to make it something big for the city of Los Angeles. This is being done by not only creating a huge annual event - and it will be an annual event according to Regina - but they are also making it affordable to attend. Not only for Expo guests, but for studios as well. According to Regina, "Going to San Diego, while it's just a couple of hours away, still costs them thousands and thousands of dollars. From transporting everything and everyone there, you have lots of expenses. Here we're just 10 miles away from almost every major studio. So they're saving that money, plus they can push their November/December releases."
Comikaze Expo already has their first major studio picture participating with them in their first year. CBS Films will be doing heavy promotion for their upcoming horror movie The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. While doing interviews in New York for the picture, Daniel shot a promotion inviting people to check it out.
CBS Films will be doing a special promotion for The Woman in Black, including a special screening of the trailer and major giveaways at the Expo. When I pressed a little bit more, Regina did tease me with something. "All I can say is that something special is going to happen. Maybe he's going to show up. Maybe he's not. Regardless, there is a special message from Daniel happening on Saturday. CBS Films, and Daniel, have been fantastic. He's real busy, so we were honored that he took the time to shoot the promo."
She also made a case for the tourists coming to Los Angeles that are hoping to see celebrities. "For $12 dollars, not only can they see them, but they can even have the opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with their icons."
It was made clear to me that the entire team at Comikaze Expo are proud geeks, and this convention was made for the fellow geek. When I asked about the future participation of film studios, Regina made it clear to me that they won't ever have a movie there that does not have to do with pop, or geek culture. "We want to work with the studios, but it has to fit our demographic. You will never see the cast of GLEE at Comikaze Expo. Ever. And if that ever happens, you can bring this interview back up. Action, adventure, animation, sci-fi fits with us. Romantic comedies do not fit with us."
I asked Regina what this weekend meant for her and she told me,"This is for Los Angeles. This is for the nerds. This is for the people who couldn't get in to Comic-Con. This is for the people that felt they got gypped paying a lot of money for other shows. This is all for you."
I could go on and on telling you more about what to expect this weekend, but by now you already know that you should go and get your tickets asap. Online ticket sales will remain open through Thursday, then it's at the door only. While they did hold a block of tickets that would be sold at the door, it's still a good idea to buy them early because it's looking more and more like they will probably sell out. Head to www.comikazeexpo.com to buy your tickets now. Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and older. Children under 12 are free.
What say you?