Comikaze Expo took place at the L.A. Convention Center and brought together fans of comic book, movie, television and gaming from all over. There was plenty to see, and do, for everyone. Let's take a look at some of the highlights of the conventions first year.
Elvira - The pop culture icon Elvira, played for all these years by Cassandra Peterson, retired her character from convention appearances. The out pouring of admiration from droves of fans was great to see.
Nickelodeon's All That Reunion - As far as I know, there has never been something at a convention that would bring in fans of a 90's TV show. Perhaps it's because no one ever thought of it before. That changed when Comikaze Expo brought the cast of Nickelodeon's kid sketch show All That in for a reunion panel. Hearing the laughs from the audience - and wild applause - the reunion was a hit. This is a group that conventions should be looking at drawing in.
Kids Free and Low Ticket Cost - One of the things that really caught my attention was how many families I saw at Comikaze Expo. In talking to them, the thing that brought them there was the low price of admission. Plus, being able to bring their children in for free made it that much more appealing to bring the entire family. This helped expose a lot of kids to new things, and even made new fans from it as well. This also gave a lot of them another reason to dress in costume in October.
Cosplay - While there wasn't a ton of cosplay happening over the entire weekend, the day of the masquerade contest brought out some incredible costumes. That's not to say that there wasn't anyone in costume, but it wasn't as much as I've seen at other conventions. At least not on the first day. Though that could have been because of the rainy weather on this day.
Geek Girls - The geek girls were out in full force at Comikaze, and it was great to see. I'm not talking about just pretty girls cosplaying. I'm talking about panels dedicated to geek girls, geek girls running the convention, kicking ass in the gaming areas and showing off that they are proud of who they are.
These items are just a few of the highlights from the weekend. That's not to say that everything was perfect. With it being their first year, there were some mistakes made as well.
Panel Location - The convention was located in the lower level of the convention center, which is also used as a parking lot for some events. That meant that sound was bouncing off every surface located there. Of course you expect a convention to be noisy, but that doesn't help when the panels are located on the convention floor with only pipe and drapes used to block out anything else. Suffice to say, people could not hear a majority of the things that were being said during panels. Not only from just the ambient noise, but also over convention announcements. This was a low point for many convention attendees.
Registration - As any convention goer will tell you, sometimes the hardest thing is just getting your badge. While it was not as chaotic as the 3-4 hour process of picking up a badge at Comic-Con, some were just confused by the use of wrist bands. If they bought a two day pass were they supposed to pick up a new each day? Were there different colors for different days? Do I just keep this one on? My badge says V.I.P., what do I get with that? These were questions that not everyone was able to answer, so more clarification in 2012 will be a great help.
Aisles - With the layout of the convention it was a little difficult to tell when you were in an aisle or behind someones exhibit table.
Outside of these things Comikaze Expo really was a great experience. With all of the fun that people were having you wouldn't have known that it was pouring rain outside on the first day. It wasn't just a great weekend for the fans, it was a good weekend for the city of Los Angeles. Many of the people who attended have never attended a convention like this before. Some who I spoke with said that they would love to go to Comic-Con, but with it selling out every year and just the general cost of taking a weekend trip to San Diego makes it difficult. This new entry to the pop culture convention family is a welcome addition in Los Angeles.
You can bet that in 2012 Comikaze Expo will be even better and still worth a trip to L.A.
Huge thanks to the team at Comikaze Expo for having us out.
What say you.