Comikaze Expo saw tremendous growth last year. Stan Lee buying the event had a lot to do with it.
The legendary comic book creator was unstoppable last year, appearing non-stop on panels, autograph signings, and on various stages throughout the event.
And it paid off.
The line for badge pick up snaked inside the huge lobby of the LA Convention Center and weaved out onto the sidewalks. Attendance grew by over 10,000 in a year. Organizers and volunteers seemed stymied in handling the demand.
It is the only wide encompassing pop culture convention in the Los Angeles area. Anime, comic book, film/TV, and cosplay fans flock to the event.
Reports are that 45000 attended the 2012 show, a third of what the mega San Diego Comic-Con caps out on. SDCC has been in existence for 43 years. Comikaze has amassed its loyalty in just two. Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira also is a partner along with Advanstar.
In 2011, the event took place in one hall of the building-Kentia Hall. That’s usually where the Cash-and-Carry or low-profile companies are stuck for major events. Panels were separated by cloth drapes such that actor Richard Hatch turned up the volume on his VCR to compete with those next door.
But in 2012, the South Hall as well as meeting rooms were utilized. A Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course as well as a Quidditch tournament were held.
This year will see more expansion. It will be spurred by Sci Fi Channel’s Fangasm which is a Big Brother/Apprentice type show where the contestants intern at Comikaze. The ultimate prize is the opportunity to work with Stan Lee.
The fun starts Friday November 1. Highlights include a panel commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who with promised special guests. The unlikely hit, Sharknado will also have a mainstage panel. Emmy award winner and Battlestar Galactica star Edward James Olmos will appear for a talk. And there’s a Triviapalooza competition.
Sure to be a highlight will be fan favorite Bruce Campbell. The Evil Dead and Burn Notice star will take the mainstage on Saturday. The day also will host the Comikaze Cosplay Contest with $5000 in prizes up for grabs.
Lion Forge Comics makes its debut at the event following its appearance at Comic-Con and Wondercon this year.
Highlights for Sundays include a Genre TV writers panel including those from The Walking Dead, Once Wonderland, Hannibal, and Alphas.
Some of the celebrities appearing are Dean Cain, Alyssa Milano, Ian Ziering, Jason Faunt, Adrian Paul, and Lou Ferrigno.
Lookout for several POP! exclusives including Funko’s Peter Parker and Stan Lee.
Mattel and Topps will attend Comikaze for the first time. Major publishers, studios, and companies have yet to exhibit significantly, but this foray by huge players could signal an opening of the floodgates.
Stan Lee’s Comikaze occurs November 1-3 at the LA Convention Center.