The train has left the station folks. Comic conventions are not only here to stay, they’re taking over convention centers around the globe faster than Miley Cyrus can take off her clothes in public.
No longer relegated to hiding in the shadows, geeks and nerds have not only taken over the domain of science, but they’ve taken over the world of entertainment as well. The amount of conventions aren’t just crowing, but like clockwork, the crowd size continues to grow on an annual basis as well.
Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo is one of those ever ballooning events. Having already secured legendary status in the pop-culture world for bringing us iconic figures like Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine and Mary Jane (yes, gorgeous redheads don’t need superpowers to be iconic in my warped cranium), the 92-year-old with the glasses has thrown his hat into the ring of comic conventions.
Now in its fifth year, Stan’s creatively self-titled show has made a name for itself as the largest convention to grace the Los Angeles metropolitan area. (That all may change when WonderCon makes a side trip from Anaheim to the LA Convention Center in 2016.) As has been the case with every pop-culture I’ve attended on my west coast circuit over the years, the rate at which Comikaze has expanded would tingle anyone’s Spidey sense.
To provide some perspective, attendance has increased at a click of 10,000 per year from 2011 to 2014. I wouldn’t be surprised. It felt like that streak would carry over once again this year too, but unfortunately not for the better. In what might be one of the worst design layouts of any large convention I’ve been to thus far, the organizers of this year’s Comikaze thought it a novel idea to space the aisles so narrow that even the likes of Jack Skellington or Kate Moss would have a hard time squeezing down them.
Supposedly, according to an unverified source who I will only mention via initials (author and Podthingy host John Mulhall), Comikaze was overbooked and actually needed to setup up shop in an additional wing of the massive convention center. I never made it over that there since I spent most of my time physically wedged between artist alley tables. IN spite of that, the Outlaw still managed to have fun and pick up a nice (although not for my wallet) Ghostbusters limited edition artist print.
On the other hand, one of the not-so coincidentally enjoyable things about Comikaze has less to do about what it offers and more to do about it’s timing. That’s because the expo takes place on the last weekend of October, which is also in-and-around the home of Halloween (aka National Cosplay Day.) The date alone almost guarantees a higher percentage of attendees will dress up more than other similar pop-culture events. This was most noticeable in the child department, and booths were smart enough to put out candy for the little ones to warm up their trick-or-treat skills before the big night. (It also kept the Outlaw’s sugar and cholesterol levels up as I moseyed through the main hall.
Alas, with each passing convention I attend it honestly feels as though a bucket of water was dumped on the crowd from the same show a year prior. The convention crowds are quite literally multiplying at a profound rate. Fortunately for Stan Lee and the LA Convention Center, all the costumed attendees cleared the building before they were able to eat after midnight. Next year, let’s hope they make the aisles wide enough so more than just one Mogwai at a time can walk down them without getting trampled.
But enough of my petty and insignificant commentary, I now present what all three of my readers came here for…
THE OUTLAW’S COSPLAY GALLERY OF GOODNESS: