Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2013 Review: Three Days of the Octopus

The third Comikaze was my second time attending. I skipped last year because the inaugural event was a tad disappointing, coming off more like a swap meet of vendors gathered together on a floor that was easy to cover in two hours. There were also some panels that were held on the floor behind curtains held up by PVC tubing. This year the convention, now known as Stan Lee’s Comikaze was a much more impressive affair as they took up more real estate at the L.A. Convention Center and offered more for attendees to do,

My first panel was “Learn How to Use a Lightsaber, Choreography and Do’s and Don’ts by the Saber Guild.” This was an odd affair all around. They take it very seriously, so serious it’s hard to take them serious, but they had way more people interested in participating then they could handle. Lines formed along the walls of the room and they ran out of waivers. Rather light on the lightsaber aspect, they instead run people through organized routines like a drill team.

Rather than using a large room, the Main Stage was set up in the back middle of the exhibit hall, which was a bit of a problem when someone popular appeared as it was hard to hear the participants when in the back of the crowd.

Similar to the previous panel, “Batgirl: Spoiled Live Stunt/Fight Event” had people running through a fight, but other than finding people who might be interested in doing stunt work, it was hard to figure out what the point was.

“Fins Up! Sharknado Touches Down on Comikaze” brought together the cast and crew of the Syfy Channel/social media phenomenon. I missed out when the movie took America by storm over the summer, but it had its fans in attendance. The panelists were excited over what the announced sequel had in store.

I tried to get into “The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary,” which claimed to have guests from the old and new series, but the line was enormous so I skipped it for some tried and true, old-school convention entertainment. I have seen Scott Shaw! and his “Oddball Comics: The Strange, Weird, Wacky Moments and Characters In Comics” slideshow panel and it always delivers laughs as he mocks the most outrageous covers the industry has put out over the years.

I spent most of Saturday exploring the exhibition hall as there were long lines for the panels and none I felt were waiting for. One end had a home video-game musuem filled with all sorts of device that I was familiar with over the year and the other end was the autograph alley where fans are surprisingly eager to give away their cash for ink scribbles. I don’t understand the hobby myself, but it’s big business as stars of popular genre shows like Michael Rooker, Edward James Olmos, and Elvira sit next to actors most wouldn’t know if they saw their names and pictures.

Art and licensced merchandise is much bigger business than when I started going to conventions in the ’80s when it was mostly books, comics, shirts, and posters. Now there’s quite a variety of material for people to collect.

Not sure what was going on with scheduling but Weird Al only got 15 of a scheduled 30 minutes on stage. The Powerpuff Girls Reunion was much better and fans were delighted to hear and see Tara Strong (Bubbles), Catherine Cavadini (Blossom), and E.G. Daily (Buttercup).

On Sunday, my first panel was the bizarre “Horror/Kung-Fu Theatre: The Art of Horror Hosting.” The main figure was Nightshadow, TV host/wrestler, who cliams to have been on the air since 1992, but I never heard of the guy or his show. He had a henchman named Torgo(?), who limped around, grunted, and spilled candy he tried to hand out. While the host talked to a low-budget action star, the highlight was the raffle that gave away money and horror-related junk. I didn’t win anything worth keeping.

Next up was a panel for a new online series called Star Trek: Renegades that has made some headway on Kickstarter. There were two actors in attendance but they didn’t have much information to offer besides a small bit of info about their characters. The project’s producers really dropped the ball because the audience was very curious.

I made my first jaunt to the screening room, which was quite a long walk, to see a bit of Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Was my first time and it provided a number of laughs, some intentional.

I tried to sit for the Giant Kaiju Monsters panel, but there was some issue with the mike and speakers so it was difficult to hear the panelists and they weren’t that far away. I was surprised this was an issue on Day 3 of the event.

I ended the day listening to Louie Anderson on the Main Stage. He seemed to be surprised how beloved his ’90s animated series is. He talked about needing to be convinced about doing the show and this occurred when his comedy special was animated.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2013 was a big improvement over its debut. I would have liked more compelling panels and the Main Stage placed somewhere else, but it was a very good time and will likely return next year.

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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