I’ve only been to one out-of-state convention before Comikaze, while it was also in California, it was a very small show. Even then I realized how much of an eye-opening experience it is to go to a convention out of state. The premise is the same – a comic book convention full of cosplayers, vendors, and nerds alike who are attending to have a good time. But the dynamic is much different.
Comikaze had all of the elements of an amazing convention; from celebrities, a massive vendors room, extensive artist alley, and impressive convention center, I was destined to have an unforgettable experience. Held October 30-November 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown LA, I was able to experience three days of full-throttle nerddom.
Immediately upon entering the convention center I was immersed in cosplay. In typical Friday fashion, I wore a more comfortable cosplay, saving my “bigger” ones for the more active days. At most Texas conventions I attend I see this as a common practice. However, California cosplayers consistently brought their best work every day.
Attending an out-of-state convention is initially pretty intimidating, even when with good company. I was fortunate to have some really good friends in tow, including cosplayers Krystle Starr and Teno Stark. Without them, I most surely would have felt overwhelmed. I prepared myself for the situation that I may not know anyone else at the convention. Although, in a sense this was kind of an exciting feeling. At most Texas conventions I have a large community of people I know and recognize, and as much as I love that feeling and security, it’s kind of fun to go into unfamiliar territory and start fresh.
In reality, there were a lot of people at the convention I knew! And many who recognized us! Suddenly I felt much more at home and that magical feeling I get when I immerse myself in the convention spirit filled my heart. As cheesy as it sounds, there really is a feeling that comes with soaking up the convention energy!
Saturday was very similar to conventions I’ve attended in Texas. It was by far the day with the highest attendance. However, crowds were managed extremely effectively. There were plenty of open areas for photos and lounging, and in the tight halls of the dealer’s room crowds the pace was consistent so aisles didn’t get jammed.
One of the coolest feelings was when I saw a cosplayer that I follow online. I didn’t realize I followed the progress of so many people from California; so getting the opportunity to meet them at a convention was beyond exciting.
A new member to the Jurassic Park Motorpool, a club of people who build and own Jurassic Park replica vehicles, I got to meet up with some of the California members. As a huge Jurassic Park nut my sixth sensewent off and I was able to find the crew pretty easily. Complete with full Asset Containment Unit costumes, the group of Motorpool members was easily some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I was officially inaugurated into the club.
The convention had a great flow, and despite the walk between halls being somewhat extensive, there was plenty of action happening everywhere I looked. There were two main halls, South Hall and West Hall. In South Hall there were movie replica cars, pieces from Phil Tippet’s studio, and an extensive set up of Cosplayers and prop builders.
The West Hall had the large vendors room, artist alley, and Stan Lee museum.
The vendor’s room had industries like Funimation and Hot Topic selling exclusive content, to vendors selling vintage action figures and themed apparel. With over 15 aisles of artist goodness, the artist alley was a bit overwhelming – but in the best way possible. I had the best time talking to artists and finding new ones to follow. Of course I had to get Jurassic World art and wound up with two really neat pieces.
The Stan Lee museum let me experience parts of Marvel I wasn’t as familiar with, and get a look at some of the most infamous pieces of Marvel Cinema. One of the most striking displays was the Avenger’s statuesetup. The Hulkbuster, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America stood larger than life and were striking to see up close. There were a lot of iconic comic book covers and pages on display as well as a lot of figures modeled after each character as well as their different outfits. Additionally, there was a display of all the different Iron Man suits.
I thoroughly enjoyed Stan Lee’s Comikaze. While it was a large convention, the layout of the exhibits allowed for easy flow and eliminated congested areas. There were many similarities to conventions I’ve attended in Texas; like thestandard setup of artist alley, vendor’s room, and celebrities, the typical fashion of a large after party the Saturday of the convention, and the warm welcome that comes with the cosplay community. I hope to attend more conventions out-of-state to further understand the community as a whole, and I can’t wait to go back to Comikaze!