This year, the convention formerly known as Comikaze, gets a name change, and becomes the Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con, a Comikaze Expo Presented by POW! Entertainment. I love long titles for things. Despite the new name, this convention continues to be the one that seems to fly under the radar of most people. This is my fourth year going to this event, and it’s probably one of my favorites. It has the right amount of everything that I love, from celebrities, to panels, artists, and vendors. And it’s probably the biggest convention where there aren’t any reveals from the big studios or any exclusive videos or clips from upcoming movies. It’s just a place to go and enjoy being a fan. One sad change, was the absence of Cassandra Peterson. It looks like Elvira is no longer associated with the Halloween timed Comikaze/LA Comic Con. She will be missed.
A unique aspect of this convention, from others I’ve been to, is that they’ve combined the main stage with the show floor. The Hot Topic stage shares its space with the rest of the convention hall, so you can go shopping for that cool collectible or that signed comic book and just look up to see Stan Lee and Mike Colter having a chat up on stage or a cosplay competition. It’s a nice way to make sure that anyone who wants to see the main events can, if they don’t mind a little crowding.
Personally, I love panels at any convention and LA Comic Con continues to deliver a great variety of panels to sit in and enjoy. I’m always impressed with the variety, as they try to cater to every geek, not just the cosplayer or the comic book aficionado. This year, I went to mostly voice acting and podcast panels. Speaking of which, another plus on the side of LACC is the friendliness towards podcasts and allowing them to host said panels. They’re a variety of lesser known podcasts, but none of them are amateurs. Quite often they’re sponsored by someone, but it’s still cool to see the next generation of talk radio getting some lime light.
I’d be remiss not to mention some of the more notable panels, like the Darkwing Duck anniversary panel. Here, some of the surviving voice actors got to reminisce about their time working on the show and sharing stories of those voices who are no longer with us. There was even an impressive Darkwing Duck cosplay that had me thinking of my own ideas of dressing up as the Terror who Flaps in the Night. Voice acting panels got me excited in finding new ways to get my voice out there and I really enjoy hearing the stories from those in the industry.
The final panel of the night was one I love going to every time it’s available at this convention. LACC is the only con I know of that actually provides this opportunity to the single geek. It was, the Super Single Geeks Mixer. After four years of not participating, and having had no sleep throughout the week leading up to LACC, I decided to participate. I found myself in a situation where I was outgoing and trying to help people find connections, friendly or otherwise. I had, what I now call, a “Meet Up” moment, where I tried to take on a weird leadership role. This was made easier as one of the moderators of the panel didn’t show up, and the people looking to interact were left to play a game on their own and also fend for themselves.
It was an interesting experience as I encouraged people to exchange social media contacts, and to not leave the event without making one new friend. I hope I wasn’t forceful, but I was excited to help people. And for those who know me, my biggest accomplishment of the night, was that I actually made some new acquaintances and connections on my own. A rare situation that I’m relieved happened, as it proves to me that I may not be as socially inept as I think I am.
From my understanding, most conventions have after parties. I don’t really know much about those, as I’m normally told to avoid them because they’re lame. The Los Angeles Comic Con had an after party that I figured I’d at least take a look at. It was totally for journalistic reasons. Despite just standing around watching performers on stage and the people on the dance floor and listening to the DJ, I had a good time. There was impressive live music, some lovely dancing by the dancers on stage, and the people who attended were having such a great time, that you can’t help but feed off that energy. I was there for three hours just taking in all the sights, sounds, and music. The highlight of the evening had to be the guy who sang the original Pokemon theme song coming out on stage, getting the entire club to sing along, and then listening to the sound engineers behind me mutter, “Wow. That sucked.”
I won’t harp on about Sunday, but know that there were still quality panels and events to go to on the last day of the convention. The ones I went to were so good, it left me feeling positive about my own aspirations of making my dreams a reality. There were also plenty of photo opportunities and chances to admire the outstanding cosplay.
It’s difficult to grade a convention, despite me trying to do so all year long. It’s really the experiences you have when you go to a con that truly defines it’s quality. It’s getting to meet that actor you love, or finding that cool Ironman helmet you’ve been pining for, for ages, or connecting with your fellow con-goers in a panel or two, that shapes how great a convention is. And for me, Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con is one of the best conventions I’ve been to in 2016, and a great way to end the year long, convention season.