By JenniferTan AKA Mrs Fett
Last year’s inaugural Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, was just that. An Expo Consisting of a small, intimate selection of vendors, few yet amazing cosplayers, and a handful of panels worth waiting for. This year, with the help of their newest sponsor Hot Topic (I KNOW RIGHT?!), they were able to boost the attendance, the marketing, and the media.
In 2012, I stayed in the Zombie Apocalypse Arena, and worked 90% of my weekend there as the Undead Unicorn, protecting children from the zombie hoards that awaited them inside, thanks to a last-minute, randomly requested exclusive design by Unicornatopia. This year, since I was only spending Saturday at the convention, I was determined to compensate for everything I had missed the year before.
The convention center was clean and illuminating, with fantastic artwork, posters, and banners celebrating the expo. This year, the expo featured some jaw dropping displays, including the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, the Munster Koach, Night Rider’s Kit, an entire museum of life-size character art pieces from Stan Lee’s genius works, and my favorite, the Arcade Museum. All free to play, all in working order, and like every convention, everyone is willing to share, play, and mingle.
Cosplayer’s were everywhere, in full force, and the quality was amazing. I saw a few regulars I run into at every con, and a few new faces and designs that were stunning. Of course with every event like this, there were the attendees that grabbed a 50% off costume at their local Halloween shop, and pranced around expecting you to take a knee. The award for best cosplay? T-rex. My heart sank the moment I saw him, and I knew what I had to do. I gave him hugs. All the hugs. It was a victory for the Unstoppable T-rexs everywhere!
There was no Zombie Apocalypse this year, instead they extended out the convention, and made more room for vendors, artists, and displays. The entire expo was small enough to walk an entire day, at your own leisure, with plenty of time to purchase everything you never knew you needed. And believe me, I did! Of course my first stop was to NewBreed Girl, where I reloaded on hoodies, unicorns, socks, and tees for the fall. Followed by Unicornatopia, who was doing very well and offered FACE PAINTING! and Zombie Tramp, one of my favorite graphic comics.
The rest of the vendors seemed almost closer to first timers than the attendees themselves. Some shops were spot-on with their merch, while others made you wonder if the cleaned out a year’s worth of swag bags from previous cons, and placed it in a booth to get rid of. There were a few steals, including one-of-a-kind prints, and art pieces, custom weaponry, and my favorite, con-exclusive apparel! Her Universe, Hot Topic, and Comikaze Expo all offered great pieces designed just for the con, at amazing prices.
Off in Narnia, aka the “Gaming Tournament Hall” which was super hidden in back corners of the convention center, hid the real heart of the Expo. The Star City Games Magic the Gathering Tournament. At $10,000 in cash prizes, and a chance to compete for a share of $50,000 in Vegas, the players in the massive convention room were far from amateur. Ranging from 10-50 years old, players from all over the country battled in a game of wits and mana. The attendance was well in the hundreds, and as I mingled and observed pro matches being live-streamed, I paid close attention to trades being made, strategies planned, and dreams crushed. Ok, the last one was a little mean, but it’s true. The Forever Alone Face, was real, and in abundance there.
Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo has grown in both attendance and participation from last year, and I do not see it stopping anytime soon. Over all, this has become one of my favorite annual events, but I fear it’s for reasons soon to be lost. Parking is available and only $15, Starbucks only takes about ten minutes to get through, and the food is amazing. I’m talking, REAL BACON, and pizzas weaved of cheesy dreams. Stan Lee, I tip my hat to you sir, you have started something amazing, and I have faith that you will not let us down.