Wednesday, November 13, 2013

After The Dust Has Settled...Post Comikaze

I believe the dust has finally settled after attending Comikaze in Los Angeles November 1-3, 2013. Commute time and longer show hours than typical of comic cons made for three long days and then with writing up articles into the wee hours of the morning, I'll be honest, I couldn't wait for the opportunity to recoup lost sleep! 

Shot of the floor (sorry for window glare)
In its third year and anticipating 70,000 attendees, the organizers extended the event into three days this year and pushed it back from its earlier date last year of mid September. In addition, it seemed like the show hours were longer, usually opening at 9 AM and closing at 8 PM (6PM on Sunday). While it provided more time to browse, and hopefully buy, a number of regular exhibitors that I talked with, were none too happy with the long hours. Although it was nice to walk around Friday amongst a smaller crowd, I personally didn't feel the numbers warranted tacking on Friday, because Sunday morning was just as quiet, if one was trying to avoid the Saturday crowds. And the extended hours would have been nicer if there was still some early evening light to enjoy as the show closed for the evening. 

Although Comikaze is trying to become the next San Diego International Comic Con, it's not there yet. Parking was a common complaint, especially for exhibitors trying to transport their wares to the show floor. One remedy would be to only allow exhibitors to park at the convention center parking lot. There's quite a bit of parking around the center. I parked probably five blocks away and paid $5 for the day. One of the other bigger problems was the layout and associated program map. The floor, as you can see in the above shot has zero banners for orienting oneself to familiar floor landmarks. Yes, there are the aisle banners, but those are often lost when trying to see past the crowds (I'm short, I cannot see over all the taller people!). And, the map in the program was squeezed onto one page. I was forever squinting to try to make out the booth numbers on the page. Seriously? Spread that map over two pages! 

One of the exhibitors, Paul Roman Martinez, creator of The Adventures of the 19XX series, wrote his experience as a vendor at the event. Please don't be daunted by the length: it's thought provoking and well-written. 

That said, there is potential with Comikaze and I hope that the organizers will listen thoughtfully, learn from their mistakes, and keep making improvements.

As promised, here's a recap of the articles I wrote for Bleeding Cool covering several aspects of the con: 

Yep, I attended my first ever Geek Fashion Show at a comic con! And you know what? It was a lot of fun. If you like Star Trek inspired cocktail dresses, printed full skirts with various pop culture references  and/or pop culture-themed corsets, this would have been the show for you! 

Count 'em - four special exhibits populated the show floor! I especially enjoyed the walk down video game memory lane, complete with an old yellow variegated sofa and console television! And of course, several arcade cabinets! 

A wealth of knowledge is to be had by attending the various panels presented over the three day event. Self-publishing has become a viable option for individuals in the recent past and this panel helped reveal the pitfalls and provide some pearls of wisdom along the way. 

This was a really fun article because I have a fascination with the clothing and the Victorian era it embodies. I attended one of the many panels on Steampunk and then checked out Steampunk Alley out on the show floor afterwards. 

A fascinating, intellectual panel discussion about just about every facet of this enigmatic comic book heroine, from how to define her, what her background is, to who should play her in upcoming movies. An hour was just not long enough! 

No con is complete without the cosplayers. I know that they have a tendency to attract the attention of potential purchases from exhibitors (but hopefully not often), but their creativity boosts the morals at these events. They are having a fun time and it boosts their confidence -- like the song says "Strike a Pose!" 

My "loot" from Comikaze - there's some spy gold in there! 
Whew! I did manage to find some time to prowl the various exhibitors for some spy oriented comics and graphic novels. Top Cow's Think Tank was a recommendation while standing in line for the con to open up Sunday morning and a stop at the Boom! Studios booth provided me 2 Guns and Imagine. And waiting in line for the floor to open each day did afford me some down time to finally start into Danger Girl from IDW. Created by J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell, the deluxe trade paperback housed the original  series in all its colourful glory. Probably one of the closest stories to capture the excitement, danger, gadgets, and exotic locales that are the epitome of the James Bond movies, this is some fun (and good) stuff! And, it's a great place to start if you like spy and comics!