Year One had a nice exhibition floor, a bit small for the cavernous space of the Los Angeles Convention Center and not much in terms of programming. Year Two saw a marked increase in floor usage with the inclusion of a zombie themed obstacle course and Quidditch matches (which is pretty dumb considering nobody is flying) as well as several media guests like Kevin Smith, Adam West, Todd McFarlane and the reunited cast of Salute Your Shorts. But getting in was a nightmare as tickets had been sold via every online discount of the day site which made for huge lines that stretched outside in to the surprisingly hot fall weather. This year, Comikaze took control of their own destiny and only sold tickets through their website and had an organized, Comic-Con like badge pick up system.
Something Comikaze does interestingly different is having a main stage in the exhibition hall where they trot out their big guests for the most popular panels. Stan Lee gave the crowd a warm welcome, Mattel discussed their future releases, the dudes from Pete & Pete reunited, on and on. It's a cool concept but also a little uncomfortable to stand for 20-30 minutes.
A nice encounter for the day was with artist Tomas Overbai where some custom movie inspired artwork caught my eye. Drawing inspiration from Star Wars, Blade Runner, They Live, Conan the Barbarian and The Seven Samurai, Overbai was able to quit his not so fun day job and sell his own wares full time. It's inspiring to hear and you feel good for buying local. And he was a nice guy so I was happy to hand him my money.
Conventions like Comikaze are always twofold, exhibitors and programing. The variety of vendors was solid, I mean an old lady was selling handmade wooden replicas of Halo swords. The concept of a convention for fans by fans is admirable but a lot of the programming relies on speakers who don't have much experience in the subject besides enjoying it then researching it. I guess I'm old fashioned when I'd rather hear from someone who is part of it, gets paid for it and lives it. And in the middle of a city like this, I'd think a show this size would be able to rustle up some additional talented people. Until then, Comikaze has put on another great show and I'm looking forward to next year to see what they have in store.