Thanks again to Shawn for this article!
Comikaze Expo: The Show that LA Deserves
By: Shawn Marshall (@The_Con_Fluence)
Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of coverage on the bid by Los Angeles to lure Comic-Con International’s (CCI) prized show to the City of Angels. While pop-culture fans of all types were busy placing bets whether CCI was coming or going from San Diego, Regina and Mario Carpinelli were spending their time planning a way to bring their childhood dreams to life. Southern California natives who live and breathe comics, gaming, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and anime, the Carpinelli siblings have been spending their time building “the show that LA deserves.” The final product of their work is eagerly anticipated for this fall, as Comikaze Expo will make its debut at the LA Convention Center, November 5th and 6th.
As surprising as it may be to those living outside of California, LA has been without a prominent comic-con of any sort for quite a long time. In a world where Kansas City, Phoenix, and Seattle all have excellent shows, it is mind-boggling that LA was left vacant. However, Comikaze plans to change all of that, when their unique brand of fun comes to town. The Comikaze website, http://comikazeexpo.com/ gives us an insight into the philosophical approach of the organization:
“Comikaze is unlike any other comic-related event in the US. Having spent much time researching both local and national conventions in the United States, the Comikaze Team crafted an event that will thrill and excite even the most casual comic fan. Comikaze is a multi-tiered extravaganza created by real comic fans with deep ties to the entertainment world. While Comikaze might have a classic convention vibe, it’s much more than that. The Comikaze Team did not want to make an event for industry people and hardcore fans only. Instead, they designed a more balanced event as an alternative to the standard fan convention, dedicated to the Los Angeles and geek community above all else.
Comikaze Expo is an integral part of the city of Los Angeles, something both residents and visitors can enjoy for years to come. Drawing inspiration from the city and the fans, Comikaze is an eclectic mix of LA and geek culture. Comikaze strives to create something unique for the city of Los Angeles. Between the Convention and Pre-events there will defiantly be something for everyone to enjoy.
Comikaze is also dedicated to giving back to the community. A percentage of all proceeds from the convention will go to various Los Angeles based charities. Such as- The Amazon Foundation a charity committed to acquiring and preserving large tracts of the Amazon rainforest in their natural state. Find out more about the Amazon Foundation. As well as Gamers United, a organization which brings games and comics to children in local hospitals. To learn more about the charities Comikaze Expo supports please view our charities page.”
In talking with Regina Carpinelli about the show, the enthusiasm to make this an epic event was obvious. She stated that the “show is 100% about creating a community event, with an emphasis on indie creators, as well as making something that is positive inspiring and affordable.” Furthermore, she highlighted their efforts to focus on community and discussed how all of the major players involved in putting the show on are LA natives that embrace the positive vibes of “geek culture.”
Personally, one of the things that excites me the most about Comikaze Expo is the focus on sincerity and customer service. While there is nothing like San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in sheer spectacle, it doesn’t have the heart of shows like Phoenix Comicon or Long Beach Comic-Con. While these smaller shows (and everything is smaller than SDCC) won’t attract the next Hollywood blockbuster to debut the film, they make up for it with heart. Being a veteran of more cons than I can count, I’ve come to appreciate heart over spectacle. Don’t get me wrong, the adrenaline rush of loading up WB bags (yes, the plural indicates multiple WB bags each day ?) full of freebies can’t be beat, but I’ve found just as much fun at a number of shows that didn’t offer a single piece of free swag. Since I first heard of Comikaze in January of this year, I’ve been impressed with their efforts to connect with the community. If you give them a follow on Twitter, you’ll see the way they reach out to the many parties that make up the LA geek scene. While Wizard won’t give a single detail related to their cancellation of their LA show, Comikaze is at Frank and Sons (an awesome collector show that’s open every Wednesday and Saturday, for those who have not yet been) giving away free tickets to their show for those who can beat them at a game of Magic.
In my experience with conventions, the passion, sincerity, and effort of the show organizers goes a long way into the product that is delivered to the attendees. This is why I have great faith that I’m going to love Comikaze Expo. With headliners like Stan Lee, Elvira, and rising comic star, Joshua Fialkov already announced and Regina’s promise that there are “some big announcements coming up, as well as some very big names who will be attending,” I couldn’t be more excited to see what happens at the first annual Comikaze Expo (yes, I said “annual” because I know this is just the first of many).