LA Comic-Con Saturday Recap

Oscar Flores and Valeriee Menjivar

Los Angeles hosted Stan Lee’s Comikaze, otherwise known as LA Comic-Con, from Oct. 27 – 29.  Attendees on Saturday, Oct. 28 were treated to a variety of exhibitions and panels that highlighted modern pop-culture trends and honored the pantheon of icons and trends that preceded them.  


Once the doors opened at 10:00 a.m., crowds of cosplayers and general visitors flocked to the South Exhibition Hall to survey the booths set up inside.  Exhibitors at the floor displayed a range of artistic pieces from hand-drawn sketches to wooden engravings.  Artisans remained at their respective booths and offered to sign their art as a symbol of their gratitude.  


Besides art, specific booths were set up in the back of the hall for special signings by performers encompassing all genres of pop culture such as action (Chloe Bennet of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) and comedy (Paul Reubens of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure).  Some signings required payments between $5-15.  Professional cosplayers like Alicia Marie and Joanie Brosas were also given specialized areas to promote their photos and brand; they resided in a clustered area near the main stage.


Hot Topic and Marvel Studios – becoming staples in similar conventions – had a major presence on the show floor.  Hot Topic had an influx of the trademark POP! Funko collectables to sell to consumers with designer tees and smaller items rounding out their inventory.  Marvel Studios instituted two booths to promote their latest film, Thor: Ragnarok (released Nov. 3): a photobooth and a concept art section.


Fresh off of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, Andy Park, Visual Development Supervisor/Lead Concept Artist, discusses his approach to the visuals of the blockbusters while promoting his work at the Marvel Studios booth.


“Definitely looking at the source material so whenever we do any designs, we are forced to go back to the comic books because that’s the whole inspiration for all these movies.  We look at Steve Ditko, we still look at Jack Kirby,” Park said.  “Depending on the character we are designing, I’m going to look at, you know what I looked for Iron Man, I looked at Bob Layton and Mark Bright, so it’s definitely the comic book artists that are the initial inspiration.”


Vendors were not the only attraction at the convention as cosplayers were present at every turn.  Fans embodied their favorite fictional characters and trekked through the exhibit halls to showcase the details in their costumes.  In expressing her love for cosplay and comics, Ashley Lopez, veteran cosplayer, voices her favorite aspect of Comic-Con.


“It’s a way to kind of express your nerdiness,” Lopez stated.  “I just love coming because you are surrounded by so many people that all love the same thing; it’s something that’s not really seen very much in the mainstream media so when you can come here [Comic-Con] and everyone understands it, it’s like a giant nerd fest.”


The cosplay community gained further attention through the efforts of Cosmunity, a social networking site dedicated to the union of geek culture fans, and the Cosplay National Championship.  The competition was open to any cosplayer at the show floor.


Aubree Haulty, a participant in the contest, offers insight into the atmosphere of the competition.


“I think everyone is very positive,” Haulty said.  “It’s a very inspiring thing to see everyone’s work; like to see what other people do, all the creative ways people do things, like it’s just very inspiring and you make a lot of friends back here [backstage].”


Day two of LA Comic-Con capped off with a presentation by the Black Eyed Peas and a brief appearance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  The Black Eyed Peas presented their upcoming graphic novel, “Masters of the Sun”, in collaboration with Marvel.  Afterwards, “The Rock” took the stage to promote his upcoming blockbuster, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the sequel to the original 1995 film.  

Los Angeles Comic-Con was previously recognized as Comikaze Expo before it was rebranded as Stan Lee’s Comikaze in 2012.  The convention is held annually and attracts a variety of exhibitors and professionals.  This year’s convention featured panels covering trending shows such as iZombie and Twin Peaks while spotlighting games such as Overwatch.  For more information on LA Comic Con, visit their official website: