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Published on November 24th, 2013 | by gareth


Stan Lee’s Comikaze

By Ace Marrero
Ace took a break from his acting and producing work to catch this expo for us.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Stan Lee’s Comikaze at the Los Angeles Convention center which ran from the 1st through the 3rd.
When I learned I would have the opportunity to attend this event, I was a mixed bag of chips, to say the least. The fan in me was excited to join in on the fun and visit Stan the man, as well as all of the other great guests, but anxiety quickly set in when I considered being potentially overwhelmed by the insanity of a Con.
You see, this would be only my 3rd time attending an event like this. Earlier this year, I was a guest panelist at the first ever SUBJECT 5 CON, which was a quaint setup, but a fun, well run convention. Before that, my only other experience was one that would create this sense of dread I had for attending Comikaze. Back in 2011, I was a guest panelist representing my film, MADISON COUNTY at the Long Beach Comic Con, and it scarred me a bit.
I had only ever heard wild stories about what goes on at these events, and living in Los Angeles for close to 7 years, you would have to live under a rock to not know when San Diego is in full swing for their massive, annual event.
I remember walking towards the building and feeling like I was in another world. Long Beach was in full swing, and I had never seen anything like it. No movie or TV show I have seen, has captured both the magic and madness I experienced when I stepped foot into the main hall that day.
Quick breathing was accompanied by brief panic as I thought, “This is the SMALL comic-con?! There is no way I could attend the big one!”

Thankfully, my experience this past weekend was a nice blend, and was something I could fully enjoy. Perhaps it helped to be there with a purpose, in covering this event and being protected behind a camera, snapping pictures.My shyness quickly faded after asking to take a picture of a Mario and Luigi duo, when I saw how excited they were to pose for me. I got the feeling that this would be the norm, why else dress up? Speaking of our favorite plumbers, they seemed to be in style this weekend along with BREAKING BAD’s meth king, Walter White aka Heisenberg. I decided to snap pictures of every Mario & Luigi pair I could, for a version of, “Who wore it better?” You guys can be the judge!

There were stations of old gaming systems and arcade machines that instantly excited my inner child beyond belief. A turn down the next aisle revealed cars from GHOSTBUSTERS and THE MUNSTERS. “This is AMAZING!”I admit, I was a bit numbed after realizing I was gaining my bearings in front of a table manned by Paris Themmen, better known as Mike Teevee of WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY fame! He went out of his way to say hello and ease my brief shell shock by saying, “Sometimes it takes people a while to make the connection.” Oh, I KNEW the connection, I was just mesmerized by the golden tickets sitting on his table. He then pointed me in the direction of the area where everyone else was doing their signing sessions, stating that he had asked to be moved onto the floor, so that he could better interact with everyone as opposed to being stuck behind the ropes. “Nice guy”, I thought.

I made my way around the floor, stopping constantly to take photos and contemplate a purchase of full leather battle gear. Why? Why NOT, I say!

Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and there was just a fun feeling overall in the hall.I wandered to the stage at one point without any plan, but apparently my timing was perfect– Stan Lee was about to be introduced. That hour or so, must have been appreciated by the vendors, because as the stage area quickly crowded one of our favorite comic book movie cameo artists, I’m sure the vendors thought, “POTTY BREAK!”

All in all, I wish I had more of a plan going in. Due to my spur of the moment visit, and lack of experience, I wasn’t completely sure what to attack, when, but I think it added to my experience. Since I wasn’t in costume, like so many others, I at least presented the spirit of a wandering nomad.
I think this experience has toughened me up, and I would lie if I said I didn’t want to attend another, soon…and in costume.

Personal highlights include a brief stop to the Fangoria stand, and seeing that they were selling old copies of their magazines, which included an issue MADISON COUNTY was in!I hope to return to Comikaze next year, and definitely would recommend a visit for anyone that needs their fix!

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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