While the indie comics world was swooning over Chris Ware in Bethesda last weekend, yet another assault was being made on tapping the LA comic-con market with Stan Lee’s Comikaze. It was by most accounts an enjoyable show in the nerdlebrity mold, with comics pressed up against Adam West and Elvira. Having Stan Lee running around didn’t hurt, of course.
Liz Ohanesian has a thorough report on the good and the bad:
What Comikaze has in its favor is that they immediately marketed the event as a pop culture convention. They’ve given themselves the freedom to experiment with different types of programming without alienating people, something that has been an issue for conventions that began their life in a smaller niche. But they haven’t had that long gestation period that so many cons have had before they got big. When I covered the inaugural event last year, I noted that the biggest problem was the amount of space available for the convention. This year, the issue was with the pre-sale line. Both of those instances could be linked to simply being unprepared for the volume of people who want to attend the convention. It’s something that Comikaze’s team will need to resolve to reach the next level.
Apparently there were some problems with the line for pre-sales, but organizers moved quickly to apologize. In any event, the idea of too many people showing up for a convention in downtown LA is a novel one—it’s been a very hard market to crack—and props to the organizers for putting together a show that taps into the current craze for comic-con.
There were also some more specific criticisms, including the common one that attendees spending a lot of money on nerdlebrity autographs leaves little to buy comics.
This piece also brings up another element that has caused some chatter on the con circuit: the dates for 2013’s Comikaze have been announced as November 1-3, which is the usual date for the Long Beach Comic Con. According to scuttlebutt, this was a deliberate positioning, and the Long Beach show is looking for different dates next year.
We’re not in the know about West Coast show runner rivalries, or why Comikaze moved its dates to a more direct competition with an existing show. It seems to be pretty hard to throw a comic-con that’s a total flop these days, and even with the endemic problems with the LA scene (parking, hotels, transportation, competition from sunlight) it would seem like there’s enough enthusiasm to go around, so the need for aggressive scheduling isn’t that apparent. It’s not like everyone’s fighting over the same penny on the floor.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.