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Shock and Awesome in LA: The Comikaze Expo Strikes Back

By Shawn Marshall| August 21, 2012 | Comments Off on Shock and Awesome in LA: The Comikaze Expo Strikes Back

Last year Comikaze Expo took Los Angeles by storm with one of the best freshman cons on record. With a party-like atmosphere that lasted the entirety of the 2011 show, Team Comikaze gave LA “the show it deserved” and the community reciprocated the love with an off-season that has been filled with excitement, hype and anticipation for the 2012 show. With a number of changes for this year’s show (including teaming with Stan Lee and Elvira), expectations have never been higher for such a young convention. Leading up to this year’s Comikaze Expo (September 15th-16th), I’ll be covering all parts of the show and I kick it off here by catching up with the face of Comikaze Expo, Regina Carpinelli. Last year Ms. Carpinelli was very kind to keep me and our readers constantly in the loop with all of the news that broke and she has already equaled that by giving us an interview despite the business of her current schedule. So, let’s look at what’s new at Comikaze HQ:

1. First off, it is so exciting to see how Comikaze has continued to evolve leading up to this sophomore year. Before we get to some of the changes for this year, I wanted to reflect back on last year. Having had a great time at the show myself, I left Sunday night wondering how the Comikaze team felt about the weekend. So, what was it like that Sunday night as you left the convention center? What were some highs and lows that stood out about your freshman show?

“It was an amazing feeling. The 2011 show was literally put on by three people. We were completely understaffed and extremely tired by Sunday night. I think I cried for two days straight. Not from being sad, but from exhaustion alone. The only thing we had energy for was Roscos Chicken and Waffles. But in all honesty, it was the greatest feeling of accomplishment. Seeing all of the happy fans made every all-nighter and 16-hour work day worth it.”

2. Now that we’ve reflected back a little, it only makes sense to get to the big changes. So, what was the process like to decide to bring Stan Lee and his team so prominently into the organization? Was this a no-brainer decision for the Comikaze team or was it something approached with some trepidation?

“That was all Stan’s idea. And don’t forget Elvira is also a partner. Anyone who would think twice to become business partners with either of those two has some major problems. Stan is amazing — He is a legend. I want Comikaze to be an addition to his great legacy. It is so fun doing the creative on the show with both of them. POW! Entertainment and Elvira INC have all become like family to us. That’s how we work, we make relationships. It’s not just Stan or Elvira; it’s all of their people. We love all of them and learn a lot from each other. It’s like having a company with the smartest people in the world working together. It’s magic.”

3. With the success of last year’s event, I’m wondering how it influenced your preparation for this year’s show. Do you feel any pressure, because of last year? How do you feel about this year’s show relative to your feelings this time last year?

“Oh, of course. But from day one we always wanted to one-up ourselves. I am so competitive, and I mainly compete with myself. I want everyone happy. I thrive under pressure. I have lined up some pretty amazing things this year, and Stan Lee’s Comikaze will be unlike any other convention. We are an experience. Last year I had no idea what to expect, and now I do. We partnered with Advanstar, the largest trade show company in the world. They are teaching us so much and are a huge help. This show is going to blow your mind!”

4. Having attended nearly every minute of last year’s show, I know there is a lot to be excited about this September. That being said, what message can you pass onto our readers that have not yet attended your show? What makes Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo unique and awesome?

“I love that you were there the whole time. Thank you! For anyone who has not yet attended, Stan Lee’s Comikaze is a whole new order of convention. It’s interactive, you will really begin to see that this year. But what really sets us apart is our pricing. We are affordable and still good. I really wish I could say this right now, but we are about to launch some big guns, stuff that no other show but San Diego would have, and we are still cheaper then any other show out there. We want people to actually HAVE money to spend. It is also my mission to bring the most interesting things to our show at all costs, just get ready. It’s going to be intense.”

5. The most common comment I hear about your show from last year is that it felt very much like a party. I totally agree to this point and am wondering if the team has discussed how to keep that family party feel to a show that is only going to get bigger each year. Is there a strategy in place to avoid the “this is just a business” mentality that many cons have these days?

“Even though we have partnered with this HUGE corporate company, they and Stan (and everyone else) expects us to keep that special flavor. Of course it’s going to be like a party – It’s who we are. Our show is family run, but some of the craziest party animals out there. We push the envelope of ridiculousness everyday. Everything we do is from a core team member, and we are all a bunch of wacky people who have twisted senses of humor. I never want our show to be boring. I want it to be FUN. I only work on fun stuff.”

6. It seemed that last year Comikaze shocked California with its success. Following the show I heard many in the local area talking about how surprised they were with the product you put out. My prediction coming into 2013 was that your show will take that to the next level and shock the country. Is this the type of talk you have inside? What goals do you have related to the national con scene?

“Well, in 2011, we broke every record in convention history. With the addition of Stan, Elvira and Advanstar to our family, we have our sites set more than nationally. We figure we want to keep our LA show and and grow it into something huge, amazing and affordable. But we want to take it internationally. We are already working on some shows in Asia. We are making some pretty big partnerships. Think of it this way: Our logo is based of the Adam West Batman Movie United Underworlds logo. It quotes: “Today Gotham city, tomorrow the world.” For us it’s the same. Today Los Angeles, tomorrow the world. Our goal will always be the same though: To put on a FUN interactive and affordable show!”

7. Lastly, is there anything else we haven’t covered here that you’d like passed on to our readers?

“I wish I could tell you some of my big news, but you’re going to have to wait like everyone else. However, here are some things I think every reader should know:

Stan Lee is the most amazing person in the world. He is the kindest man and is a legend.

Elvira is the most hilarious person I have ever met. Half of the time we are joking instead of working.

Adrianne Curry once saved mine and my brother’s lives, and it one of the most raddest chicks we know. We will literally kill for her.

R.H Stavis is the most brilliant writer ever.

Pay attention to all of these people. They all have good hearts and create amazing things.

Just stay tuned though. Our tag line is ‘Shock and Awesome’ for a reason! This show is for you, LA!”

So, are you excited? I am! The greatest sign of the health of a convention is a healthy Sunday afternoon. Although it was only its first show in 2011, Comikaze Expo kept the fun and energy going to the very last minute. I had planned to leave the show by 3 PM last year, but I just couldn’t because there was still so much fun to be had. This year I know better and I am planning to be at the con every minute of the show. I hope to see many readers at the show and make sure to follow me on Twitter (@The_Con_Fluence) for all the tips.

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