Pop Rocking Culture Goes to Comikaze 2015!

Blue Striker, Dad and I went to Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on November 1, 2015. For starters, this may be a landmark year for the five year old convention, because Stan Lee (who bought out the convention a couple of years ago) made an unofficial announcement on Friday that this may be the last Comikaze he attends. It would be strange not to see Stan Lee at Comikaze. However, he is in his nineties, and it is amazing that he maintains such a high profile.

We last attended Comikaze in 2012, and upon entering the Convention Center, it was obvious how much Comikaze has grown. For one, we had a hard time getting through the crowds in the vendor area. While this is generally a sign of success, it made things a bit overwhelming. Blue Striker also noted that it also made it difficult to determine who had stuff to give away. A suggestion to those responsible for the day-to-day logistics of the convention: Make sure attendees (including members of the press, like me) have easy access to the programs.

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There was a lot of neat cosplay at Comikaze. I noticed that there was a relatively small number of people dressed as “traditional” superheroes. That said, there continues to be a plethora of Harley Quinns, Jokers, Deadpools and Spiderhumans. There were also plenty of anime and video game characters (who Blue Striker had to point out to me), as well as TV and movie characters. For even a minor Doctor Who fan like me, it was neat to see people dressed up as Doctors Tom Baker, David Tennant and Matt Smith. There were more fezes there than at a Shriners convention!

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As Pop Rocking Culture is also about the pop culture experience for kids, I did notice a few kids who seemed overwhelmed by all of the action. I am sure many of them were tired, hungry and even bored as well. It would be great that on Sunday, which is supposedly the traditional “kids’ day” at cons, there were a few more things geared towards the young set. On the plus side, there was a pretty neat panel called “Pop Culture Parenting with the Geeklings and Parental Units”. I got the chance to find out like-minded moms and dads, who had a few great ideas for bringing up the next generation of pop culture mavens. There is actually a group called Geeklings and Parental Units, who host meetups in the Los Angeles area.

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There were plenty of Baby Boomer and Gen X icons such as Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig of Star Trek: The Original Series fame, as well as Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox from CHiPs. It was also neat to see kid star Kel Mitchell, the one half of the Kenan and Kel team from Nickelodeon whom we don’t see every week on Saturday Night Live. I pointed out to Blue Striker that this guy is the same one who played the goofy kid with the braids in Good Burger. (Note: I mentioned Mystery Men to Blue first, but then I realized that he’s never seen it. Another thing to add to his pop culture “to do” list.)

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All in all, we had a good time at Comikaze 2015. We hope that wpress credentials in 2016. Blue Striker says that he will definitely dress in costume the next time around. As for me, I might as well.

Pop Rocking Culture is going to Stan Lee’s Comikaze!

Great news! Pop Rocking Culture just got the OK to get press credentials for Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2015. This relatively new con will be at the Los Angeles Convention Center during Halloween weekend, Friday, October 30 – Sunday November 1. Blue Striker, and possibly Bill, will be accompanying the Pop Rocker. We’re looking forward to covering the convention.

Now it’s time to plan coverage. Guests of Honor include Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy — one of Bill’s favorites, as you know. There are quite a few guests that will appeal to us more “seasoned” fans. Walter Koenig, Ensign Chekov of Star Trek fame will be there. And I am especially excited about the fact that David Hedison, from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and of course, the original The Fly, is scheduled to attend.

Upon my announcing that PRC will have press credentials, a couple of friends noted that they will be attending. I am look forward to having some fun, learning something, and bringing information back to you, the readers. Any suggestions on what to cover would be appreciated.

Review: The Interview – Better Late Than Never, I Guess

Well, now that all of the hoopla over The Interview has died down, we here at Pop Rocking Culture recently watched the movie.  (An aside:  Yes, Blue Striker did watch the movie with Bill, Dad and me.  Blue will tell you, in his words, that this movie is “inappropriate for kids”. I had to cover Blue’s eyes about two times.  When asked for a reaction to the movie, Blue gave a mock vomiting sound — not exactly a thumbs up.)

The Interview is yet another in a string of “bromances” that get a lot of play at the movie theater.  It was obvious that one of the sources the film drew from was the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road” movies.  This movie could have been called The Road to Pyongyang.  In case you were wondering, James Franco is in the “goofball” Bob Hope role that spurs the plot of the film.  Seth Rogen has the “smart guy” Bing Crosby part, and even gets the girl (for a while).  Yes, I know that Rogen resembles the suave, witty crooner as much as he did Van Williams’ Britt Reid in The Green Hornet.  Read into that what you will.

I admit that I laughed a lot at James Franco’s Dave Skylark character.  His hair, wardrobe, political/social cluelessness and monumental ego were pretty funny.  Skylark’s relationship with Randall Park’s Kim Jong Un is the real romance, er, bromance here.  (I am sure that the gay subtext regarding Kim was one of the things that made the North Korean government unhappy.)  Park had the best role in the movie, as the unpredictable “Supreme Leader”.  Park, who currently plays the dad on Fresh Off the Boat, is definitely a Hollywood version of Kim Jong Un, right down to the perfect teeth.  At one point, I found myself wondering who Park’s orthodonist was. (Oh, come on, NO ONE has teeth that great naturally!)

Unfortunately, at the end, the movie stretches an already absurd story to the breaking point.  The movie becomes a rather bloody, bad (unintentional?) parody of an action movie.  I rolled my eyes at the shift in tone. I thought, all of sudden, these buffoons know how to fight/shoot guns/drive a tank successfully?

To wrap it up, The Interview, while it wasn’t as bad as I expected, wasn’t as good as it could have been.  It wasn’t worth risking the wrath of a country that is both unknown and unpredictable — whether or not North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack.*  I found myself wanting to watch Team America:  World Police again…later.  Because as “inappropriate” as The Interview is for kids, Team America is really inappropriate.  But it’s a much better movie!

*P.S.:  Suki Kim’s memoir about teaching the sons of the North Korean elite in North Korea, Without You, There Is No Us, is a great book.

Opinion: What We Want to See More of and Less of in 2015

We at Pop Rocking Culture have come up with a short list of what we want to see more of and less of in pop culture in the next year.  Some are very obvious, while some less so.  Here we go:

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WHAT WE WANT TO SEE MORE OF IN 2015:

1. Adventure shows like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

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As regular readers of this blog probably guessed, we are big fans of MAOS at Pop Rocking Culture.  Sure, you have Arrow and The Flash, but we want more!

2. Truly funny social media memes.  When it came to new memes, we wondered if anything would rise to the level of the famous Batman slapping Robin meme.  Some new memes were a bit confusing — what does Kermit the Frog drinking tea have to do with anything?  But Michael Jackson eating popcorn as he eagerly awaits comments?  Pres. Obama anticipating blame?  Those are funny!  Keep it coming, you people with nothing better to do!

3.  The Simpsons.  This created a bit of controversy here at Pop Rocking Culture — aren’t there 25 years worth of episodes to watch?  But Blue Striker wants this show to go on forever!  Hope you’re reading this, Fox and Matt Groening!

4. Wonder Woman.  Earlier this year, Pop Rocking Culture posted a couple of articles about the casting and directing of upcoming movies featuring Wonder Woman.  Add to that the bestselling book, Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, and you have a regular Amazing Amazon renaissance going on.  Coming in 2015:  Wonder Woman ’77, a digital comic book featuring the world of Wonder Woman as it was portrayed in the iconic 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter, and another Wonder Woman book, Noah Berlatsky’s explicitly titled Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948.

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WHAT WE WANT TO SEE LESS OF IN 2015:

Unfortunately, this list is much more obvious, because A LOT OF PEOPLE want to see less of:

1. Justin Bieber.

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Good Justin, Bad Justin.  How about No Justin?

2. Kim Kardashian.  This includes her body parts, as well as her entire extended family.

3. Will and Kate.  Another controversial selection by Blue Striker, because I love Will, Kate and the children (those here and yet to come).  But I can see where Blue is coming from — he’s an American boy who has absolutely no use for royalty.

4. Family Guy.  Okay, you had your revival.  The door is to your right.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  We want to hear from you!