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.

IMG_20151101_123140173

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!

IMG_20151101_140852107_HDR (1)

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.

IMG_20151101_131412620

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.)

IMG_20151101_142347983

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: Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!

Last night, in lieu of an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC presented a special, Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop! in celebration of Marvel Comics’ 75th anniversary.  The cynic in me noted that the special was really a 30 minute infomercial for upcoming Marvel television shows and movies (with commercials for Disneyland, ABC television shows and other products associated with Marvel’s parent company Disney).  Still, I thought the special was pretty informative, especially for people unfamiliar with Marvel’s early years (as Timely Comics around World War II, and during the “superhero revival” of the 1960s).   I had a good laugh when (Poprockingculture contributor) Blue Striker mentioned that the young Stan Lee resembled Bill Everett’s 1940s version of the Sub-Mariner.

It was great to see some of the faces behind the names of people who worked on comics when I actively read them during the 1970s and 1980s, such as Denny O’Neil (DC’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow) and Steve Englehart (Doctor Strange and The Defenders).  I would have loved to see Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spiderman and Doctor Strange) in the special.  However, despite the fact that the interviewees mentioned Ditko’s name numerous times, the notoriously reclusive creator continued his 40-plus year “no interview” streak.

It was interesting (but not surprising) that the special skipped over recent Marvel movies not produced by Marvel Entertainment.  I found the special’s attitude towards these films rather dismissive and in the same light as earlier attempts at cartoons and television shows during the 1960s through the 1980s.  (Stan Lee did have something good to say about the 1970s TV series The Incredible Hulk, however.)  I guess that given the success of the non-Marvel Entertainment properties, including the Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire Spiderman series (produced by Sony Pictures), the X-Men series and the (less successful) Fantastic Four movies (both 20th Century Fox); one wonders what the special could say.

The special also highlighted the cultural changes that have influenced Marvel Comics, such as Vietnam War and the women’s rights and civil rights movements.  Of course, there was a mention of the Black Panther, ostensibly because of the 2015 movie starring Chadwick Boseman.  I would have liked more diversity in the interviewees who work for Marvel in the present day (because there wasn’t any years ago).  But that’s a topic for another post…

Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop! was a good diversion from:  1) waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding plot developments in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and 2) the tedious midterm election result coverage (although I did vote).

Lynne, a.k.a. Poprocker1