On September 15-16, 2012, Los Angeles was home to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, the joint venture between the successful Comikaze Expo from the previous year, and the legendary Marvel creator. Following an unexpected but successful show in 2011, I had a feeling that Stan’s involvement would only heighten publicity and draw more fans, and I was happy to see the massive crowds that surrounded the Convention Center on that Saturday morning.
I’m not sure how to attribute Comikaze’s success in a LA market that has seen repeated attempts at a comic convention in downtown met with constant failure, but co-founder Regina Carpinelli utilized social media to its fullest in spreading the word about the show. From Livingsocial deals to advertisements in the paper, to spreading the words in schools to attract kids and twitter, Carpinelli’s efforts were met with a record number crowds in their sophomore show.
The show itself was a lot bigger than its inaugural year. Moving from the underground parking lot to the main floor, the show was definitely more spacious. With artist alley scattered throughout the floor, plenty of space for vendors, along with a huge stage for Q and A’s from special guests and even a huge space towards the back for a zombie obstacle course, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo had something for everyone. With the amazing progress from year 1 to year 2, I can only see a bright future ahead for Comikaze. In time, I can see it perhaps becoming one of the premiere comic cons in the US. And now, here are some pics from this year’s show!
Welcome to Comikaze 2012!
The line for tickets went out the door!
More fans waiting to get in!
Welcome to Stan Lee’s Comikaze! Excelsior!
Gaming demonstrations set up for interested guests.
People playing quidditch (yeah, it’s a thing).
Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus greets a fan!
Todd McFarlane and Stan “The Man” Lee share a moment at Comikaze!
Wall-E hanging out with R2-D2s.
Fans waiting to run in the Zombie Obstacle Course.
Walking Dead and Venom artist Tony Moore hitting the drawing board at Comikaze.
Stan Lee’s personal memorabilia collection on display!
One of the biggest Magic Card tournaments I’ve ever seen.
JT Krul and Peter Steigerwald chatting at the Aspen booth.
And what good is a comic convention without some great cosplay? Here’s some of my favorites from the show.
The Bat family posing at Comikaze.
Batgirl feeling left out.
An adorable Supergirl having a super time at Comikaze.
A lovely and lethal Red Sonja.
Team Cobra wants you!
Nothing brings the family together like cosplay.
Thor Girl in a silly mood.
Harley and Robin also feeling playful.
Hawkgirl wants in on the fun.
Spidey shooting up some webs for guests.
One of the creepiest costumes seen at any comic convention I’ve ever seen.
Many at the 2012 Harvey Awards ceremony at Baltimore Comic-Con were touched by the speech Hero Initiative volunteer Kevin Brogan gave to introduce the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award on September 8, 2012. Some were moved to tears. We’ve been asked by many to share the speech, and with Kevin’s kind permission, it’s presented here:
As many of you know, Hero Initiative is dedicated to helping creators in need of financial assistance or dealing with medical issues. At the Harveys, we honor outstanding creators with two awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award. But if you can indulge me for a moment…
When I was young, I read a book titled A Day No Pigs Would Die. It was the story of a pig farmer and his 10-year-old son. It went on for 300 pages, but the title was an allusion to the father dying of a heart attack, and the day of his funeral. On that day, in this one-industry town, the slaughterhouse shut down, the packing district emptied out, and Cannery Row closed as seemingly everyone turned out for the father’s funeral. On that day, “No Pigs Would Die.” The boy learned the value of his father and what made him such a great man to his friends and peers.
I suspect that on August 12, when we heard the sad news of Joe Kubert’s passing, the pens and pencils were place silently down on the drawing boards. It became “A Day No Comic Books Were Created,” as we all reflected on the greatness of this artist and his legend.
I was truly looking forward to seeing him again this weekend. I will miss him.
May God bless his family. That’s my eulogy.
Jim McLauchlin reminds me that I am Irish, and I need to celebrate the life and not mourn the passing. So let’s get back to the awards.
I was working on my notes for the Giordano Humanitarian Award when I heard the sad news. I sent this introduction as condolence to Adam and Andy Kubert. I was asked to read it as I wrote.
I met Joe Kubert through the Hero Initiative back in our early days. He was very kind to this eager fan behind the booth.
It was such a treat for me to meet him. As a would-be artist, he is an inspiration to me. And the day he reviewed my art and told me that I had talent of telling a story validated my childhood passion. Through the years at conventions, I had the chance to work and speak with Joe often. And in 2007, I was honored to provide the introduction for Joe Kubert as he won the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award.
But today we honor him again for his humanitarian efforts.
For me, as a military man and sailor who has seen life throughout the world, Joe’s effort in telling the tale of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943 in his book Yossel, or the story of members of a special forces operation in Dong Xoia, Vietnam 1965, or the horror of genocide just a generation ago in Fax from Sarajevo all depict the compassion of a man and his commitment to the truth, using his medium to tell the tale the way only he can. What the reporters would not tell or news stations could not show, Joe captured in his art to let the world know the true reality of heroism.
I spoke with Mr. Kubert often of these books and my military experience. I am privileged to have conversed with him at such a personal level.
And tonight, Hero Initiative is honored to award Joe Kubert the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award, where Joe, through his true-to-life stories, is Changing Comics One Day at a Time.
Accepting on behalf of the Kubert Family, Paul Levitz…
JOHN ROMITA JR. AND JOE KUBERT ARE WINNERS OF 2012 HERO INITIATIVE AWARDS
Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian Awards given out at 2012 Harvey Awards ceremony
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 9, 2012) – The Hero Initiative, the charitable organization dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need, has honored two of comics’ most beloved personalities with its 2012 awards. John Romita Jr. is the recipient of Hero Initiative’s Lifetime Achievement Award, while Joe Kubert was named the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year.
Romita celebrates 35 years as an artist at Marvel Comics this year. His Marvel debut was in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #11 in 1977. His incredible body of work includes long and well-remembered runs on Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and more. Romita is also the co-creator of Kick-Ass, published by Marvel’s Icon imprint
Joe Kubert is the legendary artist known for his work on Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, and much more. He’s also the founder of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic art in Dover, N.J. Kubert passed away on August 12, 2012, but the three-person panel that determines the recipient of the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award had already chosen Kubert as the recipient of the year’s award.
Romita Jr. joins his father, John Romita, as recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The senior Romita won the award in its inaugural year of 2006. “I had a feeling when John was only 13 years old back in 1969 and suggested the ‘Prowler’ character in Spider-Man that he might follow me into comics and art,” said John Romita. “He’s carried on the family name with a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence in his craft. I’m proud as only a father can be of what he’s accomplished.”
Joe Kubert won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He is the first man to win both Hero awards. “My Dad was an unusually gifted man in many senses,” said Adam Kubert, Joe’s son and a fellow comic artist. “He has touched the lives of many people both directly and through his work. It’s an honor that he has received this award.”
Andy Kubert, another of Joe’s sons and yet another legacy as a fellow artist added, “For a man as talented as my father was, both in the arts and as a person, it is truly an honor for him to receive this award. It’s the first award given to him since his passing a short time ago. For myself, my family, and I’m sure for my father’s many fans, it’s impactful.”
The Awards are given out as part of the Harvey Awards ceremony at the Baltimore Comic-Con each year. Past winners of the awards are:
DICK GIORDANO HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD:
2011: Mike Gold
2010: Jerry Robinson, Tim Sale
HERO INITIATIVE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
2011: Stan Lee
2010: Walt Simonson
2009: Neal Adams
2008: Nick Cardy
2007: Joe Kubert
2006: George Pérez, John Romita
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.