10:00am PT by Aaron Couch
Stan Lee Reintroduces His L.A. Convention: New Name, Even Greater Ambitions
Stan Lee is putting Los Angeles on the map in a new way.
The legendary comic book creator is not only getting a citywide day named in his honor (Oct. 28), he is also rebranding his popular pop culture convention Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo and giving it a new name: Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con.
Comic book fans area rejoiced when Lee launched his convention in 2011, and for Lee, the name change makes sense when major cities from New York to San Diego have flagship conventions bearing their cities' names.
"I felt that a lot of people didn't know what Comikaze really meant or what it was. And I didn't think we should hide under a bushel," Lee tells Heat Vision of the con, which runs Oct. 28-30. "Los Angeles is, to me, the center of the world's entertainment. It has to have a Comic Con."
Lee's only regret about the new name? "I'd like to get the word 'Super' I there if I could," he jokes.
For decades, Lee was as synonymous with New York as Avengers Tower, so he never imagined he would become just as known for his life in Los Angeles, where he moved 35 years ago to establish an animation studio for Marvel.
"I just hoped we could make it work somehow," says Lee. "I hoped I could establish a good studio. I never thought it would end up with me doing comic book conventions. Life has been one surprise after another."
The latest of those surprises: Lee is getting a day named for him, with Councilmember Curren D. Price designating Oct. 28 Stan Lee Day to recognize massive contributions he's made to the city's entertainment scene. Oct. 28 is also special for another reason, as it's the first day of this year's newly renamed L.A. Comic Con, which takes place annually on Halloween weekend.
At 93, Lee is seemingly busier than ever — so much so that his partners on his growing list of projects admit it's a challenge to keep up. Lee currently serves as Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of POW! Entertainment alongside CEO and President Gill Champion. Recently, the multi-media company co-produced and previewed Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders at San Diego Comic-Con in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter (check out all the episodes here), and is currently in production of the second season of Lucky Man, the hit TV series that airs on Sky 1 in the UK.
"He is a life force. And he's an inspiration, so it's very easy to want to do more and want to do better, because of Stan," says Keith Tralins, CEO at Comikaze Entertainment Inc. (Lee, without missing a beat, interjects: "What he means is, I don't do good enough and he always wants to do better!")
Part of the draw of L.A. Comic Con is that it shines a spotlight on local talent in the city, with things like the Cosplay National Championship and Prop National Championship. And in honor of Halloween, it will continue the tradition of bringing in two tons of candy for trick or treaters — who go from booth to booth to get their bounty (as their parents or guardians check out the goods venders are selling). Children 12 and under are admitted free, and it's been a big way to draw attention to talented artisans, with Tralins pointing out that visitors don't skip any booths when candy is involved.
For Lee, he's determined to continue making L.A. Comic Con bigger every year — to be synonymous not only with TV, movies and comics, but also sports and music eventually.
"I want [people] to feel they've had an experience, because these conventions are a chance for the fans to be up close to the people they are fans of and to see the workings of the television shows — and even music and sports. It's going to encompass everything that people are entertained by," says Lee. "People love comics, movies and television more and more every year, so we intend to provide more and more every year."
Find the full lineup of Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con here.