A new documentary by Morgan Spurlock features Stan Lee and his annual trek to San Diego Comic-Con. But could Lee, best known for creations like Spider-Man and the X-Men, be looking to strike out on his own?
Lee may be 89, but that's not stopping him from joining forces with Regina Carpinelli to take over the Comikaze Expo (renaming it the Stan Lee Comikaze Expo) that is planning just its second show in September. And it will take place just a short drive away from San Diego's iconic convention -- in Los Angeles. And Carpinelli didn't waste time taking shots at the San Diego convention that attracted more than 130,000 people in 2010.
"If you can't get into that other show that happens in California because tickets are sold out, come check out Stan's show because he's going to be there," Carpinelli said, according to CNN.
But even Lee himself seems to have some issues with what happened to Comic-Con over the years, especially as it migrated from simply catering to comic book enthusiasts, to reaching out to television and films as well.
"They're not longer comic book convention," Lee said. "I think of them as pop art conventions, entertainment industry conventions, really. Because though they started with comic books, they now encompass movies, television, video games, digital entertainment. Everything in the field of entertainment is now represented in these so-called 'comic-cons.'"
Except that Comikaze is not ignoring television and movies, either. Lee himself says that his convention will "have the cream of the crop of people in movies, television and the comic book world."
But can Lee and Carpinelli actually mount true competition to the San Diego event? Carpinelli's first Comikaze attracted some 35,000 people, and impressed Lee enough to have him buy in as an owner for future shows. Also joining the ownership team is Cassandra Peterson, best known by her character of Elvira, according to the convention's website.
Lee said he wants a convention that is family friendly, where tickets are available (for a low price), and even where children can walk through the doors for free.
However, his real target may not be the San Diego convention. Instead, he might be looking for a way to complement that convention with a more low-key one, utilizing a concept that he said he would like to spread in similar conventions around the world.
That may be a tough task. Because of the economy, and what some say is the new accessibility of actors, writers and producers through social media like Facebook and Twitter, conventions are not the draw they once were. Many conventions have slimmed down, or even closed down, and it's only the rare style of conventions -- like the draw of San Diego Comic-Con -- that is one of the more rare big attractions.
But pulling in 35,000 people in a first attempt at a convention is not bad. And bringing in both Lee and Peterson certainly won't hurt.
It's not clear how the organizers at San Diego Comic-Con are taking the news. Neither Lee nor Peterson are on the current special guest list for this year's convention, but then again, there likely won't be a full list of special guests until June, possibly early July.
The guests of honor for Comikaze already announced include Lee, Peterson, artist Jhonen Vazquez, video game character creator Camilla d'Errico and popular west coast genre drag queen Peaches Christ.
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