The UK's in the middle of a mini-heatwave this weekend, the sun has been blazing down here in North London all day, so it's a tribute to the lineup at the inaugural Kapow comic-con in that thousands of people want to spend their days off not in pub beers gardens or haviong barbeques, but rather indoors, in a big convention hall in Islington.
The living legend that is Mark Millar has an impressive contacts book - and is partly responsible for getting Kapow! off the ground - he's officially listed as the con's 'ambassador' - but massive kudos to sisters Lucy and Sarah Unwin, who set the whole thing up and have been incredibly helpful today. The theory was to bring a taste of the San Diego con experience over here to good old Blightly, where people like me have for years been yearning for an event just like this.
If Day 1 is anything to go by, Kapow is a great success, and long may it reign for years to come ("we wanted to make it affordable in the first year," Mark joked to me earlier - "next year we'll massively ramp up the prices"). It's been a flurry of activity here - the day kicked off with a fun gameshow style event in the Gallery Hall, hosted by TV and radio personality (and emerging comic book brain) Jonathan Ross, which featured a panel of comic book pros taking on some fanboys picked from the audience (actually one boy and one girl), whose team was captained by Stewart Lee. The pros were Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons and John Romita jr, who faced a volley of some of the most hardcore comic book questions I've ever heard. For example, does anyone know what white Kryptonite does to Superman? I didn't either, but now I do.
Most of the morning was taken up by purely comic panels and presentations - including one on how to break into Marvel comics (they have a big presence here this weekend), a heartwarming '200AD Mega-Star Panel' and a DC Superstars creators panel featuring Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely, Phil Cornell and Peter Milligan. But back in the main mezzanine there was a really good, eclectic mix of comic stalls, games demos, signings from the likes of Chris Weston, Jock, Steve Yeowell, David Lloyd, Bryan Hitch and Simon Furman. Really well organised, and was obvious everyone was having a great time.
But then it was on to the movie stuff, where my interests really lie. Several key summer comic book movie releases are represented here - with a few big exceptions (Cap? X-Men?). I've written seperate articles two of the biggest highlights of the day, the Green Lantern Panel, and the really brilliant Thor presentation (which featured the hammer-weilder himself, Chris Hemsworth, along with his pesky brother Loki).
There were one or two groans I heard from some attendees about the length of queues and some of the way that was managed - but I think that's pretty normal on the first day of a major event like this one. Here's what the inside of the main auditorium looked like just before one of the big panels started (they were pretty strict during presentations about no photos - and had their night vision goggles to catch any rule-breakers).
I'll be back with more from Kapow! tomorrow - another sunny day is planned if you're in London and planned on heading on down. Mr Millar has to be up bright and early for a panel he's on at 10:30am - last I saw of him, he was wandering down upper street in search of a curry...