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And finally, Adrian's Kapow Day 2 overview, including some comic book rumblings!

Published at: April 10, 2011, 5:12 p.m. CST

Starting a new convention, or any big event, is an incredibly hard thing to do. I've never done it, but I'm pretty sure I'm right about that. But I've just spoken to Mark Millar and he's a very happy man tonight. Kapow 1.0 has gone incredibly well, possibly much better than some expected, and everyone I've been speaking to has really only had positive things to say.

 

 
 
I spent nearly all of day two in the main auditorium, hearing about some of the big new movies Momentum has on the horizon, including The Woman in Black, Hobo with a Shotgun and The Troll Hunter. After that was the world premiere of the first episode of Spielberg's Falling Skies, which got a great reception from the crowd (did anyone else know that the bearded one directed the first televised Columbo episode too?). There was also a short video interview with British TV star turned zombie killing sheriff Andrew Lincoln, who gave us some details on season two of The Walking Dead.
 
While all of that was happening, over in the Gallery Hall the comic book stuff was ramping up - at the Millarworld panel, Mark Millar revealed details of four new projects he's working on right now - titles to add to his current impressive lineup of 'Wanted', 'Kick-Ass' and 'Nemesis'. Turns out he's bringing out a 'Hit Girl' spin off - so she'll have her own comics, plus 'Super Crooks' - a heist story with supervillians that he's doing with Leinil Francis Yu, which sounds like a brilliant idea. It's about a group of supervillains based in the US, who get so fed up getting caught by superheros all the time when they rob banks, they decide to move to Madrid instead, where there aren't any superheroes. Millar told me later that he's already working with a mystery Spanish director, to make a film version of the comic at the same time as the comic is being made.
 
There's also a collaboration with Dave Gibbons in the pipeline, but we don't have details on the title or premise yet - and a huge, 12 issue superhero epic with Frank Quitely - apparently with a cast of over 100 characters.
 
 

 
Meanwhile on the mezzanine, the comics, toys, and memorabilia was all still selling well, games were being demoed, cosplayers were about, and big queues for signings were commonplace. (Mark Millar told me tonight that the retailers have said to him that Kapow! was "literally the best money they've ever made at a show." He puts that down to the fact that they kept the whole focus on mainstream super hero comic stuff, so everyone came for that - and so nearly everyone wanted to buy what was on offer.)
 
 

 

Back in the Auditorium, the most talked about event of the weekend was about to start: the premiere of 'Movie X' - which had insanely long queues for fans eager to see whatever it was that was in store for them. Rumours had been flying all weekend as to what it would be - Thor? X-Men? All we knew is that it would be a 'summer superhero movie' starring a guy with a funny name. So, Thor, right?
But when the lights went down we were treated to the face of Rainn Wilson - and what followed was the movie 'Super'. I know this has had a limited release in the US already, and it's out soon on DVD as far as I know, so I won't give too much away, but I will say that it was no disappointment, even for those who had waited all weekend hoping to see the god of thunder in all his glory on the big screen. 'Super' was amazing. Like a grown-up, mind-bogglingly violent Kick-Ass, it was very very funny, but staggeringly graphic. Rainn Wilson puts in the performance of his career, and Ellen Page continues to earn her place as one of my very favourite actresses working today. She is utterly convincing, but also so unafraid to look silly, or unsexy, when the role demands it, in an effortless way that really puts her apart from many other females in the business. I think she's brilliant, clever funny and perfect for this role. 
 
Simply put, 'Super' is a film about a guy whose wife (Liv Tyler) falls back into drug addiction, and into the arms of dodgy dealer Kevin Bacon. This makes our hero so angry with the world, and with crimes out of his control, that he decides to adopt the persona of 'The Crimson Bolt', make an outfit and fight crime wherever he can find it. At first he can't find much, then he finds nearly too much. I'll stop there, I really don't want to ruin it. But if you are the sort of person who had no moral issues with the events in Kick-Ass, then you'll probably enjoy this. You also need to be cool with seeing pieces of brain flying all over the place, brutal head smashing in and violet cranial trauma being inflicted on a wide scale. Not always in a funny way too - in fact, if we're going to really get down to it, Super is a film about loneliness and depression. Don't let that put you off though - it's a triumph. Go and see it immediately, is my advice.
 
When we emerged from the screening, the weekend of Kapow! was finished. All that was left was for me to head over to the adjacent hotel and sit down for a pint and a chat with Mark Millar about how it had all gone for him. I'll write up the interview in full as soon as I can.
 
It's only fair to raise a very few negatives about what overall has been a great weekend. First up, the lines for the screening and Q&As were often very very long (the people in the gallery above the floor in the photo below are about a third of one line), and I heard a few grumblings about the fact that the auditorium in which all the biggest stuff was shown only holds 500 people. Lucky me with my AICN VIP pass, I didn't experience any issues, but I can understand the problem. It also would have been nice to have a presence from some of the other big superhero events of the summer - I'm thinking X-Men and Captain America.

 

 

But I don't want to dwell on that, it really was minor compared to the whole experience, and if you check twitter, you'll see just how happy everyone who went is. This was an incredible thing to have pulled off in its first ever year. Again, congratulations to Lucy and Sarah for putting on such a great event, and to Mark, for opening his contacts book.
 
Next year, expect some even bigger names, and even more exclusives. Mark tells me that the next one "will have to be a monster", because of the list of comic book superhero movies on the horizon for release in 2012: Spider-man, Superman, Avengers, Dark Knight Rises. He's right, that's a pretty insane lineup. He says that last night, after day one, he had a lot of emails from all the big studios, already keen to sign up for Kapow! number 2. 
 
But he's keen to keep the same scale. He says that it was be easy to get greedy, but he's not someone who does this for the sake of money ("this shirt I'm wearing now cost 3.99!"), and he's just glad that the British comic scene has a focal point again.
5,500 people per day at the con is nice for Millar - he says it means fans can actually meet the creators - with no ropes in between them - and everyone can meet up in the same pub after the doors close, and the stands are packed away, as they now have been for 2011.

 

 

One final note, the weather's been amazing for Kapow! - sunniest and warmest weekend of the year so far here in London. "Yeah, I made some calls about that" says Mark Millar...
 
Until next time - be excellent to each other.
 
AdrianHieatt

Readers Talkback

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  • April 10, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Super looks so redundant

    by Stifler's Mom

    Post-modern comic book heroes have been done to death already.

  • April 10, 2011, 5:35 p.m. CST

    yep, it was a great event!

    by billyhitchcock1

    Really good vibe and something for everyone, young or old, mildly geek or extremely nerdy. Loved it. Like Millar said, it's great for us Brits to have a geek focal point.

  • April 10, 2011, 6:02 p.m. CST

    loved it

    by prime666

    both days were brilliant. my friends and i travelled from the other side of the country for it and everyone we met were so friendly. Chris Hemsworth was a nice guy and Super was fucking funny and violent as fuck. that is all

  • April 10, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    I fully respect what people say about Millar's ego...

    by BlaGyver

    He does seem to think pretty highly of himself and his abilities, but regardless, I like the guy's work and admire what he did with Kapow.

  • April 10, 2011, 10:30 p.m. CST

    If they use the same venue next year.

    by SoupDragon

    Then they should really think about switiching the screening hall to the 750 seat room. Alternatively they could extend the show's runtime and try and run a few repeat screenings. It would be much fairer on those who qued and missed out.

  • April 10, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST

    this is good for the geeks of england

    by john

    just kinda sad that it took millar to make it simple reason is...you guys will never get either ellis or moore to make an appearance next year, the organizers should get the casts of being human and misfits to make an appearance that will drive attendance up

  • April 11, 2011, 5:58 a.m. CST

    I want to be as constructive as possible..

    by Mr England

    I am not here to troll or hater but I had standard weekend ticket for this event. It appeared to me that unless you had VIP/guest tickets there was not much chance of getting into the panels. There were 5000 attendes and only 750/500 spaces for the 2 panel rooms (with anyone with VIP ticket being able to queue jump). I hope they take onboard these kind of problems people had in future years as I wish them every success. But unless it was likely to change next year I wont be going as I essentially paid for 2 days at a convention to walk around a small comic mart and get a couple of autographs.

  • April 11, 2011, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Kapow Queues

    by hst666

    I paid for a standard weekend ticket myself. I managed to get into every event I wanted except Super and that I blame on Kapow not enforcing it's own rules. Queuing was not supposed to begin until 45 minutes before an event. For every other event, I showed up about 20-30 minutes before-hand and got in (For Falling Skies, I showed up 30-35). I went to see when they would begin queuing for the mystery film about 55 minutes before it began and was informed the queue was half-way around the upper floor. I complained that this was in violation of the Con's own rules, but was politely if firmly rebuffed by the Sharon Osbourne looking lady at the door. I agree, they definitely need a bigger venue or bigger rooms for the panels. Probably a greater variety of room sizes, so they can have smaller interest panels as well as larger interest panels.

  • April 11, 2011, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Mates

    by chrismk

    I can only assume that Adrian is mates with Mark Millar, because that has to be one of the most bafflingly oblivious reviews I've ever read. This was not a good event and was a million miles from bring the San Diego Comic Con experience to the UK (as had been boasted). The venue was small and crap, the queues were massive and badly organised, no one botheres to put a stage in one of the main talk rooms, meaning you couldn't see ANYTHING, the guest list was poor (which isn't to say that the guests weren't interesting and lovely people) and the wild promises simply weren't kept. According to the review, Millar said that the event worked well because 'they kept the whole focus on mainstream super hero comic stuff'... really? Merlin/Being Human/Sherlock aren't super heroes and Skins isn't even vaguely genre! There are so many BETTER events in the UK, that have better guests and don't make wild promises about what people can expect.

  • April 11, 2011, 8:31 a.m. CST

    by chrismk

    Alan Moore HAS made appearances in the UK, so he is not unobtainable. The cast of Misfits were at the SFX event last year and the stars of Being Human have done about a dozen events in teh last 12 months! These are not guests who are difficult to get (except I suspect they do not fit in with the Kapow financial model, which I think is fundamentally flawed!)

  • April 11, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST

    I had a table in Artist's Alley

    by canucklehead

    With my prints and and book Jimmy Ricochet (Which Harry graciously makes a cameo in) and had an AWESOME time. Complaints: 1) though the tickets and booklet said it was on until 5:00, they abruptly closed it at 4:00, and I saw a few instances of folks being condescended and rudely ushered out. 2) It was apparently sold out weeks ahead of time, but the 2nd day could've easilly admitted people. That said, great crowd, great time. (And the reaction to Super was extremely positive.)

  • April 11, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST

    God damnit...

    by Sithtastic

    I can't believe I live IN THE UK and didn't hear about this at all until yesterday!

  • April 11, 2011, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Queues

    by Latheal

    I personally thought for a first attempt, they did an amazing job. Only purchased a standard Saturday ticket but had a great time Didn't get into the Green Lantern showing but learnt our lesson for the Thor showing and got in early. The 45 minute thing was never going to happen and anybody who thought it was is just plain crazy. You could see people were queing about an hour before hand. They even had a separate queue for Thor whilst people were still queing for the showing before that. Do agree that they should definitely look for a bigger venue next year and the Sharon Osbourne look alike deserves to be shot for her complete lack of customer care. The way they let everybody into the auditorium for Thor at the same time, compeltely disregarding where you were in the queue was quite frankly insane and her excuse of "Its been a long day" didn't really cut it. Not sure why they didn't tell people they were not going to get in as they blantantly counted people in the queue about 30 mins before it opened and at that point it was down by the canteen (probably about 1500 people). Its a minor gripe though and thoroughly enjoyed the show. We're definitely going back next year for both days and the Thor footage was quality, if slightly less serious in tone than I thought it was going to be. Anybody who didn't go, would definitely recommend it - would be great if they get a bigger venue, larger IGN games area and a few more theatres.

  • April 11, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    jasonicus ,cool...

    by blackflowerX

    You don't have to bother then, but its cool to see this happening in the U.K , I'm gonna go next year.

  • April 11, 2011, 4:02 p.m. CST

    It sucked

    by DARTH_MALBORO

    The queuing for panels was complete bollocks. I will I be going next year? will I fuck. Mark Miller talks complete shit. And that Sharon Osbourne looking cunt can go fuck herself. It was a complete scam. I queued for a total of 3 hours over the course of yesterday and only got into 1 screening. Other than 20 minutes of Thor, a green lantern cartoon and falling skies everything else had been shown else where previously. I can't beleive I've been looking forward to this shit for so long. I left a yesterday after 2 days of disappointments completely utterly fucked off. Their all cunts, and you mark miller, if you happen to read this are the biggest shit talking cunt of all. Give me back my fucking 25 quid.

  • April 11, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST

    how did you miss the biggest news from the con?

    by john

    that sheehan would not be returning to misfits?