This weekend I spent my time in the company of 2000+ nerds/geeks at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Why would I want to do such a thing? Because I was attending the very first Kapow! Comic Con, the brainchild of comic book writer Mark Millar, the man responsible for Wanted and Kick-Ass. When you think of British conventions, my first thoughts are of very minor celebrities from cancelled sci-fi shows charging £20 for an autograph, or being accosted by someone who is dressed up like The Borg. Millar wanted to bring the experience of the hugely popular and successful San Diego Comic Con to the UK. Did he succeed? While he certainly brought the San Diego weather (I felt sorry for the guy dressed as The Flash having to queue to get inside in 20 degree+ conditions), let's discuss the pros, "cons" and highlights of Kapow! (the exclamation was on the promotional material).
I was completely non-plussed by the Green Lantern footage. Some of the CGI, including Reynolds costume, looks ropey and WB could have a very expensive turkey on their hands. The pilot for Falling Skies made it look like Terminator Salvation but against crap CGI aliens rather than robots. The SDCC is arguably now more known for the big movie previews than it is for the comic book stuff but film fans expecting something similar would have disappointed with the lack of presence for such big summer films like Captain America, X-Men First Class, Pirates, etc as the main focus of the convention was on the comic side of things. In fact movie geeks who thought that they were quite geeky found the whole cosplay and level of intensity of the whole thing quite intimidating (Ultra Culture only lasted 20 minutes before returning to the sunshine and a couple of fellow Forumites felt it wasn't really their thing). The major grumble that I was hearing around the convention was about the lack of organisation regarding queuing for panels and signings. There was always going to be disappointment due to time restrictions and 2000 people trying to go to a panel with 500 capacity. Even some of the panels themselves were chaotic and disorganised. Jonathan Ross managed to blag his way through a Never Mind The Buzzcocks style comic quiz between the pros (Millar, John Romita Jr and Dave Gibbons - and if you don't recognise those names then the Con certainly wasn't for you!) and some fans despite leaving his questions at home! And the much hyped Stan Lee awards however were a disaster that made Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood presenting the Brit Awards look positively professional. I left half way through to go joining the queue for the Thor panel. Also the staff seemed keen to kick everyone out of the building very quickly at 4.00 on the Sunday when the tickets said it would run till 5.00.
It was always inevitable that not everything would run according to plan considering this is the first time an event like this has been tried. Hopefully the positive and negative factors will be analysed and discussed so that Kapow! 2012 is an even bigger success... but as a movie geek I hope that the major studios have a bigger presence next year.