Kapow – Comic Convention 2012

Is it a bore? Is it a pain? NO! It’s super Kapow! 2012

Well to be honest, there’s a ‘slight’ bit of artistic license in use there. There was a slight bit of pain, let’s call it growing pains, a necessary period before coming the fully grown up established event I know it will become.

kapow 2012

Kapow! set up in 2011 by the sisters Lucy and Sarah Unwin, and fronted by the comic demigod that is Mark Millar (Lucy’s partner), teleported into town this week for it’s 2012 incarnation. Hopefully it will become an annual and rightly cherished date on the UK comic world calender, like a second Christmas for all who dream of alternative worlds and multiverse. That’s actually quite a lot of people.

As with alot of the big comic cons, there’s a ever increasing amount of the TV/movie industry presence drifting in, almost at times swamping it’s comic foundation. But with the multiplying amount of ‘hero/super heroes movies each year, the lines are somewhat blurred already, with even recent comic titles almost written directly for movie adaptation.

But comics and movies are natural bedfellows happily encouraging each other, and I’ve no doubt fans of the TV series Walking Dead have gone on to check out the outstanding comic series it birthed from.

It also leads to a lot of diversity that can be catered for at the event, from movies (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (pictured below), The Amazing Spider-Man), TV, computer games (Batman: Arkham City), artists and publishing from the big houses, independent self financed works to niche market (Spandex, the worlds first gay superhero team had an wonderfully colourful eye catching table). So there really is something for everyone, from life long comic fans to the first timers talking tentative steps into an amazing world.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Kapow 2012

With such popularity there is some draw backs. There was a frustration experienced by many people I met at the 2011 event. Namely queuing for the various panels (at times 45+mins). To Kapows!’s great credit there were many great panels to go see, as there were this year.

The problem lay in the restrictions of the venue limiting the capacity for each room. Fortunately I had a press pass in ‘11 and the then policy was that I could join the VIP queue (or remain seated for the next panel) enabling me to not have to worry or stress out at seeing as many panels as possible, and reporting back great nuggets of info.

The very same press pass carried no such magical ability this year, and I had to seek my place at least 30+ mins in advance. Instantly I experienced the frustrations of my friends, who incidentally only stayed for one day last year, and wouldn’t be going this year as a result.

You could of course fork out £175 for the VIP package which did indeed make sure you got in, but that’s a steep price by any stretch of a double-dip recession imagination.

But what I did manage to see was AWESOME! That’s where the frustration comes from, knowing you are missing really great stuff amongst kindred spirits, and talking to people who inspire you, and are inspired by you.

Kapow! is such a wonderfully embracing/encouraging environment where the guests speakers are often meeting people who in turn inspired them in their youth. Access to some of the worlds greatest artists was readily available, and there were many portfolios being nervously examined throughout the venue.

A nurturing environment indeed. Even if your dream is live wrestling, which judging by Jonathan Ross’ performance in the ring, he could instantly go pro.

So what I did manage to see was an Audience with Warren Ellis, and a Directors Panel made up of Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes and forthcoming Supercrooks), Gareth Edwards (Monsters and the next Godzilla movie) and finally Jeff Wadlow (taking the helm for Kick Ass 2).

They were both brilliant, inspiring, funny, honest and down to earth panels, which deserve a seperate posting in the next day or so

There were noticeable unfortunate absences from this years event though. Nothing from Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and (Judge) Dredd. Hopefully similar tent pole titles will embrace Kapow! for 2013, as it deserves it.

Steve Clarke

Born in Celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by Hunter S. Thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.