Kapow is a convention backed by comic über-writer and general media star, Mark Millar, and is an attempt to bring a little of that San Diego magic to sunny England.
This years event marked it’s second anniversary, and while there wasn’t much in the way of breaking news announcements, the atmosphere was more relaxed and the entire thing was little more organised than the previous year’s event.
In the comic world, Saturday saw the regular round of Marvel, DC, Image and 2000AD panels with titans of the industry such as Joe Quesada and Dan Didio heading them up. Stand out comic panels though, were the Millarworld Panel, which was loose and fun but with the announcements that the much belated follow up to American Jesus: Chosen and the Nemesis sequel will be due toward the end of the year, and the very rare occurrence of controversial writer Warren Ellis making a convention appearance, for his own ‘audience with’ panel, wherein he quickly related why he is tiring of the industry in its current form (DC and Marvel releasing too many books and taking all the money), and revealing the plot of his latest novel Gun Machine; basically police happen upon a house which is decorated with hundreds of guns and upon ballistics evidence, discover that every single one of the guns is attached to an unsolved murder at some point in the last few decades… and in true Warren Ellis style, a hard boiled detective has to get to the bottom of the case.
In the film world, Momentum Pictures showed footage or photos from many of their upcoming films including Red Tails, Lawless, Red Lights, House At the End of the Street, but more to my tastes Martin McDonagh’s (In Bruges) latest, Seven Psychos, which stars Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken, and production stills from Enders Game. Other film related events included panels for Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with Rufus Sewell, Noel Clark’s Storage 24, an audience with Shaun of the Dead and Paul star, Nick Frost, and a directors panel with Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes).
Saturday finished with The Stan Lee Awards, whose results were less of a joke than last year and are as follows:
Best writer AND Man/Woman of the year: Scott Snyder (Batman, Swamp Thing)
Best artist AND best newcomer: Sara Pichelli (Ultimate Spider-man)
Best series: Detective Comics
Best trade: Walking Dead Vol14
Best limited series/story arc: The Dark Angel Saga (Uncanny X-Force)
Best comic hero: Batman
Publisher of the year: DC
Best superhero/sci fi movie: X-Men First Class
Best TV show: Game of Thrones
Best game: Arkham City
Sunday had more specific panels such as DC’s new 52 and Avengers Vs X-Men as well as British TV personalities such as Frankie Boyle and Peter Serafinowicz talking about their up and coming projects in the comic world (the latter teaming up with superstar artist, Jock, for an interesting comic called Nelson, which is basically about a guy who runs a city under an iron grip of near police state proportions). Happily there were a number of more personalised panels in a smaller room, relating to independent comics, creator’s personal projects and various workshops, which added a personal touch that was noticeably absent from last year’s event.
Sunday was a lot quieter though, which made it ideal for anyone wanting to get their comics signed as the wait time was much shorter, so there’s a little tip for anyone thinking of doing Kapow next year.
The event finished with a screening of a secret movie X, which this year must have been a bit of a disappointment as it wasn’t by any means high profile. It was in actual fact the daft but fun looking Iron Sky, a film where space-Nazis try to invade earth.