So after months of hype and bluster, Kapow Comic Con 2011 came to London at the weekend. Promising San Diego in London (overpriced hotels, restaurants you can't get into and panels you can't get near;), at last there was the chance to see what all of the fuss was about.
Kapow took place at the Business Design Centre, a venue for trade shows located in middle-class North London. The weather in London, and in fact England, during April is normally very changeable with rain likely. But they were lucky with this as it felt like July (in any other country, as July over here is also very unpredictable).
Kapow Comic Con 2011 had a decent lineup of guests (like Brian Bolland, Frank Quitely, Dave Gibbons, Duncan Fegredo, Chris Weston, Sean Phillips, Bryan Hitch and John Romita Jr), a selection of panels featuring things like a preview of Thor the movie with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston and a lot of Millarworld announcements. The celebrity bullshit with which they partially promoted the show mostly evaporated at the show itself. One of the 'celebrity' guests, Jonathan Ross, was only at Kapow for about half of Saturday and many of the other celebs cancelled at the last minute.
The range of comic dealers was decent but big name publishers DC and Marvel were not set up at the show, leaving only Titan (the main bankroller of the show) and magazines Comic Heroes and ImagineFX and a number of independent British outfits like SelfMadeHero and Cinebook to fill the slots.
The Stan Lee Awards were rather amateurish and embarrassing with over half of the winners being absent. The presentation by Guinness World Records for a number of comic-related records was nicely put together though.
The overall vibe was positive however and, removing all of the bluster and hype, Kapow was a very decent London comic show in a nice venue. There's already talk of another show in 2012 and I am glad. If they learn from the experiences of this year's event and build on what worked here, then Kapow will be a worthy addition to the British comic show going calendar…