The Afternoon After The Kapow Before

As the Green Lantern livery was pulled down, the convention body still warm, this was the end of Kapow! on Sunday late afternoon. My patriotic stall was now in a couple of bags, I'd sold through stacks of the Royal Wedding comic – it seemed to have been a popular purchase by and for women at the show, and had now adjourned to the nearby hotel bar for drinks with friends old and new.

That's them.

It had been a weekend of opportunities, I'd managed to introduce new comic shop owner Antony of Holy Goat Comics to all sorts of people with the promise of setting up signing sessions for the new store. I ate pizza with David Hine and Image publisher Eric Stephenson as we chatted about lives, loves, genealogy and Spawn. And I'd made sure to thank the volunteers at the show who had organised a professional, clear and well structured show, dealing with all the vagaries that such shows throw at them with calmness, sanity and ease.

And there were your actual announcements, both from Mark Millar and friends, but also Marvel, Rebellion and the TV series Misfits. In fact there's a certain image I;m trying to track down right now…

I seemed to have joined the consensus that this wasn't a mini-San Diego in any way shape or form, but instead a really good London comic con that punched well above its weight and gave people warm feelings of early Bristols or UKCACs past. For a group who have never put on any kind of event like this before, it was a sterling success, and it felt like they'd been doing this for years rather than days. They brought in the decent American comics guests. They filled the rooms and the floors, with plenty to do through the weekend. And it can only point to prosperous years to come.

Improvements? Well, a number of panel guests didn't know what panels they were meant to be on, or when. Which led in part to the Stan Lee Awards and Clint panel mixups, although covering for absence was probably as entertaining as if the people were present. Announcing a mystery film is fine, but saying it has an 18 certificate on the morning of the show was a bit harsh for the attending teenagers. And not having a floorplan showing who was where caused some confusion. And maybe managing expectations might be useful- there were a some who chose to attend when certain events like the Dredd panel or the Miracle Park preview were announced, and were surprised not to find them happening when they turned up.

But no one seemed to leave the show disappointed, anything but. The word in the bar afterwards amongst the pros was very positive, and this from some faces who find it hard to raise a smile. The venue was great and of the attendance is capped as it was today, there should be no problem with overcrowding. Everyone I spoke to wanted to come back, life willing. And pretty much every pro here walked away with a copy of the  Absolute Ultimate Gutters Omnibus – of which I now have several – thank goodness for the taxi home.

Basically in one show, they seem to have put Kapow! on the map, rather.

So did you go? What did you think?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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