I must admit that when I first heard that there were plans to host the UK’s own answer to the incredibly successful US Comic Con conventions, I was a tad sceptical. My previous experience of comic conventions was last years MCM Expo, which while enjoyable was also headache inducing at the same time and also felt a bit too “book what we can” as well, though as I said in my review of it last year, I’m sure that wasn’t the case.
So I went to the first (and hopefully, annual) Kapow Comic Con fearing the worst. And in retrospect, I shouldn’t have.
With ticket sales capped at around 5,000 for each day, there was a nice element of keeping things low key and dare I say it mature, though the trend for women with large breasts in tight clothing in comics at the moment probably belied that maturity. While there were a couple of cosplayers when I was there (a dedicated day for them was on the Sunday, which I didn’t attend) there were certainly no “huggers” there that I could see. In fact, if there were any there, I get the impression they’d have been stared down pretty quickly. That alone probably helped elevate the status of the event in one go.
While the main floor itself wasn’t necessarily the biggest, it certainly packed a lot in and was really well laid out, which certainly made a change from the MCM Expo’s more “throw it all in the same room and hope for the best” mentality. Also having the talks and events in a seperate area away from the floor of the show certainly helped too. It meant there wasn’t quite as mad a build-up of people as with MCM, although Moon & Source Code director Duncan Jones certainly drew a crowd when he did a Q&A and signing session on the IGN stage when I was there at around Midday on the Saturday.
And on a personal note, I certainly appreciated the gaming section there. It was nothing spectacular and it certainly wont be troubling the likes of E3 any time soon but having someone like IGN on board and them bringing the likes of Portal 2 & Dirt3 along certainly improved matters compared to other aforementioned events.
However, there are a couple of things to take forward for next years event.
1) Why was there not an event program in my “goody” bag given to me when I arrived at the hall? While it’s nice to know that Rutger Hauer is playing a hobo and that he has a shotgun, knowing that there were talks and events that I could attend would arguably be of more use. In fact, it wasn’t until I picked a program up on the way out that I realised I’d missed them. Yes, I could have picked one up earlier and yes, I could have asked about them while I was there but how many others missed out on the talks because they weren’t given a program to begin with? Just me then. Ok, but I like to think I have some kind of valid point about this.
2) While the event was certainly well laid out & certainly some considerable effort was put into securing some high profile guests, it was also pretty small compared to the MCM. While as a 1st event, I can see that they deliberately kept things low key in the hope of selling the event out, thankfully proved correct. But a Kapow organised event in a hall the size of the MCM would, frankly, be superb. Particularly if they can squeeze in as much goodness as they did with the event in the few hours that I was there on the Saturday.
Still, for a first attempt, I must admit that Kapow certainly impressed me and has masses of potential for the future, especially if next years event is as well organised, attended and booked as this years clearly was.
A short Flickr set of photos & a video from the event can be found at my Flickr site. Should anyone wish to use any of the photos, could you please contact me via the comments section before using them. Comments are moderated before posting, so any personal details or addresses will not be published on this site.