Kapow Comic Con

After years of UK geeks bemoaning the lack of a San Diego Comic Con equivalent, we finally got to experience the same heat, crowds and sweaty nerd love this past weekend at the first ever Kapow! Comic Con. Kick-Ass and Wanted writer Mark Millar is the man behind the event and he pulled out all the stops as there was something for everyone; comics (a lot), movies (big ones) and games (um, there was an IGN section, does that count?)

Anywho, we ventured out of the Breadline broom cupboard, clad in our geekiest attire, joined the thousands of people headed to the Business Design Centre in sunny Islington. While the nerd herd queued up outside, we floated through the doors, slapping security guards aside with our VIP passes.

You remember the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where the doors to the chocolate room first open? That’s what we were hoping it would be like but unfortunately, due to the total lack of air conditioning and the venue being packed to the rafters, we walked into a heaving mass of convention-goers.

We took solace in the overwhelming amount of comic book stalls that were selling everything from the latest output from giants like Marvel and DC to tiny independents, pimping out their hand drawn leaflets. After roaming for a bit, we hit up the big movie event of Day 1: The Green Lantern. We were first treated to a trailer for the upcoming game Green Lanten: Rise of the Manhunters. It’s a great looking advert but as we know from experience, the game will never live up to the trailer.

Following that was Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, an animated feature available on DVD and Blu-Ray in June. It’s basically Green Lanterns 101 for newbies and a must-have for fans. It features a wide variety of characters, emotional and interesting stories as well as stunning animation.

To finish off the section we were treated to the latest footage from the upcoming movie. It had already appeared at WonderCon but since we’re not concerned with sloppy seconds, we loved every second of it. Ryan Reynolds is a more serious Hal Jordan than most people will be expecting but after his performance in Buried, that should be a bonus. The CGI looks first-rate and though it will be in 3D, something which often drags a film down, this one looks like it could be worth the ticket price.

Next up we hit the Thor panel to see over twenty minutes of the film and to enjoy the company of Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, and his brother Loki, Tom Hiddleston. The film clips were well received and we even got the first glimpse of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. There’s also a surprising amount of humour in Thor; who knew the God of Thunder could be so funny? Hemsworth and Hiddleston took to the microphones afterwards and fielded questions from the crowd, most of which were Avengers based. Fans were eager to know what the future of Thor is when it comes to teaming up with the other Marvel heroes but Hemsworth dodged them easily, unsure of what he was allowed to say on the matter. We forgave him because he’s just as pretty in real life as he is on screen.

Day 2 of Kapow kicked off with the Momentum showcase. First up was the world’s first look at the new Hammer release, The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe. Since the footage was only forty seconds long all we can say is that it’s weird to see Harry Potter with sideburns. The director, James Watkins, talked afterwards about the film for fifteen minutes but somehow managed to be less interesting than the forty seconds of footage we had just seen. The team behind Insidious however, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, lifted everyone’s Sunday morning lethargy by chattering away like monkeys about real-life ghost stories and what really scares them. Unfortunately, Insidious looks like a fairly predictable ‘scary child’ movie starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.

After seeing a trailer for Aussie Western/thriller Red Hill which appears to be fairly decent, we finally saw the trailer for Norwegian creature feature Troll Hunter. It blew our tiny minds. Yes, it’s a bit too much like Blair Witch and no, it probably doesn’t have the best graphics but by God it’s got trolls in it; it’s definitely a guilty pleasure to watch out for.

Up next was the FX showcase which kicked off with a pre-recorded interview with Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln. He described his positive experiences working with Frank Darabont on the show and his excitement over Stephen King penning an upcoming episode. Following that was the world premiere of Steven Spielberg’s latest show, Falling Skies. Part War of the Worlds, part Torchwood, the show looks interesting but feels far too familiar and classic Spielberg fans will most likely be bored.

Finishing off the day for films was the Secret Movie. There had been much speculation with rumours flying about what it could be. And then it was unveiled in all its demented glory: James Gunn’s Super. Easily the most divisive film of the year, Super is deranged, hilarious, bizarre and mesmerising. Rainn Wilson plays Frank, a loser whose drug-addict wife (Liv Tyler) runs off with her dealer (Kevin Bacon). With a little inspiration from God, Frank takes the law into his own hands by hitting criminals in the head with a wrench and calling himself The Crimson Bolt. He soon takes on psychotic, hyperactive Libby as his sidekick, Boltie. Mayhem ensues.

If you liked Kick-Ass then you may be able to handle the mad hilarity that is Super. If you hated Kick-Ass then stay away, far away because this movie will hit you square in the face…with a wrench.

So, in summation, Kapow was a success but hopefully the kinks in the event can be ironed out. Two words: air conditioning. And possibly mandatory deodorant checks.


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