KAPOW: Fans go "Wow!" on Day 2

Day Two of Kapow!, London's high concept comic-con, got underway and the excitement was palpable as one of the most anticipated panels of the show, Millarworld and the Creator Owned Panel opened to a packed auditorium.

Mark Millar got the panel underway and was joined by co-Millarworld creators John Romita Jr, Dave Gibbons' Leinil Francis Yu and Frank Quietly and by creators in their own right, Jock, Andy Diggle and Ian Churchill.

The highlights of the panel, which CBR covers in depth here, included Millar and the recently "exclusive-free" Frank Quietly teasing a new book to be published by Image Comics in early 2012 and "Hit Girl," a miniseries based on "Kick-Ass," announced to huge applause and fan enthusiasm.

Ian Churchill, creator of Image's "Marineman," received strong applause as he announced that he has been nominated for an Eisner Award.

Millar also announced his latest collaboration with Leinil Yu entitled "Super Crooks" and teased an upcoming collaboration with Dave Gibbons. Gibbons said the book would be a "real world" take on the spy genre and that "X-Men First Class" and "Kick-Ass" director Matthew Vaughn had co-conceived the concept with Millar and Gibbons.

With capacity crowds for panels, from TV's "The Walking Dead" and the premiere of the upcoming Spielberg produced sci-fi epic "Falling Skies," Kapow! continued to enthrall attendees as TV, gaming, film and comics played an equal part of the show.

The mysterious "Movie X," a much teased secret premiere being shown for the first time at Kapow!, led to wild fan speculation ranging from the sensible ("Thor," "X-Men First Class" and "Captain America") to the ridiculous -- "Avengers" was suggested by some. As the monster queue of the show snaked it's way into the viewing room, the movie was revealed as "Super," the upcoming comedy starring Rain Wilson, Ellen Page and Liv Tyler. The film received strong feedback from fans who felt the wait was well worth it.

With rumored sightings of legendary directors Ridley and Tony Scott browsing the convention this weekend, it's only a matter of time before the rumor mill begins again. Let the speculation begin for Kapow!'s "Movie X" of 2012!

Retailers on the convention floor expressed delight with sales, and exhibitors such as Warner Bros and IGN were impressed with the reaction they received. Warner Bros showed footage of the upcoming "Batman: Arkham City" game and IGN held court over all things gaming at the convention.

Artist Alley is always a staple at a comic convention, and Kapow! was no exception as established artists such as Leinil Francis Yu, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine and Shaky Kane mingled with lesser known or emerging artists. Kapow! was surely the place to get your work seen, as emphasized by the portfolio review led by Marvel Editors Stephen Wacker and Nick Lowe.

Fans continued to queue in a very British way as Mark Millar, Frank Quietly, Dave Gibbons and John Romita Jr were joined by Olivier Coipel and David Lloyd to sign and sketch for fans, many of whom had waited years, or in some instances travelled from as far afield as Kenya and France. Artists and writers alike went out of their way to accommodate fans, often staying beyond the times allotted for signings to ensure everyone left happy. Millar continued to be everywhere at once, signing, attending panels and chatting with fans in passing, a human tornado of activity and enthusiasm.

As the day wound down, Marvel fans were treated to the X-Men and Spider-Man panels and to the IGN Cosplay where, shortly before, "Your Highness" and "Eastbound and Down" star Danny McBride made a surprise appearance.

Cosplay fans ensured that the usual British reserve went out the window as the parade taking place on the IGN stage saw the likes of Lady Deadpool, Domino, several Black Cats and a host of self-made characters that would give Hollywood costume designers a run for their money.

Then, as quickly as it started, Kapow! was over. Fans and exhibitors alike left the hall, with many asking when they could book passes for the 2012 convention.

The real stars of the convention, however, were the fans. Endlessly patient in queues, whether for signings or panels, all showed an appreciation for the extra effort that was made by pros to accommodate them and for the sheer number of crowd pleasing events that made Kapow! a must attend event.

With many fans attending their first American-style convention, most had not experienced the types of panels such as those given by film and television studios. The presence of superstar creators, many of whom had never before attended a UK convention, means fans were given a real treat.

On the room for improvement side, much of the information coming out of the comic related panels was either re-caps of old news or far from Earth shattering, the exception to this being the Millarworld panel with some genuine exclusive news.

This is hardly the conventions fault, however, and to be fair to publishers, with so many conventions to attend there is only so much "exclusive" news they can generate to appease the crowds at each show.

Based on the success of the first Kapow!, Its clear that the show has placed itself prominently on the "must do" list of conventions worldwide and there is little doubt publishers will recognize the audience and importance of Kapow! following this first outing.

Fan feed back regarding queues, particularly for panels and screenings, stated that they were overly lengthy with some feeling disappointment at missing out on panels. While queueing is the standard at conventions, the disappointment expressed is understandable and organizers have said this will be looked at for next year.

Kapow!, a word often followed by "biff" and "wham" thanks to the '60s interpretation of the Caped Crusader, was elevated through the hard work of Mark Millar and convention organizers Lucy and Sarah Unwin. Kapow! London's and the UK's fledgling convention has proven that it can compare with US conventions not only in appeal, but also in ambition.

While Mark Millar's status in the comics and film industry no doubt managed to secure many of the names and events seen this weekend, to many convention goers it's Millar's involvement that appeals to them, a sure sign of the loyalty and camaraderie that Millar's UK and European fans feel towards him. There can be few creators that have the same appeal, where fans love the man as much as his work.

With stellar feedback from guests, exhibitors and fans alike, the bar has been set high, but with a spectacular first outing, the best is yet to come as Millar and company already begin to plan the undoubted blockbuster sequel.

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