Mark Millar Previews Kapow! Convention

Less than a day away from the launch of the Kapow! Comic Con he's become a key player in, Mark Millar is exactly where you'd expect him to be: on his way to the pub.

"I'm just wandering around London, and I've literally in the middle of the street bumped into the Marvel guys...did you know Nick Spencer is American?" Millar laughed. "Because he's so good, I just assumed he was British."

Of course, though Millar's been promoting the show, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at London's Business Design Centre, for weeks, the superstar Scottish comics writer is quick to note that the real work has been done by his significant other. "It's funny. Everybody keeps saying to me 'You must be so tired,' but what they don't realize is that her company is doing everything," the writer explained. "My partner's name is Lucy, and she runs an event company with her sister. It's a big company, and they do political conferences and all sorts of things. But they both love movies and comics, and they have contacts in both worlds. So they thought they wanted to start a San Diego-style show in London and asked me to talk to all the comics guys. They know movie people, but my pals have been the top guys in the UK comics scene for 20 years. It's come together so well, and I'm having a great time because all I'm doing is Tweeting occasionally. But the girls are working until 11:00 every night."

So far, the team has gathered a notable line-up of comics talent including Frank Quitely, Paul Cornell and a host of other British comic creators as well as panel presentations from Marvel Editorial, Warner Bros., 2000AD and a host of other comics and movie companies. The show will also include the first annual Stan Lee Awards on Saturday night featuring a number of British Comedians.

Millar said his goal with the show has been to put together an event that would impress his own teenage self who was desperate to break in to the comics industry. "I've been coming to shows since I was 18, and I'm 41 now. The London shows I've been coming down to since I had to save up my pocket money for six months to afford train fare down. I'd stay at a youth hostel like a YMCA and then get together ten pounds to come into the show. All the guys who I wanted to see then I've gotten to come to the show -- guys I loved when I was a kid -- and then we've got all the way up through guys just breaking in to Marvel and DC now. What's lovely is that comic conventions are weirdly like weddings. You're all there, and everybody is like family. We've all known each other for most of our lives as fans and then I pros. I used to write fan letters, genuine fan letters, to Dave Gibbons, and the idea that he's now coming along for my show is exciting. And it's even more exciting to be working with him!

"The idea was to get everybody that I like under one roof in the same building, and then we'll all go to the pub at night and get drunk. It'll be great."

Of course, beyond the comics content ranging from mainstream publishers to announcements of future Millarworld creator-owned titles with Gibbons and others and a presentation from his own "CLiNT" magazine, Millar and company wanted a sizable Hollywood component for the show so a UK event could compete with the likes of San Diego's Comic-Con International in the states. "The guy who plays Thor, Chris Hemsworth, is going to come along with the guy who plays Loki, Tom Hiddleston. They're coming to meet the fans and do a live Q&A, and then they're going to show a big chunk of the movie -- stuff that nobody has ever seen before. That's turned out to be the most expensive part of the show because Marvel has some really cool stuff they wanted to show, and they wanted to show it in 3D at the convention center. So my partner's company had to spend quite a lot of money supeing up the convention center to have the same quality as the best cinema. So everyone will be given 3D glasses to watch this stuff in the convention hall. It's amazing -- stuff that wasn't seen at WonderCon."

"The panel for 'Green Lantern' will have eight or ten minutes of the movie shown, and also the premiere of the Green Lantern animated movie 'Emerald Knights.' There's something to do with 'X-Men' as well. It's funny because Matthew Vaughn was the first person I said, 'I guarantee he'll come. He's my friend.' But now Matthew's stuck in LA finishing 'X-Men' so we ended up not having him. So we ended up with some general X-Men presence.

"Lastly, we've got Duncan Jones -- the guy who directed 'Moon' and 'Source Code' -- and there are rumors that he's the next director of 'Wolverine' as well, so when he's at the show on Saturday I know what the first question he's going to be asked is," the writer joked. Other media presentations at the show focus on British productions such as TV shows including "Being Human" and "Merlin" and the Edgar Wright-produced "Attack The Block" as well as the world premier of the Stephen Spielberg-produced "Falling Skies."

"What's nice is that normally at conventions, you have to pay for autographs, but everyone here is doing autographs for free. We know these are economic tough times, so basically you pay the fee to get in, and that's it for the rest of the day. Everything else is free," Millar added.

The show will wrap Sunday evening with "Movie X" -- the premier of an upcoming genre movie that won't be announced until the moment the reel starts to roll. "It could be anything. Nobody knows what it's going to be. That's closing the whole convention."

Tickets for the event are currently sold out, but for those who can't make it, CBR News will have team members on hand to report all the action, so stay tuned across the weekend from all the word out of Kapow!

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