When they first told me about Kapow, I was quite excited. It seemed like they had guests I really wanted to meet and a lot of comics I wanted signing.
Eventually they released a signing table, I noticed a little bit of an issue:
10AM – 11AM Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, they’re two big comic names, so why did it seem like a good idea to put them on at the same time? Oh that’s right, because the people running it have no clue what they’re doing. I honestly felt like the people who set it up really didn’t know anything about comics. That’s not too bad right, only two signings getting mixed up, well check this out:
2PM: Jock, Sara Pichelli, Charlie Adlard and Oliver Coipel, one of which didn’t even show up! Which wasn’t really their fault, however they could have pushed out an announcement about a different signer attending.
This has to be the best though: David Lloyd, 3-4, Paul Cornell, Terry Dodson, Scott Snyder, Sean Phillips, Joe Quesada, 3-5! Now Paul isn’t exactly huge, however David Lloyd worked on one of the greatest books of all time, so at what point does that make sense? David Lloyd signing for 1 hour and Paul for two? I’m a big fan on Knight & Squire, but really?
This did however, mean that you could get a good long chat with the guys you wanted to (provided they weren’t popular) but if they were such as the obvious ones like Sara Pichelli, then you would be lucky to get so much as a “hello”. The guests themselves were really nice, and didn’t mind getting pictures etc, but the staff had a very discouraging attitude to it.
Oddly, the staff seemed to prefer you taking a picture than getting four things signed, which was just stupid, it takes longer to get a picture than a comic signed!
There was an announcement about a week before the show saying they were capping the books at 3 per person. Now the stupidest thing you can do is cap books before knowing what the line is going to be like, they then marched up and down saying “Only one book per person” in some cases, and I was actually at one point (seriously!) threatened to get thrown out for having two. But the guests didn’t even mind, they’d stick around and keep signing for as long as they could. The announcement could have just been “Don’t be too stupid with comics, bring as many as you like but be mindful of people.” We’re not idiots, we know when we’re taking the piss.
The staff didn’t communicate at all, I was told by some guests if I waited around the table until after their signing they would do interviews with me, so I did. Eventually the Gestapo (The one with sort of ginger hair, I know most of you moaned about her) said “Can I help you?”. Now, do take into mind that I hadn’t really had a good run with her threatening to kick me out and everything, so I said “Almost definitely not.” She asked me to move so I said in the calmest way possible “I can’t really, I have an interview with Charlie Adlard after his signing” (Okay maybe not that calm) so she said I had to move, after a bit of a moan I did, even someone in the line said “He’s not in the way and he’s not jumping the line or anything.” But I moved anyway, and leaned one of my bags on a table (Which had a bit of paper on it for sketches.) she kicked my bag and told me not to lean my stuff on her table, at this point I kind of wanted to kick her, but instead I said “Well it’s not your table is it really? Give an idiot a uniform and she thinks she’s some kind of Gestapo extraordinaire, may I get your name?” At this point she stormed off.
After waiting around for awhile I managed to get the interview, which you can read on this site.
The main issue I had was that the signings took so long and were so crammed in that there wasn’t any time to really look around. It wasn’t relaxed, it was cramped and hot. The start of the day saw the VIPs, guests and press running on the spot because the badges were taking so long to distribute that we got stuck on the escalator.
The guests were all happy to sign more than 3 things, so capping it that low was just silly. I don’t understand what they were thinking capping before the show. When LSCC said “Only two for George Perez” they were polite and explained that he had a lot of sketching to get done, that I can understand but the quite frankly, brutal way the staff did it at Kapow was just insulting. And even though I agreed to their capping I still had someone accusing me of getting “Like 50 things” signed!
Apparently the reason they moved the date for the event was that Joe Quesada couldn’t make it, Joe was their guest of honour but had no line on Sunday at all. They really need to sort out their game plan. Apparently sales were down 40% this year. At their current rate, they will be down 100% next year.
Guests were announced at random times, giving no one preparation. And even then people like Warren Ellis and Rick McCallum didn’t do any signings, so it’s hardly fair to call them guests when they’re there for an hour. (If that!)
In terms of stalls it’s the same old, decent stuff but little floor space. Cyber Candy were probably the most popular again, this is likely because everyone wanted to comfort eat due to the awful event.
I had a bit of a chat with some of the guests and exhibitors after the show, and they told me that 3pm on the dot they were being told they had to get the kids out right away.
Phoenix Copper Art was around again, he does really good work. So it’s always good to see him around.
It wasn’t a fun comic convention so much as a chore. Some of the panels were apparently decent, and “Film X” was Iron Sky which I really wanted to see, but due to them putting it with the signings I missed it. I don’t understand why they hype people with things like “Film X” and reveal it on the day, it just seems like a poor attempt to draw in more people.
They moved the Bryan Hitch signing, and didn’t make an announcement, they changed the time too.
Throughout the weekend they must have moved and cancelled about 5 signings?
Half of the artists didn’t have tables, which felt stupid to be honest because the in demand ones should be able to do sketches and the like if they wanted to.
I honestly had more fun going to the Hilton and having a drink with the guests there. So if Kapow is around again next year, rent a room in the Hilton and just loiter there. And run around the corner to the Cyber Candy shop, because they’re awesome.
You can really see the split when they run these things, LSCC had people who obviously wanted to make money but were big comic book fans and understood whereas this had people who just wanted to make money behind it.
It was laughable if you compared it to LSCC and although it’s shameful to admit, I honestly prefer MCM. Well done Kapow, you suck.