Mark Millar Brings Kapow! Comic Con to London

Because he wasn't doing enough already, Mark Millar wanted to bring the San Diego Comic-Con experience to London, and so he has. Enter, the Kapow! Comic Con, in London, on 9-10 April, 2011 in the London Business Design Centre.  £25 gets you a pass for the whole weekend, and £175 gets you a VIP ticket, including guaranteed entrance into all panels, entry into an advanced screening of the Millar directed film, Miracle Park, a VIP drinks event, and a goodie bag including signed Kick-Ass variants.

As is done these days, Millar whipped up a little promotional video featuring himself, Dave Gibbons, Leinil Yu, and Frank Quitely, talking about who's going to be there.

Featuring guests like John Romita Jr., Bryan Hitch, Olivier Coipel, Paul Cornell, Kevin O'Neill, Steve Dillon, Jock, Brian Bolland, Andy Diggle, David Lloyd, Kieron Gillen, Chris Weston, and more, it's sure to be one hell of a great show  All autographs are free, as well.

They'll have more updates about upcoming events soon, with sneak peeks at TV and Film stuff before they go to San Diego in July.


  1. I already have my ticket. Spoke to someone this morning from Kapow! and they think tickets could sell out by the end of the week!

    Great to see that we finally have a well supported convention coming over here, been far too long

  2. christ, this is exciting! as a brit whose only experience of comic conventions is goin to small, dank hotel function-rooms and perusing various stalls that sell faded dr who memorabilia and dusty 2000 ad comics, what can i expect from a convention that is in a similar vein to the american comic cons?

  3. also, i’m currently studying for a degree in english and would be more than happy to offer my services if you’re looking for coverage of this event?

  4. I am all over this.

  5. hurrah! an excuse to go to London!

  6. This one has kicked up a real stink amongst the UK comic convention crowds and creators.

    You see Mark Millar talking about a British ‘San Diego’ has upset the organisers of MCM Expo. MCM Expo is a London based con which has bern advertising itself for the past to years as ‘Britain’s version of Comicon!’ And that’s an easy comparison. The crowds are bigger than any other comics con in the UK, and MCM also caters to many media – Anime, Manga, movies, videogames. Oh. And comics.

    And in the past that I’d largely why UK comics fans held it in disdain. A London con, but where comics only had a 5th of the floor space, if that.

    Not a proper comic con.

    Huh, maybe it is OUR San Diego! 🙂

    But MCM then began getting a fair number of creators involved who could pull bigger numbers, and has been expanding the number of creators (especially small press) in is comics village. Guys like Andy Diggle, Jock, Paul Cornell, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Warren Ellis. Pretty much the only con, even in the UK, where you WILL see Warren Ellis. 🙂

    Naturally, they’re not too happy that Mark Millar now has a higher publicised, but ultimately smaller convention, in what they consider to be their territory. Especially having worked so hard on raising it’s comics profile.

    But on the flipside of the coin you have other Cons in the UK, with dedicated fan bases. The likes of The British International Comics Show (BICS), Bristol Comics Expo, Thought Bubble and, just outside of Britain, Dublin Comicon in Ireland.

    These guys aren’t so concerned. Another annual Comic Convention, taking place in the Capital, doesn’t really encroach on their territory. And if it gives MCM a run for it’s money, all the better.

    Why? Because MCM is NOT an annual event. In 2011 they’re planning FOUR. And that can have an impact.

    Take this year, for example. BICS is probably the largest scale British show for comics purists. They get international creators in from America, from Europe, from Japan. They serve small press, mainstream, manga, US comics and British comics through the ages. Good guys. Many British cons are still far more like comic marts – mostly people selling there wares. BICS on the other hand has a launch party on the Friday, two halls of creators and dealers, but also two complete days of panels with creators and companies, covering a broad number of themes. We even got Charlie Adlard presenting some exclusive Walking Dead rough footage at this October’s show.

    The con also takes place in Birmingham, in the middle of Country, which makes it far easier for more people in many areas of the UK to make it to England’s second city.

    Over the past three years this us con which has grown the most, and become a fan favourite.

    This year MCM chose to place a second London show of the year the week after BICS weekend. As a result a number of usual creators (especially those who had been at NYCC the week before) chose to skip BICS, cancel at the last minute, or (and I saw it first hand, because people were queueing for them) no show on the day.

    Now NYCC is different. British creators are always going to go to a con in the States if invited. It’s to be expected. But some people in the UK comics scene now see MCM (remember 4 planned shows for next year) as cannibalising the UK con scene. A franchise trying to push established conventions out.

    For them, the idea of one big Mark Millar and Titan backed London con would be the best option. An annual big comics blowout event at a point in the year which does not tread on anybody else’s toes. As opposed to a franchise which does…

  7. Weird, I actually saw him record the video in the comic shop I work at last week (Forbidden Planet London). Hope this is going to be good

  8. theswordisdrawn: MCM has always had two shows, and the second show is always at the same time. They didn’t “chose” to clash with BICS this year.

    MCM are also NOT planning four London shows next year. There are events in Telford and Manchester run by the same people, which might be where you’re getting confused?

    It’s also massive conjecture on your part to assume people were skipping BICS *because* of MCM being a week later, unless you heard directly from them that this was the case.

    But I would suggest that, for many small press people, MCM is their choice because the table costs is about a third of that at BICS. When profit margins are so low, these are important things to consider.

  9. Sorry to call you on that, but I think it’s harmful to create friction through misinformation.

  10. Hi Jamie,


    Not a problem.


    A bit of missing info on my part, and also a bit of buying wholescale into third partyfan grumbling. Bad form on my part, but I hadn’t the chance when I was posting yesterday to double check on a couple of things.


    My intention was to present a couple of viewpoints I’ve been hearing from friends, Twitter and via email since the announcement of KerPow. It’s so rare that this site has an article dealing with the UK scene that thought I’d try and bring in my own experiences. But it was a fdrantic rush, typed into and iPhone at speed, which looking back at the post now, is not as coherent as I’d intended. And not entirely what I was aiming to say.


    I am rather glad to hear that two of those 4 shows are in Manchester and Telford. I had heard a rumour of a third London show a while back, and assumed wrongly that these 4 that when I’d heard a couple of guys whining about it on Twitter that this was a confirmed escalation of the London show. My mistake. Shows in Manchester and Telford would be a good idea, spreading out to a broader cross section of the Country. I’m definitely in favour of that.


    Re: Skipping BICS because of MCM, I think I ought to clarify that. I certainly feel that this October into November was somewhat congested with Con activity. I can recall earlier in the year one of the organisers of Dublin Con, over on Millarworld’s forum, trying to rearrange their proposed dates due to clashing with Thought Bubble, and then finding that between BICS and MCM finding an available weekend was proving difficult. There were other reasons why the that con didn’t happen this year, but couple with many British creators going over for NYCC, the week before BICS, that’s a lot of con activity in a small space of time!


    From my own experience, in the weeks coming up to BICS, I was hearing friends saying that this year they really had to pick one or two out of the triangle of BICS/MCM/Thought Bubble. Times are tough, money is tight. And that was something I also found echoed online, on a couple of forums I visit regularly , and also through Twitter.


    That was in part also prompted by a couple of creators usually present at BICS saying that because they were attending NYCC and MCM they weren’t going to be able to do BICS as well. It was certainly a talking point which I heard several times at the Con itself.


    The late cancellations of a few creators frustrated some people. I recall one idiot getting a bit mouthy with a staff member about Jock having cancelled the day before, and his having come down from somewhere up North only to be disappointed. I believe that was ill health though. Like THAT was anybody’s fault! You try telling that to a guy who’s made the trip especially, though.

    But the worst thing was seeing a queue on the Sunday being broken up, after the creator being queued for didn’t turn up on the day. Another guying queuing with me had said this was second time he’d seen that happen the same day. Unfortunately, I don’t know which creator that was, but that was the word on the floor at the con. The blame wasn’t being levelled at the organisers however.


    Interesting that you mention Table prices. That’s one element of Cons which punters probably don’t tend to think that much about. If the difference is quite as significant as you say (And let’s face it you’d probably know far better than I 🙂 ) I could certainly understand if some creators did feel it more cost effective to do MCM instead. There’s more people through the door, so potentially a higher return.

    I will say though that certainly over the past couple of years BICS has had a huge Small Press presence. It’s one of the few cons where small press guys can get a prominent place in the main hall. Last year they were arguably the dominant presence in the main hall, and pretty much all the usual familliar small press faces were still there this year. The faces missing were mostly the regular attending pros, from what I could tell. Which was a shame, but these things happen.


    I did hear at least one complaint over the rise in table prices this year. But I guess there was one significant difference between BICS last year and this. Last year BICS was Arts Council funded. Thought Bubble has been in the past also. And that kind of money makes a world of difference to organising a show of that size. Unlike in the US, UK conventions are not generally organised by large companies. Usually it’s a team of a handful of guys who find sponsorship cash to get the show put on. The last government were very proud of funding the Arts in all forms, and some  Conventions were able to benefit from that. But since the the Election those grants have been disappearing. The money just isn’t available anymore.


    It certainly would not surprise me if the price rise for tables had something to do with that. I mean an entire row of the main hall at BICS this year was bought up by an Indie film company, who had paid to shoot their film at the show. It was one way to raise capital for the show, I guess. And that’s what’s really tough for the more traditional UK conventions. The public kind of expects a US style convention, but the kind of money required to do that?

    I think it is also partly why there is some friction between those of us who have supported conventions like Bristol, Dublin, Thought Bubble and the like, over the years. Because if we don’t continue to support them we know that they’ll very quickly cease to be. They are the last of the dedicated Comic shows in the UK, and do a great job of showcasing the medium of comics as a whole, at all forms and at all levels.

    In recent years at UK cons I’ve seen some great panels. From painted cover tutorials to life drawing sessions with burlesque performers. From discussions with Manga creators to companies doing new translations of European comics. From discussions with big name industry Creators right down to small press companies and creators. Not just superhero comic creators, but guys like Charles Vess or Michuru Morikawa. At the larger multi-medium conventions there isn’t room for panels like that. They’re don’t draw in the more casual every day fans. But at a dedicated Comics convention they is room for them. And from my past experience they actually do gather a decent sized audience.

     Don’t get me wrong, I have done MCM Expo before.

    And I’ll be honest… I did have a blast. 🙂 There’s no sense in denying that.

    I actually got Jamie to sign a copy of Suburban Glamour when I was there earlier in the year .

    But it’s a very different crowd, supported by a far greater spread of different interest groups. Many of whom aren’t even into comics. I personally hope that the Comics Village at MCM continues to grow, and more importantly gets more Comics panel time at the show. But at its heart, alot of people still don’t see it as a comics convention. It’s certainly the biggest Anime and Manga show in the UK, and the cosplay is huge! To the lengths that it kind of wigs me out… 

  11. Got a ticket for Xmas – Can’t wait!!!!