On Saturday 19th May my pal Simon and I travelled up to London for Kapow 2012, our first ever comic convention. And it was amazing. This post is a little review of the day and includes all the books I got signed as well as all the extra books I bought whilst there. I spent way too much money but it was worth it. A truly epic day. So here's a look at some of the goodies I came home with.
The first book of mine I got signed was by Frank Quitely, whose queue was pretty large but not insurmountable. I was in the line before about 45-50 minutes I reckon, which was nothing in comparison to Mark Millar's queue. Simon was waiting for at least a good hour and a half for Millar's signature; I took one look at that line and ran away. I figured getting Quitely's autograph would be a lot easier than Millar's, which turned out to be true. Frank was a really nice guy and signed my first volume of Batman & Robin on the cover and inside as well. The only thing I regret about this signing is the fact I didn't take my Absolute All Star Superman with me because I would have loved Frank to have signed that, but it was too damn heavy (not to mention precious) to lug around Kapow all day. After getting the signature in the bag I left Simon in the Millar queue for a little longer and decided to shop around a while. That's when I bought these:
Diamond Distribution had a small stall and were selling hardbacks and paperbacks for just £5. I had to ask to make sure, such was my level of disbelief. £5 for a hardback!? I'd had all three volumes of Spider-Man: Brand New Day on my Amazon wishlist for a while so I couldn't believe my luck when I saw these. Each volume was £5 each and in hardback too (I'm a sucker for hardbacks). £15 for all three books, which worked out being less than just one of the books on their own RRP. After Simon had given up on getting Millar he came and joined me at the Diamond stall and picked up a couple of cheap hardbacks for himself.
With a bag full of heavy hardbacks weighing us down, Simon and I moved on and attacked the wealth of long boxes Kapow had to offer. There were loads of shops and Ebay stores who had stalls at the show and they were selling off hundreds of old back issues. I've recently been on a bit of a Spider-Man binge of late so I was looking to add some old yet inexpensive issues of Amazing Spider-Man to my collection. These two jumped out at me (any thing Daredevil related is getting bought by me these days) and didn't cost too much so I grabbed them quickly.
It was when I found the "All Comics for £1" boxes that all hell broke loose. I got issues 58-67 of Bendis and Maleev's Dardevil run (above) for £10 total. Each comic was only a £1 so I just kept adding them up; I think I bought six in a row, then a couple more, then I thought "Hey, why not just two more?". I ended up with ten delightful issues of my favourite Marvel character and then called it a day on the single issues.
By now we'd browsed the convention for some time and each of us had bought a fair few books so we decided to turn our attention to the writer and artist signings once more.
Both Simon and I both had a few books to get signed by Andy Diggle, whose queue was pretty reasonable. He was really nice and signed two of the first Daredevil issues I ever bought. I love that Daredevil #506 cover on the right, beautifully done by Paulo Rivera; Diggle's signature looks pretty good there too.
We decided to take a little break, get some food and a sitdown for a bit before hitting the shopfloor again. There was plenty more still to buy:
I spotted this (above) and bought it instantly. It's volume 2 of Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee's Superman: For Tomorrow. I bought and read the first volume years and years ago, before I was seriously into comics and I really enjoyed it. I've been trying to get my hands on the second volume for a while now but its been out of print for some time. I've heard volume 2 isn't very good and Azzarello goes a bit off track but I didn't care, Lee's artwork is worth the price of admission alone. I was so surprised to see this at Kapow that this was one of my favourite purchases of the day.
Civil War: Spider-Man was one of the books I spotted right at the start of the show but held off of buying straight away because I didn't want to spend all my money just yet (I wanted to browse a bit more). But I had to come back and get this and I'm so glad I did. This book is almost an omnibus because its roughly the correct size (contains over 20 issues). It's out of print now too and goes for £30+ on Ebay and even more than that on Amazon, so to get it for £23 was a bargain in my eyes. It's a beautiful edition and I can't wait to read it.
By 4 o'clock in the afternoon, both of us were beginning to tire. We'd been up since 5.30am and had travelled quite a bit. But it was around this time we noticed that the queues for Scott Snyder and Joe Quesada had considerably shrunk in length. So much so that we joined on the end of Snyder's line and were meeting the man himself within 25 minutes.
Before I travelled to Kapow I'd set Snyder and Quesada's signatures as the two I wanted the most. I am a huge fan of Snyder and had taken my Batman books to get signed by him and I had some of my Daredevil stuff to be signed by Quesada too. Typically they had the longest queues of the day, being the star names of the show, so people had begun queueing for them an hour and a half before they were even supposed to arrive at their signing tables, which was insane. Simon and I both figured there was no way we'd get our books signed by either of them and resigned ourselves to that fact. So you can imagine our joy when we saw the lines were barely ten people long with just under an hour left to go. Snyder and Quesada were scheduled to sign until 5 pm so we had plenty of time left to get our books signed. As you can see from above I got my Batman: Black Mirror signed by Scott (oh yeah, I got it signed by Jock earlier in the day too, who was a top bloke) as well as my Batman #1 and Batman: Gates of Gotham paperback as well (both not pictured), which I bought on the day (another book I had been wanting for a long time but looks like its out of print already). Snyder turned out to be the nicest guy in the building. Despite obviously being rushed because of the huge line of people he had faced all afternoon, he took the time to ask my name and say thanks for buying and supporting the books. Its little moments like that that made it worth going.
After meeting Snyder and getting our books signed (Simon got his copy of Batman #1 signed and the first volume of American Vampire in hardback) I noticed Quesada's queue had been whittled down to only a few people so I immediately joined on the end. In less than 10 minutes I met Marvel's Chief Creative Officer and shook his hand before he signed my Daredevil books, pictured below:
The book on the left is my hardback edition of Daredevil: Guardian Devil that I review back in March.
By now we were just about ready to head home, but there was one more moment of fun to be had. Sean Phillips, the British artist responsible for Criminal, Sleeper and Incognito, had been sandwiched between Quesada and Snyder since 3pm and his queue was non-existent by 4.45pm. Whilst I'd been queueing and meeting Quesada, Simon had taken advantage of Phillips's rapidly decreasing line and had gotten his beautiful copy of Fatale #1 signed, which included a cheeky sketch inside. Seeing this I decided to spend my last bit of money on a Criminal paperback to make the most of Phillips being there:
I bought Criminal Volume 6, The Last of the Innocent, since the only copies of the first volume Coward I could find had already been pre-signed or were in pretty rough condition. Since Volume 6 is a stand alone book and not really part of the rest of the series I had no problem buying the final volume before I'd read the previous five. Phillips couldn't have been nicer when I met him. We had a chat about his original artwork he had on display at his table, as well as the different colourists he's worked with (I asked him about his preferences since his original black and white work is so amazing.) Phillips was even nice enough to spent a couple of minutes and draw me an awesome sketch:
And that was that. It was past 5pm and we had to get going if we were to get home in time. It was such an incredible day and everybody we met was so insanely nice to talk to. Whether it was the creators at their tables signing or random people we met in the queues, everyone was really friendly and it really helped make the day a great one. I reckon Simon and I will go again next year, it was that much fun.
Thanks for reading.