May 2012

Dan's Blog: Kapow Debrief

I was pretty tired in this photo. If you have a chirpier one of me, please let me know!

Kapow’s something of a special convention for us. The con’s first outing last April was also the first time that Moon saw action at a major convention and Kapow 2011 remains one of my highlights from last year. In the end Kapow 2012 turned out to be something of a mixed bag, not awful by any stretch but certainly a very different to last year.

It was pretty hard to get a sense of the overall vibe of the con as we were kinda tucked away in the new Artist’s Alley on the upper level but on the whole the atmosphere definitely seemed somewhat muted compared to 2011. That’s not to say that people weren’t enjoying themselves but the electricity which permeated the air last time was lacking and the audience numbers certainly looked to be down (though this is pure speculation).

Ultimately I think you have to put this down to the decision to postpone the convention until May in order to allow Marvel Comics to attend (they were a little busy in April with a certain movie). This move placed Kapow exactly a week before one of London’s other Goliath cons, MCM and just 2 weeks after the Bristol expo. To be fair, all three cons have slightly different audiences but cramming them all into one month was always going to force fans to pick one or two and both Bristol and Kapow appear to have been hit by this (though, let me again stress that this observation isn’t based on concrete attendance figures).

The Kapow Floor begins to fill up.

One thing that wasn’t lacking was the work that the guests and exhibitors themselves put into the event. Of the few events I got to see the Lucha Britannia‘s wrestling shows remain the highlight for me. Wrestling shows at comic cons have become a pretty common sight but the Lucha Britannia guys put on by far the best show I’ve seen in this country and I heartily recommend that you catch one of their shows if you get the chance. Jonathan Ross also continued to carve out a reputation as the ultimate convention guest, at one point even diving into the ring to help the good guy wrestlers win the day.

Lucha Britannia

Reactions to the new Artist’s Alley seemed to be kinda mixed too. Some people enjoyed the quieter atmosphere as it allowed them to talk to fans without clogging up the isle and certainly for the fans who found their way up there it offered a lot of opportunities to spend time meeting creators. Of course the down side is that not all the fans found all their way up there and because the layout didn’t funnel people directly past tables, it was tough for exhibitors to strike up conversations and ultimately sell books.

 In all honesty, use of the upper levels of the business design centre was inevitable given how crowded the main floor got during the day. I take some issue with the price that was charged for the tables in the Alley, given that they were always going to be inferior to the main floor in terms of sales. Other cons justify the existence of these less desirable plots by renting them to small press publishers and creators for a reduced rate. It’s a deal that works for everyone as you essentially get what you pay for. Kapow’s stance has always been that they don’t do small press and everyone pays the same for a table. This was fine last year, we paid a premium sum but we got a premium table in a premium location. This year however I can’t help but feel that we paid way over the odds for a less desirable location. Die hard critics will leap on this as “another example of Kapow stiffing small press” but I’m not sure I see it in quite such extreme terms. The Artist’s Alley was a new venture and it takes a year or so to work the bugs out of things like that. Jumping to conspiracy theories serves nobody and it’s far better to offer organisers constructive feedback than jump down their throats. So here’s the feedback, Kapow: The Artist’s Alley works, it’s a good addition but it’s too expensive and you need to make it clearer during the booking process that it’s located on the upper level…oh and if you could book even more luchas, that’d be great too.

While we’re on the subject of feedback, I want to offer one additional thought. Kapow, your wristbands suck. They look like creepy, escaped hospital patient bracelets and they are scratchy as hell (my poor wife has the scars to prove it and that’s just from rolling onto my arm in her sleep during Saturday night). Give exhibitors lanyards. Lanyards are cool, you can take them off at night and they sound like the name of a family from Game of Thrones. There’s no reason not to use them.

Scratchy scratchy!

On the whole, the weekend was a lot of fun for us. Despite the disappointment of our table, we sold reasonably well, met a lot of incredible Moon fans (seriously, you guys are incredible) and had a lot of fun. I want to send out some congratulations to Band of Butchers artist Rob Carey who not only successfully launched his Lightning Strike project but (justifiably) had big name editors drooling over his artwork. Never get tired of seeing people I know get recognition they deserve. Also want to give some thanks to Stuart Gould from UKComics for coming through again with some amazing print work for us. If you make comics and you don’t use Stu for your printing then you’re possibly mad.

Kapow closes down for the night.

I now have four days to “relax” by doing my day job, meeting with my film writing partner Jim Eaton to work on our next big project and finalising the new Unseen Shadows comic I’m doing and then it’s off to MCM for three more days of madness. I’ll be live tweeting the Eagle awards from @danthompson2099 on Friday and given how much free beer they gave me last time, this should be something that’s worth tuning in for.

Well done, Kapow for pulling off the difficult second album. There were some logistical issues but every fan I spoke to had a cracking time. Here’s to another year of a very unique convention.


Skyfall Trailer

It’s been a while since Bond was on our screen. While Casino Royale left everyone wanting more – it’s fair to say that the follow up cooled attitudes. The contrivance of a hotel filled with explosive gas as a finale for a Bond movie stretched things almost as far as the super car-bonnet surfing glacier space laser scene from Dire another Day. But this looks like cleaner, slicker, tougher stuff. Sam Mendes, director of comic adaptation Road to Perdition (featuring Daniel Craig) has a history of crisply shot violence and misunderstood masculinity. So nothing like this then.

Worth a look I’d say.

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie? : Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy!!

We here at Beyond the Bunker are convinced that Rocket Raccoon is an irresistable possibility for Marvel to not make into a movie. The combination of Armoured smart talker (Peter Quill), uncertain galactic powerhouse (Captain Marvel), mysterious magic man (Warlock), Giant Man Tree (Groot) and a cockney Raccoon seems like blockbuster gold to me and the various plot lines that we’re seeing build up are looking like they might suggest at least a cameo for this lot in the next four movies released by Marvel.

This little clip goes some way towards pointing in that direction but are our predictive powers maybe over stretching a little? ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ says Iron Man in a voice that suggests he’s about to be dragged away by his frat buddies to a kegger on the other side of campus ‘like Space Avengers…’

Yes, Tony Stark (script writer of this episode) like the biggest grossing movie ever made …. only in space…… hmmmmm.

If I get a chance to talk to Joe Quesada this weekend I’m asking for a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Once, long ago, I was pretty reserved about this stuff….

Moon's Song of the Week – Tomorrow by Niki & the Dove


Scandinavian electro pop act, Niki & The Dove’s debut album officially came out this week and that means with national newspapers rushing to review it, the small window during which I can pretend they are this cool little band nobody else knows about is rapidly closing. As much as I’ve enjoyed my brief little holiday as a hipster, the band thoroughly deserve the meteoric rise that doubtless now lies before them so here’s one more track of theirs to see them on their way.

Tomorrow is another collection of quirky beats and soaring vocals that offers shades of Florence Welch and Kate Bush while still retaining the band’s own style.


Unseen Unseen Shadows Sketch : Secret Clancy Wallencheck Artwork

It’s been a while since the Unseen Shadows Anthology (featuring Clancy Wallencheck:Band of Butchers, Napoleon Stone: Fragments of Fate, Stephanie Connisbee: Operation Solomon and Reverend: Wrath of God). The next anthology is in the process of being completed – this time featuring Ben ‘The Hand’ Ashodi (from FH 1) and Nathan Ash (written by our very own Dan Thompson).

At the time of Unseen Shadows I drew a scene based on Dan’s writing. As I’ve been looking through some of my old artwork I found that sketch and thought I’d stick it up for your perusal. First time Dan will have seen it too. Surprise, Danno!!

Star Wars: Crazy Images

It’s fair to say that Star Wars has pretty much conquered the internet and popular culture like an imperial cyber march. So much so that it’s beginning to draw in every other bit of popular culture and chewing on it. Sometimes it’s just self referential using gags that everyone gets. Sometimes it’s so thuggishly funny it has to be included (like the one below). Whatever you think – Star Wars is going nowhere. Avengers photo gags in thirty years? Who knows. It lacks the juicy soap opera of bother and sister having an unsuspecting kiss and gay robots so maybe it will never reach the heady heights that Lucas’ brain child enjoys. Never the less, here’s a selection for you…

Moon Hits Kapow!!

Of course Moon will be at Kapow! (Wouldn’t be Kapow if we weren’t quite frankly). We will be bringing Moon 1 to a whole new batch – and anyone who already has a copy will get a free badge if they come by the table… and sketches will be available as well!! How about a picture of you and Moon?! Eh?!

Stop by for news on Moon 2!

Moon 2 will be out soon!! Watch this space!!

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis Hit the Trail in Campaign

The official trailer for ‘The Campaign’ starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as political rivals in a race for Congress in a North Carolina district. Ferrell plays incumbent congressman Cam Brady who makes a major public goof that forces a bunch of wealthy CEOs to put up a rival for his seat in Congress in the form of Galifianakis’ Marty Huggins, the director of the local Tourism Center.

Ferrell’s comic turns are hit and miss at times and Galifianakis has never really matched that first global smack in the face that was The Hangover but this pitches them more positively than in previous incarnations and kinda to their strengths. It’s also not a sports movie which is an obvious plus in Will Ferrell’s corner. Add to that punching babies in the face this might be a winner.

Dropping Science: What Would Happen If You Put Your Hand Into The Large Hadron Collider?


Scientists generally don’t like being asked silly questions, so when the guys from Sixty Symbols asked several scientists what would happen if you stuck your hand into the beam of the Large Hadron Collider, they were given pretty short shrift. Most of us would have simply left it there, however the Sixty Symbols guys are not most of us and so they travelled to CERN to ask the people behind the LHC what they thought would happen. Turns out that the CERN scientists were more than happy to chat about crazy theoreticals. I imagine that’s why they work at a giant super collider beneath Switzerland.

In case you’re wondering, putting your hand in the LHC would be a bad idea.


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