The very first event of the very first Kapow! Comic Con was always going to play a part in setting the tone for the weekend, and to its credit the Fans Vs Pros Quiz did just that and then some. Moderated by the UK’s most prominent talkshow host and Turf writer Jonathan Ross, the quiz turned in an effortlessly irreverent mix of banter and geek knowledge, with the only prize for the winners being that they were allowed to leave the hall with their dignity intact.
It was a packed to the rafters hall that welcomed Jonathan Ross in, as he strolled round from behind a screen to little announcement or fanfare. Setting his stall out right away, Ross confessed tongue-in-cheek that he had spent more time and effort preparing the questions for the quiz than he had on anything he had done in his whole televisual career, and then without pausing for breath admitted he’d left his questions at home, and that the whole thing would be a bit of a ‘kick-bollock scramble‘. With the crowd more or less in the palm of his hand, as it stayed for the rest of the panel, Ross ushered out the team representing the professionals – John Romita Jr, Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The organisers had promised to pit the professionals against a team of fans handpicked from the audience, and so after announcing that the fans team would be led by stand-up comedian Stewart Lee, an elimination process was entered into where Ross ruled out potential contestants until left with the final two. Questions such as ‘hands up if you went to see Sucker Punch‘ ruled out the first batch (‘shame on you‘ Ross yelled at those who had), followed with ‘have you ever bought multiple copies of one comic for investment purposes?‘ cutting down more (this was met with another ‘shame on you‘ to those that confessed that they did, although Ross admitted he had three thousand copies of Spawn #1 he was looking to offload to one lucky buyer). Eventually left with fans Joe and Rachel, they took their seats next to Stewart Lee and the quiz began.
First blood went to the professionals, with Mark Millar correctly answering that the character that rode on Jack Kirby favourite Devil Dinosaur was Moonboy, after Lee erroneously answered Kamandi. This set the stage for an hour of laughs, and lapses of comic book knowledge on both sides. Highlights included:
- Jonathan Ross asking the audience ‘hands up if you’re sick of Mark talking about himself?‘
- A succession of comic book covers Jonathan Ross had compiled, not so much as part of the quiz but just to ask the crowd wether or not the phallic images presented were intentional or not (you can search for them yourselves – this is a family website after all – Scooby Doo 146, World’s Finest 7, Nature Boy – or ‘Mature Boy’ as Stewart Lee misread – and the mysterious The Rifleman)
- Guest questions from Jim Lee and Joe Quesada, Quesada particularly winning the crowd over with a mock expletive-filled rant before asking ‘if Hulk got together with She-Hulk, would it be legal?‘ The correct answer of course is that in 24 out of 50 states in the U.S., it would, although Stewart Lee countered that if they turned into their Hulk forms they may not be related anymore. This was roundly scoffed.
- Stewart Lee guessing that Brother Voodoo’s real name was ‘Colin Voodoo‘ after being told it was something to do with voodoo.
- Diehard Superman fan Mark Millar crediting the direction of Superman II to a ‘Richard Fleischer’ and then staring in disbelief when told he was wrong.
The final score? A respectable 22 – 15 to the fans, leaving Millar, Gibbons and Romita Jr with their reputation in tatters (but not really). The final word went to Ross who finished proceedings with another ‘I can’t believe I forgot my questions‘.
And with that, and with great applause, the crowd left the hall to join the already huge crowds gathering in the London Business Design Centre. A thoroughly entertaining way to kick off what was promising to be a great weekend.