Posts Tagged ‘Alternative Press’

The Second International Alternative Press Fair

August 5, 2012

I had a good time visiting the 2nd International Alternative Press Fair at Conway Hall in Holborn yesterday, and picked up a bunch of awesome-looking comics and zines: the new Comix Reader anthology, another comics newspaper collection KUTI from Finland, an unusual book of animal-people drawn by Alessandro Ripane produced by Bradiponauta from Italy, the great new fold-out mini-comic from Steve Tillotson, Christopher Wren’, a Hong Kong sketchbook by James Nash, the new Island 3 by Lando and a bunch of work from Paul Ashley Brown comprising the new Browner Knowle, horror tale ‘The Tall Trees’ and lovely, sad,  scratchy illustrated monologue printed directly from pencil originals, ‘A Life in the Day’. Lots of inspiring work on show, makes me want to crack on with a new collection of my own!

A few other things I liked were the Magic collection by Girls Who Draw and the gorgeous Ellipsis by Tom Humberstone (which I forgot to go back for until the tables were packed up) and a photo-zine composed of close-up shots from Masterchefwhich make the hosts look like something from a horror film… although I couldn’t imagine going back to read that one very often. The anthology which seemed to consist entirely of twisted versions of Popeye was a bit strange as well.

Also a chunky book of colourful strips by John Broadley screenprinted in ink so thick it ponged deliciously. And some lovely work by John Miers again, especially his ‘Circle Man in Rectilinear Town’. Almost too much to look at in one day!

The day was completed with a film screening, a relaxing storytelling hour, a look at the tie-in artwork exhibited in the shop windows of nearby Lamb’s Conduit Street, then to Orbital Comics and a train packed full of enthusing sports fans while reading the day’s purchases.

Getting International

June 3, 2011

I enjoyed the first day of the International Alternative Press Fair at Conway Hall last weekend.  There was lots of good work on show from various places, and it was nice to meet some familiar and some new faces.

I was on the end of a table with my regular comic neighbour Joe Decie and three ziners squeezed in besides who had to take turns at the chairs. There’s so much talent at these fairs there’s sometimes not much room to move; one thing I always enjoy at these events is seeing fully-grown adults crawling underneath tables.

It was a quiet day for sales of my own, but I didn’t have a piece to point and shout at “this is new!”, unlike Joe whose new collection The Accidental Salad is now available in shops, from Blank Slate Books and here today and looking awesome, a great lot of sweet and odd ink-and-wash observations and stories, short flights of fancy and walks with pretty scenery.

I was also pleased to be able to buy the new comics from James Nash (whose latest annual diary collection of daily drawn thoughts, conversations and musical interludes Something Reductive uses a new newspaper format that shows off well the bold flow his art is taking), Steve Tillotson (Chris Sandwich, a short work of weird and slapstick three-panel strips starring an unfortunate young professional and a glowing skull) and Gareth Brookes (The Black Project, a compelling and darkly funny illustrated story of maladjusted adolescence) and the new issues of top anthology papers Paper Science (a science fiction special) and the fast-becoming-essential Comix Reader. All recommended. Some perhaps for mature readers only.

The best brand new thing I saw was a collection of various illustrations in all kinds of blues. I think it was called Blue Suede Shoes although it featured a lot of other things apart from blue shoes or indeed a blue Elvis. My least favourite was a collection of black-and-white photographs on yellow paper of a skateboard and a bunch of bananas. I didn’t buy either of them though.

I went along to a discussion staged by big cheese comics journalist Paul Gravett with Phillippe Morin of the Angouleme comics festival, which raised some interesting points on how the comics scene in Britain is becoming more successful, helped by events like today, and how it’s similar to France 20 years ago, where they really love their comics. Both men started out by writing fanzines. Paul Gravett kept having to ask the audience not to steal the examples he’d brought along from his beloved collection.

I enjoyed drawing a page for the Zine-in-a–Day which was compiled from pages which contributors brought along or created that day, and printed by the Footprint Workers Co-op down from Leeds. Our table was nearby and the rhythm of the risograph was an inspiring sound to have in the background, maybe I should start working in a factory.

There was a boy selling his own comic called The Zoom (with his mother’s help). He had one strip showing the same character throughout history, in different clothes, and it reminded me I used to draw the same thing when I was little. So I sort of stole his idea for my Zine-in-a-Day page, but I’d had the same idea first.

Afterwards I retired to the Crown with the Banal Pig gang and small press cub reporter Dickon Harris, who confused the barmaid by talking about comics and her expecting us to tell jokes. Then to Orbital for the exhibition of Slovenia’s top sequential art organ Stripburger. And home quite early due to not having had any dinner.

Next time I will have a new comic and some more food.

Alternative Press

December 2, 2010

Last Sunday I visited the latest Alternative Press Fair at St Aloysius Social Club in Euston, to stock up on new comics and catch up with friends; after exhibiting at a number of conventions in the last few years I’d stepped out in the summer as I wanted to take a break from selling my same old comics and refresh my enthusiasm for drawing them. It was nice to go back and find I’d been missed!

There were a few issues I wanted to catch up on: Shug’s final two of his four-part series Find Comet, Hit Comet, Watch Comet, Sleep; the new showcase from the reliable Banal Pig stable; and the latest Whores of Mensa anthology (the cover of which features a party full of small press creators, myself included!). I also bought The Comix Reader, an ambitious, artist-funded project edited by Richard Cowdry; the new Browner Knowle, impressive work as ever from Paul Ashley Brown, and Paul’s Donald Hamilton collaboration with Peter Lally; a delightful collection of Philippa Rice’s cardboard-cutout comics, and her small zine on vestibules(!); and another good newspaper format comic by Daniel Locke.

I was reminded of how different things can seem at the other side of the table, as although a few people remarked the event wasn’t as busy as previous fairs, it certainly seemed busy while trying to get to certain tables. A watched pot never boils…

A good thing about my visiting only trip was that I was able to go off and visit a couple of other shops: I dropped into Orbital and bought the new collections of Solipsistic Pop and Paper Science, and marvelled at the exhibited winning entries to the Observer Graphic Story Prize by Stephen Collins and Anna Mill & Luke Jones. I also flicked through the big hardback Fanzines study by Teal Triggs and was pleased to see a few zines reproduced which I recognised from the late 90s scene including Dancing Chicks and Vacuum Boots. No mention of A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters though.

Then we went back to St Aloysius Social Club to pick up any comics sold on the communal table (one copy of Amusing Paper!) and have a few drinks, which is always one of the best parts of comic fairs.

Shug has an exhibitor report with lots of photos up here. And here’s me enjoying a copy of REET!:

Alternative Press Fair

February 14, 2010

I had fun at the Alternative Press Fair yesterday. I was sharing a table with long-term small-press advocate Gavin Burrows (whose ‘Lucid Frenzy’ blog covers a variety of alternative culture and is well worth a read) and Tom and Joe from Mallard Small Press. Sales were reasonable, comics were discussed, beer was drunk.

Highlights of the day included:

– watching how eye-catching my Friendly Demon comic seemed to be. Either colour covers are the way forward, or small press enthusiasts are all Satanists

– thinking we were onto a sale when a girl in front of our table opened up her handbag… but pulled out a phone and went away.

– embarrassment in mixing up the members of the Mallard team, Chris (who writes dense and intriguing prose fiction) and Joe (who draws cartoons of stick men). Joe’s postcards seemed to sell well, but sadly the zines didn’t move so fast (you can read more on their blog)

– Saban ‘Shabs’ Kazim’s stand-up comedy set – the open-mic and poetry evening was a little hit-and-miss this time around, but Shabs’ true-life stories are always worth hearing

– buying some new comics: Pissing in the Wind by Joe Decie (a collection defining uses of the word ‘piss’); Birdsong/Songbird anthology by Will Kirkby, Sarah McIntyre, David O’Connell and friends; and James Nash’s 2009 Diary Comic, in which I was amused to find myself making a small cameo at a Bearsuit gig…

Thanks to Peter Lally, Gareth Brookes, Jimi Gherkin and the rest of the Alternative Press team for organising another fine day!

UPDATE: Richy K. Chandler of Tempo Lush fame also has a blog report complete with pictures: see if you can spot the difference between my cartoon and his photo!

Fun at the Fair

January 17, 2010

Next month sees the return of London’s premier gathering for all things underground and printed, the third Alternative Press Fair. There will be small-press comics, zines, artist books, radical literature and nice merchandise sold by as many creators as can fit in the venue. I’ll be there with comics and postcards; here’s a little flyer from me:

It’s also the first birthday of the Alternative Press team, so they plan a celebration after the stalls have packed up, with music and open-mic for all.

Also in my diary is the Brighton Zinefest on the weekend of 20th February, and a little further off, the annual celebration of comics that is the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing in London on 27th March. See you there!

Are You Zine-Friendly?

November 14, 2009

I went along to the Zine Friendly night at the Foundry on 12th November, an Alternative Press evening organised to promote the launch of the Zine Friendly blog. It’s a new venture which encourages venues and events to be ‘Zine Friendly’ by selling small press publications or allowing creators to promote their wares, prospectively opening the scene to a brand new audience. As zine guru Jimi Gherkin says, a lot of people these days don’t know what zines are, even if they have an interest in music or alternative culture, because there are so few places to come across them. The world of zines is wide, interesting and creatively empowering, so it’s something to be recommended.

The basement of the Foundry was host to a communal zine stall, tea and cakes, and a cardboard robot which visitors decorated with sketches, doodles and Pavement lyrics. I caught up with some comics friends and bought a new issue of Browner Knowle – a series of observational fiction by Paul Ashley Brown, this one featuring an introspective artist and a failed romance – and I was even lucky enough to get home in just over an hour, which was better than my failed attempt to get a train to Comiket last Sunday….

Alternative Press

August 31, 2009

I must give a mention and thanks to the organisers of last month’s Alternative Press Festival. The Festival involved several different events held over five days in London, and launched the Alternative Press anthology ‘Publish You’. Publish You is a great, glossy, nicely-bound and smartly-designed paperback including work from a variety of artists working in small press – some of my favourites being Hugh Raine, Scott Jason Smith, James Nash, Banal Pig, Kate McMorrine- actually, there are too many to list here. But it’s well worth taking a look for yourself and it’s available from a lot of bookshops in London (see here), or online here.

I went to two of the week’s events, Collaborama held at a cool arty pub called the Miller in London Bridge, and the Alternative Press Fair at St Aloysius Social Club near Euston. It’s always invigorating to see the diverse creative wares on show and to get a good reaction for my own work, and it’s given me a renewed enthusiasm for producing my own comics.

While the Fair was a more traditional day of selling behind tables (and a successful day it was), the Collaborama was as its name ought to suggest, an event designed to encourage collaborative work in small press. Leeds’ Footprinter collective brought their Risograph machine and copied 300 issues of a zine created on the day by small press makers and fair attendees.

I drew an animal for the zine… though as some pointed out I could have drawn a Tibetan leader.



The event also included live music from London’s own Antifolk collective, who were as to be expected great in parts, and the evening ended with the Resonance FM orchestra playing a selection of laptop improv and a composition based on the character of Fu Manchu, which was appropriately sinister and melodramatic (I particularly enjoyed the comical guitar riff played each time the criminal’s name was spoken, cutting in like a violent fanfare). The music was accompanied by visuals from a selection of artists, interpreting what they heard and projecting live onto the walls. As a live experience this was especially effective and dramatic to watch when some started colouring over what they had already done, thereby destroying previous work – working only for the moment instead of creating a piece of work to keep. Adding live music, or live poetry / spoken-word performance as the organisers had at an earlier evening, and encouraging the audience to participate, really opens up the creative potential and the audience appeal of these festivals.

Keep an eye on to see what’s next in store, and get involved!