Posts Tagged ‘REET!’

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!:

Thing 2010

March 28, 2010

I remember the first Thing I went to, back in 2005…  I’d been reading fanzines for years and producing my own A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters, but didn’t know so much about DIY comics aside from REET!, its Hull-based precursor Lobster and a few titles found in the small-press section of Gosh! (does anyone remember Living Room comic?) I think I’d found out about the Thing from a flyer in Gosh!, and it introduced me to a wider world of underground publishing. I took along a few copies of my brand new Amusing Paper and I swapped and bought comics from Richard Cowdry, James Nash and Paul Rainey, all of whom are still doing comics now… I remember being a bit in awe of them. These days I’m used to being on the other side of the table and am possibly becoming a jaded old veteran!

It was a tired Team Twelve Eyes that set up stall in the Great Hall at Mile End on Saturday morning – neighbour Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine had travelled down from Yorkshire through the night, while I was just a little sleepy after being out to see art-rock-band Youthmovies the previous evening. My comic-making spirits had been perked up by reading the final issue of Phonogram, but it was a slow start to the day. My first sale was achieved through friendly desperation. “Feel free to browse my comics. Please?”

When Joe Decie arrived and we set up our shared table, I had trouble fitting on all my comics and postcards; if doing the Thing again next year, we might have to expand to our own tables as our range of titles grows. Oddly, though, I’ve found that while I have more issues on offer at each Thing, I’ve sold fewer comics in total. I suspect this is due to there being fewer Thing attendees rather than a decline in my product quality…

The hall certainly seemed less busy than previous years, and perhaps its visitor numbers have declined due to the number of other events at which it’s possible to buy small press, increase in Thing entry cost, or lack of so many ‘big name’ exhibitors this year such as Kate Beaton or Rene Engstrom. Or maybe potential new visitors just didn’t know about the Thing – I hadn’t seen any flyers in comic shops this year, and while it’s hard to gauge how much it helps to advertise, it wouldn’t do any harm.

A major attraction in favour of the Thing though, for exhibitors and visitors, is the themed Anthology produced every year, to which all are encouraged to contribute new work and which is sold cheap at the event. This year’s dinosaur-themed book is a whopping 131 pages, containing more dinosaurs than is entirely sensible, and is well worth a read.

I had a quick scout around the other tables and was pleased to see plenty of products new to me: especially impressed by a glossy mag full of weird illustration by John Miers and an odd little zine called Melon Shrub which drew me in with its eccentric drawing style and clever use of colour. I also bought the latest instalments of David O’Connell’s fantasy detective story Tozo, Paul Rainey’s Milton Keynes-set time travel epic There’s No Time Like the Present and Shug’s comedic end-of-the-world series Find Comet, Hit Comet, Watch Comet, Sleep. It’s obviously effective to publish continuing stories!

A new addition to this year’s Thing was the Dino-Saw-Us passport game thought up by Lizz Lunney and Timothy ‘People I Know’ Winchester. Collecting our stickers seemed popular with kids of all ages. It was also a good way of getting people to stop at our table while we attempted a sales pitch! Most common response: “I’m just browsing, I’ll be back round again later”.

Team Twelve Eyes were pleased when customers actually did come back when they said they would, and when one gent bought a big pile of comics from each of us. He even brought a checklist of previous purchases, so he’d know not to buy the same issue twice.

After a long day, we showed our faces at the ‘Schmurgencon’ (a rival convention/ pub gathering, thrown by mystery Norwegian ‘Schmurgen Jonerhaffs’) before retiring to the traditional Post-Thing Thing for beer and burger and talk with various comics creators, taking in bad puns, dangerous print techniques and Shoe People. We were also treated to free copies of an International sampler comic from German publishers Zwerchfell, which looks and even smells great. Thanks!

It’s always good to see folks and their new wares; so while not a vintage Thing, it was a Thing worth doing.

What do you call a dinosaur with twelve eyes?

March 13, 2010

Team Twelve Eyes

It’s Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine, Joe Decie and me, sharing tables and selling comics again at this year’s Thing. If you were there last year, we’re in the same place so you’ll know where to find us. If you weren’t there last year, look out for three guys with glasses…

The Thing brings together over 80 exhibitors of small-press and web-based comics, selling books, zines, merch and such, taking part in panel discussions, and doodling to order. There will also be the probably-exclusive opportunity to buy the Thing anthology (this year’s theme: dinosaurs) and put together your own comics passport from various creators (see the Dino-Saw-Us blog for more details of this great sticker-collecting scheme!).

I have postcards, stickers and some brand new greetings cards… and I’m working on some comics.

The Thing takes place at Great Hall, Queen Mary University, Mile End, on Saturday 27th March from 10am- 5pm (NB. Mile End tube will be shut part of the day, so use Stepney Green instead, if you’re coming to the Thing, that is).

At the Comic Convention…

October 13, 2009

Here’s a strip I drew after the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing back in March!
I’ve exhibited there for the last two years and it’s always a busy fair, and it’s interesting to get reactions to your work from the customers and other cartoonists…

Among the goings-on, two small boys asked me to draw their picture while I was still half asleep (not my best work!), while an older guy flicking through my comics was reminded of his youth, and one girl seemed to be there for the Web Thing rather than for the Mini Comix! Twelve Eyes Comics Team Shug, Joe Decie and I compared self-portraits with Sarah McIntyre (illustrator of the marvellous Morris the Mankiest Monster) and I amazed Shug with my daring drawing technique…

I don’t draw myself too often, but had made an exception for a guest strip in Mallard fanzine, a regular anthology of text and comic fiction. Well worth checking out for Tom England’s spare and effective scenes of imagined middle age, Chris Leahy’s dense and intriguing serial and Joe Baddeley’s amusing stick men!