Posts Tagged ‘zines’

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!:

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).

Brighton Zinefest Zinefayre

February 27, 2010

I had fun last weekend in Brighton!

I travelled down with Shabs (Alternative Press designer, comic-maker and stand-up comic) and Dickon (Zine Picnic chef and Panel Borders interviewer). We entertained a stranger on the train with some zines. Or maybe we just confused her. As it was a rare sunny day, we took a quick detour to the beach before going up to the Zine fair; here’s a sketch I made earlier…


The fair was part of a four-day zinefest including gigs, films, cabaret and social events organised by a special collective in Brighton. It seems to be a very healthy scene in the city. Unfortunately I didn’t get to any of the other dates, and while at the fair I spent most of my time behind my own table, but such is the way of small-press.

On sale today on two floors of the Hanover Community Centre were self-published comics, personal zines, political pamphlets, a few of the better (more humorous) art books (see Coachwerks anthology from a converted bus garage), and even good old-fashioned music mags (I picked up Shebang on a previous trip). I was sharing a table and candy-striped cloth with Steve ‘Rum Lad’ Larder and Isy Morgenmuffel (unfortunately Herman Peaks Comics, who I was due to share with, couldn’t make it to the fair). Both are well worth looking up – Steve’s output is part travel diary and part sketchbook and wholly attractive to look at, lots of detail in his handwritten articles and ink drawing. Isy too draws accounts of her own life at punk / DIY / protest events but in the form of cute comic strips. They have a shared zine ‘Rum Muffel’ if you want a taste of both.

The fair was busy throughout the day and I sold quite a few comics, with my Music Paper #1 being especially popular – unsurprisingly as it’s all about the life of a zine editor. Brighton was more of a zine fest than comic fest, though I think the distinctions between the two terms are quite blurred: there is more of a political edge to the zine scene than the comics world, but there’s crossover between them (zine publishers Last Hours, for instance, have just put out a few comic anthologies, including Excessive Force which is an anti-Police collection).Comics can be as personal as zines, they just use more pictures; zines can be as silly as some comics. It’s all small-press, it can be whatever its creators want.

After the fair, a large number of our small-press army invaded a neighbouring chip shop then a local pub. Subjects on the table included the most offensive cartoons we’ve ever thought up, and what happens when arts graduates meet boxers.

Later, I visited friends and fell asleep watching a Vincent Gallo film. Next day I bought a bunch of second-hand Tintin books and a Gabrielle Bell comic half about doing comic fairs and half about being kidnapped by a giant. It was raining, so then I went home. But it was a good weekend.

Below is a cartoon based on observations at this and other fairs…

Thanks to the Brighton Zinefest Collective for their work!

Small-Press Scene, no. 1

February 27, 2010

comics and zines