Saturday, 6 August 2016

Manchester MCM ... our home turf.

We love the Manchester MCM.
It's a great event and also our closest, which means no lengthy trips down (or up) the motorway and no accommodation expenses.
This time around I'd hoped to have had our new WesterNoir Trade Paperback on sale, particularly as we were down to 10 copies of Issue 1, but sadly this turned out not to be the case.
An error at the 'finishing house' resulted in the books having the last 16 pages in the front of the book instead of at the back where they belonged.
Unfortunate but at least I spotted it when the books arrived rather than at the Event itself.
With two tables we have enough room for the comics and the adapted Lego figures, which are always popular. We also had a few display props and our new vertical display stands which certainly helped us get more notice too, with the lovely red Zombies cover at head height for all passers by to see.
And so the Event opened and we were really happy to see so many customers returning for the latest issues of WesterNoir and Stephenson's Robot.
Not as pleased however as when we saw our very first ever Cosplayer.
Josiah Black himself.
The funny thing was that I'd been chatting to 'Josiah' and hadn't noticed that he was dressed as he was until he stepped back.
Gary and I had always said that we'd know we'd arrived when we had someone come along in Cosplay as an Accent UK character.
Well ... we've arrived.
We had two days of good sales, interesting customers and well, just enjoyed ourselves.
All books sold equally well really.
It was great to see interest in Strange Times 2, I'd worried that people would have forgotten Strange Times after all these years, seems not to be the case ... thankfully.
We did sell out of WesterNoir Issue 1 by around lunchtime on Saturday, which did hit sales as it made it difficult to sell the rest of the books, unless the customer already had number 1. Not much we could do about it on the day though, just one of those things.
All in all we had another great Con, sales were not as good as last year's but we did discuss a couple of new opportunities that if they come to fruition will be very interesting.
Looking forward to the next MCM event, which is in London and before that the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln.

It's all go.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The WesterNoir Trade Paperback Collected Edition

I suddenly realized that we were selling many more copies of issue 1 and Conventions than I'd expected and that if I didn't do something, and quickly, I'd have very few to sell at the Manchester MCM.
How did I manage to get myself in this situation ?
I took my eye off the ball.
I'd already reprinted a few of the titles a couple of times but it's really tricky keeping equal numbers of the issues in print.
And I'd taken my eye off the ball.
My nephew had been wanting to get involved in Accent UK for quite a while and a little while ago I suggested he have a play with designing the WesterNoir TPB, which we wanted to have french flaps on, you know, just to make it a little different.
I quickly got in touch with Michael to see how it was going.
It was going pretty well.
Maybe, I thought, I can pull this off.
Would Stuart (or printer) pull together the PDF if I sent him all the tif files ?
'Of course Dave, no problem'.
Had Gary finished the new 10 page story that we wanted to add to the book ?
'Yep, just lettering it now'.
Had we got all the pin ups in from those that were interested in contributing one ?
A few emails later and 'Yes', over the next two days I'd have them all.
Did Gary have the Introduction that Mark Buckingham offered to do ?
We'd pulled it off.
But it was only 2 weeks and a bit to the Manchester MCM itself.
Could Stuart get them printed in time ?
Well, and email today confirmed that a good number of boxers had been shipped to my home address.
So, I made it.
As long as the delivery men don't take the boxes to the wrong house...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

More Than We Seem... where it all started.

John Freeman over on Down The Tubes has been going through small press/independent comics of the Mid 1990s and name checks my first go at producing a comic book, called More Than We Seem, which I co-created with writer Larry Betts.
It was an opportunity to learn the whole 'making your own comic' process and business, but wasn't something that I could keep going and so ended around issue 6.
Great fun while it lasted though and nice of John to remember it.

Glasgow Comic Con... which answers a question I posed years ago...

As much as we enjoy the spectacle that is that MCM event, it is nice to go to an out and out comic show now and then. the Glasgow Comic Con has been going a good number of years now and we've had a table at the last three (I think).
Again, this show seems to suffer from the fact that there are just so many shows these days and sales seem to reduce a little year on year. That said, it's always been a pretty good show for us so we'd hate to miss it.
A long drive up where Colin and I typically discuss Accent UK's 'Next 5 year' plan which just as typically fails to survive the year we agree it. Finding the venue and hotel were much simpler than in recent years and the venue has moved to a concert hall about 3 minutes walk from the hotel we usually book.
We were set up pretty sharpish on Saturday morning and looking forward to a good two days.
There would certainly be no logistical reasons for poor attendance at this show as it was pretty much in the heart of the city.
And so it proved to be really. Plenty of people found their way into the event and they were pretty much all looking for independent comics.
Sure there was Cosplay and there were people looking for the latest copy of XMen but in the main the people stopping at tables were genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing.
We really enjoyed the two days, and I also got to answer one of my long unanswered questions...
Yep, great stuff.
See you all the event next year, if not sooner at the Glasgow MCM in a few months,

Saturday, 23 July 2016

WesterNoir Reviews.

WesterNoir has had a couple of reviews over the last few months...
First off we have a review of Tales Of WesterNoir 2 over at DownTheTubes, and also a WesterNoir 6 review over at


Lisburn MCM - The New Venue.

We'd been to the Belfast MCM event since it started, which is two years now, and we booked this without realizing that it was no longer in the outskirts of Belfast but actually had moved to the sight of the old Maze Prison in Lisburn. The new Eikon centre.
OK, so this was a risk.
Would people travel all the way to Lisburn to buy comics and take part in an event that was clustered with a number of others in the local area ?
We'd not been confronted with the old 'How many comics can we take within the luggage allowance; for a long time and the last time there had been three in the group, this time it was just me and Colin.
We did the best we could and at the airport both suitcases came in just below the weight allowance.
All good so far then.
Colin, as always, had planned how we'd get to the venue and we'd decided to go straight there on the Friday, offload our stock and then walk to the hotel and check in. On paper it was only a 3 mile walk, and with the bags being comic free it didn't look too much of a problem.
Plane from Manchester to Belfast.
Bus from airport to Belfast City Centre.
Train from Belfast City Centre to Lisburn Station.
Taxi from the train station to the venue.
All seemed straight forward enough.
And it was, until we reached Lisburn Station, which had no eager rank of Taxis waiting to ferry us on our way.
Not a big thing and something I had thought might be the case. So, dragging our suitcases (good job they come with wheels these days) we set off looking for a taxi service.
We passed one that had closed down but eventually found one, and the 40 minute wait was spend in the pub next door, where we chatted to some very friendly locals, once we clarified that we were not in fact 'comics' but a couple of blokes who made 'comic books', it's a recurring problem and I've no idea why people look at me and think 'comedian'.
I was taking this photo so I would have their
phone number when I noticed the handy pub next door.
The taxi took us to the venue, which we discovered was the sight of the old Maze prison and we also discovered that the venue, as nice as it was, was sat on its own in the middle of a large expanse of waste land. With no trains, bus stops or helipads (for special visitors).
This didn't bode well.
Still, we decided that we were here now and might as well make the most of it.
We also noted on the way in that the local roads were very narrow, surrounded on either side by hedges and no footpaths. We would have to get a taxi to and from the venue every day.
Saturday then saw us set up nice and early and wonder if anybody would find the venue, let alone find us.
Our friendly neighbourhood organizer told us about the shuttle buses that had been laid on from Lisburn Station and also the reasons for the choice of venue, which all made some kind of sense.
But still we worried.
And then the doors opened and people came in.
Yes, people had managed to find the event.
It started to get fairly busy. Not London or Manchester busy, but there were enough people there to give it the usual MCM atmosphere. and we started to get people at the table interested in what we had and some who'd bought stuff from us last year and wanted more.
This SteamPunk lady had made her own costume
and her little top hat was wonderful.
We had a decent Saturday and agreed that if we did as well on Sunday (which was possible) then we'd have done OK.
Even Beauty and the Beast turned up.
We agreed to share a taxi back to the hotel with  Gary Erskine and also walked down into the village to meet up with Jenika Iofredda and Moonboy (as we call him) and find someplace to eat.
All of this was set against a backdrop of the Brexit vote and Ireland playing in the quarter finals of some European football championship.
Let's just say it was lively.
A really enjoyable meal where we were later joined by one of Gary's Cosplayer friends in a very safe atmosphere (I think the pub full of English fans watching the team lose would have been a little more... worrying), made for a great night. The walk back up the hill to the hotel clearing our heads a little.
Sunday was slower than Saturday but we did manage to sell about the same number of books in the end and so overall the Con was good enough for us to revisit next year.
The venue was a little far out but it turned out that made it easier to get to by car.
The shuttlebus were constantly moving people to and from the event and I think overall pretty successful.
The attendance felt about right.
Colin kept disappearing to play Jurassic Park...
We had a very enjoyable time and met some really nice people.
Yep, we'll be back.