Sunday, 17 May 2015

Warrington Market's Comic Con Style Event.

OK, so this was something completely different. The market in Warrington wanted to have a special, themed, market day and had decided to do a Comic theme, as comic book geekdom is the new cool... sorta.
We had absolutely no idea what to expect. No idea how professionally managed, how well advertised and certainly how well attended it would be.
But it was very local and so we thought we'd have a punt.
Well, truth be told, Colin did. I was less keen.
Well, we found a table with our name on it, which was a very good start and within minutes (we're old hands at this now) the table was set up and we could go for a wander and seek out a cup of tea.
We were quite surprised by the variation of the stalls setting up around us, and on talking to the stall holders found that they, like us, had absolutely no idea how the day would go.
As people started coming in at 10am, we began to realise that the people of Warrington had decided to come and see what a Comic Con was all about, and we got pretty busy.
Although there were a decent number of comic fans, a lot of our customers were people who, I sensed, had no idea that there were comics outside of Marvel and DC. Some bought a comic just to see what a small independent publisher could produce but a lot bought one as they wanted to try something different. A lot of people expressed dismay at the way DC and Marvel constantly changed continuity and reinvented their respective universes.
As they day progressed the people just kept on coming in.
One old lady asked us what was going on as she hadn't seen the market this busy since the good old days, I doubt very much that she bought anything but the site of the hustle and bustle certainly brought back fond memories and made her smile. Let's hope the Market holds more themed events like this.
So... there were no stars as such, although we did meet a local celebrity...
the host of Granada TV's Lost Treasures stopped by for a chat, but people were dressed up in as their favourite characters and the queue for a photo in the home-made X-Wing fighter was stunning. The whole thing had a great family atmosphere, more so than any Comic Con I've been to before. People were there to enjoy themselves and that's just what they did.
The event ended at 4pm, as billed, and we looked at the remaining stock and realised we'd done pretty well, and as we discussed the day over a larger we agreed we'd had a really enjoyable day.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a chat, let's hope the event is repeated.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Next weekend Accent UK hit Warrington Market.

A bit of a surprise for us, we've been invited to attend the first Warrington Comic Con Style event which takes place next Saturday. It's not going to be your typical Comic Con, there are no famous artists attending (that I'm aware of anyway), but it should be fun.
From a comic-in-development perspective Matt Soffe (our regular colourist for the WesterNoir covers) is in the process of adding his magic touch to the Carnival Master back story for Stephenson's Robot issue 2. Illustrated by WesterNoir co-creator Gary Crutchley and written by Jon Ayre, the issue will be printed a little later in the year. Here's a sample...
And if that isn't enough, the cover of Tales Of WesterNoir issue 2 is now complete, colours again by Matt, and is with Andy Bloor for his design touches. This will also be printed a little later in the year, but it's nice to have these things ready and waiting.
this issue will focus on Jim Wilson...

Monday, 4 May 2015

MCM Belfast Comic Con.

This year's Belfast MCM was both our and the organiser's second event in Belfast.
We arrived with heavy bags on Friday, setting up that evening to save us from the normal Saturday morning convention rush, and pretty much everything went to plan. That's one of the good things about going somewhere you've been before, you know where everything is, how best to get there and you start to build a rapport with the event organisers.
We had set everything up in no time and then had the usual quick look around those other stalls that had also set up early. The first thing to strike us was that the Comic Village hadn't grown since last year, which was great for us as it meant less competition. The second was that,of the stalls already set up, very few were actually selling comics. Again great news for us, if it remained the case.
It was nice to wander back to the hotel with only hand luggage thrown over our backs, and even nicer that even these bags were free of comic books and therefore a lot lighter.
Saturday found us not suffering particularly from the Guinness we'd consumed the night before, and within minutes we were ready for action. The rain (which seems to be as typical of Belfast as it is of Manchester) wasn't putting people off as the queue we walked passed on the way into the venue was building nicely.
The Advance Ticket holders entered at it began to feel busy, and then the normal ticket holders surged in and it was really busy.
There were a lot more Cosplayers this year, and the atmosphere felt typical of the MCMs we've been to, everybody was there to have fun.
Saturday proved to be busy all day and we exceeded last year's Saturday total, which was great.
WesterNoir was out best selling title, with a number of readers taking up to offer to get a free Gary Crutchley sketch when purchasing all 5 issues. We had a number of customers return after last year's Con to buy more issues of the title, and I think being at the Con a second time gave them confidence that they'd be able to pick up future titles as we intend to return next year as well.
All titles sold pretty well though and by the end of the day a couple of them had sold out.
That's the problem when you can't drive to a Con. You have to make tough decisions on how many copies of each book you take, and no matter how carefully you plan one things is certain, you'll never get it right.
Sunday was much quieter however, which isn't usual for an MCM in our experience.
We still had some interesting and interested customers
but sales where much lower than Saturday's.
The highlight in terms of sales was the guy who rushed over to pick up issues 2 and 3 of WesterNoir, having picked up a copy of issue 1 on Saturday.
And then it was over.
Overall, we hadn't sold as many books as last year but we'd sold a good number and had a great time.
We will return.
The weekend didn;t end there though and at the airport we got chatting with Andrew Lee Potts (of Primeval fame). We talked TV, directing and comics. A thoroughly nice bloke who will be at the London MCM event promoting his new web series, Wireless, which he described to us as being 'like Knight Rider but where the car has been replaced by a very attractive woman'. I think I might need to check that out. If you'd like to do so too then you can find it at www.wirelessweb.london
A great weekend, looking forward to a repeat next year.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Belfast MCM here we come... and another great WesterNoir review.

This weekend we'll be at the MCM Belfast event, we had such an enjoyable time at the last Con we couldn't resist. Do pop over to the table for a chat if you're in the area.
Also, there's a great review of the first issue of Tales Of WesterNoir over at Down The Tubes.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The First Birmingham Comics Festival


Accent UK have been to a good number of 'first time' Comic Conventions over the years, and we always expect them to have their organisational and logistic problems. We always expect attendance to be a little lower than we'd like and therefore do no expect great sales. You have to allow these Conventions the room to breathe and grow, so there really is no value in giving the organisers a hard time.
So, expectations low, Accent UK (Me, Colin, Gary and Jemma) were pleasantly surprised that this convention was, without a doubt, the best 'first time' Comic Convention we'd ever been to.
The advertising beforehand was impressive.
The organisation on the day seemed to be flawless.
The way the organisers treated the guests and exhibitors could not have been better.
The number of customers...., well, OK, the number of customers were actually typical for a new Con. The numbers weren't fabulous, but that said, there was always a steady trickle of people wandering around, stopping at the stall, chatting about our comics and buying stuff.
Jemma gives Colin a talk about sales targets and
 expectations before the doors open.
The quieter Cons allow us to meet our creative friends, sometimes for the first time in the flesh, which is always great. I won't try to list everyone but it was great to chat with Dave Hitchcock, usually we are both too busy to spend much time talking but at this Con our tables were back to back, Matt Soffee (who is doing such wonderful work colouring our WesterNoir covers, Andy Winter (who has been away from the comic scene for quite a while now) and Patrick Scattergood (who makes his own comics as well as reviews those of the likes of Accent UK).
A quieter Con also lets us have more time to chat with the people the other side of the tables, as the whole thing moves at a slower pace.
All in all we had a really enjoyable day, and for the record we sold 4 times as many comics as at any of our other 'first time' Conventions. I think this Con is going to grow into one of the great Cons and we've already signed up to come back next year.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Accent UK titles on sale in Macclesfield.

Last weekend I took some Accent UK stock to a new comic shop that has opened in Macclesfield (on Chestergate), The Comic Geek Shop, so if you're local and would like to try out our books then pop into the store.

It's great to see new stores popping up, and even better when they're fairly local.

Birmingham Comics Festival next weekend, and other stuff.

It's been a busy few weeks and now we're all focused on next Saturday's comic festival in Birmingham. It's the organiser's first event but they've certainly been putting in a lot of time and effort promoting the event through the web and SFX magazine. It should be great.
From an Accent UK perspective, we've had to reprint issue 1 of WesterNoir as the first printing has all but sold out, which is great news. We've taken the opportunity to also change the cover slightly to bring it more in line with later editions, so the second printing cover looks like...
Also, great news that co-creator and artist of WesterNoir, Gary Crutchley, has been invited as a Guest of the event, let's hope it doesn't go to his head...
We'll be giving away a free print to the first Magnificent Seven customers who buy a complete set of the first WesterNoir mini-series (4 issues), and as usual there'll be plenty of other great books to pick up, including the first issue of our new 7 issue Stephenson's Robot series, with limited edition Tarot Card.
The focus of last month was the 50th birthday of Accent UK co-founder Colin Mathieson. I clubbed together with Gary and Colin's family to buy him a gift that we knew he would really appreciate ...
...I think we hit the mark there. Certainly the biggest present Colin has ever received... now he just needs to find somewhere to hang it...