Saturday, 12 July 2014

Glasgow Comic Con... a great weekend.

Last weekend saw Accent UK making their way to Glasgow for our very first attendance at the Glasgow Comic Convention, organised by local independent comic publisher Black Hearted Press.
We've been to an MCM event in Glasgow and had a great time at that, selling what was then a record number of comic books, and as the numbers at the Glasgow Comic Con couldn't hope to match those of an MCM event, we set our expectations lower.
Set in one of the buildings that make up the Centre For Contemporary Arts we found ourselves in a great position at the bottom of the stairs that people had to take if they were going to see more of the event, which was split over a number of levels and buildings.
We set up about an hour before doors opened and were expecting the typical slow start but found ourselves selling to people almost from the time that outset.
Of course there were plenty of quiet times, and the show had a number of talks and events scattered throughout the day, but on the whole it did feel as busy as the MCM events, I think due to the fact that at this event everybody walking around was looking to buy comics and talk to comic creators.
It was great to catch up with John Reppion and Leah Moore, who we haven't had time to talk to for a very long time. We even chatted over a beer which was nice.
We also spent some time chatting to Hannah Berry, it was nice to be at a smaller convention and actually be able to find people quite easily without having to fight your way through a sea of Cosplayers. Cosplayers were present of course, just in smaller numbers. There was a great Captain Black, showing my age again...
I was surprised to see that Accent UK were attending a Portfolio Review session in the afternoon and I found myself sat at a table talking to people about their artwork. And pretty impressive it was too, with a whole range of styles and subject matter. What did strike me in general though was that a lot of the artists were keen to demonstrate their versatility, at the expense (in my opinion) of developing their own distinctive style.
At the end of the day we found to our surprise that we'd done very well and that the show was already a success from our perspective.
That night, after having tea with the families, Colin and I attending a Convention Event, beers and burgers but had the posher title of 'Cocktail & Burger', but we settled for just the beer as we'd already filled up on pizza. We spent and enjoyable evening meeting new creators and catching up with Owen Johnson, who appears to be pretty busy these days with two new books out.
The Sunday was pretty similar to the Saturday really in that we were pretty busy. We sold a good number of books, people came back to pick up more books having read and enjoyed what they'd bought the day before and we spent the day talking comics and enjoying ourselves.
As the event closed we found that we had sold out of some of the titles we'd taken, sold a good number of our new WesterNoir ongoing series and also a good number of our Wolfmen books.
We will certainly be going back next year.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Belfast MCM

And that image of Mrs Brown on this year's, and the first, MCM Belfast event pretty much sums up everything that I'm about to say.
We arrived on Friday, the plan being to spend the morning wandering around Belfast and the afternoon taking our stock to the event location, setting up the table and working out travel arrangements for the next two days. First thing though had to be to take in some of the local ambience ... in the shape of a pint of Guinness. We took a number of opportunities to do this over the long weekend, and the pints went down very nicely indeed.
I love Art Deco buildings and Belfast certainly had plenty scattered around the city. As we wandered the streets I realised that I really liked this city. It had everything compressed into a relatively small space,  and some great murals dotted around.
So, after an enjoyable morning we set off for the King's Hall Pavilion, which is where the event was taking place. We scoped out the bus route, any bus that had a letter following the number 9, but weighed down by suitcases full of comics as well as hand luggage, we did the sensible thing and took a taxi, which wasn't expensive as it turned out.
I must confess to being a little disappointed that the event didn't take place in the actual King's Hall, which sadly is unsafe and condemned, but instead took place in a pavilion around the back, but we pretty quickly found ourselves in a large hall full of the usual scenes and sounds as people went about the business of getting their stock ready.
It didn't take us long to get the stall ready...
...which felt a little bare without the usual banners, and soon we were sat on a 9a bus heading back into the city centre.
The next trick was finding out where to eat, should we sample what a young lady had told us earlier in the day was in fact 'the best burger in town' or try something else ? Could we actually find the place again anyway ?
Well, we managed to find it but on closer inspection of the small print found that it didn't serve alcohol.
So we headed off and found a nice restaurant in the basement of a building that did a great burger and sold Guinness. Was it anywhere near as good as the best burger in town ? Who could say and how could you prove it anyway ?
Saturday saw us get the bus to the venue and we started to get that MCM buzz. There were a few Cosplayers wandering the streets and sitting on the bus. Nothing like the numbers that you get in Manchester or London, but I'm sure that'll change in future events.
The queue was forming and again it wasn't the size of other MCM events but as the first of its kind in Belfast it was a good size and encouraging for the days to come.
It was good to see Jenika Ioffreda setting up opposite us...
...and no surprise as Jenika must be the hardest working independent creator in the UK and always seems to do twice as many Cons as we do.
The day started in a leisurely way, with a few sales in the first hour and then things picked up.
...and it was pretty constant all day, the odd few minutes of activity followed by a few where it quietened down. The great thing about going to new events is that everybody you meet is new to Accent UK, and so everything on the table is new to them. The Wolfmen sold really well, as if it were just out, and did as well as WesterNoir, which is a new book. People were genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing, and we sold a good number of books.
The closed and we'd already sold out of a few of the books we'd brought with us...
...and numbers were dangerously low on some of the others.
The evening was spent with a good friend of ours, Jeremy Briggs, who having been born in Belfast, knew where to eat and took us on a little tour afterwards.
If you're ever hungry in Belfast then I'd recommend the Red Panda in The Odyssey Centre, I struggled to eat it all and I'd missed lunch.
Jeremy then took us both on a walk around the old docks where The Titanic was built.
Model...not to scale ;o)
There's a museum that's dedicated to the ships that were built here..
...with the slogan concerning the Titanic being 'It was fine when it left here'.
Thanks then to Jeremy for a very enjoyable evening...
Jeremy and Colin share old nautical tales...
The next morning we couldn't face breakfast and so headed off to the event quite early, we wanted to do a stock take and re-arrange the table a bit. The buses were pretty prompt and within 30 minutes we were back in the hall.
Dave and Colin ... green.
We talked about what would make this a great Con for us, it had already tipped the number of sales that made it a good Con, and wondered if, as is typical at all events, the Sunday would see half the sales of Saturday.
Strangely Sunday was almost identical to Saturday, it saw a steady stream of people at the stall, some chatting, some buying but all interested in what we were about.
We had a couple of early customers who had bought a book from us on Saturday and wanted more, which is a really great feeling, and even some in Cosplay...
Death Note buys a copy of Thaddeus Mist...
Sunday was a great day.
Not much stock left at the end of the Con...
We sold out of a number of titles, and at the end of the day we'd sold pretty much as many books as we had on the Saturday.
It had been a great Con.
We'd met a lot of really nice people, some of whom had bought books and would hopefully come back for more next year.
Yep, there will be an MCM Belfast next year, and yep, Accent UK will have a table,

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Josiah Black figure...

So, whilst not working with Gary Crutchley on moving WesterNoir forward in comic book form, I've also been working on something to attract a little more attention to the Accent UK table at Conventions, and this is what I've managed to produce.
I've adapted him from a Lone Ranger figure from the recent movie...
...and whilst the hat and scarf came off pretty easily, the hair was another thing entirely...
...and involved a lot of cutting away with a hobby knife and then building up the 'interesting' hairstyle that Gary has decided for him. I also had to build up his nose a bit as the Lone Ranger in the movie had a very thin, fine, nose and Josiah, well let's just say he's not that fortunate...
...the fine grained milliput is quite easy to use but when everything is white it's hard to get a feel for how it's all shaping up, so I painted him at this point, with no beard or eyebrows.
There needed to be a little more hair on the left hand side of his head. I added a little more milliput whilst I was giving him his eyebrows and beard.
...and also sorted out his nose a little more.
Then it was just a case of painting him again...
until I was happy...
...with how it all looked.
 ...and there you have him.
Josiah Black...
Now all I need to do is find a display case that fits... I'm not sure how sturdy his hair piece is and I wouldn't want it falling to pieces as a customer accidentally knocks the table at the first Con and the figure falls on his face.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Birmingham Memorabilia and MCM.

Accent UK had a stall at last month's Memorabilia and MCM event in Birmingham. These MCM events are typically pretty different to your typical Comic Conventions in that there's more Cosplay and Star signings and less Comic books, and certainly very few, if any, professional comic folk. But we enjoy them, for lots of reasons.

As they are typically not as busy as Comic Conventions, although sales can be as good, we get a chance to wander more and also talk more to our peers about the industry in general and each other's books and future specifically.
At this event I got to meet the voice that narrated Mr. Benn, Ray Brooks (and get this signed image)...
as well as THE voice of Marvin, the paranoid Android, from Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Stephen Moore...
Pop over to the Accent UK blog for a full report of the event itself, we had a great two days and are looking forward to the next MCM, which is in London on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of May.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sunday, 16 March 2014

I must be getting old...

I'm not going to post about the years that have passed and where they have they all gone, there's no value in that.
What I wanted to post was about how lucky I am to have made so many good friends over the years, and how nice it is to share in some of their special moments.
This week saw us celebrating the 50th Birthday of one of my good friends (of more years than either of us would like to count), Shaun O'Donnell (or SPOD to a number of us).
His wife had arranged a secret Curry session with 11 of us joining him.
But Shaun, whilst being one of the most genuinely nice people you could ever hope to meet (I actually doubt he has ever done a bad thing in his entire life), is no slouch. I've played AD&D with Shaun for more than a decade and his characters are the complete opposite of him. Now, I can't believe that someone can create such characters from nothing, so I believe beneath that really 'nice guy' exterior is a mind that doesn't miss a devious trick and can play act as good as the next person, probably better.
Could Bernie and his family keep this from him ?
Honestly ? I doubted it.
Gary, Joe and Me ... forgetting that these new
devices can do wide angle photos.
The night arrived and there I sat at a large table drinking beer and waiting for our guest. I kept an eye on the door and was glad that I did. I saw Shaun as he entered with his wife and daughter for what he thought would be a quiet family meal. I saw his face as he spotted me at the table, and he then registered that actually he knew all the people sat there looking at him. I've never seen Shaun so surprised or lost for words before. A priceless moment that even he could not have acted.
Chatting and chilling.
What followed was a great evening eating Curry, chatting about all sorts and just chilling out amongst friends.
I can't remember who took this ... I must have been a little drunk by then...
We ended up drinking through a rainbow of coloured shorts.
Shaun receives his Crazy Zoo.
Shaun and I both selected a desert called Crazy Zoo, because it had a toy in it, and when the waiter returned to say that he had only one left, Shaun, typically, said that I should have it as I chose it first. It was his 50th though and I declined, swapping mine for some nutty ice cream thing.
Shaun realises that he'd have to make the toy.
But Shaun wasn't finished being Shaun, and he gave me the toy.
The instructions...
I was busy making this when Joe Mace ate my ice cream after polishing off his own. I didn't mind though, I love making these little Kinder-toy-like things.
The toy ... a seal with ball and wagging tail.
It was a great night, and I didn't care that I'd be suffering a bit the next day.
I think a sign of getting older is that you gather more and more good friends as you go.
I must be getting old then because I'm lucky enough to have so many.