Friday, 21 November 2014

The last Convention of the year.

You may have got a sense of it from reading Convention reports on this blog, 2014 has been the best year yet for Accent UK.
We've made record sales at Conventions and our on going series WesterNoir has really begun to gather more and more readers with each Con we do, as well as bring existing readers to the table to pick up the latest instalment.
Before WesterNoir however Stephenson's Robot was going to be our first on going series, well a 7 issue mini-series, and it's a very ambitious project for us which meant it has taken longer to get to print. But it did. And Thought Bubble saw it on the Accent UK table in all its splendour.
It's a very different book to WesterNoir and there's always the slight concern that readers of one wouldn't naturally be interested in the other.
So, with two new books and one of them, Tales Of WesterNoir, extending an existing series, we felt well placed to do well at this Convention too.
Driving over and setting up the morning of the first day of the Con is nothing new to us and we made it in plenty of time for 'doors opening'.
We were joined once again by WesterNoir co-creator Gary Crutchley (and you can read his report over on his blog) and Scott (Colin's son), so we had enough cover to allow us all to take time out from behind the table and wander around.
It was great to bump into Bridgeen Gillespie again after so many years and I of course picked up her great little collection of short stories, Flash Fiction.
This year we had Andy Bloor on his own table sat next to us, selling his own self published book Midnight Man. It's a very different book to Wolfmen, being written by Mo Ali and is a frantic fast pace actioner from beginning to end. It looks great with Andy's moody style jumping at you from every panel.
The organisers of Thought Bubble had changed things once again, this time adding a large Marquee to the square sat between the Main Dock hall and the Armouries. And it worked really well. This then was where most of the professional guests were sat and this is where the fan boys queued for signings and sketches. I was one of them for a while and spent a nice half hour chatting with Brian Hurtt as he drew a great sketch in my collected The Sixth Gun. We handed him a copy of the WesterNoirs as a thank you.
A typical slow start soon turned into a busy day, with repeat customers, Facebook friends, new customers and interested folk coming in waves.
WesterNoir being very well established now got the most interest but Stephenson's Robot had more than its fair share of sales as people were drawn to INDIO's wonderfully crazy artwork. It really is a gem of a comic.
So, by the end of the day we realised this was our best Thought Bubble ever, and that we'd already sold more books than we had over both days last year.
A nice evening spent talking comics over a burger and beer, and it was the perfect end to a great day.
Sunday started slower than Saturday. it always does, but unlike previous years, rather than sell half as many books over the day we actually sold nearly as many as we had on Saturday.
This was turning into one of our best ever Cons.
All books sold well but newer books sold better than the others, which is to be expected.
The Tarot Card edition of Stephenson's Robot went down well, as hoped, and we'll certainly continue producing a new card with each issue.
Andy Bloor, next to us, also had a good con with plenty of sales.
So, all in all it was a great two days and certainly just what we needed to keep us energised over XMas to continue working on the next issues of WesterNoir, Tales Of WesterNoir and Stephenson's Robot, as well as a number of other projects.

Friday, 14 November 2014

The First Magnificent Seven.

The first Magnificent Seven customers the buy our new Tales of WesterNoir comic will receive a free print of Josiah in action ...
and it'll be signed by Gary and myself.
Also, the first Stephenson's Robot Tarot Card will be available in a limit Tarot Card pack, for the princely sum of £5, which equates to £3 for the comic and £2 for the card... art by INDIO!, colours by Jon Ayre and card design by Andy Bloor.
And... we're in the news ... comic books news that is of course.
Stephenson's Robot gets a mention over at DownTheTubes as does Tales Of WesterNoir at DownTheTubes.
So if you can make it pop over and see these up close ...
You can also see what we're up to over on the Accent UK Comics group on Facebook.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Comic books launched at Thought Bubble next weekend.

I'm creatively involved in two books to be launched at next weekend's Thought Bubble in Leeds.
Stephenson's Robot has been in development for a while now, but it's quite an undertaking and we've taken our time a bit to make sure we're all happy that it's the best it can be. With amazing art from INDIO!, this builds upon the characters introduced very briefly in a tale in the ROBOTS anthology we produced a few years ago.
With a fabulous cover, designed by Andy Bloor, and a back up story illustrated by Marleen Lowe (whose work you'll have seen Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man ?) this seven issue mini-series will see events unfold in an alternate reality First World War. Written by myself and Jon Ayre with all character designs by INDIO!. I've been looking forward to seeing this book on our table for a long time now. And it's a full colour comic, I can't wait for next weekend.
The other new release is a companion comic to our WesterNoir mini-series, which will be continued early next year with Issue 1 of the second mini-series. Tales Of WesterNoir then allows us to tell the stories that surround events in WesterNoir, featuring main characters and minor characters alike. The first issue has tales from Gary Crutchley and myself illustrated by Roland Bird and Pedro Lopez respectively.
Again wrapped in a cover designed by Andy Bloor, illustrated by Gary Crutchley and coloured by Matt Soffe.
And if you're a fan of our Wolfmen books then be sure to check our Andy Bloor's self published Midnight Man... he's got the table next to us.

Friday, 31 October 2014

WesterNoir Reviews.

Artwork for the cover of Issue 5.
Travelling Man has reviewed the first three issues of WesterNoir over at travellingman.wordpress.com. I'll drink to that.

London MCM, two great days.

This then was our second London MCM in the same year.
We had no new comics since then last one, and despite Colin's infectious optimism I had my doubts.
We did so well at the last one that I really doubted we could get near selling that number of comics again.
Still, getting half way towards it would still make it a good Con from our perspective so I was more than happy to make that very early trip, with Jemma, to catch the 6.30am train out of Crewe.
Colin and Scott had travelled down the day before and had already had half a day at the Con on Friday, so I really shouldn't grumble. You can get a really good report of how the event went over on Colin's blog, so I'll use that fact to keep mine briefer than normal.
I will say that for two days I stood looking up at the biggest movie poster I've ever seen and by the end of the Con I was desperate to go and watch the final film in the Hobbit trilogy.
I will also say that once again I was stunned by the costumes wandering around and felt at times that I'd wandered into a space port in a far flung part of the galaxy.
And whilst some where obviously works of passion and refinement...
others were simply inspired...

 ...and if you don't know who she is then you're a very lucky person as it'll mean you have yet to enjoy Pulp Fiction for the first time.
We had periods where we were really busy, at one point I was serving three customers (I can't remember where Colin and the others had gone) and other periods when it was really quiet and we could sit and chat.
and all the while the parade of great costumes just continued...
and we found that even Zombies read comics...
...although they only seem to be interested in one title.
And then it was over.
A very tiring but very enjoyable two days.
We hadn't sold as much as last time, but we did pretty well and weren't too far off.
We managed to spend some time with old friends and made some new ones (Colin has listed most people on his blog), but I'll just say that it was great to see Steve Tanner again, Stuart Gould our printer and Jenika Ioffreda with her collected Vampire Free Style, a lovely little book.
Looks like we'll be doing two London MCMs every year from now on then.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A weekend in Whitby.

With all the recent activity at 50th birthday weekend celebrations, Comic Conventions overseas and the Kate Bush event, it was really nice to spend a relaxing weekend with my wife.
We decided on the other side of Britain and booked a hotel room in Whitby, or Dracula fame.
We got very lucky with the weather, which is still unseasonably sunny and warm. Well, it is warmer than the seasons we've grown up with but maybe it'll be the norm for the next few generations.
Whitby is a great little seaside village, with a good history of fishing, a lovely beach and some really nice walks. The beach is a sharp decent from the hotel we were staying at, but this did mean that we had a great sea view from the hotel window.
As usual my photos focus mainly on objects that are rusting, I'm not really sure what is is about decaying metal that draws me to it, I think it's the colours and textures, but drawn I am.
And what with all that salt in the air, the seaside always provides lots of source material.
Jane and I spent Saturday wandering along the beach, popping into a Vintage Fair that happened to be on, and wandering around Antique and Curiosity shops.
Tea was a great Fish and Chips meal for me. I always get some Fish and Chips in when I visit the coast as it's always the best in Britain, with the fish being so fresh.
But I didn't brave the sea.
I think this is probably the first year in a long time that I haven't taken a dip in the waters around the UK. I jut never managed to get to a beach during the summer, and as warm as the sun was last weekend, it was not having the slightest effect on the temperature of the sea. Well, it felt freezing to me anyway.
On the Sunday we took a trip to Robin Hood's Bay, which is glorious but a challenge to get to as it's a steep walk down to and a steep walk back up from. It's well worth the climb though. A beautiful little village with some lovely little restaurants facing out over the coast. Wonderful.
Stopping off at Filey before heading home completed the weekend.
Very relaxing and lovely to get away from it all and just wander around and relax. It's a different pace of life on the sea front. All that energy of the sea never seems to make it beyond the waves breaking on the shore line. The towns and the people in them move at their own pace, a much slower and more relaxing one.
It is infectious.
You don't feel like rushing around.
You just feel like becoming part of it all.
It was a shame to have to leave it.
But it'll be a pleasure to go back to.
To recharge batteries and be able to remember that it is possible to just slow down.
Even if it is only for a short time.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tales of WesterNoir.

Gary and I decided that we wanted to tell more tales set in and around the events that take place with WesterNoir, but didn't want to take Gary away from his main focus, busy as he is on issue 5 of Westernoir.
So the idea was born that we'd create a comic to accompany it, but this time we'd both write separate stories and get some of our favourite independent comic artists to illustrate them.
And so Tales of WesterNoir was born, and the first issue is now complete, with Andy Bloor once again bringing his design talent to the book to help it stand out from the crowd.
The book will be launched at Thought Bubble on November, with Issue 5 of WesterNoir launching at the first con of 2015.
Art by Gary Crutchley, colours by Matt Soffe
and design by Andy Bloor ...
I'm lucky to get my name on the cover...
You can see the cover's evolution over on Gary's blog.