Monday, 26 September 2016

Glasgow MCM.

Wrapped around a wonderful evening with Bob Layton (see below post) was the Glasgow MCM comic event.
Two days of Cosplayers, thousands of people and hopefully customers.
This was the first event for the WesterNoir trade paperback collection and I'd decided to just focus on that and left issue 5 and 6 at home, along with the Tales Of WesterNoir issues.
We also decided to use our suitcases on the tables to sell comics from.
To see if it worked or if it put people off.
It seemed to work pretty well and apart from the one person who was more interested in the suitcases than the comics inside them, it was pretty effective. Getting lots of positive feedback from customers and fellow comic creators.
We had a slow day on the Saturday but this was made up for by a very good Sunday.
The newer titles, the WesterNoir TPB and Colin's Moments of Adventure, selling far more than  other titles was a healthy sign.
We caught up with a lot of friends around the Comic Village and once again I was impressed by the quality of what was on offer.
I even sold a copy of WesterNoir to Hulk Hogan :o)
All in all it was a solid Con sales-wise. Down a little on previous years but good enough to go back to next year.

An evening with Bob Layton.

We've met Bob a few times over the last year or so. Chatting with him before the doors open at a number of the MCM events around the country.
He always been friendly and more than happy to spend his time chatting about comics, movies and well... life in general.
So, there we were in a hotel in Glasgow on Saturday night, having a beer before the restaurant booking for 8 was ready and there was Bob Layton.
He popped over the say 'Hi' and we asked him if he'd like to join us for tea.
'Sure', he said.
We walked him through 10 minutes of Glasgow rain to the Rotunda where we squeezed an additional customer around a nice round table and what followed was a wonderful night chatting with Bob.
I won't share details here but I go as far as saying it was both informative and educational... and a laugh.
He even joked with Gary Erskine about his lost luggage and how his lost had translated into more business for Gary.
What a nice bloke.

During the evening Bob also bantered with the staff in the restaurant, which I think is what won us a free round of drinks.
And then it was time to once again brave the weather and so we asked for the bill.
Bob proved himself to be as generous as he was good company and covered the bill himself.
This is the man who put the Iron into Iron Man ... well... he probably saved the character from being can cancelled many years ago... and was involved in a number of the marvel movies that we are all enjoying.
A wonderful evening.
ps. Bob's luggage turned up at 5.30pm on Sunday. Too late for the convention but at least he has all that fabulous original artwork back in his hands.

Kia Wordsmith

I wrote the first issue for a fantasy story a while back.
It's one of those stories that needs the right artist to bring it to life, and I guess I forgot about it as I focused on the other comics that I currently have in production.
And then Ian Ashcroft got involved, producing art, with a Tales of WesterNoir story and when I saw his artistic style the Kia Wordsmith story sprang back into my mind and I asked Ian if he'd consider doing something bigger than  a 10 page story with us, once Tales of WesterNoir was done and dusted.
He said 'Yes'.
And so I sent his the script a few weeks ago, and he loved it.
Kia Wordsmith is in production.
And I can't wait to see how the world develops around her.

The Asylum 2016.

Over the past year we have been approached by the organisers of a huge Steampunk event in the UK. They like what we are doing and have noticed that Stephenson's Robot (in particular) is quite popular with people wearing Victorian garb and sporting a nice pair of goggles,, amongst other things.
Now that we have three issues of Stephenson's Robot out we decided that this was the year we'd give it a go.
Nearer the event we were advised that we'd do a lot better if we embraced and became part of the event, rather than just stand behind a table.
Hmmmm... a challenge. More so for me as I'm not one for dressing up.
We set to work.
Looking for interesting ways to display comic books and also looking for some Victorian type clothing ... a hat for one.
Fast forward a few months and there we are. In Lincoln. Having a pre-convention pint with Steve Tanner and then wandering around and taking in the sites.
Colin talks to Steve as if he knows a little about Lincoln
whilst Karen looks on knowing better.
 Saturday morning we were quite quickly set up in a room in a room in a building right next to the very impressive Lincoln Cathedral.
A new thing for us. Standing in front of the table. Old suitcases holding a reduced stock of comics.
It was a slow start and I think throughout the weekend we suffered a little from being in a new venue which was a little out of the way of the other attractions and activities.
We decided to put the WesterNoir banner outside, by the gate to the Cafe below us...

I think it helped as we did start to get more customers.
And very splendid they looked.
We didn't get much opportunity to wander around the event, although Colin did make the most of his trips to get cups of tea...
The costumes on display went from the very smart to the completely amazing. It's great to see so much attention going into what people wear, Some of the interpretations of what Steampunk covers were inspired.
They were both quite unaware that their
every word was being recorded....
The event was spread across 4 days, of which the comics were available for 3 of them.
It was a pretty mixed affair really. Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday were quieter than the Sunday. We had a good mixture of normally attired locals and steampunk attired travellers.
All of our books gained a degree of interest but Stephenson's Robot sold best, as expected.

We will return next year and try to put the comics building on the map.
We had a great weekend ... must work a bit on our costumes though as they were quite poor when compared to what other people had created.

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.