Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Mr Benn in Manchester

A friend sent me this photo of the Mr Benn version of one of the Bees in Manchester.
A little weird but pretty cool

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Kia Wordsmith

Our third comic is up on Kickstarter.
Kia Wordsmith is a story that I've had in pre-production (as it were) for many years.
It needed the right type of artist.
It's about a young woman thief living in a fantasy type setting.
So it needed someone who could draw the human form as well as non-human forms and fantastical settings.
Enter Ian Ashcroft.
Ian's work is astonishing and I'm incredibly lucky to have him on board for at least 4 issues.
He captured my view of the look of Kia better than I could explain, almost as if he read my mind.
As t the little creature.
Well, I had no real picture of what it wold look like and asked Ian to 'do his thing'.
I love the result.
The Kickstarter has already exceeded its target, which is fabulous, and there's still 21 days to go.
I'll be looking to get it printed before the Kickstarter finishes, as I want it ready for the Nottingham Convention on the 20th October where both Accent UK and Ian Ashcroft (who will have his own table for the first time) will be selling copies.
All looks to be on track so far.
www.kickstarter.com

ASYLUM-X

We must say that we were pretty excited about this year's Asylum event.
This is THE Steampunk event and is probably the biggest in the World, it's certainly the biggest in Europe. This year we had our secret weapon..
No, not Colin, our very own comic that tells stories about the Steampunk personas wailing around us for the three (or four) days.
This year Jemma came down to visit my in High Wycombe and we both set off early Friday morning to get to the event and set up in the University building before the weekend's event took off. Interestingly when we arrived we found that the hall we were to put our table in was already very busy and so it was an even quicker than normal set up (helped by the fact that Colin hadn't arrived yet and so I could get away with my less than perfect attempt).
And trade was brisk.
I'm glad we didn't stop off for a coffee on the way up, as I'd intended.
Colin arrived later on and re-arranged things a bit but we had a very busy afternoon.
Gary arrived even later on, he'd stopped for a nice cup of tea with Karen on his way up Steep Hill.
The highlight was when Lady Clarajane (one of the characters in the Enter The Asylum comic) turned up and let us borrow the airship (made from Lego) that her husband, Capt. Rivington, had made based on the image in the comic. It added very nicely the table display.
On Saturday we were moved a little and found ourselves next to Timebomb Comics, selling their Chapbooks and Flintlock. We had enough people manning the stalls that Jemma and I could wander into town where we met old friends who had just popped over to see what it was like and I met up with Ian Ashcroft, artist on Kia Wordsmith, our new comic. It's always great chatting to Ian and we discussed Kia's  (which is now launched over at www.kickstarter.com) future issues amongst other things.

Saturday evening saw us all chilling over a meal and talking about how well Enter The Asylum had done. It had been a risk but it seemed to have captured the attention of the Steampunkers.
Sunday was similar to Saturday, just as busy and we met a number of the Mountain (errr... Steep Hill) Climbers from one of the Enter The Asylum stories..

which was great fun. They loved the story and felt honoured to be in the book. The honour is all ours of course.
A few presentations and a good day at the table later and we found ourselves sat with Timebomb comics enjoying a nice meal.
This is a great event and one of our favourites for many reasons.
Monday was much quieter which meant more time to socialise and we took this great photo of the Enter The Asylum cover stars...
It was funny that we had to close the door that someone (what ? me?) had opened in front of the banner and which had obscured one of the 'stars'...
I've no idea how that happened ... honest.
So, another great Con and one that celebrated 10 years of Asylum.
I'll leave the post with my favourite costumes.
Group costume...

and individual...
but there were so many to choose from.
I need to work on mine for next year. I've got a hat that fits now, which is a start and something that some people thought impossible :o)

From Manchester to Worthing.

Well I've been to a few Cons since my last posting and have decided to try to catch up this weekend.
This post will call out the high points of the Manchester MCM and the Meanwhile event in Worthing. Very different shoes and they actually sum up, for me, the polarity of shows today.
On one side you have the small comic event that pulls in local people (both creators and customers) and at the other a monster event that pulls in people from across the UK, and beyond.
MCM Manchester then was its usual huge self. Loads of dealers selling, well... stuff you can buy in stores in the main, and smuggled in amongst it all the Comic Village.
As always the quality of independent comics was high but we had a great weekend and caught up with existing customers..
Josiah Black pops in the check on things...
and new...

visiting the stall and checking out our books.
As always it's great catching up with people and the MCMs are two full on days.
Worthing's Meanwhile Event, on the other hand, is a small event in a Town Hall type building. Much fewer stalls and comic creators but much ore relaxing with much more time to chat to people.
The Kingdom figure got his first outing and got plenty of attention.
Fewer comics were sold but I had a really enjoyable day and with driving there and back again on the day I kept costs very low. Simon (Blue Fox Comics) is certainly doing all the right things and I'll certainly be back next year.
All set up in plenty of time.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Kingdom table display for the Conventions.

When I was at the C2E2 event this year in cold and windy Chicago I came across a stall that sold the basic shapes for you to paint your own superhero on.
Now I've always wanted something to put on the table at Conventions.
Something with some height.
Something that would attract the casual passer by.
I'd had some success with my customised Lego figures but always struggled with the fact that people wanted to buy them and could understand why I had them on the table if they weren't for sale.
So, if I could make a Kingdom from Stephenson's Robot then that could be the answer to my problems.
It shouldn't be too difficult.
Fast forward a few months and I decided that I'd spend a weekend and do it.
I actually bought two figures, the idea being to use one on the Convention table and maybe to put the other one on Kickstarter as a reward tier.
I decided to use SuperSculpey as a means to adding the structural parts to the figure, which was recommended to me by a great scratch building modeller at the Portsmouth Convention (it's great what you can pick up at these events).
The shaping and positioning seemed to go ok.
I had to drill a hole in the head to insert the cigar, as I didn't want it breaking off later, but apart from that all was good.
I did the two and put them in the oven. I decided to bake at each stage to stop me messing the boys I'd made up when I was fiddling elsewhere.
15 mins in the oven...
was too hot for the plastic.
The arms and legs melted a bit.
Yes, I realised afterwards than I hadn't needed to put their arms and legs in in order to cook their faces.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Luckily, the box of figures came with two sets of arms and legs. The second set being shorter and thicker.
Actually it made the thing feel like it was an Animated cartoon version of Kingdom, which I quite liked.
I carried on.
Building up the major bits.
I realised that it was taking a while and that I'd been concentrating on one of them and not the two.
I decided to just make one of them.
Once I'd added the major pieces I gave it a nice black undercoat and then a nice silver.
Very shiny.
Too shiny.
I'd need to sort that out later with the varnish.

The thing about paint is that you can do a number of nice things.
Dry brushing and black washes bring it all together.


And before you know it he's taking shape and looking OK.


Painting straight lines is really difficult, but I argued with myself that when he was built it was unlikely that every line would be perfect so as long as it was pretty straight and with the same thickness of line then that'd be ok.
Then it was a matter of attaching some lego chains and other bits and bobs, painting them and then giving the whole thing a nice matt varnish.

Painting little gauges and clock hands at the end of the chains to to add detail.
All I all, it was a bit of a challenge but I'm please with how it came out.
I'm almost tempted to have a go at a Wolfboy one, but it would be a lot of clay and I'm not sure the frame would take the heat. Tempting though.

It's funny but as I look at him I'm reminded of the figures in Trumpton and Camberwick Green. Maybe a crossover is called for.
If you want to have a go yourself then you can buy them through www.umakeitcc.com.

Kickstarter .. another success.

Well our second Kickstarter has also been successful, hitting the £1000 target, which is great.
This one is Gary Crutchley's Hard Country
it's a great story that we're linking to our WesterNoir world.
The book is going through some final minor changes and then it'll be off the the printers.
A big thank you to everyone who backed it on Kickstarter.
All backers will get free Art Cards.
Here's the original art from Gary with colours by Matt Soffe.
We're hoping to make it a 2 sided print card..
We'll see how it goes.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

Kickstarter.

Well our first ever Kickstarter campaign was a success.
We hit out £500 target for Enter The Asylum steampunk anthology in less than a day, if memory serves.
The tiers helped it get over the target and it made me aware that had we not had Stephenson's Robot reward tiers then we would have jut missed the target, something to remember for future campaigns.
All's well that ends well though and we made it.
As I type this the special print cards and the comic itself are with the printer.
It is a lovely looking little comic and I can't wait to see it in the flesh.
Hot on the success of Enter The Asylum we are in the middle of our second Kickstarter campaign, Hard Country.
Hard Country has been Gary Crutchley's pet project for a good many years and we've Brough the tale into the WesterNoir universe and published it as a Tales of WesterNoir special.
You can check it out over at Kickstarter.com, it's doing pretty well, hitting the 92% of target mark in a week. Pop over and watch the great video that Andy Bloor pulled together for us.
So, all's looking good on the Kickstarter front.

London MCM.

It's been a busy couple of months, what with Conventions and Kickstarter.

Since my last post I've been to two Conventions, wildly different in appearance and connect but both going to.

London MCM was, it has to be said, a little down on last year. It just didn't seem to be as busy and whilst I'm trying not to, I'm wondering if the concerns about what state the country will be in post Brexit are causing people to be a little more cautious with their spending habits.

Everything seems bigger at the MCM in London...
There was the usual display of costumes and I always respect the time and effort that goes into the Cosplays, regardless of how effective they turn out to be.
The Green Soldiers from Toy Story as impressive...
as this version of the Powerpuff Girls...
was disturbing.
Sales were tough, maybe because we had only a single table and were tucked behind an artist with one of those table displays that effectively blocks ours if you were approaching from the left or maybe because we had nothing new out.
Regardless it was a tough 3 days for Jemma and myself but we soldiered on and did ok in the end.
It did hit me that everyone is looking younger these days, a sign of getting old I guess, even Judge Death was looking like he was too young to leave school...
All in all we had a good time chilling with our friends and chatting to returning customers, but it was a long tiring 3 days and I was glad when it had finished so I could put my tired feet up and have a good rest.
I didn't forget my hammer on the way out though.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man? Reviewed.

Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man? has been reviewed over on www.comicbooknews.co.uk.
I accept that art is very subjective, and have no problem with David's comments, but I love the way Marleen captured and added to the story with her great style and technique.

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Comic Publisher Landscape (2018).

Jason Thibault, over at JasonThibault.com has mapped US and UK publishers and AccentUK appear on the list...

Really great to be acknowledged in this way.
In other news, the Kickstarter is coming along very nicely, now almost 200% of target.

Friday, 11 May 2018

The first ever Portsmouth Comic Con.

Last weekend saw the Accent UK A-Team, or Team-of-One (that's me then), drive down to the first ever comic con in Portsmouth's Guildhall.
I set off extra early as I had little idea of where I was going, how I'd get there, how long it would take and what I'd do if, be some fluke, I should find the place.
Yep, I was a Team-of-One.
Actually, I guess I was a Team-of-Two. GoogleMaps was along for the ride and so I did actually make it in pretty good time.
The omens were good.
I had the sense that my Stephenson's Robot, in that it features Isambard Kingdom Brunel, would do pretty well as the pub across from the venue was advertising for me.
Even on my own I managed to set the table up in about 10 mins, which is actually quicker than normal as normally Colin spends the next 10 minutes re-arranging things :o)
Having one table meant that I could only take limited sock and that I had to make use of a comic box on the table to hold back issues. The comics on the table itself were pretty much all the latest issue of a series or imprint. It seemed to work pretty well though.
And there I was, set up between Mr Lego and The Back Issue Brothers (who actually ran the local comic shop (Room 237) and took some Accent UK to consider for their store).
In the main hall, Comic City 1, there was a real mix of tables and I wondered if I'd suffer because of that. Comic City 2, the room behind me, was more Independent Comics based.
I did, however, get to see the comic stars as they made there way to the signing area, and managed to get a copy of ...
signed by the man himself. An excellent start.
I decided to not only try to sell comics but also try to promote our Kickstarter and so as people stopped and chatted, whether they bought anything or not, they ended up walking away with one of our Enter The Asylum fliers.
Some people were happier to do so than others and there being a great Steampunk presence, courtesy of The Gosport Steampunk Group, certainly helped.
Saturday then was a good day, a decent start sales wise but very long.
It was due to finish at 8pm.
The organisers took pity on us however and let us leave at 6.30pm due to our good behaviour I think.
Sunday was pretty much the same. Sales were good, people were more than happy to stop and chat. I think there were more families checking out what was going on but the number of people looked to be about the same.
...and of course Steve Tanner was there selling boxes of his Flintlock comic to everyone.
It was great to catch up with Russell Mark Olsen and pick up the latest issue of his great Gateway City comic, to have breakfast with Mike Garley and Martin Simmonds, to trade quips with Dave of Timebomb Comics and meet John Freeman (DownTheTubes.com) again after many years.
I also made contact with a sculptor which will hopefully lead to something quite exciting in the not too distant future. I'll keep the details close to my chest for now but I'm pretty excited, well, as excited as an English man gets which is typically not noticeable to anyone else.
Reflecting on the Con as I was driving home I realised that it had been probably the most successful first attempt at a Con of that size that I've ever been to. I think most stalls did good trade, most people had a good time and Portsmouth benefitted from the extra business.
Congratulations then to Joel Meadows and his team on a great Con.
I've already registered interest in next year's event and can only hope I'm accepted.



Friday, 4 May 2018

Portsmouth and Kickstarter.

I'm off to the impressive looking Portsmouth Comic Con tomorrow morning, very early.

I'll be on my own as it's too far south for the Scottish part of the team 😄.
Hope to see you there.
In other news, our Kickstarter campaign is doing very nicely and has now reach 50 backers, beyond my expectations it must be said but then I can be a 'glass half empty kinda guy'.
Kickstarter is proving an interesting ... world. I've so much to learn but it's nice to find that there are lots of people out there looking to help.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

'Enter The Asylum' Kickstarter is live...

..and it looks great.

Kickstarter

A big thank you to Andy Bloor for the fab video and Matt Soffe for the great print card stretch goal (I think thats's what it's called .. I must get better at this Kickstarter stuff).

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Kickstarter.

Accent UK are launching their first ever Kickstarter on the 1st of May. The new comic, titled 'Enter The Asylum', features 4 five or six page stories about the Steampunk persona that you'll see at the Asylum event in Lincoln in August.

WesterNoir review from C2E2 purchase.

A great little review of WesterNoir from The Pullbox.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

C2E2 ... the comic show that is bigger than a lot of villages I've been to.

We thought it was about time that we tried to get into a Con in the USA again. The last we did was a few years ago now, MOCCA in New York, which although we enjoyed a lot turned more art and crafty year on year and eventually we stopped going as our books didn't really fit.
So.
Which one should we try to do?
New York?
Seattle?
Chicago?
Well we've actually been to the Emerald City Con (a long time ago), we've been to New York (MOCCA) and so it was an obvious choice really.
We've never been to Chicago.
All of the trips would involve a long flight and Chicago took some 9.5 hours (as we were flying via Zurich (it was cheaper)). I managed to watch a few films on the plane, the best of which was the new Jumanji and the worst being the latest Star Wars. The guy next to me was watching Jumanji too, but I made sure mine was slightly ahead of his, so I got to laugh first. I know. I'll never grow up.
I managed to use public transport to get from the airport to the hotel, which was Downtown. My aim was to not use a taxi for the entire trip.
The weather was actually colder than that which I'd left behind in London and I lost count of the number of people who told me it wasn't typical for this time of the year. Still, I'm used to it being cold and had the right clothing with me, albeit in limited quantities as the suitcase was mostly full of comics.
I did have an uneasy feeling about some of the locals however.
But had good hopes for the 3 day event.
I did some touristy things on Thursday before taking the stock to the venue. In Millennium Park I came across The Bean.
Quite a draw with loads of people taking photos of their reflections at strange angles. I took the opportunity to get a few myself,
but couldn't shake the strange chap who kept moving up next to me to get in my photos.
Thursday afternoon was set up time and so I went back to the hotel, picked up my suitcase (full of comics only this time), confused the hotel staff (who thought I was checking out already) and got on the right train to the convention centre area, Cermak-McCormick Plaza.
A short walk later and I was there.
And it was huge.
Turns out I'd entered the wrong side and it was a 10 minute walk to the right side of the centre.
It was huge.
I found the hall of the event, well it was pretty well sign posted...
and had set up in my usual quick time.
Wandering around the comic village I was stunned.
It was huge.
Competition looked fierce.
So much, such good quality... ah well... I decided to go, have some food, some beer and see what tomorrow brings.
Oh yeah. That strange chap followed me there. Still, he turned out pretty useful setting up the stall and seemed to know what was going on...
I told him he could help on the table the whole weekend. This seemed to please him.
And then Friday arrived and we got to selling.
If I had to describe the event I'd say it was a huge MCM.
There weren't as many cosplayers wandering around, and those that were were all pretty friendly...
And like MCMs the Friday was OK sales-wise but not amazing.
The creators around us told us that Saturday would be incredible and so our hopes were up that we wouldn't be taking a lot of stock back with us.
Saturday was incredible, if a little cold.
Sales were better but not amazing and wandering around the venue we found that the majority of people were browsing the merchandise stalls, of which there were plenty. Very much like the MCMs but with the Artist Alley (their version of Comic Village) positioned at the back it was much less busy.
Still we sold better than Friday and had gone through about half our stock by the end of the day. We'd made some interesting contacts and met up with old friend Mike Perkins, who invited us to a party afterwards with some of his mates.
It was great to see Mike again after about 20 years and we had a great evening.
And then it was Sunday.
Last day of the Con.
And that was when we got hit by as many, if not more, customers than we had the last two days combined. We had a great day and sold out almost everything we took over with us.
The suitcases were much lighter taking them back to the hotel. We'd pretty much done all we'd hoped to do.
As a celebration we went to Giordano's for tea.

We'd been told about the Pizza pies by photographer Greg at the Timequake event the week before. We had to try it.
It was huge.
Luckily we followed the advice of the waiter and went for the small one.
Yep, that is the small one.
Half eaten.
It was challenge of Herculean proportion but we finished the thing.
And so a couple of well fed, happy Brits, made it back to the hotel.
Monday and Tuesday morning were tourist time.
We took in the city and had a great time wandering the streets, taking in the architecture, taking in the comic shops,
going to the top of Willis Tower (and Colin standing on the Sky Ledge (I discovered that I suffer from a bit of Vertigo I think)).
A great city.
A great week.
Great people.
A great Convention.
A city that lives in the shadow of the Trump tower.

We will try to go back next year.
It'll never pay for itself sadly and will always need to be considered as a holiday but we really enjoyed ourselves and introduced a lot of new people to our work.