Convention Report Double Feature! True Believers and Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con!

Over the past two Saturdays I’ve been to two very different conventions where I had two very different experiences, True Believers Comic Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse (3rd February) and Cardiff Anime and Gaming Con at the Mercure Hotel, Cardiff (yesterday 10th February). True Believers True Believers is a show I’ve tabled at before and was selling at again. Booking a table, receiving set up instructions, and getting into the event was extremely simple. This isn’t the team’s first rodeo, they’re familiar with the venue and their own processes so everything ran very smoothly. Stuart and Andy, the main men behind the operation, made sure to pop by everyone’s table to have a chat, make sure they were okay, ask if there were any issues, etc. I think what’s always been very apparent is that these guys put on this show so everyone can have a good time, it has a by the fans for the fans feel. There was a very strong presence of small press and indie comics and, while I only got away from my table for five to ten minutes at a time, it felt like the majority of tables were occupied by artists selling their self-published books. True Believers has come to have a very strong focus and the audience it attracts now expect, and get excited for, indie comics. It felt like every artist based in the South was in attendance. Sarah Millman, Dani Abram, Emily Owen, Rachael Smith, Attic Studios, Reckless Hero, the Awesome Comics Podcast, Big Punch Studios, Disconnected Press, Shaun Dobie, Matt Garvey… pretty much everyone you’d expect! From a trading...

What’s in store for 2018?

2017 is practically over. Sure, there’s a week and a half left, but in the UK we’re all winding down for Christmas and New Year. 2017 saw the release of Unfamiliar Skies issue 2 and I got to attend some fantastic conventions. I might write a proper “looking back” post about the year at some point, but this entry is all about looking forward to 2018. Comics Straight off the bat, we’ll get to the single most important thing, the comics themselves! Going one title at a time, you can look forward to: Unfamiliar Skies Claris’ story will continue with issue 3. An assassin has been sent to kill Claris and her father. Meanwhile, the colony ship Claris ran away from is also under attack, threatening the lives of everyone aboard – including her mother! There are going to be some serious consequences for Claris’ actions in issue 1 that will lead us into issues 4 and 5. The original plan was for the first arc to be five issues, however I think the story will benefit from slowing the pacing down a little and that could extend the arc beyond five issues. In terms of release, I’m torn between two options. The first is to release issue 3 as a digital first comic, bringing it to Comichaus and Comixology as soon as it’s finished, then setting some money aside each month (supplemented by any income from the digital releases) to print it. This may take some time as historic data on Comixology sales tell me that won’t bring in enough to fund a print run, while Comichaus is...
Review: Awesome Comics Podcast

Review: Awesome Comics Podcast

In celebration of their 100th episode, and because they ask for reviews on almost every show, we’re taking a look at what’s quickly become one of the main pillars of the UK’s small press and indie comics scene, the Awesome Comics Podcast! The basic premise is simple, you’ve got three hosts, Vince Hunt (creator of Red Mask from Mars and Stalkerville), Dan Butcher (creator of Vanguard and artist for El Marvo), and Tony Esmond (writer and contributor to Down the Tubes) who have a nice blend of knowledge, experience, and influences, sitting down for two hours at a time, often with a guest, and chatting about comic books. The three bounce off each other really well. The first episode was the first time Dan and Vince had properly spoken to each other, yet you’d be hard pressed to tell if they hadn’t said so. There’s no noticeable awkwardness and now they’re preparing to record their 100th episode they’ve had time to become extremely comfortable around each other, letting their personalities shine through. This is one of those rare podcasts where no one really takes the lead. Typically, podcasts have a host and co-host relationship and, while Vince is advertised as the main host and audibly interjects at times to get things back on track, the trio truly feel like equals. They also don’t talk down to their audience, as a listener you’re assumed to have some base form of intelligence and they respect that, if you’re listening to a comics podcast, you know the basics of that world at the very least. It’s quite welcoming and respectful in that...
Unfamiliar Skies issue 2 Kickstarter

Unfamiliar Skies issue 2 Kickstarter

Unfamiliar Skies is currently on Kickstarter to raise funds to cover the print costs of the book. Click here to see the campaign. Digital copies start at just £1 with physical copies being only £5 posted within the UK (international shipping is available at an additional cost). Backers also get exclusive behind-the-scenes updates on the book so make sure you’re not left...

A break from conventions

I’m currently taking a break from conventions for a number of reasons, with Melksham Comic Con back in August being my last for what was planned to be a year out. There are a number of reasons for that including travel, health and, yes, money. In short, I can’t drive because my left eye is underdeveloped and I don’t really have any sense of depth perception, making driving extremely dangerous for me and everyone else on the road, so I’m reliant on public transport or my other half giving me a lift. The former is tricky due to living in a remote, rural, village and the latter became much more of an issue after we had kids. Health wise, since needing some time off work years ago for stress, anxiety and panic attacks I now get severe stomach cramps, short of breath and other unpleasant symptoms when I’m under significant stress. As much as I love conventions and the community, there can often be a pressure to sell enough to cover your costs, to be able to print the next book, to be able to attend the next show. I’m not a salesman, far from it. I’m a socially awkward high functioning autistic (Asperger’s Syndrome) who often wears a paper-thin mask of staged confidence and bravado. Finally, money. I’ve covered some of it above and the rest I’ve talked about in detail in a previous article. In short, you have to treat self-publishing like gambling, yes there are wins and occasional jackpots but you should never spend money you can’t afford to lose. Right now, I need to rebuild...