Archive for the 'Small press comics' Category

13th Dec 2009

Andy’s new column, and Deirdre’s webcomic

Andy Luke’s second column at Alltern8 is up, in which he recommends some (mostly) small press comics as Christmas presents – including my own Ness.  Another he recommends is One Word for Everything, a collection of strips from Deirdre Ruane’s webcomic Wasted Epiphanies, which came as a pleasant surprise to me as I didn’t know she was putting her comics online.  A lot odd observations on mundane things from ususual perspectives (like the example below), and a few recurring characters, like Tempin’ Bear, a polar bear who, since his ice floe melted, has had to seek alternative employment in various unsuitable office jobs, all done in a free-and-easy drawing style. Great stuff, stick it in your RSS reader today!

Wasted Epiphanies: Cellular Religions by Deirdre Ruane

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09th Dec 2009

Andy Luke’s column on our recent comic-selling adventures

My esteemed colleague Andy Luke, previously of Caption and London Underground Comics and my co-stallholder at Independents Day in Dublin and the Black Market in Belfast, is now blogging at Alltern8, and his first post is about those very experiences, and the DIY comics scene in general. Here’s Andy (left) with Belfast comics elder statesman Davy Francis at the Black Market last Sunday.

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29th Nov 2009

Black Box Market next Sunday

Black Market December 2006

Next Sunday, 6 December, is the monthly Black Market, from noon to 5pm at the Black Box, Hill Street (in the Cathedral Quarter), Belfast. Their blurb says it’s “a celebration of creativity and the DIY spirit, a marketplace showcasing the work of independent artists, designers, illustrators and crafters alongside bountiful stalls from collectors of records, books and vintage clothing”, and Andy Luke and I will have a stall, selling a selection of Irish-produced small press comics, including our own.

Admission is free, and since it’s the festive season there’ll be “sweet and savoury homebaked/cooked delights available”, and “music from guest DJs”. I hope we’l see loads of you there.

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24th Mar 2009

On Things

On Saturday (28 March) I shall be exhibiting at the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing (which I like to think is named after the Old Norse word for an assembly rather than just, well, a thing) at Queen Mary University in London. I’ll have copies of Ness, the first print issue of The Cattle Raid of Cooley, and my 24 Hour Comic to sell, and there’s lots of other interesting and talented cartoonists exhibiting as well – from Sarah McIntyre (Vern & Lettuce) to Paul Rainey (There’s No Time Like the Present) to Kate Beaton (Hark, a Vagrant!) to Rene Engström (Anders Loves Maria) to David O’Connell (Tozo) – and  a healthy Irish contingent, including Patrick Lynch and Katie Blackwood, Ronan Kennedy, Al Nolan and Cliodhna Lyons.  Should be a good show, so if you’re in the vicinity why not come and say hello?

In other news, the great Davy Francis, frighteningly youthful elder statesman of the Belfast cartooning scene, was doing caricatures for Comic Relief the week before last.  Here’s one he did of me.

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02nd Feb 2009

Belfast artist Stephen Downey

CancertownStephen Downey, a Belfast comics artist and a mate from the monthly Belfast comics creator meetups in the Garrick bar, has been working on Cancertown for what seems like forever. It was originally going to be a limited series before the publishers decided that was commercial suicide, and it’ll be going direct to graphic novel when it’s done.  It’s a sort of supernatural horror fantasy thing written by a guy called Cy Dethan, and we’ve been getting previews of the pages as they’re drawn.

From what I can gather the main character has a foot in two worlds, the real one (drawn in ink) and another one full of grotesques, monsters and giant eyeballs (drawn in pencil). I was particularly impressed by the sequence where the writer, as comics writers do, asked Stephen to draw a character becoming a whirlwind of daggers – not metaphorically, actually turn into a spiral storm made up of countless pointy metal weapons – and Stephen not only did it, but did it so you went “wow”.  Stephen draws in a kind of heightened realist style that would fit in quite nicely at places like Vertigo, teaches Irish traditional music, and talks faster than the human mind can comfortably process.

And he’s done an interview about his process and inspirations over at Red Eye, his publisher’s blog, and he’s been good enough to give me a wee plug. Favour returned, and I’ll keep you posted when the book comes out.

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24th Nov 2008

Con Report

The Dublin City Comic Con went extremely well, after, it has to be said, a fairly shaky start.  I arrived in Dublin on Saturday morning, tried to checkin at the hostel I’d booked a bed in, and when asked for money, discovered I’d left my wallet at home in Belfast.  The con organisers were very understanding and were happy to let me off paying for my half of the table until Sunday, after I’d made the trip home and back again.

First time I’ve been to a con as an exhibitor rather than a punter.  I was extremely lax at taking photos, I’m afraid.  Here’s a shot of my half-a-table taken on Friday:

I was sharing with Tommie Kelly, creator of the excellent webcomic Road Crew, and his glamorous assistant Vanessa:

Met a bunch of people I’d previously only met online, reaquainted myself with some people I’d  met at 2D, and made the acquaintance of a few people who were entirely new to me, and embarrassingly got Stephen and Aidan, who I know from the monthly Belfast comic creator pub meets, mixed up on a couple of occasions (sorry).  Stephen Coffey unveiled his secret weapon, Barry McGowan, who’d painted his comic Rosemary Herbb: The Return in a style that looked like a tighter version of 2000AD‘s Simon Davis.  Declan Shalvey and Andy Winter launched their hilarious one-shot comic Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag, which among other things includes a wicked parody of Garth Ennis’s The Boys and a novel version of what Judge Dredd, sorry, “Magistrate Grudge”, looks like without his helmet.

The launch of the collected edition of The Ulster Cycle: Ness was a great success – I shifted more than half of my initial print run, and several of the people who bought it on Saturday came back on Sunday to say how much they’d enjoyed it.  (The quality of the printing, by The Fallen Angel, was also complimented, deservedly so.  Thanks Mallory.)  I made an impromptu appearance on a panel for newly launched small press books and did it reasonable justice I thought.  I’m not quite ready to launch the book online, but I will shortly once I figure out how much I’ll need for postage and can get a PayPal button sorted.

Edited to add: Tommie’s put up his own report and photos (including one of me looking pregnant).

Edited Tuesday 25 November to add: Declan Shalvey has his report up.

Edited Wednesday 26 November: link to Andy Winter’s impression.

Posted by Posted by paddybrown under Filed under Dublin City Comic Con, Irish comics, Ness, Publishing, Small press comics, Webcomics Comments 3 Comments »

21st Nov 2008

The Dublin Comic Con is tomorrow

This weekend I shall be nerd-networking.  I have half a small press table at the Dublin City Comic Con at the Park Inn Hotel in Smithfield Square, Dublin.  Apart from the couple of people who bought copies from Lulu before I withdrew it from sale there, this will be the first opportunity to buy a copy of The Ulster Cycle: Ness in book form!

I’ll be sharing a table with Tommie Kelly, creator of Road Crew (a very funny webcomic about a rock band’s roadies) who’ll also have wares to sell, so if you’re attending, be sure to say hi (and buy stuff).

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13th Oct 2008

Off saving the world…

You might not be aware of it, but there’s an Irish-based international development charity called GOAL who do lots of good work. My brother Simon worked for them in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a while and has nothing but good to say about them, unlike certain of the other NGOs he’s spent time with.

Turns out fellow Irish cartoonist Cliodhna Lyons’ dad Conor also worked for them, in Sri Lanka. He died last year, and Cliodhna’s tribute to him is the handsome anthology “Sorry I can’t take your call right now but I’m off saving the world”.  It’s got contributions from loads of names, many of whom I don’t know, but the ones I do include Sarah McIntyre, creator of “Vern and Lettuce” in The DFC, Liam Geraghty and Philip Barrett of Gazebo fame, top animator Tomm Moore of the Cartoon Saloon, Patrick Lynch, creator of Last Bus.  In this blog post Cliodhna explains how she created the beautiful screen-printed cover.

You can buy it online using Paypal – check out the Goal Anthology website for details.  All proceeds, of course, go to GOAL.  I’ve ordered my copy. Do yourself a favour and do likewise.

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09th Jun 2008

2D Comics Festival and small press comics

Got back last night from the second 2D Comics Festival – the first I’d actually been to – in Derry, and a fun and fascinating time was had.  Ireland, north and south, is clearly home to a great deal of comics creativity in the pro and small presses.  But I came out thinking, maybe I’m ahead of the curve?

Back in the 90s I was part of a small press comics scene that was based on a bunch of cartoonists producing little A5 photocopied pamphlets and “selling” them – or at least, exchanging them with each other – by post.  Some of us would go to conventions and actually take money, but I doubt many of us kept count of how many we’d sold and how much we were making.  I know I didn’t.  Our print runs were tiny, and our outlay was also tiny – so even if we made 100% profit it would barely have bought us a round of drinks anyway.  We weren’t, in short, in it for the money.

There are still cartoonists like that.  Some are true amateurs, doing it for the love in formats, genres and styles that will never be commercial, while others hope that, after honing their chops in the non-money-making sector, they might be able to produce a body of work they can parlay into opportunities in pro publishing – just like back then.  Professional printing is now within financial reach, so hand-stapled photocopied booklets are giving way to quality paper and full colour covers, even full colour interiors.  But even a short print run, professionally printed, costs a fair amount of money up-front, and making any of that back involves lots of legwork distributing the thing to shops.  The outlay is bigger, but the expectation is still not to make any immediate money out of it.

The odd thing is how few seem to be considering the web as a way of getting their work seen and read.  A fair few small press cartoonists have websites, but you can’t read any of their comics on them.  But it’s by far the cheapest way to get work out there, to, potentially, a huge audience.  And rss aggregator sites like Google Reader or Bloglines or any number of others, which allow you to keep track in one place of when all your favourite blogs have updated, make it as easy to enjoy long-form serialised comics as one-off gag strips or self-contained short stories.  But people aren’t quite on board with webcomics just yet.

It’s the way forward for small press cartoonists though, I’m convinced of it.  And when a trendsetter like Warren Ellis is throwing his weight behind it – his and Paul Duffield’s excellent ongoing sci-fi series Freakangels – maybe people are going to start paying more attention, and realising the possibilities.  I hope so, anyway.

The other way forward for small press cartoonists is print-on-demand.  In the old days, the set-up costs for printing were so high you needed a substantial print-run to make it worth your while – far too many for one person to be able to sell – and you’d be left stuck with boxes full of unsold comics.  Digital printing has put and end to that.  There are now a number of companies on the web who’ll print you one copy at a time if that’s all you need, and allow readers to buy copies online, only printing as many copies as have been ordered.  The up-front costs are really very small.  When the current storyline of The Ulster Cycle is finished, I’ve long intended to publish it as a book using one of these services (although I haven’t decided which one yet).  It’s a model that suits the small press extremely well.

Aside from all this musing, 2D gave me the opportunity to meet lots of interesting and talented new people (you’ll notice my “Irish comics creators” blogroll down the left hand side of the site is now quite a bit bigger) catch up with some equally interesting and talented people I already knew but hadn’t seen for ages, buy some comics off them and/or watch them draw.  It was only a shame I had to leave so early to catch the train back to Belfast.  I think next year I’ll have to plan it a bit better.

Posted by Posted by paddybrown under Filed under 2D Festival, Irish comics, Small press comics, Webcomics Comments 3 Comments »

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