Pictures of the some of the fine folk who turned up and bought copies of London Horror Comic at Leamington Spa Comic Con 2017.
I knew I’d made the right choice to exhibit at Leamington Spa Comic Con was when I was presented with a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea upon arrival.
This was the bacon sandwich and tea that changed everything for me.
Its proof of how you know you’ll be in safe hands when you (and if not, you should) attend LSCC later this month.
Let me expand.
If you’re a punter at a comic con you’re probably unaware of the utter ball ache it is as an exhibitor it is to drive, set up, sell and haul your wares back down the M25 in the same day (or God forbid, over the course of three days).
Exhibitors are a proud, plucky and nervous lot in much the same way that Batman’s foes are a cowardly and superstitious lot.
We’ve been up hours before the doors are open to the public and once the starting gun is fired we just want to make that first sale to justify our faith in our work but more importantly in our choice of the event.
It’s an organiser’s market these days.
The demand for table spaces typically outstrips supply and exhibitor curation (where exhibitors make choices about who they let exhibit before accepting money for tables) is now commonplace.
In short, there are thankless hurdles we have to undergo as exhibitors just to present our works to you on the off-chance it’s something that strikes your fancy.
But back to that bacon sandwich and cup of tea.
See, when I arrived at the first LSCC, in addition to being welcomed and shown to my table, organiser Dan Mallier had actually focused on providing a momentary comfort to all exhibitors who had chosen to attend and made the effort.
This isn’t the norm, I’d like to point out, but it does illustrate a number of things.
It illustrates caring for the people that make your event.
It illustrates attention to detail. It makes for a better experience (it was a pretty tasty bacon sandwich).
And it illustrates a desire and a want for all people – not just the punters – to have a good time.
Curating what can only be described as a good vibe between exhibitor and punter is what being an organiser is all about and yet is something overlooked by many larger and better financed conventions.
Done right, it makes an event memorable, enjoyable and provides a reason for exhibitors to return.
This is the third Leamington Spa I’m returning for and each time I’ve enjoyed healthy sales and great conversations with folks.
The event has also won an award and more importantly provides access to creators and work at a local level for the community.
If the above has piqued your interest then make the journey and see what the fuss is all about.
There are just two weeks left to get your #LCC2017 tickets! BOOK TODAY to avoid missing out: https://www.spatowncomics.co.uk/leam-comic-con
Were you at LSCC 2015? Check out some of the pics from the event here.
First post of 2017!
London Horror Comic is featured in a two-page interview in Comic Heroes Magazine out now and featured below.
Pictures of the fine folk who picked up London Horror Comic 7 at the Orbital Comics Launch in London.
My process for writing has changed over the years.
From knocking out a short sharp plot, to letting a story “brew” where you feel the moments with your characters.
To that end here’s how a typical story gets done:
1. Waiting for one scene
London Horror Comic follows a “two people in a room” model.
Before I have a fully fleshed out plot I’m looking for that one scene which the story is essentially about. It’s a neat trick which allows you to ensure your story is about something that matters without having to think about cause and effect early on.
2. Inspiration first, structure later
Once I have that one scene and I’ve got two characters talking, I build scenes either side of it.
What could get us to this point that lends the story resonance and where could the story go in a way that heightens events? Structure is important in making a story flow, but I only really begin applying structure after I have an idea that interests me.
3. Talk is not cheap
For me, the choice and rhythm of words is just as important as image selection in the script – the two have to work together.
I write out the dialogue and captions and then write images that match or lend a contrast to the words. I never do both at the same time as I find when I do panel descriptions my mind works in a more literal way (clarity here is at the forefront of my mind) whereas writing dialogue and captions is more instinctive (more like poetry).
4. Image First
Once I get the art back, I then go back and prune the words that will appear on page. Again, this is to ensure that the words work with the pictures. I re-read back how the words “sit” with the pictures as if it was part of the art and prune some more.
Pictures of the fine folk who picked up London Horror Comic & Graveyard Orbit at London Super Comic Con 2016 Day 2.
Pictures of the fine folk who picked up London Horror Comic & Graveyard Orbit at London Super Comic Con 2016 Day 1.
I’m interviewed as part of the new British Horror Invasion in comic books in Rue Morgue’s History of Horror Comics.
Click on the links below to expand.
London Horror Comic celebrates its 10th year in publishing and I’ll be doing a series of posts around the journey that’s brought me to this milestone throughout 2016.
Along the way there will be useful tidbits about self-publishing, so don’t worry, it won’t be a completely incontinent stroll down memory lane with a forced stop off behind a big tree.
Some history for the uninitiated: London Horror Comic began life as a web comic and made its jump to print as part of the Film 4 FrightFest 2006 programme guide. It was at the end of 2007 that the dedicated first issue came out.
Over the 10 years there has been much that’s happened: the book was distributed with Diamond Comic Distributors, it was dropped from their Previews catalogue in 2008, I had to learn how to sell the book at conventions, the book has won awards and been praised by people I admire.
But perhaps the most meaningful achievement to me is the most blandest: the book is still going. It’s still here.
This lends itself nicely for a blog post about a subject you don’t hear too much about in comics, which is namely, how you stay the long term. Especially when you decide to go it alone.
Regardless if you’re a writer, artist, or publisher, there’s plenty of monkey shit that will be thrown at you, which you have to dodge if you want to keep doing what you want to do.
Since 2006 there has been a huge number of changes in the world that have affected the reality publishing a comic exists in.
iPhones, tablets and such have made digital comics a commercial reality for the mass paying market. Retail models for shops selling entertainment media (HMV, for example) are getting a handle on how they can adapt to survive. The Cinema Store, a place in London for scoring cult import DVDs and Blu Rays and which had been going for 20 years, closed its doors last week owning to excessive rent for its retail space.
The web might be the tool to keep a culture alive with its various routes for commentary, discussion and reporting but fundamentally a culture needs its allocated physical space to have any impact in the real world. The rise in UK comic conventions is one of the main reasons the London Horror Comic has managed to survive.
That said, there’s never been a better time to be a comics fan. The surreal moment you see a billboard for a “Deadpool” movie on a major road, you’re reminded how much movies and television now draw inspiration from comics.
At the same time, we’ve also seen how print titles, like FHM, which used to draw hundreds of thousands of readers, have closed due to changing tastes. In this way, you can see how nothing, however once popular, is guaranteed a future.
Despite this, the sales practices of the big two comic companies (revamp after revamp, variant covers, editorial short termism) seems based on appealing to readers from the 90s’, rather than the new readers being brought in to the medium looking for something interesting to read and not a gimmick.
With all the above trends, how then do you meaningfully carve out a future for yourself?
The best answer I can give looking back on the last 10 years is that you have to genuinely start with a love of what you do and make that the through-line for every action you take.
Had my priorities been overridden by a need to get rich doing comics, breaking in to the mainstream, being fashionable or getting the right reviews or copying the in-thing in comics that year, I don’t think I would have lasted the course.
The London Horror Comic began with a simple intent of telling off-beat stories coated with black humor. It’s the equivalent of meeting me in a pub and me being drunk enough to want to tell you a dirty joke, because I’ve sensed that you might be like-mindedly miserable.
Whatever stage of the journey you’re on with your own creative project, when you encounter difficulties, always go back to the smallest of reasons that got you started on the journey.
If it’s true enough, if it motivates you to still want to connect with people, you’ll always have something to say and stories like this never go out of fashion.
Not even after 10 years.