UK Comics Convention Round Up
The warm afterglow of Thought Bubble punctuated the end of what was a very busy run of conventions for me in 2011.
This was the year when I actively pursued getting out on to the UK comics convention circuit.
The biggest surprise has been how open people have been about trying new comics that aren’t on sold on the shelf of their local comic shop. Without meaning to sound too up myself, I realise that London Horror Comic has high production standards, so perhaps it’s less of a leap for people to try my book than others, but generally I’ve found people open to trying stuff beyond capes and cowls.
I take this as a healthy sign that writing about horror/comedy in comics is still worthwhile. The battle remains signposting people to the book itself. In an ideal world there would be an internet avatar fashioned in my own image roaming cyberspace like a rogue Microsoft Word Office Paper-clip helper giving a well-rehearsed elevator pitch to anyone searching Google for comics.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve found that the majority of people who have picked up my book at comic conventions haven’t been pure comics fan; they’ve generally been couples who have been mildly amused at some of the stories to buy the book.
This is good and bad: good in that it shows London Horror Comic has a potentially wider appeal beyond comics, but bad in that nailing down exact demographics about where people like them would find out about a comic book, assuming they didn’t visit a comic shop, is frustrating. Maybe I should ask them to fill out a short survey next time.
Another phenomena I’ve noticed is that attendees at comic conventions are often wading through exhibition tables on a tight budget. Multiple laps of convention floors are required before a purchasing decision is made. This is in direct contrast to some of the customers in comic stores who blow between £30 and £70 on a week’s new releases of comics (and, without meaning to sound bitchy, there really isn’t £30+ of good stuff coming out weekly).
I think the above comes back to habitual buying: comic store customers buy their titles as a habit, so whether good or not, they’re getting the next part in the story for completeness or because it features their favourite artist. That’s the one area I would say that independent comics have to get to grips with: producing work on a regular schedule so that people know when it’s out.