London Horror Comic #3: printed in 2009 and under a set of less than optimal conditions.
I was at the stage of taking #3 to print when I got the news that Diamond would no longer be carrying the book. This was during the financial crisis, so I couldn’t fault Diamond for cutting back on titles that were costing it more to carry.
The long and short of it: I was left with a finished book without an accesible audience.
Having got as far as I had done with the book’s production I decided to hit the printers, but on a small print run. I figured I owed ‘the work’ itself that much.
Over two issues and a year-long web comic, I’d got enough emails and letters from people to convince me that there was an audience for my book.
If I wanted London Horror Comic to survive however, I would now have to find them.
And so began the process of finding readers, from scratch, cold-selling at conventions on a regular schedule. The only really effective marketing was putting the book in people’s hands and getting them to read it and that’s what I’ve spent these last few years doing; a sort of Jehovah’s Witness of myself.
Chiefly through conventions and the web, London Horror Comic not only survived but also continues to find new readers each year.
A consequence is that new readers want old issues.
Personally, I’ve been against doing re-prints. For me, London Horror Comic is about making the next issue better than the last rather than trumpeting old glories. I also see each issue as a finite object: when it’s sold out, it’s gone. Move along. Nothing to see here.
Ultimately though, the decision to reprint an issue that would have never been printed in the first place did seem like a nice way to mark how far the book had come.
The re-print is also a means of a thank-you, in response to the many emails and messages I get from people who have helped the book survive. Most of you now should be able to complete your collections and sell them for a million pounds when the police find the bodies I’ve buried really really badly.
Having re-read the entire comic in full for the first time, I’m reminded of where my head was at during the first print. London Horror Comic #3 is very much the work of a writer that has an axe to grind and wants to provoke.
He’s not overly concerned about style or how tastefully each short story sits next to the other, but substance and structure are very much at the forefront of his mind.
Being able to re-read the book again not only reminds me about what lit my fire about starting to write comics, but how far I’ve come. And if you’ve enjoyed the ride so far with me, I can only continue to commit to making the next one just as fun.