Thoughts on New York

Quick history lesson: back in 2003 and through a series of accidental circumstances I ended up in New York for a weekend. Stuck without much to do, I did what any right-thinking guy alone in a big city would: I found the nearest comic store and spent the weekend reading comics.

The store was Jim Hanley’s Universe, the one opposite the Empire State Building, and in my haul was a bunch of indie comics including Optic Nerve, Joe Matt’s Peepshow and a whole lot more.

The weekend opened my eyes to some great work and in part laid the foundation for me starting the London Horror Comic.
Flash-forward nine years to 2012 and I’m standing in Jim Hanley’s Universe once again, but this time with my book on the shelf.

Little moments like this make me realise just how long I’ve been on this journey of making comics. It was a nice touch point for my first convention abroad.

***

It’s always a little worrying when you do a new convention. In any new place, you wonder how you and your work will come across to the people that have paid the price of admission.

New York is a big place. You have to tilt your head back to touch your heels to take in the full height of the surrounding skyscrapers. Giant billboards lord over the population. Advertising is the church and the cash register is where you seek forgiveness. The coffee shops carry 28 different flavours of coffee.

It’s a demanding place.

And then there’s me with my comic books and an English accent most people might suspect of being a put on.
At times like this this, it’s reassuring to remember why I produce comics: to tell the stories I want in the way I want to tell ‘em.

My mission when I go to a comics convention? To find some like-minded cats who dig what I’m about and who I can provide a few chuckles and chills for.

If your mission veers too far from the above ethic, you won’t fully enjoy the show.

***

The most startling thing about MoCCA was its size. The small press scene is a fully matured one. High-quality books covering a range of subjects by hundreds of people with an audience size comparable to a mainstream comic book show here.

I definitely think that the UK scene is on its way there. It may take a couple of years, but the talent is here and with more and more people discovering indie books we’re not too far off.

posted by admin at 12:26 am  

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