Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Last Comic Con Of The Year.

So, we'd managed to get ourselves into the Main Hall at this year's Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds.
We'd nearly missed out on the whole thing as tables were sold out within an hour of being announced, and for those of us with a day job we found out too late. But we got lucky as we moved from the 'hoping for a cancellation' list, through 'a table in the 3rd Hall' list, to 'a cancellation has actually happened in the Main Hall and you're in the Main Hall' list.
Our concern had been that in the new 3rd Hall we might not see as many customers as we would in the Main Hall and so we jumped at the chance.
The event had a really good vibe, with the banners etc.
Putting all of the worries behind us, I picked up Colin at around 8.30am and with Jemma in the back of the car getting excited about meeting Mark Buckingham and Kieron Gillen, we set off, and for once there were no roadworks (to talk of), no heavy showers, no lorries trying to squeeze you into the central barrier and... ok.. we did have a little diversion when we missed our exit from the motorway, but it was a good journey.
We had arrived about 30 minutes before opening time and had no trouble getting our tickets (including the extras) and finding our table. A great start.
Gary Crutchley, co-creator, co-scribe (well, he does most of the actual scribing) and artist on WesterNoir arrived not long after doors opened, which made for an even better start.
Me and Gary Crutchley.
We were good to go.
The only question was, as Colin mentions over on his report, would the extra (3rd) hall draw in extra comic enthusiasts or would it just mean that the number of people that came last year would have more to choose from.
Thom Ferrier (Ian Williams) and Colin catch up.
Well sales weren't bad. They didn't hit last year's number, but we had fewer new titles out this year, but sales were better than the year before that, so I think it's an upward trend (hmmmm... sounding a little too salesman-like). We had a lot of repeat customers (which is great), met some really nice people (and very talented they are too) from Portugal, caught up with a lot of friends in the Independent Comic scene and Jemma got her Mark Buckingham Fables sketch (Bigby) as well as Kieron Gillen's signature on her Journey Into Mystery TPB.
Gary was happy with the response to WesterNoir...
Westernoir issue 3 sold really well, to those who had the first two issues, those who picked up all three or those tempted by Gary's great sketches to buy a sketchpack. It was great to have Gary around on Saturday, and of course we manage to talk about future issues over a coffee, you can read Gary's report of his day over on his blog.

Colin and Gary.
As we weren't sure where we were going to be this year, or even if we had a table at the event, we'd decided not to book hotel rooms and so it was a quick drive back across the Pennines for a little rest and restocking.
Sunday started badly... for me.
On putting on a clean shirt (that'll teach me) I disturbed a Queen Wasp, who had decided to spend the winter in one of the shirt sleeves. My wife watched me dance around the bedroom, trying to take the shirt of without getting stung too many times, looking more like Lee Evans than John Travolta I sorry to say. Anyway... I think I only got stung once and the wasp was then introduced to the outside of the house (she was alive and buzzing when I last saw her).
Queen wasps are not small creatures.
Anyway, manning up (with a little Savlon and an anti-histamine pill from Colin's wife Karen) we were once again on our way back to Leeds.
Jemma had a new Fables book to get signed and a new character to get a sketch of.
Jemma hiding...
I had to find James McKay to get my copy of Dreams Of A Carbon Future (see my blog for more details) and Colin had a lot of people to catch up with and small press books to buy (as is his way :o).
Sunday was quieter than Saturday.
We did attract some attention with our 'Accent UK in Lego' display case, and had some fun with people matching Lego figures to Accent UK books.
Looks like the Invisible Man is missing...
We did sell enough books to make this a good Con (and I was really happy to see so many WesterNoir and Robot Shorts books selling) from that perspective, Jemma (as a fan-girl) got some quality sketches, we caught up with friends, creators, readers and would-be creators and are certainly looking forward to next year's event.

The wrist bands allowing entry always looks a bit worse for wear after 2 days.  

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Thought Bubble...

Just a quick reminder that Accent UK have a table in the Main Hall at next weekend's Thought Bubble Comic Festival in Leeds. Hope to see you there.
Also, don't forget to check out Colin's blog, for his review of our last event.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

To Comiket and back...

Yesterday Colin, Gary and I went to the Comiket Con in London (around the back of King's Cross station).
It's the second time Comiket has been at this venue and lst time around we did pretty well.
Setting off on the 7.20am train from Crewe all went pretty much to plan and pretty soon Colin and I found ourselves meeting up with Gary in Euston station before heading off with bags full of comics. I must say that it's a tough venue to find first time around but we knew where we were going and so, apart from my suitcase wheels buckling under the pressure, we made good time and were set up 30 minutes or so before doors opened.
As is typical of these events the doors opened to a trickle of customers, the trickle being pretty constant through the day. Paul Gravett got the Drawing Parade off and running straight away. This is where artists get to sit at the front of the hall and draw, with their creative process being projected over their heads onto a large screen. It's quite absorbing watching other artists as they do their thing.
Colin, Gary and I talking with Joel Meadows (Bleeding Cool News photo)
It was a slow day, but comics did sell, not as good as the last event but this show is always fun to be at and is really like no other show in the UK.
It was great to have Gary behind the table with us, talking to customers about WesterNoir and to meet readers of the first two issues as they picked up the third (and it was good to meet you Aaron, hope you enjoyed Issue 3). I also got to see an almost complete version of Issue 4 on Gary's iPAD).
It was also good to see Owen Johnson at his table selling Raygun Roads, with art by the incomparable Indio!
All in all a very enjoyable event, the number of customers were down a bit and consequently so were sales but we had a really good time.
Travelling home was a bit of an ordeal though.
The 8.10 pm out of Euston to Crewe was delayed by 20 minutes.
When if finally set off it had to stop outside Wembley somewhere for 'isolation', which was a little worrying but nobody turned up in hazmat suits and in another 20 mins or so we were off once again.
Approaching Rugby (our first official stop) the Train Manager asked that anybody with 'medical training' go to Coach D.
We then spent about 40 minutes in Rugby station and ultimately a man was stretchered off accompanied by paramedics (I hope he's OK now).
And so we finally arrived into Crewe at about 11.30pm.
These things can't be helped but it did make it a very long day.
Still, looking forward to the next one.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Accent UK will be at Saturday's Comiket.

Colin, myself and Gary Crutchley have a table at Saturday's Comiket festival in London. We're regulars of this great little Con now and always have a very enjoyable day, which starts as we discuss the future plans of Accent UK on the train down to London.
Do pop by the stall and say hello.
We'll have some sketches of WesterNoir by Gary to offer as well as our normal range of comics.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Lakes International Comics Art Festival - A lot of rain but was it a washout ?

This was the first ever The Lakes International Comics Art Festival and promised to be an event like no other in the UK as it appeared to be taking over the whole town of Kendal for at least a weekend.
We booked early and so had a room in the Premier Inn, which was pretty central, and as we live in Cheshire it was only an hour and a half up the motorway on Friday night. So the logistics were OK and despite the one hour and a half being nearer two hours (not entirely due to my driving), my wife, daughter and I soon found ourselves in Kendal on a wet Friday evening.
Meeting up with Colin and Garen Ewing (of Rainbow Orchid fame) we all went off in search of food (and drink). Colin and Garen had arrived much earlier in the day and had already got the lay of the land, and pointed out the Clock Tower, where we'd be spending the next two days.
An enjoyable evening catching up with Garen and talking about all sorts, with Colin's wife Karen joining us after a much more tiring journey (due to weather and traffic).
Saturday then presented the challenge of getting the stock, which was in my car outside the Premier Inn, to the venue, which was too far away for any talk of carrying it there (well, Colin quickly stopped any thoughts I might have had). So we negotiated the one way system and parked my car in the Clock Tower car park (which was around the back). A token (which Colin had remembered to print off) displayed in my car gave us free parking for the two days. Result.
And pretty soon we were all set up and ready for the people to come in.
Yep, Stuart Gould, true to his word, arrived with our new banner, the WesterNoir one (drawn by Gary Crutchley, designed by Andy Bloor and coloured by Matt Soffe). It brought a lot of colour to our stall and really stood out well.
As we thought that the number of customers making it to Kendal might be low,, Colin and I allowed ourselves to take time out from behind the stall and attend some talks. Leaving my daughter Jemma to handle the stall when needed, she's an experienced hand now and does a great job.
Jemma at a quiet moment...
Colin went to Joe Sacco's talk and I caught Ed Brubaker's and Kurt Busiek's over the weekend. They were all very enjoyable and well worth the £6 entrance fee.
My wife, not a comic reader, enjoyed wandering around the town and taking in the atmosphere, as well as the Bryan Talbot art exhibition, which I was annoyed at myself for missing.
Another meal, this time at the Premier Inn as we were too tired to find anywhere that involved walking, and Saturday closed with us talking comics, much as it had started.
Sunday was pretty similar to Saturday, and strangely so were the sales. The sales figures for a slow Saturday equalled a pretty good Sunday (as Sunday's are usually much slower than Saturdays). So. My one concern for the event had been that Kendal was a little two small and difficult to get to, and that this would effect the number of people coming through the doors. Looking back, I guess this was partially true. There were a good number of attendees, more than I expected, but it didn't compare to the numbers of people hitting the bigger shows like Thought Bubble. Consequently sales were down on the larger events. But they weren't bad. And when we look back to the first Thought Bubble and our figures there, this event doubled it.
Was the event a washout from a sales perspective then ? Nope, not at all.
Was the event a success ? I think it was a big success. It had a good mix of creators, professional and non-professional, superhero and non-superhero. The events and the hall itself were very well managed (queues for signatures being channelled down side corridors rather than obstructing creator tables was a big success). The venue and parking etc were very good, the organisers allowed access to the kitchen so we could pop and get a coffee (and they even brought water around to us now and then).

Me, Garen and Colin catch up as the event winds down.
What did stun me was the way the whole town got in on the act. It wasn't just that they had banners up. Most of the shop windows had a comic themed display on show. Lots of locals popped in to support the show and even the staff at the Premier Inn were in super-hero costume.
Great stuff.
Great show.
We'll certainly be booking up for next year.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Accent UK will be at next weekend's Comic Art Festival in the Lakes.

Well, more 'next to the Lakes' than 'in the Lakes' I hope.
It's the first event and has a very impressive guest list, someone for everyone I think.
If you're in the area then it might be a pleasant change to walking up mountains, so do pop in and say 'hello'.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Glasgow, comics and policewomen on horseback.

This was our first comic event in Glasgow, and only our second in Scotland, and we were really looking forward to it.
The MCM events are certainly getting better and better with a wonderful mix of fans of TV, Film, Computer Games, Manga characters and Comics.
The drive up the night before had been tough, 5 hours or more driving through rain and spray from lorries meant that I arrived pretty tired out and even now I'm not sure what we had for tea that night or where we had it.
Saturday morning though and my batteries were recharged and I was ready for anything.
A quick breakfast with Colin, his son Adam (putting in a very rare Comic Con appearance) and my daughter Jemma was followed with us putting all the stock into the back of Adam's car and then a quick drive to the venue.
It didn't seem that busy outside but there were certainly enough strangely dressed people to let us know that we were in the right place.
And as we're old hands at this now, we were set up in a matter of minutes.
Which was good as there were already people wandering around on the Early Bird tickets and unusually these people were getting as far as the Comic Villlage, we had a few sales before the doors had even opened.
The Comic Village was a good size, although a number of the tables were empty, and we found ourselves between Jim Stewart (of Gangaman fame) and a lady with Blue Hair (Destiny Blue) who was selling some beautiful and quite thoughtful prints of her artwork.
As is typical with Cons there were quiet moments but there were also times when we found ourselves a little overrun with customers buying our books. At one point I think I signed about 8 comics one after the other for 3 different customers.
We had the usual MCM Madness discount on our older anthology titles and as a result Western, Predators and Robots all sold very well.
There have been reports that there were 20,000 people at the event which seems an incredibly high number. It was very very busy though whatever the number and enough people passed through the Comic Village to make this our second most successful one day event ever, by one comic. It was a good job that Colin's son Adam...
and my daughter Jemma...

were on hand to help out.We certainly left with far fewer comics than we came with, which is always a good sign, and met a lot of new customers who will hopefully enjoy what they bought enough to come back for more at the next event.
The 'policewomen on horseback' mentioned in the title of this post appeared either side of Adam's car on the way back to the hotel after the event. With Jemma and I sat in the back of Adam's speedy little vehicle we were very surprised when, whilst we were stopped at lights, we found ourselves being peered at through the slightly dark windows by firstly two horses and then two policewomen. They were of course very polite and were checking that we had our seatbelts on, but it was a very odd moment in this day and age.
A good meal at a local Italian restaurant, where my wife met us after doing the Charles Rennie Macintosh tour and a couple of pints saw the end of a great day.
We'll certainly be making the trip up north again for the next Con.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the table.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Glasgow MCM here we come...

Accent UK have a table at the MCM show in Glasgow next Saturday.
It's our first show in Glasgow and we're looking forward to it, the MCM shows are getting bigger and better and are certainly getting a good 'comic' zone going.
Do pop over and say 'Hi' if you're at the Con.
In other news, Missing : Have You Seen The Invisible Man ? is listed in September's Previews catalogue. Pop over to Strange Times to find out more.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

It rained all day... I think.

Just back from the Carlisle MegaCon.
Sales were down a little on last year as the Con seems to have taken a turn to Gaming more than Comic Books, but an enjoyable and profitable day none the less.
A great opportunity to chat with Dan Charnley, Matt Soffe and Jim Alexander and watch Matt working on a Thor commission, which looked awesome.
Also, I may have found out where to print some Accent UK sketch cards, which would be a nice addition to what we do at Cons.
Good sales and interest in our on going book, WesterNoir, which is very encouraging and also encouring are the reviews that you can find links to (and more) over at http://strangestoftimes.blogspot.co.uk/.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Accent UK will be at the MEGA-CON in Carlisle next Saturday.

We had a great time at last year's Mega-Con and have managed to fit it into what has been a very busy year Con-wise.
If you're in the area then pop in and have a look around.
It's a great little Con.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Manchester MCM Madness.

Wow.
How busy was that ?
We decided to try something new at yesterday's MCM in Manchester. We'd done pretty well at previous events but found that we weren't tempting the non-comic reading attendees. People who were there so that their sons or daughters could meet the Knights fom the Merlin TV Series. Whilst chatting to them last year we had the feeling that they might have been tempted by the Anthologies had the price been lower.
The other consideration hitting us at the moment is storage. We have a lot of the old anthologies still in boxes in lofts and need to make space for new titles.
Combining these we decided to try out MCM Madness, where everything on the table was £3 (except of course the WesterNoir three issue sketch packs).
A simple pricing structure that was easy to talk through with potential customers. It did mean however that we'd need to leave Zombies 2, Thaddeus Mist and my little hard cover books at home.
We decided to give it a go.
It worked.
We shifted a few boxes of the anthology titles, and a good number of the one shots during a very busy day.
This was a record breaking one day event for us in terms of books sold, but due to the prices was probably equal, or close to, other events in terms of cash taken.
It certainly tempted those people who liked robots (as an example) to part with £3 and pick up a great anthology packed with short stories and pinups.
The hope is, of course, that they'll come back for more, and maybe be tempted to pick up some of the one shots. Only time will tell.
All in all it was a great day. We met a lot of old friends and returning customers, many of whom are also Facebook Friends and members of the Accent UK Comics Facebook Group. WesterNoir #3 sold really well, and a number of customers picked up all three copies. It's great to have an ongoing story and character, and having artist Gary Crutchley at the table to sign and enthuse was great.
Highlight for me though was selling a copy of Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man ? to someone who'd heard the story outline from a friend some 4 years ago and failed to track down a copy over the years. When I explained to story to him as he looked at the table he was shocked that here it was. He'd stumbled across it after all that web surfing and forum posting.
Yep, Accent UK had a great day.
Thanks to everyone who came to the table.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen... and Malmo.


Wow.
What a fabulous time Colin and I had in Copenhagen and Malmo.
We have been regulars at the Copenhagen Con (which used to be called Komiks.DK) for a number of years now (nearly 10) but this was our first AccentUK trip across the water to Sweden's comic centre, Malmo.
Arriving on Friday, after managing to sneak my overweight suitcase (it was 3.5 KG over the allowed 23Kg) through check-in without incurring the £85 excess fee, we found the hotel (Absalom) to be incredibly close to the Train station. In fact is was also incredibly close to the venue, some might say equidistant from the two, but I don't use such long words.
Another quick check-in, this time at the hotel, and a trundle to the venue with suitcases full of comics, we were greeted by Mads Bluhm (Chairman of Copenhagen International Comics Festival) on his way to a TV interview. The Danes certainly know how to promote a show.
Once inside the now familiar venue we were greated by old friends Michael, Paul, Carsten and Kim, amongst others and spent a while catching up before dumping our books under our table and setting off to get ready for the only organised event that we'd registered for, which was a buffet where guests mingled with stall holders and organisers.
The food was great, the venue spot on and the company even better. We spent a pleasant evening chatting away with creators, and spotted Fraser Irving and Charlie Adlard entertaining people with stories of their experiences. We kept a respectful distance until Fraser spotted us and gave us the usual look of surprise we get from other British creators when spotted abroad at a Con.
The next day we sauntered down to the venue with our remaining stock, the stuff we'd stashed into our hand luggage. It took all of 5 minutes. Again bumping into old friends made for a very relaxing morning and we had our first sale about 20 minutes after the doors opened. Which I think is a record for us.
It was great to see Arni Beck Gunnarsson again and to meet his wife and two daughters, two more comic fans in the making, and to catch up with one of our first friends in Copenhagen Soren Pederson and then The Man Of Glass creator Martin Flink.
Soren, Colin and Martin.
We had a great day sales-wise, the newer books sold best, as expected, but we were happy to see the older books still attracting new readers.

An embarrasing moment when two guys realise they were wearing
the same Zombies T-shirts they'd bought at the last Con.
The best seller of the day was WesterNoir, with Gary Crutchley's special sketch packs attracting a lot of attention, and sales. You can see the quality of the sketches over on Gary's blog. We also gave Peter Snejbjerg a free copy of each as Gary is a big fan of Peter's work but sadly wasn't able to make it over there himself this year.
Soren, who used to run the Fantask comic store, kind of adopted us at our first Komiks.DK event. Every time we visit Denmark Soren takes us on a little tour and invites us into his home where his wife, Vibeke, feeds us some traditional Danish food. Tonight we agreed to meet Soren and Arni after the show and go have a pint or two, and find some food that would more than likely not to be local.
We ended up at an 'All You Can Eat' Indian restaurant.

Dave And Colin chill after Day 1. Photo taken by Arni.
Soren then left us, he had a 30 minute cycle home, and so Arni, Colin and I set off to see if the Ping (a kind of Oscar in the shape of a Penguin) Awards ceremony had finished. It hadn't but we found Fraser Irving outside and persuaded him to come for a beer with us. It was just down the road after all and we promised to have him back before the Ceremony finished. He was certainly up for that as the award ceremony was in Danish and we were about to set off when Charlie Adlard and his wife wandered over to us to see what we were up to. It didn't take much persuasion and 5 minutes later we were all sat outside a pub drinking Tuborg (apart from Fraser who prefers shorts). A few pints, lots of interesting chat that ranged from bands to comics and back again, and as promised we had them all back at the Ping venue just as it was finishing.
Sunday saw a surprising lack of hangover, which was nice, and an early walk to the Con. We re-arranged the table slightly, as we'd sold out of 2OMBIES and ROBOTS, and then waited for the doors to open.
Interestingly the weather seemed to have an impact on the number of punters on the Sunday. Saturday being such a sunny day seem to have resulted in a lot of people coming to the Con on the more overcast Sunday, including one customer who was a little miffed that we'd sold out of some titles, and then proceded to buy one of each of the other new titles. That saw the last copy of Thaddeus Mist go from the table.
Martin Flink and Fraser Irving take issue with something Dave said...
The thing that happens in the rest of Europe that isn't so true in the UK (or the USA come to think of it) is that when people say they'll be back, it means that they will. The problem with travelling by plane is the limited stock we are able to take over with us. We did send a box over but it failed to arrive inside the venue, the tracking website indicated that they had failed to deliver it on Friday around 6pm, at which time we were actually inside setting up. It seems that the man delivering it hadn't bothered to look around the back of the building where the doors were open and people were busy moving boxes in from vans. Sadly this meant that some of the people who returned with cash failed to find the comic they were looking for, as we'd sold them all.
Martin Flink sat at our table for a while and sketched in the remaining copies of The Man of Glass and these also quickly sold out.
I did a little purchasing myself on Sunday. I had picked up a couple of books back in the UK by John Kenn Mortensen, Post-It Monsters and More Post-It Monsters, and was surprised to find him sat at a table diagonally opposite ours. I bought a poster, another copy of Post-It Monsters (which I got signed) and had him do a little Robot sketch for my RobotsAssemble blog. A very nice, unassuming guy who draws very very small quirkly pictures of strange creatures.
John Kenn Superman sketch from the Superman mural.
We had a good chat with Fredrik Stromberg, one of the headmasters (for want of a better word) at Serieskolan i Malmö (the Comics Art School of Malmö), who invited us over for a visit. Wow, we were off to Sweden to see a college devoted to training the next generation of comic creators.
All good things must come to an end, and the Copenhagen Comic Convention was no exception. Looking down at our depleted stock we realised that once again we'd done pretty well. We still had some copies of certain comics left but not many. I certainly wasn't going to have to worry about weight allowance for my suitcase on the return flight.
It didn't take long to pack up. It took a lot longer to say farewell to our Danish friends. It's a shame that the event happens only every other year but that's the way it goes, you can't have everything.
True to his word, Soren was waiting for us at the hotel, and so half an hour later we found ourselves looking at some of his son, Lar's, grafitti artwork. More mural artwork than what most people think of when they hear the word 'grafitti' that's for sure. Amazing stuff on such a huge scale.
Colin and Soren with one of Soren's son's Project managed murals at a local park.
I very nice quiet evening followed eating a nice Danish meal provided by Soren's wife Vibeke, drinking beer and talking comics, books and... well I think I'd had too much to drink by then and can't remember what Colin and Soren discussed as my brain started to slow down. As always Soren was a great host and the evening ended with him dropping us off back at the Hotel. Another person we'll miss until 2015.
Monday saw us up bright and breezy. We were to meet Martin Flink and Greg Bennett (of Big Planet Comics) at the train station. We were all off to Malmo. We were all going to the Serieskolan. Martin had studied there for a year, and acted as a guest teacher every now and then so we didn't worry about getting lost. Well, not too much anyway. Another scorching day saw us walk from the station to the school, it was a nice change as we'd spent the last two days in a hall. What a great school, well it was much more than a school. It was the centre of the Swedish Comics world. Fredrik took us on a tour which ended with Colin and I talking to the students about publishing in the UK. We answered a lot of questions as well as we could and saw a lot of their wonderful work.
And then we were invited back to Fredrik's for lunch.
Fredrik Somberg - in normal sized hat.
Hanna his wife had laid on a nice spread which we ate outside, in the baking sun. Being the host that he is, Fredrik suggested that I wear a hat, and proceeded to lend me one of his. All I'll say is that it must have been an old one, one he wore as a young boy maybe, as the hat didn't fit me at all. Still, it did keep the sun off and it's not as if anyone had a camera, so I'm safe.
Martin Flink, Dave, Hanna Stromberg, Fredrik Stromberg and Greg Bennet... chilling.
What a great day.
Back at the Copenhagen Train Station we did a little Accent UK business and talked to Martin about one of his projects that we are looking to publish in the not too distant future. It all went pretty well and I'll announce more soon (of course if you pop over to Martin's blog you can work it out for  yourselves).
We then spent the evening with Greg, chatting comics, Americana, drinking and eating Vietnamese food. Another great evening.
Tuesday sadly we had to leave.
We both agreed that every Copenhagen Con had been completely different to the one before. What they had in common though was that each one had been great fun, and this one was no exception.
Can't wait to return in 2015.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Copenhagen Comic Convention - next weekend.

Yep, once again Accent UK will be attending one of our favourite conventions and meeting up with friends we haven't seen for 3 years, where does the time go.
So, if you're in the area pop over and say 'Hi', I always recommend this Con (and it used to be called Komiks.DK for those who can't remember) as it really has a nice feel to it and is set in a great city.
To find out more check out their website here.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Comica Comiket

An very early start, a train journey, a little confusion finding the new venue, a little more confusion finding the room with our table in it and then we were good to go.
A new venue is always a worry, and one that moves the event further from busy streets of people even more so. We were therefore doubly worried as we looked at the large number of books we had lugged all the way from Euston Station. Would we sell enough to make the return trip less painful ?
As is always the case with pretty much every Con we've ever been to, it was a slow start.
We had three new books since the last show, WesterNoir 2, Missing - Have You Seen The Invisible Man? and Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist?, so we had brought more copies of those than the other books in the hope that we'd get some return customers. We also had some special WesterNoir packs which included a wonderful sketch from series artist Gary Crutchley.
We were ready.
We were still ready about 30 minutes later when we made our first sale and it was fairly constant after that. At the end of the Con we'd sold everything we'd taken except for 5 books.
We had plenty of returning customers and a number of new ones.
We chatted with fellow creators, old friends and new (you should check out Apes'n'Capes from Dead Universe Comics if you want to read something that'll make you think, want to look at again just to enjoy the art and want the next issue to be available tomorrow) and chatted to film directors (or friends of film directors... they're an enigmatic bunch so it's hard to tell).
The organisers worked tirelessly throughout the day to make the show so different to others. The Drawing Parade was a big hit again, allowing us to witness (on a big screen) the process that the different artists went through to produce their work.
We're already looking forward  to the next one, which'll be in October I believe.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Accent UK will be at the Comica Comiket this Saturday.

If you're in the London area on Saturday, then it'd be great to see you are the Comica event. Always a favourite event of ours and different to anything else in the UK.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Colin at Dundee Comics Expo

Thanks to Joe Gordon for the photo of the busy Mr Mathieson at the Dundee Comics Expo.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

From Dundee to MoCCA...

Colin had a great Convention in Dundee last week and as I type this he and his son Scott are in New York at this year's MoCCA. I couldn't make it out there myself this year, so I'll be missing out on a great few days. Please pop in and say 'Hi' to the guys if you're in NYC this weekend.
A very busy man indeed Colin has also been interviewed over at Panel Borders.
''...publisher Colin Mathieson discusses his company Accent UK which has built up a commendable body of work over the last dozen years concentrating on anthology books which have showcased the work of some of the country's finest small press creators. Artist Conor Boyle joins the conversation to talk about Accent's latest graphic novel Who on Earth was Thaddeus Mist? and the imporatance of design to the company's range of books''.
It can be heard at 8.30am, Monday 8th April, repeated 3pm, Thursday 11th April, Resonance 104.4 FM / streamed at www.resonancefm.com / extended podcast after first broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com.
I think Colin deserves a rest when he gets back from the USA. Well, until the Comiket in London on the 20th April anyway...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WesterNoir Book 2 reviews...

This week we've had two reviews of the second issue of WesterNoir appearing on the web. First we had downthetubescomics.blogspot.co.uk and then www.brokenfrontier.com.
Both are great reviews which really helps motivate us to complete Issue 3, which is progressing very nicely indeed thanks mostly to the effort Gary is putting into it. You can see page samples and more over on Gary's blog.
And ... if you're in Dundee this weekend then pop over to the Accent UK table at the Dundee Comics Expo and say 'Hello', you can have a look at WesterNoir first hand while you're there, as well the rest of our books.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Comica's Comiket and other news...

Accent UK have a table at the  Comica - Comiket Independent Comic fair! in London on April 20th.
We've always enjoyed these one day events run by Paul Gravett, Peter Stansbury and Megan Donnelly, and it's a Convention like no other in the UK. I think the closest we've ever been to is Copenhagen's Komiks.DK event.  This time sees a change of venue to the new Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design just behind Kings Cross station which looks interesting.You can find out a lot more about the event over on Colin's blog.
Sadly we missed out on tables at Thought Bubble, which sold out in just 2 hours, we're on the cancellations list, so there's still a chance.
In other news, Darren Ellis, a contributor to numerous Accent UK anthologies, has started his own writer's blog, hmmm ... that's sound a little too close to writer's block for comfort, and also a new website (how does he find time to write ?). Follow the link from his name for the blog and the word website for his .... well ... website, and check them both out.
From an Accent UK publications perspective, a couple of books are on the home straight now. WesterNoir Book 3 continues to follow Josiah Black through his ever darkening world, you can watch this progress on Gary Crutchley's blog. Has Kane Mesmer Losst His Magic Touch ? sees Marleen Lowe's artwork grace another Blessed/Cursed one shot written by Dave West.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

“Better Second Time Around?” – London Super Con 2013

A report by Chris Dingsdale...

There is an old phrase that things are better second time around I believe. Of course there is the opportunity to learn from one’s mistakes. From my own experience us humans do anything but that, so how would the organisers of the Super Con fare?
Personally it was a very welcome chance to visit our wonderful Capital City, catch up with some valued old friends plus attend the Con with Accent UK. Triple strike. I mean what could possibly go wrong?
At the time of the inaugural Con in 2012 I was working in London. Near the Ex-Cel venue in fact. Nice of the organisers to place the event so near to me and I hoped they would repeat the favour this time.
Clearly darkest Cheshire is a step too far. (I would probably agree with them on this point).
A couple of days pre amble in our capital involving old friends and some rather good food ended when I was summoned to Euston Station to welcome the Accent UK contingent on Friday afternoon in order to escort them to the venue.
I really have no objection to this in principle but I am at a loss to understand why Accent CEO “Deadly” Dave West insist I wait on the Station holding a large card with the words;
” London and it’s Citizens Welcome Eagle Award Winning Author Dave West”.
(And don’t get me started on the Chauffer’s Uniform and Cap. Looks bloody stupid on the underground I can tell you).
Anyway arrive they did with Colin and his son Scott carrying Deadly’s luggage and asking people to move out of the way as he walked across the station. Obligingly I doffed my Chauffer’s cap and off we went.
We subsequently crossed London via Tube and DLR and checked in at the Hotel. Worryingly I was sharing with Dave. Not a big issue but then Deadly does insist on complete silence  as he goes through his extensive daily “ Doc Savage” like training regime of meditation, physical and mental exercise.
It can make for a long day and frankly Dave looks a bit odd sat cross legged in his Chinese robe.
We went out to the Westfield Shopping Centre at the Olympic Park in Stratford to eat in the evening. I remarked that the Chauffer’s cap was becoming itchy whereupon Colin declared that he would be happy to don it for the entire weekend.
Colin has a thing for dodgy hats worn at what he terms; “A jaunty angle”.
Thankfully no one else does however, so I declined as I needed to return it to the hire shop along with the rest of the outfit and boots.
Saturday morning arrived. We all had breakfast and walked across to the Convention Centre noting that we were sharing the Ex-Cel with “Mother and Baby” and “ Health and Beauty” Events. I worried that attendees would be confused so similar were our respective audiences.
Luckily my concerns were unfounded as we noticed a queue forming about the entrance to the con.
Dave did his usual “Don’t you know who I am?!?” routine (it’s becoming tiresome now I have witnessed it so often), the Marshalls parted like the Red Sea and in we went.
The Accent UK table was quickly set up and the best part of exhibiting at a Con began i.e. getting in the Hall before almost everyone else. Last year yielded some tasty bargains and an amusing encounter with the wonderful Bob Layton (check the Accent UK blog for details). So off I went.
(Actually Dave asked me to accompany him, ensuring that I walk 3 paces behind at all times and be prepared to carry any purchases that he may make).
This year’s Guest of Honour was the incomparable Neal Adams, Comic Art God and the definitive Batman artist as far as I am concerned. I had brought along a couple of Hardback Archives for (hopefully) him to sign.
I have learnt from experience at these events to eschew the useful British reserve and approach these guys directly. My now legendary good looks, winning smile and engaging manner almost always wins the day.
But  Neal Adams? The guy has a “rep” apparently.  My biggest challenge to date?
Possibly.
Any how we found Neal’s large stand titled “Introducing Neal Adams” and I overtook Dave in a manoeuvre worthy of Lewis Hamilton on the finishing strait.
“Morning Neal, welcome to the UK – it’s great to meet you!” I gasped.
Mr Adams smiled warmly, (resisting a sarcastic look and comment about my uniform and cap) shook our hands and began to chat to us about his week. He had been in London for a few days by then. Cryptically he revealed he had visited a film studio the previous day. He didn’t give away the movie title sadly (we knew that “Guardians of the Galaxy” was setting up shop in London – so maybe??).
Deserved bad reputation?  No, lovely guy.
I mentioned that I had some books for him to sign and he said “Yeah, no problem, bring ‘em over right now.” 
One of his assistants then reminded him that there was a charge sadly (but hey, it’s Neal Adams).
I fetched said books and he took his time signing and dedicating them for me – relating several points about each tale and answering all my questions and comments e.g. “Superman Vs Muhammed Ali” sold far better in Europe and the rest of the world than North America.
Similarly I pointed out one of my favourite pages of a Batman story with my comments as to why it worked so well.
“ That’s great because that page took me ages to figure out and it’s nice to know someone gets it after so many years!” he laughed.
We exchanged some further pleasantries and parted company.
Top guy. It’s always good when your idols live up to your expectations.
Moving on through Saturday, the Accent Guys carried on selling books and I wandered around aimlessly mostly trying to resist spending money and failing miserably. I even found two masterworks that I didn’t have enough cash on me to buy - ha that’ll sort it then!
“Yes but we take credit cards and I will do the two for £... AND throw in that rare back issue” said the nice man from Kent Comics.
And so on.
The Saturday panel (for me anyway) was “50 Years of Marvel Comics” with Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe and Brits Mike Carey and Frazer Irving moderated by Duncan McAlpine  (remember him?).
Generally good stuff, Roy is an engaging guy with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Comics History, Herb seemed just a nice guy and the UK contingent provided a nice counterpoint to the proceedings.
Roy’s comments on the original Marvel Trinity of Lee, Kirby and Ditko were interesting ie they were all essential in their own way. His own time at Marvel was covered including his mandate to “sell Comic Books”. Sometimes I think we fans forget this, I really do.
The day eventually ended. Accent revealed they had not sold as many books as last year despite having more new titles available.
During the evening we discussed this as well as the fact that we thought the Con lacked well, “something” but what was it?
The discussion was hampered somewhat by Dave going through a particularly difficult Martial Arts “Kata” routine in the corner of the bar which ended in a furious display of whirling samurai blades accompanied by a blood curdling war cry. He really needs to tone things down, I can stand the Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu outfit he insists on wearing but that red headband is not a good look.
We did eventually come to a conclusion with the assistance of food and alcohol. I will return to said conclusion later.
Sunday arrived we had breakfast with some difficulty as the hotel seemed full of various event attendees and exhibitors including ourselves and Bob Layton (hope you have got over your flu Bob!).
Eventually we left for the Convention centre after Deadly had finished his “Doc Savage” inspired  exercise routine. Quite why he has to dress in canvas shirt, jodhpurs and riding boots for this puzzles me but that’s Dave I guess.
I reckon the other people in the breakfast room thought similarly.
Sunday passed off in a similar manner albeit noticeably quieter for all concerned. I tried not to spend any more cash and failed once again.
My Sunday panel of choice was “Geek Speak” – basically a trivia show which though mildly entertaining seemed a bit of a waste of the panellist’s time. Hats off to the moderators (Geek speak) who worked hard to make something of a poor concept I think.
The Accent chaps said it was quieter to no one’s surprise and I eventually left with Dave to travel back to Euston for the trip North.
Actually I carried his luggage and walked the requisite 3 steps behind which proved difficult as I knew the way across London but respect is due and all that.
On reflection there were many improvements on last year, organisation, dealer variety and presentation, queuing, even the audio visual quality of the Panel Room was a huge step forward in quality.
Some of the Cos Players were fantastic. (Red Sonja, if you are reading this then let me have your Phone number please).
So all in all the Con seemed a slightly quieter event but still immensely enjoyable but what was that “something” we all felt it lacked as mentioned earlier?
Well it was Stan Lee, we decided.

Okay this seems like “Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious” time but allow me to explain.
Stan is Stan, whatever you think of the guy he is a show man.
What he gave the inaugural event last year was a fantastic “feel good” factor that is difficult to replicate and that is not a slight of any of this year’s guests who were all fantastic.
Accent even reckoned that this translated into sales as people spilled out from the various “Stan events” i.e. signings, photo opps, panels etc . They were buzzing and spent money accordingly it seemed.
Clearly Stan cannot be there every year and I don’t know what to suggest as a solution but I hope the event continues to evolve and grow in subsequent years. The Organisers really deserve credit for taking the plunge.
As a fan I certainly appreciate their efforts.
Thank you guys and hopefully see you next year.
( Oh the uniform made it back to the hire shop intact. Colin I believe is trying to find a similar hat as I write this).