Friday, 21 February 2014

DemonCon7 - to Maidstone and back again...

So, there I was at 6.30am on a cold February morning, sat in my Ford Focus, in a bus stop layby, somewhere in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, waiting for Gary Crutchley. As I sat there thinking about the long drive ahead it occurred to me that maybe the bus stop that Gary had meant to meet at was the one that I'd passed a few hundred meters back up the road.
I decided to text Gary, just to let him know where I actually was, on the off chance that I had somehow managed to stop in the wrong place.
Which of course I had.
And so at around 6.45am with Gary sat beside me riding shotgun, we left Newcastle-Under-Lyme and hit the M6.
We began chatting straight away, well it was more like we picked up where we had left off the last time we had got together, and started talking about WesterNoir.
By the time we reached the M1 we had plotted up to about issue 20.
By the time we reached the M25 we had gone back and tweaked a few things. Enriched a few situations and fleshed out some of the rules that constrained what we were creating.
At around 10.40am, we stopped off for breakfast in a Service Station somewhere just off the M25, I love a nice Full English Cooked Breakfast, Gary turning his nose up at it as it wasn't too healthy decided instead to have pretty much the same thing, but in a roll. I deduce the the bread must have some fat-absorption-conversion property that I'd never been made aware of.
During the journey, conversation had roamed from books to film through comics and onto comic companies. It always helps a journey go faster, well, seem faster when you have someone to talk to, and so it was that 3 and a half hours later, but seeming like only an hour, we left the motorways behind and found ourselves in Maidstone.
For once, we actually found the venue pretty easily, maybe it was because we used Tom-Tom and not Col-Col, who can say. Maybe it was just that Maidstone really isn't that big. We even managed to park the car not too far away.
Of course it was far enough when you have to make a couple of trips lugging boxes but, with Gary still talking about the need for Accent UK to buy a trolley, we soon found ourselves set up in the Royal Star Arcade. It was all pretty hectic at first with people setting up shop as potential customers wandered around us, potential customers that is, that consisted of a troop of Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and various other Star Wars characters.
 We sold only one book in the first hour and had that feeling that it was going to be one of those days. Both Gary and I made a quick dash to pick up a hard cover copy of It Came ! by Dan Boultwood (he had a very small pile of copies and we didn't want to miss out).
And then we got back to find our stall getting a little busy. And it pretty much stayed busy for the whole day.
All books sold in pretty good numbers but WesterNoir sold most copies, and true to form Stuart Gould of UK Comics, our printer, turned up with a box of Issue 4. And great it is too. The best seller for us was actually our sketch pack editions, where we bundle all 4 issues of WesterNoir in a bag and then the customer persuades me to part with one of Gary's great little original sketches.
Gary was more than happy to tell the customers
just how good WesterNoir is...
A nice moment occurred when one of our customers, having just bought both of The Wolfmen books, told us how her ex-boyfriend had left her and taken all of her comics and CDs with him, amongst which was her treasured copy of The Man Of Glass. What else could we do but give her a replacement copy. We couldn't help with the CD collection though, she didn't look the type to be interested in Pink Floyd.
I did make a trip out from behind the stall to top up the Car Parking ticket, and one to get a few drinks but that was pretty much it, the rest of the day we had a constant flow of customers or people wanting to chat. It was a really enjoyable day.
A Cyberman stopped by to pick up a copy of Robots,
I didn't have the nerve to tell him he wasn't in it.
Graham Beadle knows how to run a great little con, and I hope it stays just the size it is and keeps the atmosphere it had on Sunday.
For those who picked up WesterNoir Issues 1 and 2, on the promise that Graham was going to stock the books in his Grinning Demon store, he took 4 copies of Issues 3 and 4, so if you liked Issues 1 and 2 then I wouldn't wait too long before getting him to put them aside for you.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

First Convention of the Year - DemonCon7.

We've a table at this year's DemonCon event in Maidstone, on Sunday.
and mostly through the hard work of Gary Crutchley, we'll be launching Book 4 of WesterNoir at the event... and if I can get things sorted, we might even be raffling a page of his artwork.
That's if I can bear to part with it ...
Gary will be with us signing books and generally enthusing about the whole WesterNoir story, which gets more and more interesting every time we meet up.
It'd be great to see you if you're in the area.