Yes, the customary and traditional review of the year by me of the things that I have done, mostly ignoring cultural and social advances in the rest of the world (apologies in advance for loads of text and no pictures). The year started off disruptedly as we upped sticks from Bristol and moved to Leeds, firstly living with my mum and dad before getting our own place. Because of this I was doing bits and pieces, but not really committing to anything resembling a coherent book. As the weeks went on I was mindful of the fact that the web and mini comix thing was looming in march, and as I always like to put out something new for the big cons, I knocked up an office chair dog minicomic, packaged along with a fridge magnet. This sold about as well as a fart in a sock, and the day itself was disappointing, and this was to be the last web & mini comix thing, which went out on a bit of dull note. I always liked doing it, but I think the setup of having quite a high entrance fee which subsidised an overly expensive anthology was a mistake, especially as there are now a lot more similar events which are free to attend (and the anthologies have always been a bit shit). Anyway, it remains to be seen what will fill the gap around easter which the web and mini occupied for quite a few years.
So where are we now? April and May, again I was doing bits and pieces, a Mr Wobbles strip for tiesplanet.com which would end up in banal pig’s showcase, plus the strip for the comix reader which I was really pleased with and not only ruined the previous untitled cat strip I was doing (because it was similar but a lot better), but it became the basis for 2 pages in bp showcase and the epic tale I will be publishing online as I do it (more of which later…).
I was also trying to dip my toe into illustration work, which hasn’t gone that well so far, (so gizza illustration job) but I was doing drawings that were a bit different to the comic work, so I created an illustration section to display this stuff.
About this time Hugh “Shug” Raine and I did the Bradford Zine Fayre, which was a small event but we did alright, as each person took time to look around each table properly, which just doesn’t happen at bigger events. This cemented this idea with us of putting on a similar comics fair in leeds (also taking onboard the model of the alternative press fair in London) but having a vaguely northern agenda.
So while Me and Hugh were planning the coarser details of the Leeds Alternative Comics Fair, I decided on the format of my next publication, which became banal pig’s showcase. The original idea was to have a bit of prose and full page images mixed with strips, but that was partly because I didn’t have enough strips to fill a comic, but in the end it was quite liberating to start something and just working on it until I had enough stuff to finish it without everything exactly planned out. It was also nice to get back to simple black and white comics with a bit of cross hatching- I did mix it up with a bit of greyscale, but nothing like the scale of Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover, it was really nice to scan something in and have it print-ready almost immediately.
So, into September and it was our big day, the first Leeds Alternative Comics Fair which was great, and ultimately really easy to organise (see the report here). We’re gonna do another one in spring all being well, so we’ll see if it was beginner’s luck or not.
October was Banal Pig Comics’ 5th anniversary, so I decided to do a few competitions to celebrate/ generate a bit of interest/ waste a bit of my money. I was finishing off bp showcase though, so the competitions waited til after Thought Bubble. It’s strange to think I have been doing this for 5 years, and although I’ve come on loads in terms of skill and presentation (so I reckons anyway), I’ve still not made much of an impact in the wide world, or made any money whatsoever. Maybe i shouldn’t think about it in these terms, after all, if I was in it for the money I’d have jacked it in ages ago, but I would like to have a nice hardback, or something tangible outside of the comics niche market to show for my efforts. I can’t believe that people buy a book by the meerkat off an advert (for £10!) but there’s no money for me. Fair play to whoever does that, but I’d like a bit of that pie. I could probably do with a business manager or something, as I still feel like I’m stabbing away randomly to see what works, but don’t know if I’m giving up too early or wasting my time completely in the first place. Who knows how this works? Give me a ring please.
Good job I’m an optimist eh?
I finished off Banal pig’s Showcase at the beginning of November, and I’m pretty pleased with it, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and its good to have something new out after a year. This was ready for Thought Bubble– really enjoyed it this year (last years was a bit ruined by the fact I was recovering from food poisoning), sold well and as usual it was well organised and I had a great time with all of my comics chums.
My 5th anniversary celebrations consisted of three competitions which weren’t as popular as I’d hoped, but it was probably worth marking the occasion (wasn’t it?). Maybe I could do a bit more on the internet, Twitter and that but I cant be arsed and my phone doesn’t do it, life’s too short to be kissing arse just to get more followers I reckon.
Anyway, that’s us about up to date, into 2011 I will be publishing my new untitled cat and untitled ape adventure online as I do it. This’ll be a new thing for me, and I think it’ll be interesting to do a linear narrative in chronological order and have a commentary about my working processes as it goes along, especially as I’m not sure of the ending yet or how many pages it will be or whether its in colour or not. We’ll soon see- I intend to start at the end of January and keep going til its done. Hopefully by the time it’s finished I’ll have a publisher and thousands of followers……………….cough…
Also something that will actually see print is the follow up to the best-selling Manly Boys Annual, Comely Girls, which will be more of the same good stuff from myself and Gareth Van Brookes.
As usual, humble thanks for your ongoing support.
kindest regards and fondest best wishes,