Friday, March 25, 2011

London Comic and Small Press Expo

Ah, here's my slightly delayed report on The London Comic and Small Press Expo that happened in the distant past (ok, 2 weeks ago)...

The first London Comic & Small Press Expo recently took place in Goldsmiths University, New Cross in the popular village of London. Unofficially a replacement to The UK Web & Mini Comix Thing, the organisers picked an impressive venue to debut the expo, in a bright, spacious hall big enough to accommodate all 91 sold out tables and a vast throng of eager punters. The variety of work on show was excellent, and visitors could spend  several hours going from table to table and still not see everything. Talks also ran throughout the day, ranging from ‘History of Comics on Film and TV’ to a discussion of the term ‘Small Press’ and what it means for creators.

Tables set up and ready for punters. I took loads of pics but they came out rubbish!

Unfortunately the vast throng of eager punters didn't actually materialise and attendance for the expo was low - it wasn’t until late afternoon that things picked up slightly, by which time we had to pack up! (I'm sure Tube closures didn't help attendance numbers either) It’s a new event though, so no doubt there’ll be bigger and better plans for getting visitors along next year. Some excellent suggestions have already been made to this end, and hopefully the organisers will work with exhibitors to improve an expo that already has good potential.

Ooh, lots of bad posture. Watch that back.
The expo had a great location - bright and spacious

Despite attending various comic conventions and expos as a visitor since about 2004, this was my first one as an exhibitor. I was on my own (sob!) so stayed at my table most of the day, which didn't give me much time to check out everyone else's work. Despite that I managed to zip around in 30 second bursts and pick up some Expo Loot. Not as much as I would have liked but, y'know, it's quality not quantity...

I picked up 'Great!' by Gary Northfield, 'Hildafolk' by Luke Pearson, 'Moon' from Thompson and Penfold, (see below for more details)  'WJC Comic No 1 and 2' by Warwick Johnson Caldwell, and the 3 mini hourly comics by Hugh 'Shug' Raine.

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a friendly bunch. The table to my right was taken by 'Beyond the Bunker' - home of the excellent 'Moon' comic which is created by writer Dan Thompson and artist Steve Penfold. We shared the initial disappointment of minimal visitors, an afternoon of slight improvement and the unspeakable joy of last hour sales boosts. Heady times! I recommend you pick up a copy of Moon - it's great fun.

The Moon table - Dan and Steve pictured here wearing their invisibility capes. (Pic via Beyond the Bunker)

The guys from Zwerchfell were at the table to my left. They'd come over from Germany, a trip that made my journey from Wales seem slightly less impressive. Great people to chat too, and they produce a wide variety of comic books you can find on their website.

Me, wearing a hat and looking slightly bewildered. Photo by Sarah McIntyre.

Personally I enjoyed my first time as an exhibitor at one of these events. I debuted some new books, made pretty good sales by the end of the day and got to meet a lot of friendly comic creators (Hi Sarah! So nice to finally meet face to face!) and readers. Can’t ask for much more than that really, so I’m already looking forward to future conventions.

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