Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Accent UK Recognised!

One thing that Dave and I worry about at Accent UK Towers is whether we do enough to shout about our books and raise our talented creators profile, it ain't easy and not a terribly British thing to do, we usually take the view then that quality will (eventually/hopefully!) be recognised and someone else will raise our profile for us, which is why we're always grateful when someone takes the time to review our titles or give us a mention somewhere.

Imagine my surprise and delight therefore when catching up after the Christmas festivities, I see that word is getting out there and respected indie comics blogger and reviewer Patrick Scattergood, gives an honourable mention to Tales of WesterNoir #1 in his 2015 Best Comic Book Awards list, making Stephenson's Robot #1 his runner-up! Not only this but WesterNoir Book 5 (and Andy Bloor's Midnight Man) get honourable mentions in the Best Graphic Novel Awards category too!

Check out Patrick's comments and the fine company our book's keep in his always interesting blog, Curiosity Of a Social Misfit here and here!

Shortly after reading this Paul Miranda kindly drew our attention to Accent UK's inclusion in the Canada based Comix Asylum website's Directory of Current Comic Book Publishers! This is an unexpected recognition of our status as we find ourselves listed alongside Dave Sim's Aardvark, AdHouse, Abrams books and many more! Check out the full list on Comix Asylum's site here.

These in themselves may be 'small' things but when you're working in pretty much of a vacuum it is validation of sorts that your books are being seen and you are regarded as an established presence, so thanks to both Patrick and Paul and their websites and if you've enjoyed what you've seen this year just wait till you see what Accent UK has to offer in 2016!!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Comic Work in Progress!

Aha, well when it's quiet here it means that things are happening in the 'real' world and in my case, apart from work, Christmas and family etc I'm actually beavering away on producing my new Zulu comic strip to accompany the re-mastering of my classic Water Cart Rescue story.

I'll post some pictures of the new pencilled pages once I have them scanned in etc but in the meantime here's another wee look at the wonderful colour work that Matt Soffe has performed on the original black n white pages;

Sunday, 22 November 2015

MCM London Indie Comics Interview

Aha stumbled on a wee interview that Dave and I gave at the vibrant MCM Comic-Con in London a few weeks back, worth a wee read on The Daily News Service website

Would you buy an indie comic from these fine chaps?

Thanks to Pat Lunn for the time and questions and his friend (sorry didn't catch the name!) for the recording and photos much appreciated. It seems the chaps did a few related interviews while at the show, under their British Comics Industry Spotlight banner, so follow the links for interesting reads from a variety of comics folks.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Troll Lands!

Been lovely hearing people's feedback on Martin Flink's wonderful The Troll book now that it's shipping it's way across the world courtesy of Diamond Comic Distributors.

It's been well received at the comic festival and shows we've done since it's preview launch back in June in Martin's native Copenhagen but now everyone can appreciate it's silent beauty.
A happy Martin Flink at Copenhagen Comics festival

The Troll has been warmly embraced by all most recently and notably by Stephen Holland, of renowned British independent comic shop, Page 45 who, in today's review calls it;

" unexpected silent pleasure and treasure!"

Read Stephen's full review here and if you're in the Nottingham area make sure you visit Page 45 to grab yourself a copy! If though you're not local to Page 45, you can try your own retailer - whether UK, US or anywhere worldwide, providing they have a Diamond account. Just ask them to order a copy using Diamond's code AUG150933 with which re-orders are being taken.

Alternatively catch up with Accent UK at November's Thought Bubble comic festival in Leeds or check both this blog and here for our 2016 comic festival schedule which is taking shape.

A page of Martin's delightful art from The Troll!
A perfect Hallowe'en or Winter treat to yourself!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Desktop View!

Mmm what's this I wonder? Well there's a reason for my quietness and not just my memorable African adventure but work is continuing on my re-mastered Zulu comic! The finished book will not only feature the splendid re-coloured and re-lettered, Water Cart Rescue story, thanks to Mr Matt Soffe, but also a brand new bonus story, following the events at Rorke's Drift 1879!

Matt Soffe's colours on a panel from Zulu:Water Cart Rescue

I had of course hoped to be further on by now but I'm notoriously slow at this writing and drawing lark but there are a few other things bubbling away too so I'm hoping that soon, very soon, there will be several new things from yours truly appearing on the Accent UK table before too long, including a much cherished project, watch this space!

Me somewhere special 2 weeks ago!
Somewhere Special (from the other side)
Someone Special (shaded!)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Blackpool Rocks?

Aha, so much to update on and so little time so I'll come straight up to date with a few thoughts on yesterday's Accent UK trip to Blackpool's very first Comic-Con;


With so many comic conventions to choose from these days it's a tough call as to which we can do but when we heard about a new show in Blackpool, which is only an hour's drive or so away, we were interested, when we saw their impressive line up of actors from Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Thunderbirds, we became very interested and when we heard they'd sold in excess of 8,000 tickets we booked!

Chewie & Princess Leia try to mug Colin for his ticket

Dave Photobombs Darth!

The potential of another big local comic show was too good to miss but how would it shape up? We'd already tried several debut shows this year, namely Aberdeen's wonderful Granite City Comic-Con, Birmingham's inspiring Comic Festival and Warrington Market's surprising Comic-Con. Blackpool, like all those new shows sensibly chose, to make their first convention a one day, 'Saturday only' affair but helped by their impressive media guest list they sold out of tickets well in advance meaning that on the day, despite being a wonderfully high profile busy central location, you couldn't just turn up and pay on the door.

Movie cars in Blackpool's busy shopping centre!

Still with that 8k+ tickets sold what could go wrong? Well I think we as exhibitors got off lightly as, although the pre-show information was poor and there was some uncertainty with getting in and finding our spot, (late comers found they had no spot!) we did find and settle into our allocated balcony table and quickly got set up for the show anticipating the busyness to come.

Can you spot the Accent UK balcony table ?

Ah there it is!
The show opened at 10 but upstairs in the balcony you wouldn't have known, it seemed like an age before anyone actually came upstairs, confirming our fear of the multi-roomed labyrinth location swallowing up the punters. But we were oblivious to the chaos outside where indeed, at least 8k ticket holders had turned up and couldn't get in. I think it took about 2 hours before our first sale, but it remained very quiet, then around 12:30 or so things took off and the trickle of browsers became a flood and we struggled to keep up with them all as our books began to fly with the recent Zombies reprint quickly selling out, then mid to late afternoon, it slowed and died again as visitors evaporated.

The Crowds Arrive!

From our customers we heard of 2, 3 and 4 mile queues snaking round and round the building while staff struggled to cope with the crowds, apparently bringing the Blackpool traffic to a standstill! Finally the convoluted entry system was abandoned and the crowds swelled in which was great for us and our sales but not so great for the punters who, once inside had no floor plan, no programme and no schedule of where the various media guests, panels and (pre-paid) photo shoots were taking place. That and the overcrowding and problems with disabled access left many people very disappointed with their comic-con experience.

It's a tough one for us as we of course want the crowds and we're so busy manning our own table we're largely oblivious to anything else going on and so it was at Blackpool. We enjoyed our day, meeting new readers, seeing great cosplayers and catching up with comic show regulars such as Mike Garley, Nick Brokenshire and Sumyra of Lucky Target Comics. Despite our very odd sales pattern, we comfortably covered costs and finished with our second best ever one day tally, (Yes Morgan & Chris you're number one!) proving that we'd found a new audience for our books.

Dave and Scott man the table!

It's really subsequently that I've heard more and more of people's disappointing experiences with threats of legal action against the organiser's which have cast serious doubt whether there will be another one. That would be a real shame as Blackpool proved that there is a huge appetite for another regional comic show so we'll have to see if lessons can be learnt and a way forward found to deliver a safe and popular show to cater to the fans.

Enjoying the spectacle of the Winter Gardens venue

One thing we do have though is even more respect for the organiser's of the shows that we attend, we don't get to see or hear of whatever issues might be affecting things behind the scenes. A well run show is so smooth, we and visitors just concentrate on having fun and enjoying the experience without worrying about anything else, so hats off to all you unheralded show organiser's out there, if we don't notice you its because you're doing your jobs right!

That is particularly true of the afore-mentioned 2015 debut shows at Aberdeen, Birmingham and Warrington, where they may not have had the huge crowd that Blackpool had (although Aberdeen came close), and no doubt had some teething issues along the way, but my recollections are of have fun, enjoyable trouble-free days, promoting this wonderful world of comics which of course is what its all about, so thank you and good night!

The obligatory tower shot!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Re-United in Manchester!

Well after a fun Glasgow and wee trip round Scotland, we're back and revving up the Accent UK tour bus for this weekend's Mighty Manchester MCM Comic-Con! This is a special one being as it's our hometown gig and re-unites the full Accent UK Team, including Dave West and WesterNoir artist Gary Crutchley, after Team M went solo at Glasgow!

Scott, Colin & Adam aka 'Team M' in Glasgow! (photo by Jeremy Briggs)
(Speaking of Glasgow Comic-Con, as I'm super slow with show reports at the moment, please see these links from those fine folks at Down The Tubes for their show and photo reports, where you might recognise one or two familiar faces!).

Last year's Manchester MCM was an incredibly busy and enjoyable show and I hear that ticket sales for this year's have gone even quicker so fingers-crossed It'll be another good one. Accent UK should have six new titles since last year's show which itself is amazing including the first English appearance of Martin (Man of Glass) Flink's gorgeous The Troll, successfully launched at Copenhagen and proving very popular in Scotland at the Glasgow show, it's a timeless all ages title featuring a young boy's imaginative walk through the Danish woods where he encounters a strange creature which may or may not be real.....

Also released in Manchester should be the second issue of our new serial Stephenson's Robot, after issue one was launched at Thought Bubble late last year. This features Kingdom a steampunk robot with a mysterious past and a forceful present as he fights to protect his circus friends from an invading enemy which threatens the hard-won peace of an alternative Europe at the turn of the 20th century...

Kingdom aka Stephenson's Robot by Indio!
Written by Dave West and lavishly illustrated by Indio, issue 2 propels the action further with a Dave West and Jon Ayre co-scripted back-up story featuring the circus's Carnival Master's reflective past, illustrated by WesterNoir's own Gary Crutchley!

Gary Crutchley's Carnival Master
There will be our customary special offers at the show where you can find Accent UK in the Comic Village at tables CC2 & CC3 - yes that's right two full tables to contain our full range of books, including the unexpected return of an old friend in the shape of the long out of print Zombies anthology which gets a new airing for 2015!

Steve Bissette's classic Zombies cover

Friday, 3 July 2015

'Raintown' Returns for Glasgow Comic-Con 2015!

Mmm well maybe I shouldn't tempt fate, last year was Accent UK's first appearance at The Glasgow Comic-Con, which has its 5th annual event this weekend, and it didn't rain once last year! We had a blast last time and with now also attending events in Dundee and most recently, Aberdeen, it's great to feel a little closer to the Scottish scene which of course I have a great affinity for, with so much great talent up there.

Sadly the West's can't make this one so it will be Team M, manning the Accent UK stall, this time in the Charles Rennie Mckintosh designed Art School building on the First Floor, table 56;

Friday, 29 May 2015

Made of Granite!

Aha, so for those attending Aberdeen's first Granite City Comic-Con, I will be flying the Accent UK flag along with young son, Adam at Table 26 in the climbing wall balcony. Now normally I wouldn't be overly worried by that odd name but since this show takes place at an extreme sports venue, Transition Extreme, I guess that erm, actual climbing may be involved, no wonder Dave wanted to sit this one out!

Well if you've a head for heights and relish a challenge in seeking out your quality comics, get yourself up to Aberdeen on Saturday, just make sure you call Mountain Rescue first! 

Extreme Sports Superheroes! (pic from TE's site)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Comics Elevator Pitch Challenge!

Okay lots of comic madness these last few days, a fun and happy Warrington Comics Market and London's MCM Comic-Con now a very happy blur, see Dave's timely report here. I'm now busy organising for our next convention appearance in Aberdeen at the first Granite City Comic-Con this weekend, followed closely by our regular Danish appearance at the Copenhagen Comics Festival....phew!

In meantime see me put on the spot by Barry of the BBC featured Geek Syndicate who challenged me to an elevator pitch for Stephenson's Robot #1, not an easy thing to do and one that Dave was only to eager to volunteer me for! I was given a minute...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

New Comic Market Show added!

Jings, no sooner are we back from enjoyable and successful trips to Birmingham and Belfast (and see Dave's timely reports for both here and here!) with our comics crew than we've added another local show for next Saturday at The inaugural Warrington Market Comic-Con!

This show has been spoken about for a little while but gathered pace on our return from Belfast so all quite exciting. I understand that its part of the Council's regular initiative's to spotlight the market which is soon to be fully refurbished.

So if you are in the area next Saturday you can pop down to enjoy, among other attractions, a life size Star Wars X-Wing Fighter (really!), Back To The Future's De Lorean Car (great Scott!), a real walking talking Robot, several comic and memorabilia stalls and the Accent UK team! It's on from 10 am to 4 pm in the Market Hall and, weather permitting, outside, free entry!

The convention season is really underway now as Warrington will be the first of four consecutive shows taking in London, Aberdeen and Copenhagen so nice perhaps to start with something local!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Busy But Getting Ready!

There's been a lot going on behind the scenes here these last few weeks with a couple of trips North and East, birthday's, arrivals and good creative work so excuse the quiet while I've been away!


Comics-wise I'm all inspired, not only by a wonderful trip to Brussels including the excellent Comic Museum full of original artwork but also by the equally wonderful colour work being undertaken by Matt Soffe as he breathes vibrant life into my Zulu Wars:Water Cart Rescue comics tale!

The newly coloured and expanded graphic novel will be released when ready which should be this side of summer all being well, sadly not quite in time for this weekend but will be worth the wait!

And what of this weekend? Well it's the UK's newest Comic event, The Birmingham Comic Festival this Saturday at Edgbaston cricket club that's what and mighty fun the event looks. It also marks Accent UK's first full convention appearance of 2015 and kicks off a fairly busy period for us for the rest of the year. The creative team behind Accent UK's hit ongoing series, WesterNoir will be there with the latest issue and maybe a few surprises too for what promises to be a fun day indeed.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

When Eagles Soared.....

Stumbled upon this link in the essential Down The Tubes blog of a time when Accent UK were mentioned alongside Brian Bolland, Jonathan Hickman, Kevin O'Neil, Frank Quietly, Warren Ellis, 2000AD and The Walking Dead etc, whatever happened to them?

This was 2010 and the award of best British Black & White Comic Book  for Dave West and Marlene Lowe's wonderful Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man? I remember it well as the awards were announced overnight at the MCM London's show at the sprawling Excel Centre which I think was only the second time that we had exhibited at? It was crazy stuff and when the award was presented and displayed on our table the following day, the comic, like the Eagle itself flew off the table.

Mike Conroy (Eagle Awards coordinator) presents a happy Dave

It was a rather special moment and the reviews and interest in the book that followed were a great reward for the hard effort in its creation. The award brought a great spotlight on the book and generated some media interest at the time and led to a Brazilian edition, translated into Portuguese!

The book's still a great read today and sells steadily. Dave of course has written several titles since but was recently re-united with artist Marlene (now Starksfield) Lowe for the engaging Jigsaw Girl  back up story in issue 1 of Stephenson's Robot which has been well received in recent reviews.

An extract of Marlene's stunning Jigsaw Girl artwork

Sadly the Eagle Awards, the UK's longest running comic awards, ceased in, I think, 2012 but left behind a rich heritage of capturing the comics zeitgeist, certainly they gave us a boost at the time and I know that Dave has a fondness for the trophy received, just watch his face light up if its ever mentioned..... 

The Comic and The Eagle!