Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Season's Greetings!

Since the last posting dates for the UK have now passed and you may have been waiting for a Christmas card from my good self, please accept this as your festive greeting!

With Best Wishes :)


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

On The Lookout?

Ha! What could this mean? Is Colin nowhere to be seen? Or has he been spotted? Or is this a clue to the contents of his next finished comic? All will be revealed at some point soonish, but best wishes to all in the meantime :)

Monday, 21 November 2016

MacBeth's Second Act?

Well if you've already picked up Moments of Adventure: Collection One, you'll have been introduced to a certain Cornelius MacBeth who may just be having a bad day - see above! If you don't know who I'm talking about then you can grab yourself a copy direct from the Accent UK website here or make sure you catch us on the comic convention circuit next year.

Mr MacBeth is one of my oldest comic characters, created a long time ago, so I have been particularly pleased that many folk have picked up on him and let me know that they particularly enjoyed Come and Buy My Toys, the story he features in Moments of Adventure, and are intrigued to find out more.

One of my early Cornelius MacBeth drawings!

I have several further adventures planned and plotted so hope to have a dedicated comic for our Scottish Napoleonic Ghost Hunter in the near future, just don't hold your breath quite yet! I can confirm though that a further short story featuring Macbeth will be included in the forthcoming second Moments of Adventure Collection! This story is called Neighborhood Threat (yes that is the American spelling!) in which MacBeth has to decide whether a wrongdoer is ready to face the consequences of their actions.

This story has again been expertly coloured by Serbia's finest, Aljoša Tomić who has a very sympathetic palette for our hero. Find out more when the issue is released in early 2017!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Thought Bubble 2016

TB16's lovely banner artwork by Emmeline Pidgen

Phew, where does the time go? Already a week since the wonderful experience that is Leeds in
November for the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival's Comic-Con! Dave, as always, has already done his own overview of the show and other recent events, which you can find here, so mine will maybe be briefer than normal, let's see!

This perp's says he's at Thought Bubble looking for comics!

We have been fortunate enough to attend each one of TB's ten shows so have witnessed first hand their growth from Leeds City Hall basement to the three hall sprawl at the Royal Armouries and more as it has deservedly taken it's pole position as the UK's premier event for celebrating the art of comics and graphic novels and the joy of the medium itself.

When TB started it was one of only a handful of dedicated 'pure comics' shows on the UK circuit and was clearly the new kid on the block compared to the established Bristol Comics Expo and the growing Birmingham International Comics Festival ('BICS') which, along with Paul Gravett's Comica, had filled the void by the demise of UKCAC, the previously long running UK event. Over the intervening decade though both Bristol and BICS ceased, (although both recently resurfaced in smaller guises), allowing TB to establish it's own identity, contrasting markedly from the various 'pop culture' shows which appeared, by retaining comics and comics art as TB's centrepiece.

Kim Jung Gi's live drawing was very popular....
....all done feehand in ink!!

This approach and some savvy organisation know how and industry contacts from the committee has seen TB grow and embrace the comics medium to become what it is today, a showpiece event that everyone with an interest in comics can enjoy. It's audience has similarly grown to what must have been only a few hundred back in 2007 to the several thousands, who now enjoy the show and the various programmes of events during the week of the festival. While other 'comics-centric' shows have appeared since 2007, TB is now firmly established as the premier one that everyone wants to be at and it's a great place for seeing so many familiar faces from today's comic scene and make new discoveries amongst the many exhibitors, which despite the high demand, the committee carefully curate to give space to new talent.

Always a delight to catch up with ACE Comic's Mr Biff!
Mr Kennedy & friend!
Sara & Matt and MULP #3!

I won't list the many folk I saw and spoke to or the sadly equally many that I didn't, due to the size and scope of the event, but TB16 was, I think, a successful year for most, including ourselves. Like previous year's, sales were concentrated on debuting books and new titles with several returning customers 'hoovering up' everything we'd released since TB15, thank you! My wee Moments Of Adventure sold well, particularly on the Saturday, and generated some lovely comments and the new WesterNoir trade also doing very well, becoming our top seller of the show, despite many folks already having the individual issues - Dave and Gary's sales patter and the bonus story & pin ups being too much to resist!

David, Andy, Neil & Stuart, the prolific Treehouse Crew - 3 new issues since TB15!

Like previous TB's though, the competition for attention and sales is huge - some 350 tables across the three venues - and many browsers understandably spoke about watching what they spent as there was just so much amazing work to see. This may be the hidden 'achiles heel' for TB as it's not a cheap show to attend and while very busy it doesn't have the infinite crowds that the 'pop culture' style shows attract but TB attendees are on the whole dedicated comic fans and will buy what interests them, it's just that their purses and wallets can't keep up :)

Scott takes The Pith at TB16 - note the lovely luggage display!

In the end, despite a couple of titles selling very well our overall sales matched last year, almost to the £, which was initially disappointing considering how busy the event was but we were pleased that our new releases had found an audience and also that our - Asylum inspired - luggage display was well received - we may even consider a Haberdashery Department for next year! That said, TB really is an essential showcase for UK comics and we are already planning next year's new releases accordingly, hopefully see you there!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

More Comic Reviews!


It's nice when someone you've met at a show takes the time to review your work and that's just what Ian Carter of Nerdspan has done following our meeting at the recent MCM London show, reviewing our two latest releases, Moments of Adventure: Collection One and the WesterNoir Trade: Volume One which collects the first four issues (or 'Season One' if you prefer!) of Dave West and Gary Crutchley's cult hit series, including a new bonus story, pin ups and introduction from Mark Buckingham.

Check out Nerdspan's WesterNoir review here and Moments of Adventure here!

And of course both titles can be purchased from Accent UK's webstore here.

Thanks Ian!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Remembrance Day

On the 11th of the 11th as we reflect and remember the fallen here's a wordless look at two of the newly coloured pages of my strip from Accent UK's first anthology, 'Remembrance Day' which will feature in my second Moments of Adventure collection. (Art by me, colours by Aljoša Tomić).

The full black and white version can be viewed here.

Friday, 4 November 2016

All roads lead to Leeds!

Aaah, busy, busy had a wonderful few weeks touring round Scotland (twice!) taking in MCM Glasgow then Stok-Con-Trent, a pit stop at The Lakes, then Dundee Ian Kennedy masterclass (wow!), The Broons, down to London for the MCM behemoth and, as they say, much more! I honestly don't know if I'll get a chance to properly write these events up as we're again preparing for a show this weekend, the delightful Thought Bubble in Leeds which celebrates it's 10th anniversary and we've been lucky enough to be at every one!

So, hopefully more details to follow, along with an update on current comic projects but in the meantime here's a wee pic of some of the character sketches I've done for Leeds, together with the handy annotated map of where to find us in New Dock Hall, right, more later but must dash!


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

History Buffs and ZULU!

With thanks to historian  Ian Knight, just seen this enjoyable overview of the movie ZULU, it's impact and comparison with the facts, for anyone with a passing interest in the movie or African history it's well worth a watch and at less than 20 minutes won't take up too much of your time!

It's from a you tube channel called 'History Buffs' who similarly turn the spotlight on other historical movies such as Gladiator, Braveheart, Waterloo and Saving Private Ryan etc!

This also reminds me that good friend and fellow comics creator Garen Ewing also recently covered ZULU in the entertaining pod cast he hosts with his brother, I previously mentioned this here but you can go direct to their site here, again well worth a listen - makes you almost in the mood for some ZULU comics perhaps :)

A panel from my forthcoming Zulu graphic novel, art by me, colours by Matt Soffe

Friday, 7 October 2016

Dare2Draw at New York Comic-Con!

Surfing the New York Comic-Con's news on the always informative, The Beat's website and found this enthusiastic posting of our old friends at Dare2Draw and their NYCC line up including new artist talent portfolio reviews! Accent UK have been proud to sponsor the Dare2Draw team's activities for some time now so great to see that they are continuing their work in giving new talent a much needed break.

Well worth checking out if you're lucky enough to be at the show - as many of my Facebook friends from Denmark, Dundee and Staffordshire seem to be, hope you're all having fun!

It's been some time since we last exhibited in the US, (the last being the final of our trilogy of appearances at New York's MoCCA in 2013), and while it would be great to return, the landscape and economics of independent comics makes that unlikely at the moment, but never say never :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Gary Reed : Caliber Comics (Zulu Nation)

Sad news coming in that Gary Reed, publisher at Caliber Comics has died at the age of 60 - see Bleeding Cool's report here.

Caliber were a bit of an inspiration to me when I was weaning myself of American superhero comics by producing a whole range of alternative storytelling involving history, fantasy, detective and mystery titles in their distinctive black and white style.

Personal favourites, which I've still kept and re-read, St Germaine, Jack the Ripper, A Murder of Scarecrows, Troy and of course Zulu Nation (1991), a 3 part series of the Zulu War, probably the first time I had seen the conflict in comics form.

Many of these titles, including Zulu Nation, were written by Gary himself who was a talented writer, capable of picking up diverse subjects and making highly readable stories of them. The fact that he managed this alongside running a successful publishing company is remarkable.

I never had any direct contact with him or Caliber but several of today's established UK independent comics folk had their early work produced through Caliber, including Jim Alexander, Ed Murphy and our very own Gary Crutchley.

I understand from reports that he had recently relaunched the Caliber Comics brand with a new range of titles so it is a great shame that he will not be here to see this through but he has already left an impressive legacy in the world of comics.   

Thoughts with his family.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

'Allo Allo?

Ah, Dave's beat me to a wee write-up for last week's memorable MCM Glasgow show which hopefully I'll still write about myself when time allows but not at present as we're about to attend another show this weekend, more local this time in Stoke at the finely named Stoke Con Trent!

Alongside the likes of Frazer Irving, Mike Collins, JAke, Jesse McClure, Sean Kelly, Red Dwarf's Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and the cast of 'Allo Allo, this delightful trio are appearing;

 You have been warned!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Back to Scotland!

After almost a month's break, the Accent UK tour bus is rested and ready for a return journey to Glasgow, this time for a much anticipated return to the MCM Scotland show! We were fortunate to attend the inaugural show there back in 2013 and had an amazing time but sadly events and commitments have kept us away since, so we've missed out as it's developed, we understand, into a vibrant and successful two day show, rivalling MCM Manchester in it's attendance.

I think we've over a dozen new releases since 2013 so hopefully we'll find an appreciative audience waiting for us there, wish us luck!

The Accent UK team at Glasgow 2013 - Adam's started and completed his uni course since then!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

"Really Interesting!" says TorAthena!

Aha, delighted to have found this great video review of Moments of Adventure: Collection One from the TorAthena youtube channel!

I recall meeting Lucy aka TorAthena at the recent Manchester MCM show (see again it's not always about the sales!) where we chatted about Accent UK's range of comics, and she confessed that she was a big fan and supporter of independent comics but hadn't seen our stuff before so bought a couple, including Moments to check them out, so I'm really grateful to her for taken the time to read and discuss my little comic, thank you Lucy!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

More Steampunk Pictures!

Some of my 'Moments of Adventure' sketches ahead of the show

As seen in my last posting, I rather enjoyed Accent UK's visit to the Asylum Steampunk Festival so wanted to share a few more of my pictures that there was no room for before;

A Steampunk Rocketeer? designed by Herr Doktor
Market stalls by the Cathedral - Embassy entrance to the rear
Strange Scribblings on the streets of Lincoln!
Boer War themed steampunker Alan!
Different costumes for.....
.....different days!

These folk had travelled from Sweden
This chap had a working mobile phone pack!

Excuse the blur on this fine looking couple
A return visit from the Baron and Lady P!

....see the detail!

This 'explorer' chap was amazing...

As for my favourite picture of the weekend? Sorry Dave, it still has to be this...

Friday, 9 September 2016

Splendid Steampunk!

Wow! I think that's (almost) all I can say after our August bank holiday appearance at the annual Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln as I'm still processing it all really!

As you'll know Dave West and I under our 'Accent UK' comics banner regularly attend comic conventions up and down the country (and sometimes further afield) exhibiting our creator-owned comics and graphic novels. We've done this for many a year now so are somewhat old hands at it and even when we try a new show or location we've a pretty good idea what to expect.

The street scenes around Lincoln - early morning!

Asylum was, as we'd been warned, nothing like anything we've ever done before, it really took over the whole city of Lincoln with shop displays, bunting, street stalls, attractions, buskers, full evening programme and 8 or more separate venues all celebrating the world of steampunk to devoted followers and bemused public alike. Then there were the fashions and costumes, most home made and extravagant and very different from our usual comic cosplayers, who base their outfits on established comic strip or movie characters. These were all unique demonstrating the wearer's own individuality, often adopting a 'nome de plume' as their steampunk alter ego!

Gunfighters on way down from Lincoln Castle!
Lady Patricia Fancy-Feather & Baron Von Brucken!

Yes those are real parrots!
Now that's a big gun!

One thing the steampunk crowd did have in common with comic convention people was a shared enthusiasm of their interest and being friendly and approachable to each other, the positive vibe was everywhere, even when the Lincoln weather did it's best to dampen spirits.

Making friends sheltering from rain

We were set up in a new venue to the event, The Cathedral Centre, a 13th century building in the shadows of the magnificent, almost 1,000 year old, Lincoln Cathedral! The Centre had been christened the 'Steampunk Embassy' for the occasion and we were set up with fellow comicers, Steve Tanner (Timebomb), Lauren (Cactus Illustration) & Jade Sarson (Tea Hermit) and in an adjoining room several authors, photographers and role-playing game demonstrations including the delightful Tom, Nimue and James Brown - sorry didn't get everyone else's details or photos!

Timebomb's Steve Tanner or was it a steampunk Willy Wonka?
Cactus Illustration's Lauren and friend (sorry didn't catch name!)
Mr West surveys the scene

We were upstairs, (above the centre's cafe, where the poor ladies were truly run off their feet!) and had responded to the good Major Tinker's invitation challenge to not 'just' sit behind our tables selling, but to create an interesting display and to engage with visitors, (we were after all to be 'ambassadors' for the event!). This request had initially troubled then really inspired Mr West and I these last few months as we dismantled our normal display and started from scratch, scouring our homes, lofts and charity shops for suitable items and we were delighted when the good Major and others congratulated us on our efforts - phew - so much so that we are planning to bring a little of this to our future comic show displays - not sure if Dave will wear the hat again though!

The Accent UK Comics Emporium!

Our little comics corner!
Captain Colin on parade!

Hat's not withstanding, our only disappointments of the weekend were not actually seeing or truly experiencing the event as we were pretty much bound to our own venue and access to much else that was available was by wristband or tickets only, of which we had neither. From conversations though we picked up that there was a whole lot more going on, (a whole lot more!) which justified Asylum's claim to be Europe's largest Steampunk gathering.

The Asylum venue map (image by Dr Geoff)

Also, perhaps because there was so much else on offer or because we were in a new venue, a little off the beaten path, we didn't really experience the crowds or footfall that were evidenced elsewhere with only a small fraction of visitors finding their way to our emporium. This wasn't for the want of trying by the event organisers & volunteers who quickly responded by erecting additional signage (including our own WesterNoir banner) and placing friendly 'ushers' outside which did help to increase numbers but not in the volumes that may have been expected.  

Just outside Cathedral centre courtyard
In the shadows of Lincoln Cathedral!

This was a shame as there were some real treats inside and we found that our comics & graphic novels had a warm reception, particularly those with a, not surprisingly, strong steampunk or historical element doing best, so that our launching WesterNoir trade, Stephenson's Robot and Moments of Adventure titles all sold well. Modestly perhaps compared to the larger comic shows but respectful enough for a 'debut' event which effectively this was for comics.

Browsers at the Accent UK table 
A happy Vivienne with her Moments of Adventure!

That said, we had a fun time and enjoyed the delights of Lincoln in the evening and remain inspired by the steampunk genre so are already talking with the organiser's to see what we can do to assist the venue (and comics) achieve their potential next year - watch this space!

And on that note, here's a wee image of us taking tea (& cake) and plotting our return....