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UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2010 report!

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30th. Mar, 2010 | 06:08 pm
music: Eels: Unhinged



I got a National Express coach from Leeds at 00:20, foolishly thinking I could catch some Zs on the way down. Which would have been possible if not for the three people that took it in turn to sit next to me. The first, a sexy lady, who's knee contact I didn't mind one bit. But she got off at Chesterfield to be replaced by a guy who elbowed me several times, waking me each time. Again, he was off at the next stop. The final man sat with his legs so far apart I swear I could smell his undercarriage. I wouldn't say he sat next me... More ON me. I rudely shoved his knees away with my own but he didn't take a hint and I wound up leaning over the radiator sweating so much I think I shrivelled up a bit.
I won't be taking the cheap option again.

Bleary eyed, I opted for a McGroinald's breakfast. I asked for water but the lass heard 'latte.' I don't drink coffee any more because it makes me feel anxious but, Yorkshireman that I am, I didn't want to make a scene and slurped it down, jacking myself up nicely for The Thing. I killed two hours at Victoria station and made my way to Mile End before 9.

I love my suitcase. It's an old, red, Samsonite suitcase that I got for 15 quid. But there aren't any wheels and I nearly did my back in lugging it around all weekend. But here's what was within:

I had with me issues 1 and 2 of my new mini-series, Find Comet, Hit Comet, Watch Comet, Sleep, plus all the usual gubbins.


It was an uncharacteristically nice day (don't worry, the rain came later).
I was the first to set up. Here I am waiting for everyone else:


Al Maceachern and Joe Decie arrived and 12-Eyes Comics was in full effect.






To my right were the Goodman brothers, who live up to their name in both quality and personality. I forgot to take a picture of them. Sorry, guys! But I got a copy of Square Eyes #22.

Opposite was The Hope For The Future team, complete with red ukulele. I was actually planning on taking my own red ukulele but it wouldn't fit in my bag.

Also nearby was Jimi Gherkin and Peter Lally. You should listen to their Alternative Press show, hosted by Gareth Brookes.
Speaking of which, REET! favourites Steve Banal Pig Tillotson and Gareth Appalling Nonsense Brookes were also around spreading joy and comics.

Nice as always to see David Tozo O'Connell, who was sharing with Warwick Johnson Cadwell, who we chatted to at the after party and is also a thoroughly nice and exceptionally talented so-and-so!

Hollers to the people I chatted to briefly throughout the day: James Turner, Marc Ellerby, Phillip Spence, Oliver Lambden, Alex Fitch, ryclaude, and Aaron Smurf Murphy. As usual, I didn't make it round the hall myself so it's always nice when people stop by.

Here's Resonance FM's very own Alex Fitch talking to Jimi Gherkin. Alex is putting on his own event from 28th April to 3rd May at The Apollo Piccadilly Cinema.


It's always nice to finally meet an old REET! contributor. This year's was Jon Horner. A top chap who stuck with us for a while after the event, forming a bit of a REET!union party!
You can buy Jon's new comic, Gentlemanly Conduct at Slam City Skates in Covent Garden.

Three members of the Cartoonists' Forum stopped by. Last year's Tim Harries and Alex Hughes and a bonus Royston
Robertson
. Here they are:

(Alex and Royston were seen last year destroying the BBC's Eggheads! Well done, guys!)
Tim had with him what turned out to be my favourite thing of the day - The Seldom Seen Blog 2009, a collection of his blog posts from the past year. Really interesting and impressive work, as always. I've threatened to steal the idea for myself. You can probably get one of your own right here at Tim's blog! Here's Tim's excellent portrait of me which he kindly posted to me last year:


An hour-and-a-half passed before Al, Joe or I made a sale and I actually wondered if I'd make it through the day without a single sale. Of course, these Things always begin this way and I made at least enough to cover my hotel and travel by the end of the day.




All in all, popular consensus was that it was a slow day for all. I felt a bit disillusioned afterwards but I learned a few lessons:
1. Comics laid flat on the table seem to intimidate punters. A bit of a 'positive barrier' (as David O'Connell better articulated it) is a bit more inviting because you can browse in what seems like a bit more privacy.
2. There's a fine line between a jumble sale-style mess and a minimal table and I haven't cracked it yet. Al was running out of space. I had too much.
3. Someone who buys a comic from your neighbour will often skip your table. There's a sense that since the transaction has been completed, they need to get as far away as possible. So it helps to choose a table next to someone who's comics are awful, which I hadn't done.
4. In my bag was a bright orange Totoro T-shirt. I think wearing that would have scored me some more trade because people like silly Tees. Next time... Next time...
5. And if someone's having a long conversation in front of your table. Move them along. It's rude and prevents people from getting to you and your comics. Comic exhibitors should know better, dammit!

The event can best be summed up by this picture of Steven Tillotson:

Or Al Maceachern's thoughts on his report here in which he calls it an anticlimax after all that preparation!

Lizz Lunney and Timothy Winchester started a passport scheme, Dino-Saw-Us where visitors could go around and fill their card passports with collectible stickers.

I'd decided I was too busy to participate but of course felt jealous on the day. Luckily, Tim was handing out blank sticker sheets so I filled mine in and got to play. Spaced out on coffee and lack of sleep, I created some stickers that were a bit dark. But each one an original!


I think this year's anthology is a good one. The theme was dinosaurs. A roaring success and a cool cover by Lizz Lunney.


The punters were very friendly and I had some good chats with most of them.

I checked into my hotel and decided to check out Schmurgencon at The New Globe. Only, I was outside The Old Globe when I called Al...
I'm not sure what Schmurgencon is. The room upstairs at The New Globe made it feel like a house warming party where the unpacking hadn't been done yet and people were sitting around having what looked like jolly nice chat. There were a few comics on tables but we didn't hang around. It felt like we were intruding. We went to join the fun at the official after Thing thing, instead.

The Half Moon pub had a slight air of menace. Some old twat called Steve Tillotson and me The Persuaders because we wear similar specs. He meant The Proclaimers. We should have done 'im in West Yorkshire style!

I finally got to meet Dickon Harris, who's Panel Borders podcasts I've been enjoying for some time now. And it's always good to catch up with Saban Kazim. Follow that link and look at his website. It's noice, bruv'.

Apologies to: Adam Cadwell for trying out my chat-up techniques in order to make a sale on what turned out to be his girlfriend. If it's any consolation, she didn't buy anything!


"

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Comments {15}

Sarah McIntyre

(no subject)

from: jabberworks
date: 30th. Mar, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the report! And I love Tim's portrait of you, that's brilliant.

Really wish I could've gone to Hi-Ex AND the Thing, missed you guys!

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 30th. Mar, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
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You were definitely missed, Sarah! I said so on the day!

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(no subject)

from: lizzlunney
date: 30th. Mar, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Great review!

ha I don't remember that photo being taken, I appear to be hiding behind my hair!

Glad you enjoyed the sticker think- I only got chance to collect a few and missed out on one of your originals boo!

It was quite a slow day but there are some good tips you gave there, I must remember these. Especially the comics laid flat one- I always do that! bah.

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Lizz! Yes, I took that picture early in the day!

I came to that layout conclusion based on how I feel at certain tables!

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(Deleted comment)

shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Can't you get one from the site?

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(no subject)

from: wjc0
date: 30th. Mar, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
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I learned the flat comics lesson too. I tried balancing comics and prints up against each other but the subsequent collapse saw off several embarrassed browsers.
Great to meet you!

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Great to meet you too, Warwick!

It's true - I had a handful of stand-up characters and they were falling over every couple of minutes!

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displacedart

(no subject)

from: displacedart
date: 31st. Mar, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
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looks like it was lots of fun! :)
i liked the popped up pictures on your table.

your tale of National Express coach brings back nasty memories. i used to get it from bournemouth to london about a 2-3hr trip and every time it was awful. even had my bank card stolen on it one time!

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Blech! That really is the last time! It's worth the extra money to travel down in a bit more style!

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Marc Ellerby

(no subject)

from: burnt_jamb
date: 31st. Mar, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
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Great write up Hugh.

Thinking about points #2 and #3, if you're exhibiting alongside friends who are under a collective banner, maybe spread all your comics along the 2 tables so that each comic is featured on both tables. Say if someone comes over especially for your comics they'll then see Joe's stuff in front of you too and maybe browse it. Again, if someones coming over for Al's books and they'll see a Reet in front of them, maybe they'll pick it up, too. If people are skipping your table and go to Al and Joe's at least your stuff is still visable on their's.

Also, stands improve sales and are pretty cost effective. Liz Greenfield always has great looking displays and merchandising skills when she does shows. I think Matt Sheret got some little tiny easels to put his books on from Ikea or something.

The skipping thin happens a lot, when I sit next to the Phonogram guys at shows, people will talk to Kieron and Jamie but then skip me, even though I'm in Phonogram and hey, I'm working with Kieron again. It's just what people do at shows and it really bugs me. It's like if someone goes to Cadwell's table and then skips mine, okay they might not like my stuff, but if they're unfamiliar with it, they're missing out on comics that they'd more than likely be into.

The Thing was really quiet this year compared to the pandemonium of last year, but personally I still took more money than last year. That was probably thanks to my new bags and if I didn't have them, I'd be fucked. Advertising the show wouldn't go amiss, but then that's probably wishful thinking - unless we do it ourselves, I doubt it's going to happen.

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
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It's true, Marc. I had to invite a bunch of people myself! Turned out they were the biggest spenders at my table!

I'm kitting myself out with all sorts of stands for Thought Bubble. Something to hide behind, too!

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You missed a trick there

from: usby
date: 31st. Mar, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
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You should have sabotaged all the other tables when you were the only person there - sawed the legs off everyone else's chairs... that would have been awesome. Annoying but awesome...

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shug_comics

Re: You missed a trick there

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
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I say, old bean, you're right! Or I'll plant stinky old fish 'n' chip wrappers under every table except mine!

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Tozo

(no subject)

from: tozocomic
date: 31st. Mar, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
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Great report! And great to see you too.
Merchandising is certainly a big part of selling and there a loads of tricks to it. I used to work for John Lewis and it was fascinating (to me, anyway) to see how much effort they put into displays that customers don't even notice (or think they don't notice).

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shug_comics

(no subject)

from: shug_comics
date: 1st. Apr, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
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That's the trick! It's all subliminal...

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