The second year of the Crouch End Comic Arts Festival took place on a sunny day in this trendy area of North London, one of a number of UK comics events taking place over the past few weeks – and the upcoming month is going to be just as busy. Because of this, each event has to make its own mark, have its own style and audience. CECAF certainly has a small press indie feel, based in a fairy light illuminated town hall. There was also drinking.
Even though last year’s sign was back looking a little bent out of shape and there was a chalk arrow drawn on the pavement to show you where to go, this was a fun, cozy and friendly comic convention with an emphasis on great comics and art.
“It’s in a pub so there are drinking opportunities throughout the day…just saying…”– Ricky ‘Avery Hill’ Miller.
This event, as it did last year, is full of character and enthusiasm. Everyone mixes and there’s a great variety of talent and comics. I got to see some old faces and some great new talent.
I got to have a great catch up with Alfie Gallagher. This artist / writer has been on my radar for a couple of years since I saw his self published series Charlatan Tales. He’s recently done an excellent “Judge Anderson” story for Zarjaz and an upcoming “A.B.C. Warriors” story for the Future Quake guys. He teased me with some awesome pages from a project he is working on in secret with red-hot writer of the recent Headspace series Ryan K. Lindsay. I’ve got to be tight-lipped about the content but it looks amazing.
Simon Moreton was on hand for a chat and had the most recent issue of Smoo for sale along with some other great books. Simon can tell a bigger and better story with just a few lines than almost anyone else. His books are pauses in a hectic day and still emotional black and white beautifully realised moments. He’s just starting a subscription service that gives followers access to all his art and writing.
Sharing a table with Simon Moreton was the ever industrious and hugely talented Julia Scheele. I bagged the excellent anthology Not A New Wave that Julia and pals worked on and it’s an absolute cracker. Created around the lyrics, attitude and legend that is the band Sleater-Kinney it combines comics, art and text pieces. Julia is working on a big thick anthology that is going to combine the worlds of zines and comics in one go. Based around the theme of identity it should be well worth your attention when it launches. It’s always great talking to Julia and she is full of interesting ideas and infectious enthusiasm.
Whilst chatting it up with Ricky and Dave from Avery Hill Publishing we were joined by the creator of their new book Swear Jar writer/artist Abe Christie. I had read this excellent new release from Avery Hill on the train en route to Crouch End and really enjoyed it. It’s a quiet and introspective 40-page anthology about the pressures of both real life and a dream-like state of almost wakefulness. Hard to encapsulate in just a few sentences, it’s a work of deep thought and with an eye to stylish design. I commented to Abe that I fully expected him to be older and he said that maybe that’s how he sees things? Intriguing stuff indeed.
I finally got to meet the insanely busy Claude T.C. After admiring his recent work in Dirty Rotten Comics and after missing him at his table at the recent MCM London it was great to meet in person. His comics are full of crazy adult imagination and I picked up some great books that included the excellent title Journey Into Stupid: Volume 6: Life at the Speed of Misery.
Part of the ‘New to Me’ file was Francesca Cassavetti and her small press company Fabtoons. I picked up a copy of the quirky and inciteful ‘A Little Book of Panic: Existential Angst’. A comic describing the annoyances of everyday life it’s a great slice of fun. Francesca also has some other great books out as part of both Fabtoons and The Dessinators imprints.
Seek her out on Facebook and at www.fabtoons.com
Although my time was a little limited at this year’s event, I enjoyed the day, although I refuse to reveal why Paul Rainey has hurt his back. (But you can contact him on Twitter @pbrainey and ask him yourself… no it’s not that!)
I’ll leave you with some of my haul. Many thanks for reading.