Britain’s Small Press Day and Comic Shops That Sell Small Press Titles

Small Press Day 2016

Interest is growing rapidly in Small Press Day in the UK on 9th July 2016 – the brainchild of a group of comic creators including David Ziggy Greene, the team at Alternative Press and the smashing Andy Oliver over at Broken Frontier.

Alongside that fantastic initiative, Beano artist Lew Stringer (and the creator of his own characters such as Brickman and Combat Colin) has just posted a blog outlining some of Britain’s small press friendly shops – and is asking people to post details of those he’s yet to add to his list.

“I’ve read some comments online recently expressly stating that UK comic shops do not support or stock small press indie comics,” he explains. “Anyone saying that is misinformed. 

“While it’s true that some comic shops refuse indie comics, there are thankfully stores with a better attitude who are more than happy to stock small press / independent titles.”

Small press friendly: Lancaster's First Age Comics is just one of many UK comic shops offering space to small press comics
Small press friendly: Lancaster’s First Age Comics is just one of many UK comic shops offering space to small press comics
These include Birmingham’s Nostalgia & Comics; Gosh and Orbital Comics in London; First Age Comics in Lancaster; Page 45 in Nottingham; OK Comics in Leeds; Forbidden Planet International in Edinburgh (a company whose excellent blog regularly talks up indie/ small press comics); and many others.

Lew is a  longtime supporter of small and indepents comics publishers and is also again publishing his own titles himself – noting Nostalgia & Comics, for example, offer generous space to small press titles.

Just like the Small Press Day project (details below) I think this is a great idea and want to do all we can here at downthetubes to support Lew’s information-gathering exercise.

With Lew’s blessing, downthetubes contributor Colin Noble will be incorporating the information he gathers on small press friendly stores into our own UK Comic Shop map. So if you know of an indie-friendly store, please let Lew know by leaving a comment on his blog post, or use the Feedback form on our Comic Map page to let us know, too – thanks! We’ll share any information received with Lew.

Small Press Day 2016

Backed by top comics web site Broken Frontier and co-organised by Alternative Press, there is a wider aspect to Small Press Day, with small press artists are encouraged to take the initiative and approach their local retail outlets and/or set up their own zine events. 

With Broken Frontier lending their support to #SmallPressDay they’ll obviously be keeping you informed on developments here but for regular updates follow the Small Press Day Twitter account here, visit the website here, and keep tabs on announcements from co-organisers at Alternative Press.

Here’s the official press release for stores explaining how they can get involved in Small Press Day on 9th July 2016.

Hello and thank you for your interest in Small Press Day!

What started as an off-the-cuff idea on social media has been met with great enthusiasm and we’re very thankful for all your support for the project. We’ve been working behind-the-scenes to provide a framework for the day and we hope the following information will give you an idea of the philosophy of the event.

The core aim of Small Press Day is to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve. At its heart it’s an elegantly simple idea that involves minimal organisation for everyone involved but will ultimately be hugely rewarding for shops, creators and the small press community.

What we envision is that shops and venues of all kinds take part in the day holding in-store signings with small press creators. This may involve simply dedicating a small space in your store for a period for a few hours on the afternoon or, as some shops are planning, to turn it into an all-day event with a number of creators coming in to sign in hourly timeslots.

The set-up for events is flexible and we want you to feel you can tailor the day to your local situation. But we welcome any input you may have about running talks, workshops or panels as tie-ins. The important thing though is that we have a day where shops, creators and customers can meet, engage with each other, have fun, and see what great work is being produced by the next generation of UK comic and zine creators!

For promotional purposes we will have a website listing all the shops involved and their guests at http://smallpressday.co.uk/. We will also be supplying a web poster and banners. A print version can also be supplied if you wish to print it out for your window. As well as the main poster, each shop will get a custom version with their signing details included (see samples above).

As you may know we already have a buzzing Twitter account which is a focal point for creators, shops, magazines, celebs and info here: @smallpressday. We also have the support of the small press champions and specialists at both Broken Frontier and Alternative Press who will publicise your Small Press Day line-ups in the run-up to the day.

So what do we need from you…?

It’s easy! Just think of any UK small press/self-publishers who you would like in-store on Small Press Day or whose work you already stock and invite them to come into the shop on July 9th to sign copies and meet customers. It’s as simple as that!

When you have your creators/micropublishers confirmed then let us know at info@samu.co.uk and we can add you to the rapidly growing list of shops and events.

If you need help finding out about local creators or getting in touch, we can also do our best to help out. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

Thanks again and let’s make this a groundbreaking event together!

The Small Press Day Team.

Amneet Johal – AlternativePress.org.uk, Andy Oliver – Broken Frontier Editor-in-Chief, & David Ziggy Greene

• For regular updates on all things small press follow Andy Oliver on Twitter here

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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