When Alan Moore made an incredibly rare appearance in at London’s Gosh comic store recently, he not only promoted his own new work but gave ringing endorsement to the UK small press efforts in general — and, in particular, London Underground Comics.
The Forbidden Planet International blog, which carries an interview with Oli Smith from LUC, explains this isn’t some new initiative by London Transport to entertain frustrated commuters packed into the Tube like sardines by having stand-ups tell them jokes during rush hour. It’s an attempt by Oli Smith and a group of like-minded British small press comics creators to promote their work, making full use of a stand in Camden market at the weekends where you can find Indy comics and their creators in person rather than relying on trying to find them via the web or at the occasional convention, get recommendations and chat to other comics folks.
It’s no surprise to hear that Alan Moore has again supported the work of the small press in developing new talent — he’s been doing that for years, even subscribing to the fanzine I edited back in the 1980s that led to me getting a job at Marvel UK. But it’s great to see that Alan’s words not only help LUC directly, but also endorse FPI and other comic stores’ support for the small press where they can. FPI’s Joe Gordon is eternally modest, but I’m pretty sure his work talking up many of the small press out there is helping them forward, so kudos to him for that.
Oli talks at length about the LUC in the interview, one of those busy indie creators who has been working on his own web site and press (IdleChild) and titles like Hazy Thursday and I Dream of Real Life for over two years.
“[The Camden stall] sells comics to people who are looking for something new and most of whom don’t realise non-spandex comics exist,” he explains, an initiative harking back to the days when Paul Gravett and Pete Stanbury ran their fabulous Fast Fiction stall at the famous Westminster Marts. “With a regular turnover of different punters, a fantastic social atmosphere and with sale figures that mean, not only does it require no investment, but it also turns comics from an expensive hobby for people with spare cash kicking around to, at the bare minimum, a past-time that pays for itself.
“Why spend £80 on a table at a convention selling to the saturated market of people who came last year, when you can spend £2 on rent and sell ten to twenty copies each week as well as getting to spend time with fellow comics-creators.”
Perhaps it’s an idea that will take hold and be tried in other major cities where there is enough footfall and interest in comics to enable the stallholders to turn a profit. Meanwhile, small press publishers should use Alan Moore and FPI’s support of independent creators to try and get their local shop to stock their titles…
Categories: British Comics