Strip!: Publishing a Blank Slate

Trains are Mint by Oliver East

Concluding comic book publishing month on radio show and podcast Strip!, Alex Fitch interviews Kenny Penman who runs Blank Slate Books, a new British publishing company that has been around for just under a year and have four books to their name so far, including Eisner award nominee Trains are… Mint by Oliver East and and Mawli’s We can Still be Friends.

Alex and Kenny talk about what factors decide the choice of books he publishes, the travails of finding a market for new graphic novels in the middle of a credit crunch and how his history as one of the founders of Forbidden Planet International has helped his new career as a publisher.

Trains are… Mint received high praise from several quarters on release. It’s a diary of walks tracing the train tracks between Manchester and Blackpool in the northwest of England, the comic dispensing with word balloons in favour of text and speech written in longhand superimposed upon the images.

“Oliver East has produced one of the most unique works to come out of the UK small press scene,” says Kenny Penman, “and one that I believe has a chance of crossing over to a much wider audience.”

• Strip!: Publishing a Blank Slate airs later today, Thursday 30th April 2009, at 5.30pm, repeated Sunday 3rd May 11.30pm, onResonance 104.4 FM (London), streamed at, extended podcast online now at

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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