Thursday, 22 September 2016

Back to Scotland!

After almost a month's break, the Accent UK tour bus is rested and ready for a return journey to Glasgow, this time for a much anticipated return to the MCM Scotland show! We were fortunate to attend the inaugural show there back in 2013 and had an amazing time but sadly events and commitments have kept us away since, so we've missed out as it's developed, we understand, into a vibrant and successful two day show, rivalling MCM Manchester in it's attendance.

I think we've over a dozen new releases since 2013 so hopefully we'll find an appreciative audience waiting for us there, wish us luck!

The Accent UK team at Glasgow 2013 - Adam's started and completed his uni course since then!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

"Really Interesting!" says TorAthena!

Aha, delighted to have found this great video review of Moments of Adventure: Collection One from the TorAthena youtube channel!

I recall meeting Lucy aka TorAthena at the recent Manchester MCM show (see again it's not always about the sales!) where we chatted about Accent UK's range of comics, and she confessed that she was a big fan and supporter of independent comics but hadn't seen our stuff before so bought a couple, including Moments to check them out, so I'm really grateful to her for taken the time to read and discuss my little comic, thank you Lucy!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

More Steampunk Pictures!

Some of my 'Moments of Adventure' sketches ahead of the show

As seen in my last posting, I rather enjoyed Accent UK's visit to the Asylum Steampunk Festival so wanted to share a few more of my pictures that there was no room for before;

A Steampunk Rocketeer? designed by Herr Doktor
Market stalls by the Cathedral - Embassy entrance to the rear
Strange Scribblings on the streets of Lincoln!
Boer War themed steampunker Alan!
Different costumes for.....
.....different days!

These folk had travelled from Sweden
This chap had a working mobile phone pack!

Excuse the blur on this fine looking couple
A return visit from the Baron and Lady P!

....see the detail!

This 'explorer' chap was amazing...

As for my favourite picture of the weekend? Sorry Dave, it still has to be this...

Friday, 9 September 2016

Splendid Steampunk!

Wow! I think that's (almost) all I can say after our August bank holiday appearance at the annual Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln as I'm still processing it all really!

As you'll know Dave West and I under our 'Accent UK' comics banner regularly attend comic conventions up and down the country (and sometimes further afield) exhibiting our creator-owned comics and graphic novels. We've done this for many a year now so are somewhat old hands at it and even when we try a new show or location we've a pretty good idea what to expect.

The street scenes around Lincoln - early morning!

Asylum was, as we'd been warned, nothing like anything we've ever done before, it really took over the whole city of Lincoln with shop displays, bunting, street stalls, attractions, buskers, full evening programme and 8 or more separate venues all celebrating the world of steampunk to devoted followers and bemused public alike. Then there were the fashions and costumes, most home made and extravagant and very different from our usual comic cosplayers, who base their outfits on established comic strip or movie characters. These were all unique demonstrating the wearer's own individuality, often adopting a 'nome de plume' as their steampunk alter ego!

Gunfighters on way down from Lincoln Castle!
Lady Patricia Fancy-Feather & Baron Von Brucken!

Yes those are real parrots!
Now that's a big gun!

One thing the steampunk crowd did have in common with comic convention people was a shared enthusiasm of their interest and being friendly and approachable to each other, the positive vibe was everywhere, even when the Lincoln weather did it's best to dampen spirits.

Making friends sheltering from rain

We were set up in a new venue to the event, The Cathedral Centre, a 13th century building in the shadows of the magnificent, almost 1,000 year old, Lincoln Cathedral! The Centre had been christened the 'Steampunk Embassy' for the occasion and we were set up with fellow comicers, Steve Tanner (Timebomb), Lauren (Cactus Illustration) & Jade Sarson (Tea Hermit) and in an adjoining room several authors, photographers and role-playing game demonstrations including the delightful Tom, Nimue and James Brown - sorry didn't get everyone else's details or photos!

Timebomb's Steve Tanner or was it a steampunk Willy Wonka?
Cactus Illustration's Lauren and friend (sorry didn't catch name!)
Mr West surveys the scene

We were upstairs, (above the centre's cafe, where the poor ladies were truly run off their feet!) and had responded to the good Major Tinker's invitation challenge to not 'just' sit behind our tables selling, but to create an interesting display and to engage with visitors, (we were after all to be 'ambassadors' for the event!). This request had initially troubled then really inspired Mr West and I these last few months as we dismantled our normal display and started from scratch, scouring our homes, lofts and charity shops for suitable items and we were delighted when the good Major and others congratulated us on our efforts - phew - so much so that we are planning to bring a little of this to our future comic show displays - not sure if Dave will wear the hat again though!

The Accent UK Comics Emporium!

Our little comics corner!
Captain Colin on parade!

Hat's not withstanding, our only disappointments of the weekend were not actually seeing or truly experiencing the event as we were pretty much bound to our own venue and access to much else that was available was by wristband or tickets only, of which we had neither. From conversations though we picked up that there was a whole lot more going on, (a whole lot more!) which justified Asylum's claim to be Europe's largest Steampunk gathering.

The Asylum venue map (image by Dr Geoff)

Also, perhaps because there was so much else on offer or because we were in a new venue, a little off the beaten path, we didn't really experience the crowds or footfall that were evidenced elsewhere with only a small fraction of visitors finding their way to our emporium. This wasn't for the want of trying by the event organisers & volunteers who quickly responded by erecting additional signage (including our own WesterNoir banner) and placing friendly 'ushers' outside which did help to increase numbers but not in the volumes that may have been expected.  

Just outside Cathedral centre courtyard
In the shadows of Lincoln Cathedral!

This was a shame as there were some real treats inside and we found that our comics & graphic novels had a warm reception, particularly those with a, not surprisingly, strong steampunk or historical element doing best, so that our launching WesterNoir trade, Stephenson's Robot and Moments of Adventure titles all sold well. Modestly perhaps compared to the larger comic shows but respectful enough for a 'debut' event which effectively this was for comics.

Browsers at the Accent UK table 
A happy Vivienne with her Moments of Adventure!

That said, we had a fun time and enjoyed the delights of Lincoln in the evening and remain inspired by the steampunk genre so are already talking with the organiser's to see what we can do to assist the venue (and comics) achieve their potential next year - watch this space!

And on that note, here's a wee image of us taking tea (& cake) and plotting our return....

Friday, 26 August 2016

Steampunk Ahoy!

Getting all excited about Accent UK making our first appearance at Europe's largest Steampunk Festival, Asylum in Lincoln this bank holiday weekend!

We are under personal invitation of the good Major and shall be establishing our travelling emporium in the 'pop up' Steam Embassy in the Cathedral Centre, along with other notable artists, scribes including that eminent gentleman, Steve Tanner of Timebomb comics.

Hopefully be a good one and a step into the unknown for us, rumour has it that Mr West has even bought a hat for the occasion!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

"action-packed" says Starburst!

Aha, this is nice, Moments of Adventure has just had its first review from Starburst magazine's Kieron Moore who I met at last weekend's Manchester show - see it's not always about the sales!

The first review's in! (from Phobias)

I'm grateful to Kieron for showing interest in my work and for taking the time to write a thoughtful review. He says some nice things " rattles along at quick pace" and also some constructive things "twists you'll probably see coming" and awards it a respectable 7 out of 10 which I'm happy with as my first foray into creating comics for a wee while.

The critics have their say! (from 'Come and Buy My Toys')

I'm not sure I've actually said a great deal on here now that Moments is finally out, mainly as I've found myself incredibly busy with working on its sequel, Zulu and of course all things Accent UK , but I'm pleased with how it turned out - thanks to the exceptional colouring talents of Matt Soffe and Aljoša Tomić - and very pleased with the reception its had at shows so far where it is developing into a steady seller!

No hiding places! (from Day of the Dead Moon)

I should do a bigger write up but Kieron's review includes a good overview of its contents and anyone keen to read it for themselves can catch up with me at a show soon - see our events list to the right, or order online through Accent UK's catalogue here.

It's okay it was a decent review! (from Ye Erymanthian Boar)


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

It's not always about the sales!

Well that was fun, Accent UK were exhibiting at last weekend's Manchester MCM, our 'hometown gig' and it was, as always fun. However unlike previous year's it wasn't a record breaker in terms of sales for us. In some ways, our recent success couldn't continue but it is always interesting to try and understand why sometimes you haven't done so well as before.

The Judges wondering where their order of doughnouts are

In this case we couldn't fault the crowds, tickets had largely sold out in what promised to be another record attendance at this enjoyable show and we got plenty of browsers through our central Comic Village spot, although noticeably more and more said they were 'doing the rounds' browsing before buying and while some returned to buy, many did not, but whether this was due to them finding something else more to their tastes or simply limited budgets is hard to say.

We also had 5 new titles since last year's show so there was plenty new on offer although disappointingly our launch of the new WesterNoir trade was unexpectantly postponed due to technical difficulties with the book, meaning that we quickly sold out of the few remaining #1's of the title which effectively killed off it's sales for the rest of the weekend.
Team West resting - wait a minute are those doughnuts they're scoffing!

That said we still did pretty well and with it being the 'hometown gig' we had no additional accommodation costs to cover meaning it was still a good 'un overall and I was personally pleased that once again my own Moments of Adventure comic sold steadily over the weekend.

Sketching away!

We of course enjoyed catching up with regular faces on the comics convention circuit and renewed our recent Belfast acquaintances with Jenika Ioffreda and Gary Erskine, this time joined by smiling Steve Tanner (who reported that his Flintlock book had sold like proverbial hot cakes, proving that not everyone was having an 'ordinary' show saleswise) and Lorenzo Nicoletta, talented artist on Steve's afore mentioned Flintlock book who'd flown in specially from Italy!

Storage Hunter's Jesse & Sean interviewed

And, proving yet again that you should never judge a shows performance purely on sales we not only met several folk from comics' fandom who may feature our books in forthcoming reviews etc but we were presented with three highly interesting opportunities which, if they proceed, will certainly raise Accent UK's profile by taking our books into new areas!

Favourite cos-player of the show...
....Aidan, whose Mum had made this super Jurassic Park adaption!

As is the way of such things, we can't really say anything about two of them at the moment, however the third is something that has been brewing away in the background since last October's London MCM show and that is that we have been invited to attend Asylum, Europe's largest steampunk festival in Lincoln late August bank holiday weekend!

This really follows, regular MCM attraction, the Victor Steampunk Society's (VSS) interest in our comics, most notably WesterNoir and Stephenson's Robot at previous MCM shows and thinking they may be suitable for their authors exhibition area to be set up in the Steampunk Embassy in Lincoln's Cathedral Centre.

Colin and the VSS's Alan at London MCM last year!

At Manchester, the VSS's good Major confirmed that all our papers were in order and that we would be receiving our deployment orders soon, so all exciting stuff, of course this does mean that we will have to dress up and Dave has that troublesome big head to find a hat for!