To make up for it here's another RO 3 teaser!
This is the cheapest I've ever seen it - even cheaper than I get my own stock from the distributor. They'd make a good Christmas present you know...
As with last year, we drove up on the Friday afternoon to Belton village where Elyssa's father and his partner live, stayed the night, and we were all up early on Saturday to drive the remaining one hour forty into Leeds, again, as with last year, in thick fog (but this time no accidents or diversions). It was nice having the extra hands to carry my wares into the venue, but then I was on my own for the day as Ellie and family went off into the city for shopping and museums. But I was delighted to find myself next to David O'Connell (Tozo and Queen Mum Adventures) and Ellen Lindner (Whores of Mensa and Undertow), which all went to make an enjoyable day even more enjoyable.
I don't have a lot to report really as I spent a good 80% of my time selling books and sketching, selling the first book 15 minutes before the doors opened, and the last one 10 minutes after they closed. I sold 62 books - one less than at MCM, though MCM was over two days, Thought Bubble just one. The thing that makes Thought Bubble such a nice show (apart from it being so well organised and in such a friendly manner) is the nice cross-section of visitors - some hardened comic fans, some casual readers, some new readers, a variety of creators - a really welcome mix.
The only downside is that I didn't get to be very sociable and ended up missing loads of people I really wanted to chat to - many of whom were just as busy at their own tables. There were a good number of people who I know online but have never met face to face, and some who I'd mised at MCM and promised to catch up with at Thought Bubble - failure on all fronts! I don't begrudge the day I had one little bit, but as I couldn't attend the after-show party, I was slightly disappointed with this aspect of the day.
The nicest ingredient of the day was meeting readers and chatting to them about comics. Some of the feedback on The Rainbow Orchid is so nice, my natural reaction is to think I don't deserve it, but it really provides a boost and people are incredibly generous. To have someone queuing up, not to buy the book, but - already owning it - to tell me how much they loved it is the best thing. To see people leafing through The Rainbow Orchid while I'm sketching for someone else, and overhear them say "this is amazing!" is a guilty thrill you can only get at a show such as this. Of course, my feet are kept firmly on the ground too - several queues for big-name superhero artists formed past me throughout the day where my table (and sometimes books) are only good for leaning on while waiting (plus one brazenly dismissive comment), but of course I accept my book is not for everyone - it finds its readership, and that readership makes up for it very nicely indeed.
So, once again, the biggest thank yous possible to the Thought Bubble team for a super show, and equally big thanks to everyone who stopped by my table and said hello, bought a book or two, chatted or even just looked. My photo-taking for the day stands at zero (Ellie's dad took the one above - a special thanks to Bob and Anne for their wonderful hospitality over the weekend), but the sketch below was brought to me by Colin Mathieson, all the way from Komiks.dk, the Copenhagen comics con that happened back in May, where he presented a copy of The Rainbow Orchid to Sussi Bech, author and artist of the Nofret books. I had made a little reference to Sussi in RO vol 2 (can you find it?), so this was a very nice gift. Thanks Sussi, and thanks Colin!
... it's Chibi Chancer and Chums!
I wasn't there to sell comics (though I did sell and sign a few copies afterwards), but to take part in the Drawing Parade, where several artists were given 25 minutes to work under a camera, the results being relayed live onto a large plasma screen for the whole room to see.
My photo, below, sees Ellen Lindner at the board, and shows the set-up, complete with my thumb over the top left-hand corner (which is why I usually rely on Elyssa as my photographer, but she was having a day at home, catching up with work for her magazine deadline on Monday). I followed Ellen, and I was, in turn, followed by Paul Duffield... and so it went for the rest of the day with a host of talented comic artists bravely wielding their pens and brushes in public. I'd liked to have stayed and watched the whole lot, but I had to get home and to my own drawing board, which really is my home at the moment.
It was very inspiring seeing all the comic creators there, giving up their Sunday to sell the wonderful comics they'd already spent all their evenings and weekends making. The other photo shows Ed Pinsent, Martin Eden and Paul Rainey in the foreground, with John Maybury of Space Babe 113 fame behind them. By the time I left, the place was a throng of people - I hope they bought lots of stuff!
Here's one to get the intrigue going...
Basically this is live drawing (gulp!) projected onto a big plasma screen and I'll have books to sign afterwards. There are lots of amazing artists taking part throughout the afternoon, including Ellen Lindner, Gary Northfield, Darryl Cunningham, Paul Grist, Roger Langridge, Hunt Emerson - and more! Not only that, but there are a load of exhibitor tables selling a variety of comics too. Come along!
And there were of course. Over the two days I had my best sales yet at a comics show, selling out of The Rainbow Orchid volume 2 about three hours before the show ended on Sunday. I even had time to do a few more detailed drawings in a couple of the books, in preparation for the next customer who came along.
One of the big attractions of MCM is all the amazing costumes people put together to parade around in. A lot of the characters I didn't recognise at all, but two of my first visitors on Saturday were familiar faces, both as friendly Rainbow Orchid readers and for their outfits - Tintin (Leela) and Professor Mortimer (Simon) - brilliant!
A new wave of British mainstream graphic novels was well represented on the aisle I was in as I was situated opposite the new DFC Library books - the Etheringtons with Monkey Nuts, Neill Cameron with Mo-Bot High, and Sarah McIntyre with Vern and Lettuce, sharing a huge table with her studio mate and Derek the Sheep creator, Gary Northfield, who was selling his hilarious newspaper-style comic, Bad Dog.
I wasn't very good at getting up and circulating as I find it difficult to leave the table and miss any potential customers! On Saturday, however, I had to, as I was part of the Comic Book Alliance panel with Tim Pilcher, Ian Sharman, Tony Lee and Helen McCarthy. The CBA is a super idea and I really hope it spreads and has an effect (well, it already is). As I'm not involved in the organisation myself, I learned quite a bit from the other speakers!
Others have written far more interesting reports than this, so I'll point you in their direction - Sarah McIntyre (part 1, part 2, part 3), Neill Cameron, Robin Etherington and The Beat. I must also mention a huge congratulations to Dave West and Accent UK for a well derserved Eagle Award (these are now part of the MCM Expo) for his excellent comic (with Marleen Lowe) Whatever Happened to the World's Fastest Man?, winning Favourite British black and white comic.
A big thanks to everyone who came and said hello or bought The Rainbow Orchid, and another big thanks to Emma Vieceli and her crew for their organisation of the Comic Village. It's part of such a huge event, but several times over the weekend helpers came by to check that everything was all right, a detail that is very much appreciated.
And finally, and importantly, big thanks to Elyssa for giving up her Saturday and helping me out at the table that day. She lost her scarf on the train a couple of months ago, so was able to get a big chunk of knitting the new one done - and was kindly awarded a Stitch London badge by the lovely Lauren O'Farrell over on Gary's table.