Friday, 7 July 2017

Small Press day 2017

A lot has happened since I last made an entry to Splank! and I'll write a little about some of the events in the next couple of weeks.  The Belfast 2000AD fan group which I'm a part of, Sector House 13, had their regular monthly meeting a week early and were lucky enough to have cartoonists Gary Erskine and Jenika Ioffreda along with Dave West and Colin Mathieson (the guys from Accent UK) join us from across the water.  Belfast stalward artists, Ryan (I'm older than look) Brown, Glenn Fabry and Will Simpson were also in attendance.

The meet-ups are always great fun, but it was good to be able to show hospitality to some great visitors.  Gary sketched tirelessly in the dim light of the Parlour Bar while Jenika earned the title of 'the nicest judge in mega-city one' and Dave and Colin fitted in like part of the family.

I've books and comics from all of our guests to review over the next wee while so you'll be hearing more about them in the days to come.

The Sector House 13 crew are a welcoming bunch and any comics fans or creators visiting Befast would be welcome to join us in our monthly gatherings or at our more frequent Sector 13 fanzine planning meetings.  Drop a line to for more details or check out our Facebook page.

As I write, Belfast comic store "The Comic Book Guys" are due to host the first small press day event to take place in Northern Ireland tomorrow.  I'll be in attendance representing the Sector 13 2000AD fanzine and talking about my plans for Splank! the comic.  I'd be delighted to meet some new writers and artists interested in getting involved in either project.  I'll be there from 11:30-2:30 with some very interesting and varied local creators.

Sector 13 publishes 2000AD related strips in a high quality, A4 zine.  Issue one has been published and has gone to a second print.  Artists, writers, graphic designers and people interested ijn getting involved are always welcome.

Splank! will feature some excellent artists and writers producing stories that hark back to, or are at least inspired by, the old british comics I read as a kid.  A few of the people in attendance at Small Press day tomorrow have already made contributions.

First up is experienced maker of comics, President of Sector House 13 and award winning author, Andy Luke.  Andy will be promoting his excellent "We will not be Stapled" comic.  An anthology of stories written by Andy's friends and drawn by the man himself. 

Andy's comics are individual, sharply, even cruelly, satirical and very funny. He's been at this for twenty years but his work still has a vitality and excitement often missing in the comics of today.

He's hardly the shy retiring type, so if you call in tomorrow you are going to hear all about his current project, "Ignacz, the Watch Thief".  A novel being published in serial form via the Patreon web-page.

I've been reading it from the start and Andy is really on a roll with his writing.  Its something well worth a look.

War from Reality
Also in attendance will be Roddy McCance, who has recently published 'Tales of the Fractured Mind' with artist Rolands Kalanins.  It's a beautifully produced, squarebound comic containing seven short, some very short, stories dealing with various aspects of mental illness. 

One in four people will suffer from some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and so there will be a very small number of people who will not see, or already have seen, the impact of what is an often forgotten epidemic.   'Fractured Mind' has been written with the stated intention of bringing some degree of understanding of various forms of mental illness.  Some stroies work better than others, I was particularly taken with "War on Reality" with its contrast of homeliness and horror contrasting the mundane and the extreme.  In terms of the artwork, Clock of the World was a real highlight and the shortest story, 'Just Like Everone' hit hard.  How your react to Tales of the Fractured Mind is likely to be heavily influenced by your own interaction with mental illness, it is easy to tell that this is a comic that has come from the heart and its something that will live long in my memory.

Lots of other creators involved tomorrow, either in Belfast or in venues all across the UK and Ireland.  The Small Press is turning out some fantastic material at the moment and the guys involved deserve your support.  The links below go to Andy and Roddy's web pages and to a page that links to all of the events taking place this weekend.  Please support them and go along, it'll be well worth your while. 

Andy Luke

 We Shall Not Be Stapled

Ignacz, The Watch Thief

Roddy McCance


Small Press Day Details

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