UK Web & Mini-comix Thing 2008

I returned to the Thing as an exhibitor this year, as I had finally worked up two whole issues of my comic, The Red, White & Blue, a spiritual continuation of the old Union Jack storypaper which ended in 1933. Though I did only finish issue 2 on the Thursday XD.

Having come home from university on Friday, I unpacked my clothes and spent the night packing up comics, pens, paper, staples and other such things, along with a 'large' Union Jack I had bought at Strawberry Fair in 2007. I hadn't got it out of the bag since then (it still smelled of the cut grass, incense and "herbal" cigarettes which are in abundance at that particular event). I then decided to "make a start" on my Googie-styled signs which I was planning to mostly put together in set-up time. I discovered it was going to take a long time to make, so made the whole thing that night and finally got to bed at midnight.

I woke up to my alarm going off and noticed nobody else was up. Was I going to have to get my own cup of tea myself? (wouldn't be so bad if the house had heating that worked). No I had just set the alarm an hour early XD. Set it to the right time (half 6) and went back to sleep, but now it started going off as soon as the hour hand touched the alarm hand. Well at least I was definitely awake XD. I washed, had tea, made last minute checks and then couldn't find my wallet and missed the train. Found the wallet behind some books, which I had moved so that "nothing got lost in amongst them". Drank some red bull and had some 'breakfast' in the form of a slim fast maple syrup cereal bar before going to get the later train. The rail journey was miraculously OK. The first leg to Cambridge stopped opposite the train to London, so I just ran over and got on that one, which was non-stop, and fast! Didn't even have time to listen to all of Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony. It did snow and hail during the journey though, but had warmed up a tiny amount by the time I arrived in London. I went to the station toilet and avoided paying the congestion charge, because a gate had been left open. On my way out it was shut and some bloke was standing there, so I stood with him for several minutes thinking we'd have to wait for the attendant to come back and open the gate, then somebody else reminded me that the turnstiles worked both ways XD. I also gave a tourist 20p so he could get in and he gave me 50p back, heh.

Got the underground effortlessly (I had bought the tickets the day before), though there was a myriad of repair work going on and the part of the station I was in looked oddly deserted @_@ but it was OK. I first got the pink line, but that ended 3 stops away from Mile End, so I transferred to the green line that went right there, quite probably directly under the con hall. Time was getting short so I had to jog, pulling a hefty wheely case behind me (150-odd comics isn't light XD). Did see a proper London bus though, not one of the stupid ones. Apparently the old ones didn't have "suitable wheelchair access" so they spent millions (and caused untold pollution and waste) buying a load of new ones, when two planks of wood per bus would have done. Er, anyway, I got there in time and began to set up my sign. THEN realised that I had forgotten the flag. I was expecting the walls of the room to be cork board, which pins could be easily stuck in, but it was solid wood, and ball-headed map pins aren't easy to push into that. I ripped down the sign and shoved the flag up, though not as high as I really wanted. Was congratulated on patriotic sentiment by a nearby American, and realised for the first time just how giant the flag was, it dwarfed the nearby Ztoical's Irish one and intruded into the bloke next to me's background... and that was hung widthways too XD. Anyway the first punters where arriving as I began to put the signs back up, my "we trade!" sign was shared with the table next to me, the Comics Creator's Guild, though bugger all people actually traded anyway, in the end.

With the setting up finally done I got chatting to Giovanni of the CCG (hmm, that name is oddly sinister...) about an apparent upcoming creator's swap-meet, which ought to be fun, and a way to discover new things and get more RWB's out there. More people arrived as time went on and I was able to give out free flyers from my amazing cereal-box-and-staples flyer holder. Even managed to sell a few Scum Slaughters too, which had been reduced down to 20p from their 1 price of 2006. The reception for the RWB was a little slow at first, suppose the hardcore comic fans got there early and they don't like Boys' own adventures, only samey rubbish about attractive, "pure" people in bright costumes foiling the plots of supervillains who are either scientists or "funny-looking". Such is the crusade against progress, atheism and not judging on appearance. Anyway later on some normal people began arriving and buying issue 1 of the RWB, issue 2 didn't go so well but I suppose people wanted to start at the beginning. A few of them even knew who Sexton Blake actually was XD. Two guys, who I think where from Meiosis where trying to visit every table and chat about comics, inspirations and how long people had been doing it for... don't they know to visit every table is impossible? Ah well I did sell them some RWB's XD. I looked at my watch and it was suddenly 1:00 already! Had some coke and crisps to keep me going and got seriously selling during the main rush. Glad so many people turned out in spite of the terrible weather, maybe it'll be sunny again next year and we'll get the huge crowds of 2007.

The blokes from Massacre For Boys (a comic with similar aims to mine, though theirs was "really" published in the 60's and is now being released as collected versions XD) came by and I traded with them for their latest issue, "The house that dripped war". The only trade I made all day XD. I also gave them my 'trade special' of recycled crap. I went out buying at about 3:00 as the show was starting to wind down, and bought various stuff including Vampire Freestyle, Bunnies, High Maintenance, London Horror Comic, Tozo, Bleep & Tweet etc. All are cool. Returned to my table for the last hour and made a few more sales of RWB's. I ran out of free flyers, and nobody was trading, so began selling my trade special for 1p. Several people paid me up to 10 and 20 times that amount for it, so that's a gimmick I'll be repeating next year. And next year it might actually be a comic XD. My feet where beginning to hurt during the last hour though, so I was glad to get the show over and done with and head to the pub by then. I pulled down my sign and had to dismantle it, fold the flag, shove all the comics away and generally tidy up, it didn't help that my elastic bands broke so my hair was getting in my eyes. I barged my way out of the tables (heavy case, no brakes) and fell in with a crowd heading to the pub, though had to stop off for elastic bands and almost missed it XD. I didn't recognise anybody so got talking to two guys (who happened to be near a case-shoving place XD) about comics in general, and especially Lew Stringer, who runs a great comics-related blog. I had a nice burger and then left to get the train, which only stopped once between London and Ely. A guy in front of me was reading a comic, so I was gonna ask him if he had been at the thing, but the comic looked too professional. Turns out it was the London Horror Comic though XD. I listened to the delights of Duce, Duce, Inno A Roma, All'armi Inni Fascisti, Il Canto Degli Italiani, Giovinezza and other Fascist anthems, along with a few communist ones too, like the Kyrgyz national anthem. I got home just before 9:00 and made a quick post before going to bed, to have the longest lie-in I have had in months (even if my cat did want to sleep on the pillow).

Woke up the next day to find it was a white easter, er, yay.



Once again I left the photo taking as an afterthought and there's only two, both of my table XD. Sooo have all the other largely irrelevant pictures that where sitting on my camera too

When the sun sets in

Lincoln it can look like

buildings are on fire

Bazookering chavs in the multistorey

My table

My comics

I'm dreaming of a white...



Didn't buy so many this year, had to get back to my "busy" table XD