Well, we were there - were you? Chances are, if you're reading this you were, and you probably bought a comic from us too - hope you like the new Harker strip, and that you'll be back for more! Here's Vince behind our stall...
So - what was it like from the creator's point of view? Well, Vince and I arrived on Friday evening (after a 3 hour train ride from York to Birmingham) and checked into the Brittania Hotel (not to our tastes, I'm afraid, but at least it was central). We made our way to Bennett's, where the pre-show party was taking place - three bands played live music, and I'm sure it was all very good, but it was WAY TOO LOUD and impossible to talk in there. As a creator, an important part of these events is meeting up with people you only see a couple of times a year, catching up, doing some networking etc - all of which was impossible OVER THAT INCREDIBLY LOUD NOISE, DROWNING OUT EVERYTHING, but there you go! So since we couldn't really talk to anyone, Vince and I got a little tipsy and giggly, ending up inventing a new sport (gas racing - which, we decided, involves racing Heath Robinsonesque gas powered sleds down steep, winding roads). We're working on sled designs as we speak, I'm sure it'll catch on ;)
Saturday morning saw us staggering out of bed, just about coping with breakfast, and arriving at our Ariel Press stall as bright eyed and bushy tailed as we could manage. We probably looked terrible, but everyone who approached the stall was polite enough not to mention it, and our excitement grew as copies of Harker began to fly off the stall rather quickly.
We were stood right next to Paul Grist, the creator of the very wonderful Jack Staff strip, which was something of a thrill for me - I've been reading his comics for years, and he was producing the brilliant Kane long before we dipped our toes into the world of crime comics. As readers bought our comic (most buying both issues one and two - marvellous!), we asked some of you to let us know what you thought of it - thankfully no-one asked for their money back! Lots of you came back to tell us personally how much you enjoyed it, and I'd like to say how lovely that was for us - ideally I'd have given each of you a hug, but the table was in the way!
Saturday night was more drinks at Bennett's (thankfully a little quieter), spending most of our time with Factor Fiction's Jay and Selina, and old friend John Short, and their chums - a good time was had by all, and I managed not to overdo the beer this time. Sunday morning was still another struggle out of the bed (8.30am on a Sunday! Insane!!!), but another good day for us, with a flurry of copies being sold literally as we opened up the stall, and then steady sales for the rest of the day. David Lloyd complimented Vince on his artwork, and took away a couple of copies, and we had really good conversations with Nabil from Travelling Man (who suggested a signing, which we're definitely up for) and Biff from Ace Comics (who seemed to like it too, and offered plenty of advice. We'd love to have shown it to Vertigo (as much as we love self-publishing, we're always open to offers), but there was no sign of Karen Berger - maybe another day!
Again on Sunday, a number of you came back to the stall just to tell us how much you liked the first two issues - I hope we showed how grateful we were for that, and please never be embarrassed to come up and say hi to either me or Vince if you see us at one of these events - I'm always delighted to know when you've enjoyed the comic, and I'll always happily talk Harker with you, sign copies, accept gratuitous compliments etc - it's half the fun of doing the strip!
I think my favourite reaction all weekend was from a reader who has bought our comics before (and I really must apologise, as if you told me your name, it's gone right out of my head - we met so many readers this weekend) - it turns out that he was on the police force for 20 years, many of which he spent on the Flying Squad, and he loved the comic, telling me a couple of gruesome morgue stories. If you're reading this, please drop me an email - I could definitely use an official police advisor to make sure I get the procedural stuff right - can't be too careful!
We tried to make sure everyone who bought a copy of the comic knew that issues 1 and 2 that we had on the table were advance copies that we had printed ourselves, just to see if people liked it. Thankfully, it seems as though you do - by the end of Sunday we only had three copies of #1 left, and five copies of #2, a really successful weekend for us!
Harker will start to appear in your copy of Previews some time over the next two or three months - we're just waiting now for Diamond distributers to confirm when the first listing will go in. As soon as it's there, I'll let you know here in the blog, and from then on it'll appear every month. As mentioned below, we're already working on issue four, and finding the monthly schedule very easy, so you can order with confidence!
We'd appreciate your support, if you did like the comic, by telling friends and (especially) your local comic shop about us, as we'd like you to be able to buy Harker from your local comic store. To do that, they have to place an order. We'll be doing all we can to promote it ourselves, but word of mouth is good too - so please tell your friends! If all goes to plan, the 'official' issue one should be out in the stores in January, and then a new issue each month from then onwards - hurrah!
Right, I've rambled on enough for today - pop back tomorrow, as I begin to document the creation of issue four, step by step, as we produce it...