Thursday, 24 December 2009
So until the New Year I'd like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a very rewarding 2010!
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
So since June Time Bomb's focus has been making sure that The Furies is finally done and dusted. We've been going over the pages again and again, fine-tuning where we could and making sure that all our intended revisions have been done, and doing those last minute tweaks that no creator can resist on the eve of the printer's deadline!
I'll be the first to admit bias, but when I received the completed printer's proof back the other day I thought it looked like a great little package. A perfect-bound 100 page graphic novel in a bookshelf friendly A5 format. Unlike our previous one-shots we've printed The Furies with Bristol-based Fallen Angel Media, a very indie-comics friendly set-up headed by Mal Smith, who's also instrumental in organising the Bristol Small Press Expo. I'd recommend FAM to anyone after our experience of them - and I can see us using them again in the not too distant future.
So, barring some as yet unforseen catastrophe The Furies will be this year's BICS release from Time Bomb Comics which maintains our BICS batting average a treat. Of course, that's not to say we don't care as much about the other conventions - it's just that as we first launched Time Bomb Comics with Ragamuffins at BICS 2007, and followed that up with Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead for BICS 2008 the Brum show has become our unofficial anniversary show.
There's also a chance we may have another one-shot debuting at next month's BICS as well - but those unforseen catastrophe's that avoided The Furies have hit our Bomb Scares horror anthology book with a vengeance. Vanishing files, missing creators, exploding laptops - the gestation and publication of Bomb Scares is turning into a fair horror story in itself! So with the best will in the world we may be saving that for November's Thoughtbubble.
Still it does seem appropriate in saving a release titled Bomb Scares for the last big UK comics event of 2009 - that way we finish the year with a bang!
Friday, 26 June 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
The separation of the two events made a huge difference. This was no more evident than on Saturday morning when a steady line of people were queued outside the Expo’s Ramada venue in breathless anticipation whereas the SPExpo’s queue was non-existent. As us little guys were setting up our tables at SPExpo we were exchanging nervous glances, and the same question was on each of our minds: was this going to be a washout? Ninety minutes after official opening brows remained furrowed as the Mercure remained mostly empty and reports were coming in that the Ramada was packed.
Slowly however, the SPExpo kicked into gear, and whilst it may never have quite achieved the full throttle of its sister event, the SPExpo chugged steadily along in a most enjoyable fashion. The venue was wonderful. Time Bomb was in the bigger of the two rooms; a light, airy space that was only spoilt by lack of air-conditioning, that problem was sorted out once some bright spark actually enquired about switching it on. Footfall was steady throughout and those that were there seemed to enjoy themselves. Whilst never anywhere near capacity the SPExpo attendees were definitely the more discerning comics fan with much broader horizons than their spandex-devoted brethren who eye indie comics with suspicion as they scuttle past on their way to their next mainstream fix. So while numbers were low, sales were steady, and the majority of exhibitors – including us - seemed to at least cover their table costs and then some. In fact we had a more successful one day SPExpo this year than we did at the two day Comics Expo last year.
Our launch of The Sisterhood: Morningstar went well, with some good reviews already received, and sales were also brisk for Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead – quite a few sold to people who’d heard of it over the past few months and wanted to see what all the fuss was about for themselves. Several people came up to us to tell us how much they enjoyed our highwaymen versus zombies one-shot they’d picked up at BICS last year, and the smiles and anticipation when we told them about our forthcoming vampire-themed Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague one-shot were great to see.
Only one aspect of the SPExpo fell flat – the after-show party/disco which couldn’t really compete with the usual Expo Saturday night at the Ramada. Comics fans and creators are much more drinkers than dancers it seems, and after an hour at the SPExpo party we went off to the Ramada ourselves.
The SPExpo was a one-day affair, so Sunday was spent in pure comic fan mode enjoying what the main Comics Expo had to offer. The first thing that struck me was how small and cramped it all was – such a contrast to the spacious SPExpo the day before. Those indie publishers that had been lucky enough to secure a table at the Expo were in a tiny room at the arse end of everything and whilst it was good to finally catch up with Accent UK, Futurequake, Smallzone, Factor Fiction and Moonface Press they did seem in retrospect to get the grubby end of the stick, and that some of them felt they may book into the SPExpo next year instead really said it all. To be honest I had forgotten how tiring conventions could be if you’re an attendee and by mid-afternoon I was just flaked out in the bar feeling a bit knackered and missing a table to sit behind - admittedly part of this could have been due to the previous night’s extended drinking finally catching up with me!
Over the weekend probably the biggest negative was how little awareness there seemed by Comics Expo ticket holders that the SPExpo existed. Signage and directions for the SPExpo at the Ramada was few and far between, and exterior signage at the Mercure was non-existent. So over the weekend we heard tales of fans who had no idea the SPExpo was running, where it was or how to get there. Several people (including some of the pro’s) didn’t realise the SPExpo ran for just one day and so had structured their weekend to check out the Mercure on the quieter Sunday. The announcement that SPExpo 2010 will be a two-day affair will at least address the latter but the organiser’s of both really should get together and get something in place that will better drive traffic between the two venues.
Of course the whole point of both the Small Press and Comics Expo’s are comics themselves, and between the two events there were also some great new titles to be had including but certainly not limited to:
Westerns – the latest Accent UK anthology book which is up to their usual fine standard and to me their best so far.
Tim Skinner – Andy Winter’s latest which surprised me when I heard that it was turned down by Diamond and now that I’ve read it that decision has flummoxed me even more.
Cancertown – Insomnia’s much awaited graphic novel by Cy Dethan. I’ve yet to read this one but it was easily the talk of the weekend as shifting 200 units of a £14.99 graphic novel in a weekend is no mean feat!
Atrox – Giovanni Spinella’s horror anthology published through the Comics Creators Guild with a beautiful cover and some genuinely disturbing tales.
Finally, despite the niggles Mal and the Fallen Angel team really did a cracking job of organising the SPExpo with a much shorter lead time than is usual for these kind of events and Bristol 2010 is a weekend I’m already looking forward to!
Friday, 1 May 2009
It's been a while since I last posted. Unfortunately a good 2 weeks of April were wiped out when my laptop motherboard decided to blow up, thus ensuring that while the fault was identified and summarily repaired I had no internet access or access to any PC files, folders and applications either. This meant that a lot of things were forced to grind to a halt, but we're now back on track.
This time next week Suzanne and myself will be clambering aboard a train headed for Bristol, with the combined Comics Expo and SPExpo looming. Above is the latest promo poster about the event released by Fallen Angel, and it's good to see the Time Bomb logo utilised so well again. Obviously a full report will follow but this looks like it will be a great weekend, with lots going on and proof that the UK comics industry is far from stagnant. Both shows have been announced as being sold out, which is a first for a UK comics convention unless anyone can correct me otherwise - which should indicate a healthy attendance but could also mean that the hotel venues have been subjected to some over-zealous health and safety restrictions. I do predict though that a lot of fans will be just turning up on spec, unaware all tickets have gone and geting quite upset if they've travelled across the country only to be refused access. Hmmm, I wonder how much unwanted Expo passes are going for this week on ebay?
In Time Bomb terms we're all set for the Saturday trade, piles of The Sisterhood:Morningstar await the train journey, and our promotional postcards and t-shirts arrived last week. The Sisterhood artist Dan Barritt will have his own table at the show so that gives us a useful opportunity to double our presence - and no doubt on the Sunday I'll be roaming the Expo to try and get some more interest and sales. Or just spend it in fan mode and send Suzanne to do that.
The only sour note is that Diamond USA have rejected The Sisterhood for distribution. Given the current climate and recent Diamond decisions (Eagle-award winning Andy Winter's latest one shot was also rejected, somewhat incredulously, as well as Classical Comics' The Tempest being pulled after solicitation) it wasn't unexpected, but Diamond UK still seem interested to make the book available to UK shops so fingers crossed for that. The Sisterhood will also be available through Haven and Smallzone, so not all gloom and doom.
Submissions continue to roll in, some great, some not so much, and following Bristol we hope to make some announcements about some forthcoming projects that are now very close to being green-lit. One in particular - Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague - I completed the script for this week and has already been assigned an artist; expected sometime in 2010, Andy Dodd will naturally be providing the illustrations for a second slice of horrific historical featuring the notorious highwayman.
Finally, returning to the subject of SPExpo, if you are one of the lucky few who has secured a ticket and is coming along please make sure you drop by our table and say hello. Obviously we might give you a bit of hard-sell while you're there but much of the fun of these events comes from seeing old friends again and making new ones and enjoying all that the UK comics scene has to offer.
See you in Bristol!
Friday, 3 April 2009
Personally, it's great that we're listed on this site and I'm delighted that on the site illo (reproduced above) that our easily identifiable logo is sat just to the left of the one from Marvel Comics. It's the closest we'll ever get to level pegging with the Bullpen! But professionally I'm delighted that Jason Thibault has spent what must be hours collating a one-stop resource for anybody wanting to submit their work to a comics publisher. Lone reader, visit this site and bookmark it!
So that explained the surge in emails, but what was baffling was that on the site Time Bomb's submission guidelines are clearly laid out but a lot of the potential creators contacting us, invariably due to being listed on this site, weren't actually following the guidelines that were set! I've left a comment on Jason's site adressing this very thing but it's worth repeating here:
"Guys, whether you’re writers, artists, colorists, letterers or the whole package please make sure you actually follow the submission guidelines for whatever company you’re submitting to. Time Bomb’s are quite simple: 5 sequential pages of script or art. That’s it. So a couple of unrelated splash pages, or 2 comic pages, or a resume? No, we don’t want that. A link to a website is fine, but when we get there we want to see something close to those 5 sequential pages.
"Time Bomb are tiny at the moment, and we’re always looking for new creators that we can publish, but I’m guessing that if we’re not getting submissions in the format we want, then neither are the other, bigger publishers. So please, make sure you adopt a professional approach from the start and tailor your first pitch exactly to the specs given."
But I still love to receive submissions. So much so that Time Bomb are undertaking it's first official talent search at the upcoming SPExpo in May. I've sent a press release to the major UK comic news sites regarding this so keep an eye out, but I'm hoping we'll find some great creators at the show to develop future projects with. Certainly if you're an aspiring creator and you're reading this, please come along to our table at SPExpo with some samples of your work or contact us through email@example.com as Time Bomb would love to see what you can do.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Despite the Diamond hiccup work continues at Time Bomb Comics and we hope to secure future listings in the Previews catalogue. So much so, this week The Sisterhood:Morningstar has been sent off to Andy Martin at Diamond UK for scrutiny and hopefully approval. Irregardless of how successful that is, we're now looking forward to the Bristol SPExpo where this one-shot will be officially launched. This is shaping up to be quite an event and, for something that was put together in the wake of the downsizing of the the main Expo, is rapidly becoming the more interesting of the two. Just take a look at the SPExpo website for the incredible amount of exhibitors that will be there. And I reckon that despite the Main Expo being at the Bristol Ramada over the full weekend, the one-day SPExpo at the Mercure around the corner will be the place to be on the Saturday 9th May.
Also due 2010 is a follow-up to Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead, this time featuring everyone's favourite highwayman battling vampires in the heart of eighteenth-century London. I'm in the middle of scripting this one at the moment, but the Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague one-shot is proving as much fun to write as the first Turpin story - and works perfectly well as both as a stand-alone and a sequel. Needless to say Andy Dodd will again be the artist on this one, and we should have a teaser piece ready for October's BICS.
Finally to get serious for a moment, please click over to the excellent Comic Shop Voice website which has been instrumental in forming the Comic Book Alliance in response to how the proposed Government Coroners Bill could have an effect on comics. Please read the excellent article on the Comic Shop Voice homepage and please then add your name to the online petition.
Friday, 20 February 2009
From Time Bomb Central in Leicester it's A Long Way - Inverness sits at a point in Northern Scotland where you imagine there's not much of anything further up, excepting remote wilderness, snow and extremely doughty Scots - so the prospect of a 10 hour train journey was not something either Suzanne or myself were looking forward to. Luckily it turned out we could fly up there from Birmingham airport for £30 cheaper and 8 and a half hours shorter so that was the far more sensible option. As it was our flight was delayed due to Inverness airport being closed by a sudden and unexpected blizzard but we still arrived in Inverness on a crisp Thursday afternoon safe in the knowledge that had we had laid ourselves at the mercy of the rail network we'd be just passing through Newcastle. If we were lucky.
With Hi-Ex taking place over the weekend, we had some time to have a good look around. Inverness itself is best described as small but bustling, but the main attraction must be the infamous Loch Ness. Friday afternoon was spent on a small motor-boat chugging up the centre of the Loch, and although we didn't see any monsters the atmospheric nature of the Loch made me understand why some people do. With Nessie in mind we also visited what is known as "The Monster Centre" which was sold to us as Scotland's best-rated attraction to do with the Loch Ness legend. I'd love to meet who rated it this way as it really was an appalling waste of time, just a series of dark connected rooms that play poor quality screen projections. That the gift shop is bigger than the "attraction" itself speaks volumes, that the gift shop doesn't contain any books, pamphlets, guides or even comics about the monster legend or indeed anything else speaks even more.
The touristy bit done, we could now look forward to Hi-Ex. We'd been following the Hi-Ex website closely and were aware that some of th high-profile guests had dropped out, so it was great to arrive at the Eden Court venue and find a healthy mix of publishers, small-pressers and dealers nonetheless. Along with ourselves Futurequake were there, as well as Murky Depths, Semiotic Cohesion, Cinebooks, Omnivistascope and Renegade Entertainment - a real mix! As with the BICS event last year, this time the Hi-Ex was split across the two sides of the venue, with all the artists and workshops being at the other end to us. This meant that at times the dealer's room was empty of visitors, but this was invariably followed by a mini-rush between the workshops, signings and panels as people looked for other things to do. (Overall I'm not sure if splitting the event like that worked - as with BICS there was a feeling that some visitors were not fully aware of where everything was - and hopefully this will be something Rich and Vicky will look at for future shows. Certainly the size of the dealers room and the wide corridor outside of it could easily have accommodated the creators who were in the other half of the venue.)
The lulls in footfall meant that there was more time for the exhibitors themselves to have a look around, and a great feeling of cameraderie developed amongst us that spilled into the evenings as the creators and exhibitors all got together in the hotel bar, usually in a great big circle, and just got to know each other. I ended up next to Al Davison, someone who I'd seen at every convention I've been to but never had an opportunity to speak to, and had a thoroughly engaging and fascinating discussion with him about his comics career - including some juicy titbits about the forthcoming Doctor Who monthly comic he's working on with Tony Lee. As well as getting to know Al I spent time catching up with Terry from Murky Depths, and letting Alex know from Renegade Entertainment that their "new talent" artist Rudy Nebres had actually been working in comics a fair few years before most of us. It was also good to meet Gary from Heroes For Sale, Inverness' sole comic shop who bought a big pile of Time Bomb Comics to sell on to his customers and therefore revealed himself to be a thoroughly decent chap!
Of course, no UK convention these days seems complete without Stormtroopers and it was good to see the 501st Garrison out in force again. There's something about these guys that just puts everyone in a good mood, and they really added to the atmosphere of the weekend - especially when frog-marching a young lad out of the building for making disparaging remarks about Darth Vader! There were also big smiles when Judge Rosie arrived - the cutest of 4 year olds in a Mega City Judge outfit, the home-made pudding bowl helmet the icing on the cake!
It was also great to see a real mix of people at the show. Apart from the expected comics fans there were families with children who thought it would be a fun day out (they were right, it was!) and smatterings of folk who really never knew comics existed as they do and seemed to be happily amazed that comics are much more than DC Thomson, 2000AD and Viz. Encouragingly, one phrase we heard a lot from visitors to the show was "this is my first comics convention but it won't be my last!"
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Friday, 30 January 2009
First of all, irregardless of how much this decision makes it that more difficult for smaller comic publishers including Time Bomb Comics to achieve wider distribution, I can wholly understand the business decisions where Diamond is coming from on this. Diamond do NOT have an obligation to stock every comic book under the sun. They're a distribution business, they only need to stock product they think they can sell and make a return from - just like any other distribution business the world over. If a distrubutor has a product that's not shifting the required units for it to make the costs involved in that distribution viable then they will no longer stock that product. Period.
Secondly there seems to be a general wave of anger with the comments on the various news sites that Diamond are killing off the small press with this announcement. That, somehow, it's Diamond's fault that the indie press may be squeezed out of business. Sorry guys, but Diamond aren't the big bad here. If any fingers should be pointed it's to the comics buyers who only read Marvel/DC, the retailers who only stock the mainstream, the shops who over-order just to get those variants which can be sold at a ridiculously inflated price. You see, it's a lot of us that's to blame here, for not supporting publishers who really needed it or even giving them a chance. Case in point, there's many comments on the varoius comics news forums that go something along the lines of "I really support the little guys but I never buy any of their books" which to me perfectly illustrates one of the big hurdles that the little guys have to jump, often fail to, and are now likely to be taken out of the race as a result.
That said, we indie publishers are a tenacious lot. Unlike the big guys, a lot of us really aren't in it for the money but just because we love the comics medium. So, alternatives will be found whether it's smaller distributors like Haven or (here in the UK) Smallzone, embracing more fully e-books and the opportunities they bring, Amazon listings, e-commerce or building up a base of friendly retailers with which to deal with direct. The only major drawback is the sheer global coverage that Diamond provides as a one-stop-shop will be removed if an indie book doesn't get that all-important Diamond listing in the first place.
Time Bomb Comics are looking at this whole situation with a three steps forward and one step back attitude, which I think is the best stance to take and which seems to be how a lot of our fellow publishers are approaching it. We have projects slated for 2009 and 2010 that will be completed and published whether or not Diamond feel we make the grade, so although it's no guarantee we'll be listed in Previews again we're going to be putting out quality one-shots no matter what.
Not a bad thing, surely?
Friday, 23 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
The Church’s rule is absolute, but it is also ruthless. Anyone and everything that does not conform is branded undesirable and is marked for conversion. Anyone and everything that opposes conversion faces one thing – annihilation.
They are the Nuns of the church, women with the appointed the task of maintaining the proscribed faith and ruthlessly destroying any who would dare to oppose the church and its teachings.
They are The Sisterhood.