“Don’t be afraid to try something new just because it doesn’t have a big publisher’s stamp of approval” we talk to the organisers of a new Small Press Signing at Incredible Comic Shop in Swindon

This summer, Swindon’s Incredible Comic Shop joins the growing list of stores to celebrate small press as they hold signing event featuring some of the medium’s most predominant creators. In the run up to this, we’ve sent our own Swindon boy, James Blundell, to speak with store co-owner Troy Loveday and event organiser Sarah Harris about what we can expect.So, on Saturday July 15th, the Incredible Comic Book Shop is hosting a collection of Small Press Creators. How did this event come about?

Sarah Harris: I was helping the guys move their shop stock over from their previous premises in the run up to new comic book day earlier this year, and couldn’t help but notice that the new shop was a fair bit roomier than the old one. So, being a bit of a small press evangelist, I rather cheekily asked if there was now room for them to trial some self published/UK indie titles, just to see how they went. John and Troy seemed not averse to the idea, gave me a shelf to play with (which I’m in the process of gathering stock for), and then the conversation moved on to the idea of launching the new section with a signing event….and here we are!

Troy Loveday: The event came about when Sarah asked why we didn’t have a small press section. I have to say it never really crossed my mind and I didn’t know how to go about it all either. Sarah offered to help stock us up as she has contacts so it spiraled from there

Which small press creators are going to be there, selling their wares and signing their books?

SH: In no particular order we have :

Vince Hunt, writer and artist, creator of the Red Mask From Mars and Stalkerville – and host of the Awesome Comics Podcast

Gavin Mitchell – artist on the Pride, Stiffs, Santa Claus vs the Nazis, and his latest release, a graphic novel adaption of Steve Jackson’s the Trolltooth Wars

Emily B. Owen – writer and artist – bringing along her hot-off-the-press mental health zine “Brain Shoodles”, recently successfully kickstarted and officially launched at Cardiff CICE the week before our signing

Sara Dunkerton and Matt Gibbs – artist and writer respectively of Mulp

Matt Garvey – prolific small press writer of Chunks, Cordelia Swift, Transfer and, most recently, the Ether

Nick Prolix – writer and artist of Slang Pictorial, based upon his successful webcomic the Sheep and the Wolves

Judging from the titles you have on sale, The Incredible Comic Book Shop doesn’t appear to stock much in the way of Small Press. So why hold this event? And why now?

SH: We didn’t really have the space before (although the guys have occasionally carried a few small press titles by local creators). And me nagging (and offering to do a lot of the work 😉 ) has maybe sped things along a bit too….

TL: I think there is clearly an audience for it out there and the only way to find out if it’s for us is to give it a go.

It was all Sarah’s idea really and a great idea as well.

What would you consider a good result to come for this day?

SH: Three things for me – the creators have an enjoyable and successful day – plenty of punters turn up and have their eyes opened to the amazing quality and variety of British small press – and it is successful for the Incredible Comic Shop too (i.e. they see some sales!) so that they might let me keep doing stuff like this!

TL: If lots of people come out to the shop and show some support for the small press creators and the comic book community then I’m happy.

Are you hoping these signings to become a regular thing in Swindon in the future?

SH: Yes I hope so. To this end I am bribing people to come to the first one with the promise of cookies. In the hope that this provokes a great turnout and therefore the chance to do it all again one day. Because, as a wise woman once said, it’s important to keep shouting about comics and comic creators!!!

TL: We would love to have regular signings throughout the years to come and that is something I’m working on. We have some more tricks up our sleeves so keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page.

And finally, what does small press mean to you?

SH: To me? Quality comics, made by the best people I know. Family.

LT: I think the small press is important. If people are not putting their ideas out there, then we wouldn’t have the ever growing independent market that exists. Great stories come from interesting minds. Don’t be afraid to try something new just because it doesn’t have a big publisher’s stamp of approval……..yet!

The Small Press Signing of Independent Comic Creators takes place on Saturday 15th July 2017 between 1pm and 4pm at the Incredible Comic Shop, 21 Brunel Plaza, Brunel Centre, SN1 1LF. For more details, check out their facebook page; www.facebook.com/theincrediblecomicshop