Sunday, 26 April 2009

Insomnia Takes The Stand

"So, if you could please explain what it is you intend to be doing on the day of the 9th of May 2009"

Of course, your honour, we will be taking part in the Small Press Expo, the sister event to the Bristol Comics Expo.

"And what exactly, pray, will you be doing there?"

Well there will be quite a bit going on, actually, including:

  • The launch of our latest original graphic novel, Cancertown.
    Cy Dethan (writer) and Stephen Downey (penciller) will be around the stand most of the day to sign copies, do sketches, and maybe even talk a bit about volume 2.

    Read the first official review by the Geek Syndicate

    They have both just been interviewed by Jazma Online so you can read more about what on earth they thought they were doing in creating this monster:

    Cy Dethan Interview
    Stephen Downey Interview

  • The first opportunity to buy the third volume of our Layer Zero anthology. This one features a cover by Scott "Savage Dragon" James, and includes an incredible selection of new and existing talent.

  • A small number of lucky people will be able to get their hands on copies of a special "convention only" preview of Damaged Goods by Richard McAuliffe (writer) and Mark Chilcott (artist), showcasing the story Tea Party from the book. If you catch them on the stand they will sign it for you. If you ask them to do that then then that is your own responsiblity as an adult.

  • Events to support Draw The World Together, an organisation that has been created to unite artists in providing possibilities for children who live in communities where they do not have the opportunity for basic healthcare and education including:

    • The chance to win a unique "SPEXPO Jam" page - sketched by the Insomnia artists and friends live during the day with all ticket money going to Draw The World Together.

    • Artists selling sketches and original art with the money for the pieces being donated to the cause

    • More info on the DTWT project on the stand so you can find out how to get involved.

      Contributors to the project in the past have included David Lloyd, Dave Gibbons and Bryan Talbot. This year the main DTWT space will be in the Summit Room at the Ramada hotel where artists will sketching to raise money for EveryChild from 2pm-5pm.

      The idea was first suggested by the Unbelievably (see what I did there?) talented Simon Wyatt who just wanted to kindly do some sketching for DTWT during his stint at the table - and it has grown into a monster of epic proportions

  • A special convention edition of the novel Fallen Heroes by Barry Nugent will be available on the stand. Inside there are some of the initial sketches for the front cover. There are also deleted scenes that never made into into the book along with Barry's thoughts on why they were taken out (Including a different opening chapter). There's also a sneak peek at book 2. When Barry is able to take a break from his Geek Syndicate all day podcast duties he will be on the stand to sign them.

  • Preview pages from the upcoming books:

    Burke and Hare by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering
    MILK by Stref
    Unbelievable: The Man Who Ate Daffodils by Simon Wyatt

    Simon has also been interviewed by Jazma this month where he lets slip a disgraceful secret from his past, and we learn a moral lesson about comics corrupting the young.

  • Anyone around on Sunday at 3pm can come and see me take part in a panel discussion called "Independent Publishing - Change or Die?"
"And you can explain why you will be conversing with a succession of people carrying folders of papers, computer storage devices and large black cases?"

Of course. The conventions are where we meet future creators, artists and writers, to discuss pitch ideas, review portfolios, catch up on progress, that sort of thing.

We like to talk to as many people as possible.

We are looking for writer pitches for original graphic novels of between 80 and 200 pages for the Insomnia line and ideas for the new Vigil historical imprint.

Artists (pencillers, inkers and colourists) are always welcome, and we need a variety of styles for our different books. If you are looking for work as a penciller then we will need to see examples of sequential pages, not just pin-ups or sketches.

While we can look at work/ ideas on paper, it is a good idea to have a copy to leave with us, whether in hardcopy or digital format. We need contact details to be on any submissions left with us so we can get back in touch.

"I suppose you are going to tell me that you can also account for the whereabouts of the creators of your books, cited below, on the afore-mentioned date?"

Well, indeed I can, in fact the following have a perfect alibi as they will around the Insomnia tables during the day:

  • Cy Dethan, writer: Cancertown, Starship Troopers
  • Stephen Downey, penciller: Cancertown
  • Richard McAuliffe, writer: Damaged Goods
  • Simon Wyatt, writer and penciller: Unbelivable, The Man Who Ate Daffodils
  • Kev Crossley, artist: Sidhe, KiSS4K, Event Horizon
  • Luke Foster, writer: Dream Solver
  • Adam R Grose, writer and artist: Layer Zero
  • Wu Li, artist: Shiver
  • James Johnson, writer: Dead Mans Gold
  • Charlie Bowater, artist: Layer Zero
  • Christopher Barker, writer: Shiver, Layer Zero

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, excuse me, I was under the distinct impression, that there is a currently outstanding homicide investigation into the tortured and protracted death of the comics industry?
You really expect these good people to believe that this kind of success is possible?"

Let me give you a little background into how I came to be here today, if I may?

In 2007 when I first met Crawford and Alasdair, the founding fathers, at Bristol and talked to them about drawing a story in the upcoming Layer Zero: Time, they were a newly created company with a huge vision and a small but perfectly formed selection of books on their table.

In 2008 I was back at the Expo, this time as letterer on one of the two graphic novels, Cancertown. that they had in production. Layer Zero: Time was on the table, as well as a special convention edition compendium "trade" of the first two anthologies, preview art for 2 further books, and a special edition con only preview of Cages.

By this time some of the creators who had seen their work published in Layer Zero had gone on to some impressive things. Cy Dethan and Paul Green had landed work on the Starship Troopers license, and Paul had also completed issue one of the smash hit Flash Gordon, Thomas Mauer was offered work for just about every indie publisher you could name, and then went on to co-run Kingdom comics at Disney.

In fact, speaking of Layer Zero, the springboard to comics stardom, let me just go off on a tangent a bit here.

The next couple of Layer Zeros, Choices for 2009, and Survival for 2010, have attracted not only an incredible range of new talent, but also experienced professionals from the world of comics (with work under their belts for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Calibre, Heavy Metal, 2000AD, to name a few) and some bold individuals experimenting with crossing over from other creative fields such as journalism, animation, screenwriting, sculpture, fine art and graphic design.

Several of the Layer Zero creators have gone on to be signed up for work as writers or artists on full length graphic novels: Cy Dethan, Martin Conaghan, Corey Brotherson, Christopher Barker, Steven Stone, Gary Crutchley, James Johnson, Matt Gibbs, Richard McAuliffe, Mark Chilcott and Kev Crossley.

Not only have there been the successes for the creators featured in "Time", but me, Jim O'Hara, Martin Conaghan and Rich Johnson - the whole of the expanded management team -all first came into contact with Insomnia through the book.

So - back to the story.

Having got to know Crawford and Alasdair a bit more, and finding we shared a vision of what a comics publisher should be, and what we could achieve, they asked me to join the company.

And, wow, what a ride it's been.

From those humble beginnings we now have:

  • 25 books in production with over 120 outstandingly talented creators from all around the world,

  • Smashed our pre-order sales targets and had to both extend the print run of Cancertown by 50% and immediately go to second printing with Layer Zero:Choices, even before it's official launch date to fulfil the orders,

  • the launch of the history focussed Vigil imprint,

  • the first book of the new Focal Point line in development,

  • a recently expanded management team of 6 highly skilled people,

  • have been selected for the Scottish Enterprise Growth Pipeline,

  • are working closely with education and library services,

  • have a dedicated US business development manager

and interest and support from individuals and institutions that are beyond our wildest dreams

It can happen if you are prepared to work hard and stay up late enough!

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We will no retire for a two week recess, and when we return we shall be paying an on-site visit to the Crime Scene itself."

2 comments:

Simon said...

Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, I think the evidence presented by this expert witness speaks for itself.

Nic said...

Hoping for time off for good behaviour?