Comics Pub Meets: Northern England

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

In the final part of this look at comics pub meets across the UK, we’ll be looking at gatherings towards the North of England. The previous three parts have also looked at Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Birmingham, the beginning of my introduction to comics pub meets, and Tony McGee :

“Founded in 1996 by BugPowder’s Pete Ashton and Jez Higgins, the veteran of pub meets is still going strong. What began as a small press meet up now encompasses the wide world of comics, beer and general pub chat. All are welcome to pop along.”
This is in reference to The Old Fox, Hurst St, opposite Birmingham Hippodrome on the last Saturday of each month, between 4 – 11 pm. Here’s a Facebook listing, You can contact Tony at truestories(at)blueyonder(dot) co(dot)uk and oh look, there’s a Dark Weather collection on the way, along with lots of other indy comics classics!

Tony mentions another meet. Seemingly bare steps along Hurst Street is The Dragon, where on the second Thursday of each month, 7:30 – 11 pm, MC2 or the Midlands Comics Collective meet. Tony tells me they “met through Birmingham’s Stripsearch comic art scheme which started in 2005. Although the MC2 have published several anthologies, the current focus is on relaxed meetings and the occasional convention appearance. If you’re a Midlands based creative type, feel free to come along and join in.” He recommends I mail Laura Howell who writes there’s also a “group interest in individual publishing projects”.  The Facebook group is located here or email Mikey or Laura at info(at)comicscollective(dot, as above)

Over in Telford in Shropshire, Distributor at the Crossroads, Shane Chebsey says, “Fraid not mate, unless you count about four of us having coffee in the shop.” Mmm, coffee. The new Smallzone website looks good, Shane. As soon as I’m solvent again….

This next response surprised me. Ten years ago, an active ‘Pool of indy comics, David Goodman updates,
“I don’t know of any Liverpool comics pub meets, I’m afraid. The one I did go to, only a few people went and not everyone could be at every meeting, so it just kind of petered out… It hasn’t been running for several months. Good luck, and if you DO find out about any in Liverpool, I’d be interested in the details too!”

(UPDATE: At time of reblogging, Jan 2013, the Goodmans have a call out for anyone interested in a Liverpool comics pub meet)

Someone, hook a brother up…..please.

The active Manchester Comix Collective have a Drink n Draw once a month at The Sandbar, usually Sundays from about 4pm. Adam Cadwell says,

“The MCC Drink ‘n’ Draw is open to all, artists, writers, readers or anyone with an interest really. ” (source)

You can find the group on Manchester group on Facebook.

There’s also a Manchester Sci-fi Pub Meet at The Moon Under Water on Deansgate, Saturdays once a month from 12pm. Contacts: Taz and Alycia or others on F’Book.

David Nightingale of Thunderbooks, Blackpool mails, “I’m not aware of anything like this happening round these parts!” The closest seems to be in Lancaster, sourced via John Freeman.  Mark Braithwaite of First Age Comics, in King Street, Lancaster confirms this,

“There is a regular comic pub meet held in Lancaster every third Wednesday of the month at 8pm.

The group is called the Uncanny League Of Astonishing Amazers (ULAA) and the meeting place is at the Gregson Centre, Lancaster. As with most groups the attendance from month to month varies however it is always open to newcomers. The conversation features a wide mix of subjects covering anything involving comics (UK and US), tv/film (from modern day or years gone by).

The group is generally advertised on my twitter page  and also has its own facebook section which is featured on the First Age Comics facebook page.”

Orbiting around the shop, Mark says the group helps keep friends and acquaintances in contact who might miss one another during the week.
Sociable Lisa Wood of the Leeds Thought Bubble highlights “Dr Sketchy’s at Travelling Man every other Wed, the dates are here, Plus Travelling man will also be holding regular small press comic nights soon too. Travelling man hold lots of different events in their coffee bar throughout the year, such as cosplay events, comic doc screenings and comic workshops which pop up on there website.”

Both Johnathan Rigby and Lisa point me towards OK Comics’ Jared Myland, facilitator of Doodle-Boozes since at least 2004, according to the BBC.  On the shop forums Jared writes,“There will be another Doodle-Booze, I’m just waiting for a window in Nation of Shopkeepers schedule… “

I like the cut of his jib.

My final respondent is Paul Elke of Amazing Fantasy, way over in more remote Hull : “There’s nothing like that around here as far as I am aware.” It might be fair to recommend folk DIY their own, less centralised areas benefit well from these community links.

Folks, Have a safe drink!