Part 3: To The Point and Black Panel Tour

Comics are distributed in and out of Ireland by small pressers visiting different festival cities on tour. In Part 1 of this column I’ve recounted our experiences at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast and in Part 2, at the 2D Comics festival in Derry.

At the 2D Festival I’d picked up Phil Barrett’s BlackshapesGer Hankey’s Short Sharp Socks and three new Tommie Kelly titles for sell at our stall.

Also, probable liver damage.

tommie kelly is talented but also an arsehole

(Above: Tommie Kelly’s new book From Rags To Rockstars and a piece from the new Something Wonderful series. If you’re funds are low on the ground, Tommie has made Something Wonderful available as a legal torrent: see the second link above for details)

6th Juneben1
It’s a two hour scenic beauty ride to Belfast by Translink’s Bus service. I’d taken the insomnia ticket the night before. It had come in at a few seconds. The Black Box is a fifteen minute walk from the Europa Bus Station. Paddy’s mum had the car out, and dropped me off to set up our monthly stall. Paddy wisely went home to Doctor Who. While I performed the gargantuan feat-breaker two comics festivals in a row without a stop?

Nay. It was “dead”.

Not a single sale. Barely a look.

The market looked finer than it ever had. Stalls were front loaded with a variety of miscellany, a harem of printed papers, silks, badges, poi staffs and knitted wear. Ben Allen afforded me a few words of comfort. Ben is great like that. He’s a regular fixture at the market who plays around with pop art and printmaking. He takes his inspiration from artists who are fans of music, Peter Blake, Robert Crumb…
If you’re on Facebook, take a look at his profile or read an interview about his work on Northern Irish iconography.

Cara Cowan by Ben - drypoint etching

Above: Ben Allen’s drypoint etching of Cara Cowan, from his workings out of The Creative Exchange.

As it turned out, everyone in Belfast may have been recovering from festivals. The Hay Festival and Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival. Would it be too much to ask of my home city to get over flogging a dead ship?

June 9th

Alice Quigley, Black Market organiser mentions new creative academic and bursary opportunities in Belfast. She seems keen I give it a go, but it’s worth a mention for other interested parties.

The weekend has left me feeling spiritually drained so perhaps it’s time I started thinking seriously about this.

June 12th
Bloody Hell O’ Clock, Paddy might have said. Having slept for most of the last day, I’m a bit chirpier. I jump around sunlit fields looking for a laptop socket and the conductor informs me we have none. The sea outside Dublin looks the finest. I’d gotten a day return for £10 online, well worth it, and the tram to the dockside was 3 euros return. It was a smooth but unusual ride, as if Gene Roddenberry himself had returned to drive me by limo to the end of a street. We wander around for a while, looking into buildings still being completed. Sat outside on benches with cigarette and gourmet hotdog. More building fronts visited, with concrete and dust and hardhats coming and going. The front is laid out with tents offering ghee and cakes and paintings and prints and trinkets. Paddy spots a group of tents off to the side, four of them. And we set up stalls.

Point Village Comics Fest by Rob Curley

Point Village Comics Fest by Rob Curley

Point Village Comics Fest by Rob Curley

Point Village Comics Fest by Rob Curley

Above right: Barry Keegan, Gareth Gowarn, Robert Curley, Maura McHugh and Stephen Daly. Both photos made available via Rob Curley.

I was a bit nervous about selling comics outside but the sun never stopped and the wind was weak. English-based creators had come over for the day: Leonie O’Moore (There Goes Tokyo) and Jenika Ioffreda (Vampire Free Style) I’d my sales patter working fine and teamed up with Paddy to offer a special on our 24 hour comics which worked well.

Opposite, an attractive woman named Anna sat on the bench engaging the comic I’d written about my late grandmother, Eileen Lucas. Beside her, laid on the bench was her boyfriend taking in the sun. I watched them for a while and it was very pretty. The boyfriend exercised his legs and came over to the stall.
“My girlfriend says if I wish to know what your comic is about I should get to know you.”
Shyly, he retreated. I watched them for a few more minutes before joining them on the bench where we talked for ten about family, nationality, weather, comics and all sorts. Connecting with complete strangers are either side of the space between panels in a good comics festival.

(IMAGE MISSING)

Parts of the day went by like tumbleweed too. There were workshops for kids on creating comics and a pop-up book workshop by Maeve Clancy which I would have loved to see.
I suspect festival organisers part-agenda in workshops for kids is to prevent established creators from abandoning their stall-hosting responsibilities.
(Check out Maeve’s pop-up book created for Lisa Hannigan’s video to “Lillie”)

I did manage to abscond for a few hours though, checking out the spit-roast pig, sharing coffee with a lovely environmentalist and visiting other stallholders such as Damien O’Reilly, whose Pinback Magazine is a glossy follow-on from his 2000-era artzine, Paper Cuts. (And well it looks too) The evening ended with a few beers at Maeve Clancy’s home before the Roddenberry tram treated my weakened bladder most delicately.

(IMAGES MISSING)

The Point Village gig was organised by Hilary Lawler. This is the link to her weblog where there are a number of lovely drawings.

The Black Panel will be selling the works of Irish mini-comics creators at The Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast on Sunday 4th and 18th July. We’ll also be picking up new comics at Summer Edition 2010, Filmbase, Temple Bar, Dublin on 24th July for selling in Belfast on August 1st.

Dublin’s New Cultural Venue Launches With Grassroots Comics Festival

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

Point Village Comic Festival 2010 will be introduced in the Point Village Market on the 12th June. It has been created by Hilary Lawler (creator of Superhilbo!) & Kate Farnon (Events Manager) from VSC Events to help promote comic book creators in Ireland. The stalls at this event are free for comic creators, artists and illustrators and the promotion and organization has been widely supported by the small press community. Hilary hopes this event will highlight further to the Irish public, what talents and wonderful publications are available to them. Often at events relating to comics, the cost of a table or stall hire can have a negative impact on the independent publishers pocket, so she hopes this event gives people a chance to network, promote and sell their comics and art.point village official poster

I asked Hilary for a few more details on the event.

Andy Luke: How many creators have you lined up?

Hilary Lawler: At present there are 35 people who are confirmed for the Point Village Comic Festival event. These range from comic creators to illustrators, animators and artists. All are involved in publishing a range of artistic endeavours from stand alone pieces, webcomics to regular volumes of work.

AL: Who’s attending? I notice a few names not local…

HL: From the list (off the top of my head and in no particular order) there are familiar names in comics such as Longstone Comics, Sancho, Road Crew and Atomic Diner, but there are also some names that may be new for most people such as Neptune Factory and Pinback. Either way it is proving to be a healthy mix of the great range of talents in Ireland.

AL: What can you tell us about the venue at this point?

HL: As the Point Village Market will be opening on the 29th May, it is difficult to give an exact description of the venue. As such the venue can be described, based on the images used for its promotion so far, to be a modern, open plan market with the intention of developing the market into the same vibe as Covent Garden. The Point Village Comic Festival will be an event that runs alongside the market for Saturday 12th June.

AL: Will comics creators be accompanied by other arts stallholders, eg. Camden, Belfast Black Market or Dublin Co-Op Independent’s Day?

HL: To the best of my knowledge the stalls in the market for each weekend will range from food to arts & crafts. The Point Village Comic Festival event is specifically aimed at those in the small press that can’t avail of a regular stall. This opportunity to sell your creations without having the cost of stall hire, is directly aimed at supporting the Irish small press. A creative expression in the form of a comic can be a costly affair, so at least anything sold remains a profit in this instance. It is aimed as a comic event but it is open to artists and illustrators in all areas.

AL: When is the event open from and to?

HL: It runs on the Saturday, 12th June – opening times are to be confirmed and stall holders will be notified closer to the time. The market opening times are advertised as 8.30am -5.30pm. However, the Point Village Comic Festival event time will open a little later in the morning to allow for setting up.

Hilary: It is a free event and some details are still being confirmed regarding workshops and panels. There is an exhibition on for the day so anyone is welcome to avail of the chance to exhibit their work. We welcome anyone who wants to take a free stall still, just email me at:
longstonecomics (at) gmail.com to register your details (blogspot, contact/mobile, website).
It is something I really hope will positively impact comic creators as it is an artistic path that I’m passionate about and love to promote. Seeing how many fantastic Irish creators there are out there, just persevering through the highs and lows of creating, really makes me want to ensure events like this help elevate them further. I know from my own experience that it takes a lot of dedication, commitment and perseverance to keep going in this industry. What does help is having the chance to see the public respond positively to your work, and that can only happen if we encourage and support events like this one.

Ger Hankey Point Village

The Venue: Point Village Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland
The Where: Saturday 12th June 2010, 11am-5pm (Stallholders from 10am)
How to get there: Luas Red Line (straight to venue), The Dart, Buses are Regular (esp. the 15)

Last bus: appears to be around 11pm. More info at Dublinbus.ie (also the name of a good comic by Paddy Lynch)
Driving: Look for the 02 Arena out by Dublin port.
If you’re lost: Phone for directions at 086 827 4839
Parking available at various spots nearby.
Entrance Cost: There is not such a thing.

Website: www.pointvillagecomicfestival.com

The accompanying flyer designed by Ger Hankey is shareware and is available from Ger, Hilary, myself or any stallholders involved with the event. Why not put a screen grab on your website? These are available at the Facebook Events page too.

Ger is premiering the print edition of the second issue of “Short Sharp Socks“. As revealed on Alltern8 last monthPhil Barrett may also be premiering a new comic. I’ll have a second edition of “Absence” ready. There’s also the welcome visit of guests such as the creator of Vampire Free Style, Jenika Ioffreda. Well, with a blow away roster like that, even by MS Paint challenged skills couldn’t resist tinkering with a poster design. My attempts are below, complete with graphics from creator’s websites and the venue brochure.

poster muckabout

poster muckabout 2

 

Related news: Readers may also be interested to learn of Edition Book Arts Summer Edition 2010: Artists’ Book, Comic and Zine Fair on Saturday 24th July from 11am – 5pm at Filmbase, Temple Bar, Dublin. Details on that at http://www.editionbookarts.com/