Well, Comiket Nov has come and gone! I haven’t had time to update this blog what with a thousand and one things to do, a week away in Scotland and assorted happenings. I did not have very much to prepare for Comiket Nov 2012 and just decided to re-use my April Comiket poster to advertise my Painting Stories book. Again the venue was the Bishopsgate Institute in the City and this time I arrived a bit later to set up. It was better organised this time with a floor-plan on the website so we knew immediately where to go and set up our tables. I was very close to the stage this time, right beside the Eat, Sleep and Sniff table which was selling cards, little comics, booklets etc. based around a little cartoony cat. I was sharing my table with the esteemed Ellen Lindner of Strumpet et al fame. Although it was classified as “half a table”, it didn’t feel much bigger than the third of a table I was allotted earlier this year. However, this isn’t a moan as I didn’t really need anything bigger, my 2 stacks of books, free postcards and business cards filled up the space quite nicely.
Anyway I noticed someone browsing the exhibition as people around me were still setting up; it was still early and the doors only opened to the public at 11am. I later discovered she was Alison Bechdel’s girlfriend; she came to my table and asked me about my book, Painting Stories. We chatted a bit and I was pretty bowled over when she asked to buy a copy! I decided if I didn’t sell anything else for the rest of the day, it didn’t matter too much because…. Alison Bechdel’s girlfriend bought Painting Stories!!!! Wow! Alison walked by a while later and I felt fairly dumbstruck, like a giddy teenager confronted with celebrity. I blubbered something inarticulately about getting her to sign my thumb-eared copy of “Fun Home”. Anyway after brief introductions, she left to get ready for the live drawing parade and I settled down to face my first customers of the day.
It was a very long day indeed, and we had more space this time so there was no need to crawl under tables etc. to get out for a bathroom break. In that respect, it was far more relaxed and comfortable than the spring Comiket – the organisers did a great job in spacing the tables out this time. However this probably meant that there were far fewer exhibitors this time around, some people I recalled from last time were not there, like John Allison. If there was a drawback to this particular fest, it was just that it was considerably quieter than the spring fair. It really felt like a lot of people who were milling around were mostly friends of the exhibitors, primarily there to lend their support. I ended up selling 8 books and trading 2 with Ellen so I considered it a fairly successful day! I managed to shift 7 copies of Cabaret Voltaire, which I am very pleased about.
I occasionally passed the time by watching the drawing parade – Steven Appleby was the other big name I recognised in the live drawing parade but Line Hoven’s work intrigued the most, using a technique I’d never heard of called ‘scraperboard’ where one starts off with a black sheet and ‘scrapes’ the black off with something like an etching knife. The resultant effect was not dissimilar to a woodcut print.
By the end of the day, I was very tired just manning my table all day without much respite and the last hour was possibly the hardest to get through… and Hunt Emerson was the last person on the drawing parade, and the birdsong he chose to play over the PA system sounded rather more annoying than soothing. Anyway I managed to promptly pack up my gear just before 7pm and departed feeling that it had been a relatively successful day, on the whole, a lot better than the spring Comiket. Stocking a second, cheaper mini comic was a strategy that worked well for me.
The organisers deserve thanks for putting in so much effort in pulling off another successful comics festival, things seemed to happen at the last minute but everything pulled together in the end.