First of all I would like to thank everyone who came to see me at the UK Webcomix Thing. It is always a pleasure to meet my readers and this year some people had come a huge distance, which was hugely flattering (I assume I wasn't just a diversion on the their way to get a "pickup only" armoire they had purchased on eBay).
Stuck as I was behind the table all day, I wasn't able to get around as many exhibitors as I would have liked. But I saw some great work by the likes of Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Dan Berry and Rob Jackson. I wish I had been able to see more. And I was sitting between Naniiebim and Philippa Rice, both of whose stylings rather showed up my own work.
But it was clear that the breadth of work coming out of the UK continues to grow and I am thrilled to see it.
The show was a little less busy than it has been in previous years. I think that, despite the eccentric manner in which it is run, the "UK Web And Minicomix Thing" has been the closest the nascent UK scene has to an SPX or MoCCA. The MCM Expo and Thought Bubble, while excellently run, are hybrid events which put off some indie comics readers. That said, I think they are improving year-on-year. (Conventions like BICS are inevitably horror shows for indie artists.)
The church fete atmosphere, central London position and tiny admission fee of the Thing offer few barriers to entry, and that usually makes it one of the year's most successful shows for me.
I do wonder though if some of the organisation's eccentricities are beginning to harm it. Regular exhibitors will be well familiar with the stream of passive-aggressive emails that accompany your attendance at the show. And I've seen foreign exhibitors bemused at being asked to man the ticket booth and "tuck shop" for an hour. There were no major foreign exhibitors this year and one has to ask if this isn't part of the reason that attendance seemed a little flat.
Since the event is not publicised in any fashion other than by the exhibitors, a few more big names would benefit everybody exhibiting. It may be that a little organisational flair is required in the next few years to return what is, astonishingly, a blue chip UK comics event, to its prior rude health. With similar London events beginning to appear in the calendar, it may have begun to fade naturally.
But given that it is largely down to the Herculean efforts of one man, I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to have this day out with you all for the last six years. Hopefully I will be back next year.