What lessons did you learn about putting on that sort of event?
Small Press day was announced for 7 July this year, so I am also considering doing a small pop-up event for that, possibly in Kingston or Croydon. I want to keep things interesting though. My favourite part of WCAF was the workshops, and whatever I do events-wise in the future, I want it to revolve around that. I found that I spent a lot of my time at WCAF speaking to parents whose kids had wanted to do one of the workshops. We ended up with kids drawing comics all day while parents had the chance to look around at stuff they never thought existed. It really helped as an icebreaker to get people who think comics are just for kids to discover there is so much more that the medium - and small press in particular - can offer them.
I’ve got a pull list set up with my local branch of Forbidden Planet, which has these titles as well as my son’s Power Rangers and Doctor Who titles, as he’s a huge comics fan too.
Small press is hitting the mark for me more and more these days. I prefer one shots and anthologies, mainly because of the long wait between issues of ongoing small press titles. It’s understandable that it takes a long time, but I can see why this puts some people off indie comics. I don’t get out to conventions as much as I want to, so luckily creators tend to have good online stores. I’ve also recently discovered the Comicsplus app, which my library provides. It’s a bit cumbersome to use but has a great range of trades and individual issues available; I’m reading the Batman / The Shadow mini series on that at the moment.
Circus Diabolica on Spotify if you dare!). We haven’t played shows for a little while but we are planning to get back on stage this year. One of the reasons I put on workshops at WCAF was because I love the idea of passing on skills and knowledge to people. I used to work as a volunteer at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill and the main duty I had was showing people objects and getting them to work out what they were. It was fantastic working in such a creative and engaging way. I absolutely love anything immersive and educational like that.
The campaign is for Rock In Purgatory (and can be found here), my heavy metal horror comic. The book is a collection of short strips which feature the outrageous death of hapless rock stars. Rock In Purgatory has been published in Popcorn Horror magazine, and the book collects all the published strips plus loads of unpublished ones from the series. The book is full colour, comes in as 48 pages and is presented as a cross between a comic and a parody of a music magazine. So, as well as the strips, you’ll find a poster pull out section, articles about bands who have influenced the stories and a backstage section where I show off concept art and creation processes.
Have you run a Kickstarter campaign before?
Since the comic is all about heavy metal, I decided to go for metal themed rewards. My favourite is probably the gig tickets and backstage passes. These are souvenir items, but I loved the idea of having something live music related for the fans. And since I’m a guitarist, I personally can’t wait to get hold of the branded plectrums when they are made up.
If it was still running, I’d have suggested the Sliced Quarterly campaign, but that just funded. The new Merrick book by Tom Ward looks good, if you love Mignola-style art and the idea of the Elephant Man as a protagonist! I’ve also heard that Flintlock by Steve Tanner is going to be good, but I’ve yet to properly check it out.
All my comics work is on my website www.rikjackson.co.uk. You can read all the published Rock In Purgatory strips, some samples of Brutal Bombshells, and other projects I have worked on. There’s a gallery showing off some of my other illustration work. There are also links to buy copies of my comics and prints from the site too. I post loads of stuff on Twitter @gojacksongo – I’m always putting up work in progress as I am creating comics and have started doing live streams when I’m drawing pages.
I could keep going with Rock In Purgatory for ages, and probably will. I decided to cap it as a first series for now and get a collection out there, but I have loads more ideas for it. I’ve been getting approached by lots of people who want to pitch stories to me for it, or collaborate on a Rock In Purgatory strip. It’s awesome to have people so into this comic that they want to get involved! Actually, my son – who has read some of the less adult and more slapstick RIP strips - came up with a brilliant idea which I have promised him will be included in the next series.
The Rock In Purgatory process is fairly time consuming but oddly efficient. As every page is built on a strict nine panel grid, I have created each panel on a sheet of A4 bristol board, before editing them all together. If I lay an entire page out physically, it’s huge! It’s quite satisfying seeing it all jigsawed together on the living room floor at such a scale. The idea behind A4 pages for each panel was that I could carry them around really easily and work on them whenever and wherever I was. So, despite each panel taking quite a while to draw because of the size, it also meant I could get through a few panels a day no matter what I was up to. Colouring took forever – apart from a few plain backgrounds, every panel of every page was coloured by hand.
I’ve just read The Devil In Disguise by Matt Garvey. Great first issue – so many twists and a great cliff-hanger in such a short space of time! Matt’s stuff is generally great. I’m a big fan of his Chunks books, but this new title really impressed me. I liked El Marvo from Ben Errington and Dan Butcher. Dystopian future with a cryogenically frozen luchador as the hero – obviously going to be good! I’ve also got into the Shaman Kane and Gallo books by David Broughton. His stuff is well written and drawn with such enthusiasm that even if it’s not your cup of tea you can’t help but enjoy it.
My event appearances hinge on the success of the Rock In Purgatory Kickstarter really, as it will be a stretch for me to afford a print run and table fees. I have my eye on Brighton ICE and Nottingham Comic Con right now, and if South London Comic and Zine Fair returns this year I’ll be bothering them for a table. I want to try out some horror conventions too. Popcorn Horror host a horror event in Glasgow each November, so I am hoping to be a part of that this year.
If you like the sound of all of that you can find Rik on Twitter as @gojacksongo