The year so far
Oh, 2010! What a year you’ve been for Smoo. To start with, it has been, almost to the day, a whole calendar year since I started distributing Smoo with any sense of commitment. We were in Amsterdam visiting friends, and I stopped into Lambiek, sweatily clutching five copies of Smoo #2 and building up the courage to approach the shopkeepers. Thus began the publishing and distributing powerhouse that is Things in Panels.
Since then my confidence to distribute and have strangers actually read my comic has grown: we’ve had tables at Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo, and Thoughtbubble 2010, I’ve got stuff in shops, and even people I’ve never met have been using my online shop to buy things. This is an exciting development. I’ve also managed to publish Smoo #2, Smoo #2 1/2, finish Lisbon, compile and publish my old diary comics, and complete Smoo #3. Quite productive, I guess - and the reviews have been good, too (in fact, there’s a new review up for Smoo #3 from Matthew Murray. You can read it here.)
In other news, I finished my PhD and ran a half-marathon too, both of which I can say with some confidence will be one-time events. Running is a silly idea at the best of times, and running a long way is a very silly idea. However, a lot of people did a lot of silly running for a lot of good causes, and I’m glad I could help in some small way. But that is by the by. This is about comics.
See, I’m a sucker for the idea of the New Year: fresh starts, reinvigorated after the holidays for the onset of January and the rest of the year. Just as well really, because no matter how many times and in how many ways I list the things I have accomplished this year, I must say I don’t feel as though I’ve done that much: I’ve got so much more that I want to do, but don’t really know what that ‘more’ is or how to go about doing it. I got a bit overwhelmed towards the end of this year with various working and self-imposed comic-pressure, but a good bout of the flu helped me stop, take stock and calm down.
So what are my plans for the New Year? In the short-term, we’ve got The Sorry Entertainer anthology to put together and get printed - we’re aiming to get it released sometime in May: I’m working one or two submissions for other people’s anthologies, so we’ll see happens there: we have tables at the Small Press Expos in London in March and Bristol in May. We’re also trying to organise our own event here in Bristol, but more on that another time.
But what about Smoo #4? Well, I’ve reached a funny sort of impasse here: I don’t really know what I want to achieve with my next issue of Smoo. The amazing thing about self-publishing is that it can be anything I’d like it to be: the annoying thing about self-publishing is that it can be anything I’d like it to be (i.e. too many options). So what will happen next? What stories will I tell? Comics? Writing? Poems? Autobiography? Fiction? To be honest, I really don’t know, but it might be something quite different - and equally, it might be more of the same. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Happy 2010. I’m off to think about things some more. I’ll see you on the other side.