Selected and compiled by Jimi Gherkin, Peter Lally, Gareth Brookes and Saban Kazim
With the upcoming 1st anniversary of the Alternative Press Fair just around the corner I thought it was about time to take a little look at the Publish You collection that Alternative Press put out in 2009.
Publish You is an 80 page, full colour collection by more than forty self publishing artists and it’s chock full of comics, illustrations, text pieces, poetry – pretty much the whole range of comics, fanzine and handmade scene in the UK. Like it says in the introduction:
“We have tried to present a diverse selection of the small press scene… we hope that you will realise that so much is possible; all you need is a little confidence to try.“
And it’s certainly diverse. Very diverse. It suffers simply due to the restrictions on page count for the artists – most have just one or two pages which is, by necessity, merely a snapshot of what the artist is attempting. And sometimes a snapshot just isn’t enough. For a perfect example of what I’m talking about, Publish You includes a single page from Oliver East‘s new book Berlin And That. Much as I love East’s work, one page does it no justice.
But saying that doesn’t mean there’s nothing of value here, far from it. Just that Alternative Press may have decided, for all the right reasons, to cram too much into the pages of Publish You. It’s always the big risk of any sampler – which is what this is intended to be.
But, regardless of the fact that I’d have liked to have seen more pages from less artists, there’s still a good sampling of artists I’d never heard of that I’m now going to want to see more from. And that is always a great sign and proves that this particular sampler has done it’s job. Here’s a few of the highlights:
(Dr Simpo – Pyjama Pirates – touches of Baxendale?)
(Edd Baldry – Snow – including, on the second page, a crafty Calvin & Hobbes homage)
(Zarina Liew – The Mime – excellent use of just two pages in a simple, sweet, practically wordless strip)
(Sina Shamsavari – one of the few artists to be given more than a couple of pages and he uses them to great, multicoloured effect.)
But if you really want the best way to see what is going on in the self publishing scene – head for the Alternative Press Fair birthday bash and see for yourself, pick up the comics, read the work, spread the word – the UK self publishing scene is vibrant and fresher than ever.