Comics Nation UK


Never before have comic books been so present in the public eye, with the ever increasing success of big budget movie adaptations of superhero icons,the proliferation of manga in popular culture and the growing interest in more non-genre specific titles such as Blankets and Persepolis in the broadsheet UK press. Although British mainstream audiences are starting to
catch up with the rest of the world in exploring the potential available in the form, anyone passionate about comics knows there is so much out there to explore.

As such, a year-long promotion of the medium starts with an unprecedented nationwide event taking place on the Bank holiday weekend of Friday 26th toMonday 29th August 2005. Lead by Accent UK Press and Smallzone Distribution,
the 365 Day Comics Nation reflects the activities of over sixty independent publishers and even more individual creators who have already been involved in cartoon workshops, signings, reading and discussion groups, panels and exhibitions over the last few years. For the first time these will be coordinated on the same weekend, taking place in galleries, libraries, comic shops and book stores across the country, engaging the public in fun activities.

“We had a long tradition of newsstand comic books in this country until the early Nineties,” says Accent UK and Redeye Magazine editor Barry Renshaw, one of the organisers. “Due to the economics of the time, dozens of titles
for all ages, genders and tastes disappeared until only a handful remained. Whereas the rest of Europe, Japan and America have enjoyed a progression of the form in the public eye, and more importantly, widespread distribution,
the UK comics industry instead has not developed the way it could have. It’s only recently people have realised what a rich history we have in the
medium. Away from traditional newsagents, it’s become a self imposed niche market, and that needs to change.”

Up and coming creators searching for an outlet have instead looked abroad for job opportunities or have turned to independently producing, printing and distributing their own works in small numbers, and have not had the opportunity to find their full audience. “It’s certainly not due to a lack of quality or talent, just simply availability,” believes Barry. “With this
event we hope to re-educate the public of what great material is out there, get them involved in making their own, while supporting local retailers and arts centres. It’s also about reminding people that superheroes are just one
genre within countless genres in this versatile medium. Comics are comics, and the general public don’t care about the differences between mainstream and indie publishers, small press and self published, the terms are meaningless. They just want good stories, and that should be the only definition we should concern ourselves with.”

A number of events, individually organised by creators in their own local areas, have already been scheduled with many more to follow, including Jack Staff’s creator Paul Grist, and the team behind the hit series Malcolm Magic, Robin and Lawrence Etherington appearing at Area 51 in Bristol, and appearing at Travelling Man Manchester, the writing team behind smash hit
Albion, Leah Moore and John Reppion.

The organisers encourage creators, readers, retailers, anyone young or old with a passion in comics to become involved, and invite them to visit for further information on how to do so. Details
are added as they are confirmed.

For any further information or media please contact Barry Renshaw at


About Accent UK: Formed in November 2002 by the lead creators of Deva Comics, Engine Comics and M56 Comics, the Accent UK collective combined to
produce an annual US format anthology which has since garnered much critical acclaim, award nominations and the attention of the entire UK indiecommunity. Realising strength in diversity and cooperation, the group set inmotion a more formalised support system, through collective convention appearances, workshops for local children, panels and sketching/signing
sessions, while promoting through websites, cross advertising, and continuing to develop a healthy network of creators across the country and
beyond. With publications such as the popular Rough Guide To Self Publishing and Redeye Magazine, AUK are an example of how to provide both an educational and promotional service to artists and writers looking to create
their own independent comics. Visit the official website at