So, today is Small Business Saturday here in the UK. Usually I would use this time to promote my Etsy Store for prints and artwork (incidentally if you join up to Etsy using this link you will get £5 off your first purchase on any store on Etsy – you can also get 20% off all my store purchases of £10+ using Promo Code ‘COOLYULE’ until December 12th), or refer you to my Society6 page for merch, tee shirts and tote bags; and in fact, that is pretty much what I will be doing on my Social Media pages. But, today, in the spirit of the Holidays, I will be using Small Business Saturday to promote my friends and their awesome small businesses. So, please take the time to check out these amazingly awesome people and their fantastic work. (I apologize in advance if I missed you out – I know so many independent creators the list would get a bit crazy).
Jon Lock Comics
Jon Lock is the writer and creator of Afterlife Inc. as well as one half of the Heavenly Chord Series (in collaboration with Nich Angell – see below) and co-founder of Big Punch Studios. This may all sound incredibly impressive (and don’t get me wrong, it really is), but Jon is still an independent creator who uses his day job to fund his awesome projects. He is an amazing writer and has created one of the best independent comics out there, in my humble opinion. His stories are both fun and interesting with a rich world of characters, philosophy and intrigue. His artistic collaborators are also incredibly well chosen and rival the work of mainstream professionals in the world of comics. You can check out Jon Lock’s Afterlife Inc. on his website here, or visit him on Facebook. You can also support Jon by buying his comic (and honestly, if you are looking out for one of the big up and comers in the world of comic writing, this is the guy!) on Comixology and Comicsy.
If you were one of the lovely people who followed my Kickstarter project, you probably heard me going on about Nich Angell and his amazing project 7String. 7String is one of those well honed, well crafted and beautifully drawn comics that simply leaps off the stands at conventions. It is beautifully coloured with a unique palette and fun, quirky style. The story is original and great for fans of music and comics alike. Not only that, the world is so full and rich it has leaked over into the world of Afterlife Inc. in the form of the Heavenly Chord. There are some very exciting things ahead for Big Punch Studios in the new year and all of you will definitely want to be in on the ground floor for this rise in indie comics. So be sure to add both Afterlife Inc. and 7String to your collection because these guys are set to take over the world of indie comics and I for one could not be more excited. You can check out 7String on Facebook or over on Nich Angell’s website.
I have been lucky enough to sit by Subversive Comics for two conventions this year – Dublin MCM and Birmingham MCM – and I can safely say these guys are some of the most encouraging and inspiring professionals in Indie comics. Their brand is extremely well honed with a range of clothing, plushies and of course the amazing comics. The art is both fun and gory at the same time and I never get tired of hearing the pitch ‘think Care Bears meets Walking Dead’. These guys are what independent comics are all about – a niche you never thought you needed until you saw it! You can visit Subversive Comics on Facebook and buy their comics via Comicsy.
The Heart of Time
Sarah Millman, the artist and writer behind The Heart of Time, is both extremely talented and incredibly sweet. She is part of what I like to call the ‘Taffia’ of independent comics (i.e. the ‘Mafia’ from Wales) and I am proud to know this gal. She makes every con I appear with her at that little bit more fun and this fun, quirky edge is evident in her brilliant comic The Heart of Time. Time traveling pugs and motorcycle driving blue haired girls, what more could you want? You can visit the Heart of Time Comic on Facebook and she also has an official website here.
I fell in love with Reaperfox’s art when I first saw her stall at a convention what seems like an age ago. I am lucky to count this wonderful artist as a friend now after sharing many a con with her and getting to know her and her awesome art. She, like me, is a gamer and a fan artist – and what a fan artist she is! From League of Legends to Team Fortress, Doctor Who to My Little Pony, this artist always has something which I will covet until I finally get it (I am the proud owner of the original ACEO of her LOL Poros and it is just adorable). You can find her website and blog here, she also has a RedBubble Store and an Etsy Store. If you do decide to grab something from her Etsy be sure to sign up to the site using this link for £5 off your first purchase (the money still goes to the artist!)
If you have been to a comic convention this year, chances are you have met Steve Penfold, the fantastic artist behind Moon, a detective comic book series starring (you guessed it) the Moon! Yes, the Moon himself comes down from the sky to fight crime, because… well, why not! The humour in these comics is great and Steve’s style is brilliant and unique. Issue 3 was very excitingly released this year after much anticipation and Beyond The Bunker Comics have managed to create a loyal and large fan base of comic book aficionados and new comic readers alike, and with such an interesting and original story and style it is not surprising. Be sure to check out BTB and Moon on Facebook or their website. You can also buy Moon via Comicsy.
Stiffs was one of my first ever experiences of online crowd funding, back in the day when Kickstarter was only for Americans and IndieGoGo was the only way to go…go. Set in South Wales, this zombie comedy follows members of a call centre as they (and their pot smoking alcoholoic talking monkey) decide to take on the undead for themselves. Reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead, this is a must have indie comic for fans of horror comedy. Most of the guys involved in this comic are moving along in the world of indie comics to great and exciting things from working with major publishers to creator owned material – so owning this book marks you down as owning a piece of indie comic history in the making – not to mention owning a brilliant indie book with some amazing art. You can find Stiffs on Facebook and buy the book on BigCartel or Comixology.
Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or not, The Pride is a must have for any comic collector’s shelf. Putting the fun back into the superhero comic, with big bold colours and even bolder characters, The Pride is one of the most exciting comics in the world of indie publishing right now. Championing diversity in comics from LGBTQ, to race and body image, to the creators themselves, The Pride is a force to be reckoned with in the world of pro-active comics. I have been lucky enough to sit by these guys at several cons in the past and it is always so nice to hear the stories of the people who keep on getting inspired by these books, whether it is the young boy having just come out of the closet being bought the comic by his proud mum, or an older comic collector who is just happy to see his sexuality represented in the medium he loves. You can find The Pride on Facebook and buy the book on Comixology.
Lou Scannon… gettit? Loose..? Cannon? This is a comedy sci fi adventure which has become a staple comic of UK conventions with a team as funny and generally fun as the comic itself. The art is brilliant with a unique cartoon style that compliments the jokey atmosphere of the book and the world that is created has been very well established (we’re now on Issue 7!). The team behind this book are incredibly talented and all progressing amazingly in the world of comics, so again this book series is also a piece of comic history, so grab yours now! You can find Lou Scannon on Facebook or their website and you can buy their comic here.
In Ear Entertainment
Breaking away from the world of comics for a moment, but still solidly in the realm of publishing, In Ear Entertainment is a fantastic UK based publisher who creates original audiobooks and podcasts. The talent of the writers involved with this company is awe inspiring and In Ear manages to find brilliant VO Actors to create well read and atmospheric audiobooks that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With a wide range of publications from sci fi to horror, short stories and comedy, In Ear has something for everyone at extremely reasonable prices. A perfect stocking filler for any book lover this Christmas. With the popularity of Audible and electronic media, audiobooks are on the rise, and this is a company you definitely need to listen out for (see what I did there?) You can find In Ear Entertainment on Facebook or purchase their books direct for there website.
There are honestly so many other companies, comics and creators I would love to include on this list, but if I keep on going by the time I publish this post it will be Sunday! So please, if I have missed you, or if you would like to add yourself to this list, feel free to link to your business in the comments below so that the readers can check you out. If you have made it this far, thank you so much for checking out the list. Please take the time to check out these amazing creators. I am lucky enough to call each of them my friends and they have all been so supportive of me, so take a look at what they do.
Even if you can’t afford to support them by buying their comic or work, a like or a comment on their pages is enough to let them know that you appreciate what they do. Have a great #SmallBizSatUK and speak to you all soon!