Joe Stone, the current organiser of our networked W.I.P. Comics group has put together the very first WIP Work Anthology! A self published comics anthology featuring mini-comics from Lara Callaghan, David Bzatt, Carryl Sorene, Aled Lies, Peter Morey, Steele, Chris Hazledine, Zach Cobb, Nick Bryan & A.I. Miller, Elisabeth Flett, Rebecca K Jones, Alexandre Szolnoky, and Bruno Stead. All inspired by the theme of ‘Work’.
What is WIP Comics?
JS: WIP stands for Work in Progress, and it’s a group where aspiring comic makers of any kind and any experience level can get together and discuss their latest projects. We meet monthly at the Royal Festival Hall at London’s South Bank Centre and offer feedback and constructive criticism to each other, discuss our work, techniques, printing and all other aspects of making comics. It’s very informal and relaxed and I’ve personally found it hugely helpful for the comics I make.
How do you want to expand WIP?
JS: I’d love it to be able to expand beyond a monthly meeting to a community that can really help aspiring creators. The anthology book is the first part of this. The next step after this is to hopefully arrange some workshops to help focus on particular parts of the comic making process.
I’d like it to be able to support artists and writers in a way that’s more than just talking, but having actual real influence on their output and visibility in the comics world.
Why you make did an anthology?
JS: All working on something together at the same time seemed like the next logical step from the monthly meet ups. I liked the idea of us all being able to have a singular focus and sharing our progress with each other whenever we met each month.
I also wanted to give an opportunity to some of the group’s members who had never released their work to the public to be printed and published for the first time. There are so many talented people who come along to our Meetups who either lack the resources or the confidence to get their work out there, so to be able to help with that was a big part of my goal.
Why did you choose the theme ‘Work’?
JS: We threw around a lot of suggestions for what the theme of the book could be, and we settled on work as it was something everyone had experience with and could relate to, and it left it nice and open to different interpretations. It’s also the first word of the name of the group, so that helped.
How much are you selling each anthology book?
JS: It will be on sale for £6.00, with all the profits go back into the group either straight to the contributors or to be put towards our next project.
Where will it be on sale?
JS: It will be debuting on my table (table 51A in the ComiXology Marquee) at Thought Bubble Festival on the 22nd-23rd of September in Leeds City Centre. It should also be on the tables of a few other contributors as well including Christopher Hazeldine, Rebecca K Jones and Peter Morey. After that it will be available to buy online at https://wipcomics.bigcartel.com, and hopefully in various comic shops around the country and any other comic fairs I attend later this year.
How much does the table cost at Thought Bubble?
JS: Getting a table at Thought Bubble first requires you to go through the application process. There are hundreds of people who apply for a table but only limited space, so unfortunately it’s not as simple as just purchasing a table. There are a few different sizes and prices you can apply for, and I have a half table this year which I believe was around £45.
If you want to exhibit there in the future then it’s best to keep an eye on their website and social media channels for when applications for next year will be open.
What you want to do next?
JS: I’d love the group anthology to become an annual thing, and I think it would be great to be able to expand on it next year in terms of scope and how many people are involved. Beyond that I’m also really interested in helping people publish their individual work, whether that be via simple advice, technical help or hopefully even financial assistance. Anything that can help bolster the careers or output of people who want to make comics.
What you want the anthology to lead to?
JS: My biggest hope is that it gets the word out about the incredibly talented people who contributed to it. If it helps get any promotion for anyone and leads to them being able to continue making comics then I’ll consider it a success.