Looking Back on Comics Barcamp 2011

The West’s first un-conference focussing on comics business and creative practice was held in Belfast last weekend. ICN ran constant updates in the run-up to the event.
Sadly, the event was not supported by the Irish comics publishing and retail community at large. There is conjecture this bodes poorly for the major Irish retailer, The Black Panel, which carries not only work by Beserker Comics and Atomic Diner, but several dozen smaller publishers. Although run as a non-profit, the market has been poorly supported by it’s clients.
On the other hand, the event was well supported by the press. Rising stars of local radio, Following the Nerd were on hand with a camera crew to talk to participants. Having quickly drawn large support internationally from the SF & Fantasy community, “The Nerd” as Philip Glenister described them, intend to include the footage as part of a pitch for a TV pilot, and to expand their Youtube profile. The group recently announced a 24 hour radio marathon as part of Children In Need, with offers of guests from across the cast of Star Trek and beyond. Mainland British and American press also picked up on the camp with Downthetubes and Forbidden Planet International taking the lead, and coverage on Broken Frontier, Panel Borders and Alltern8.

Despite the poor turn out, quality among participants was high. Patrick Brown nearly got a standing ovation for his piece, “Getting it out”, on alternative distribution. The event streamed live on uStream, and recordings of some afternoon seminars are available.

Streaming by Ustream
Paddy Brown – “Getting it Out”, followed by Andy Luke on “Digital Distribution” and a roundtable Dublin-Belfast Markets talk. (Volume booster/external speakers recommended)
Sponsors and participants alike have already been talking about future comics barcamps in Dublin, London and elsewhere over the year. Although final accounting is still to take place, a number of sustainable resources purchased are available should a group wish to run an event in Dublin. These include pads, pens, paper and catering items. Commenting on the structure, Patrick remarked, “Andy has set the ground-work for future events of this kind”.
Links: Comics Barcamp Belfast