NEWS: The monthly Black Market is no more!

The monthly Black Market is no more. Operating out of the Black Box, (a sponsored charity, club and community cafe), the market had been running monthly since 2008. It was run by volunteers “Ryan O’Reilly and Helen McDonnell as an outlet for local artists, designers and purveyors of fine crafts to show and sell their creations in the sheltered, friendly environs” (source) From there it was run by Alice Quigley, an employee of Trans Urban Arts, a group initially set up to provide an alternative to the July 12th Orangefest.
In December of 2009, Paddy Brown and I took over a stall uniquely selling around thirty Irish underground comics. Between us, we missed perhaps one date. The qualifications for entry were that the comic must be by Irish creators and self-published or small press. Though we made exceptions: such as the work of Rob Curley’s Atomic Diner and the Beserker Comics’ The Dead, which teamed the local Brown brothers with Fabry, Grant and Bisley.
Once up and running we charged creators a 20% cut on sale price to go back into the £10 Paddy paid for the table. This went up to 30% last year. The event was promoted on Twitter, Facebook, Paddy’s blog and in a series of 8 columns on the experiences at which regularly attracted 500-1,000 views (source) We sold at the spin-off markets, Chilli Fest (over 1000 visitors), Black Books, and for a short while expanded to The Red Barn Gallery, were a similar Market was offered.
We treated Belfast to the work of Phil Barrett, who immediately encountered a cult following. The city got it’s real first exposure to SuperHilbo!, DeBarra’s Found, Shanley’s Fugger, the work of John Robbins, Paddy Lynch, Brown’s The Cattle Raid of Cooley, andmy original 24hour comics Absence and Gran.
So, I’m a bit sad this seems to have come to not an end, but a drastic slow-down. The re-titled Black Box Bazaar (now run directly by the Black Box) will open only occassionally, the next one occurring on December 11th. There is nowhere in Ireland that offers any kind of service like this.Some may see it as a small matter, this blow to the Irish comics sales network. And I think that’s exactly the mindset we need to have, so that in Ireland we can re-tool for newer venues and take our audiences with us.
Recently, I had an offer to do something similar, from the Red Barn Gallery. This would require self-organisation and promotional work on my part and everyone who takes the opportunity they offer.There are a number of things which could be done, and should be done as part of this. I talk more about these in the unscripted second section of the recordingcast-thang
Andy Luke