While the event is going to be packed with creators working in the mainstream and will play host to stands from several top publishers including The DFC, the event is also going to be packed with indie creators selling their wares, trading ideas and generally pushing the British comics industry further forward.
• First, a plug for Bulletproof #2, published by Bulletproof Comics (www.bulletproofcomics.co.uk), the brainchild of TOXIC editor Matt Yeo. The 80-page issue, 33 pages in full colour includes contributions from Dave Hailwood & Tony Suleri, Jim Alexander & Jon Haward, Paul Harrison-Davies, Bulent Yusef & Dave Thomson, Alan Grant & Alan Burrows, Stuart Giddings, Lee Langford & Klaus Belarski, John Freeman & Mike Nicoll, Rik Hoskin, Thomas Crielly & John Doran. Check the Bulletproof web site for more details, web comics and more.
• Daniel Fish's latest Minicomic will be making its official debut at the Show in Birmingham. For a sneak peak and some info go to fish1000.blogspot.c
• Lee Thacker has two new books that will be on sale at at BICS and can also be purchased online at www.lulu.com/leethacker. The first is his response to the Holocaust, Yellow Stars. The other is the first annual Raw Shark anthology which includes work I've been doing for other people, including indie legends The Wedding Present. Look out too for the first issue of Succubus. (His 800-page graphic novel One For Sorrow, introduced by Dave Sim, and other titles by Lee are also available from www.lulu.com/leethacker. Page samples can be found at www.comicspace.com/leethacker).
TimeBomb Comics, headed up by Steve Tanner, will have its second title, Dick Turpin And The Restless Dead drawn Andy Dodd on sale. (They have several more projects in the works, too). When notorious highwayman Dick Turpin stumbles across a deserted village following his latest highway robbery it seems the ideal place to hide out. But the village is not as empty as it first appears – and Turpin soon finds himself surrounded by hordes of rotting, hungry zombies! You can read the first five pages of the strip in their ComicSpace gallery.
“This release is our take on the zombie comics bandwagon that’s been steadily trundling through the last few year,” explains Steve, “and after the time-bending mind-twister that was our first comic Ragamuffins: Stitches in Time, Andy and I both readily agreed that our next one-shot should be something completely different, if only to prove to ourselves we weren’t a couple of lame one-trick ponies.
“I fancied doing something historical, Andy wanted to draw horses, but something extra needed to be added to the mix., he adds. "The missing ingredient came from my catching sight of a one-off promotional piece that Andy had done a few years ago featuring a zombie infested sewer, and the realisation that not only could Andy draw zombies – he could draw great zombies.
"The comic is a real historical romp which features all what you’d expect from a comic featuring the iconic legendary highwayman: Black Bess, highway robberies, Flintlock pistols, the immortal line ‘Stand and Deliver!’, and zombies. Lots of zombies!”
• Indiemanga, a group of artists and a writer based in the UK and Ireland will be launching its first book, Origins, at the Comics Expo: this is an anthology of comics as well as one prose story. "It features several manga which got to the finalist stage of Tokyopop's Rising Stars of manga," says group member Azure, "as well as all new material." More information from the Indiemanga web site.
• Keep a look out for Tim Perkins, whose Wizards Keep project is the culmination of many years spent working in Comic Books, Children's Books, Theme Park Conceptualisation, and Animation Conceptualisation. Check out the stunning Worlds End Ashcan here.
• As I said above this is a handful of what will be available at BICS. If you miss any of the great independent comics on sale at the event, you can always almost certainly find copies via Smallzone, read by BICS co-organiser Shance Chebsey. Visit their main website at www.smallzone.co.uk