Alas, this new shininess was not to be my route to fame and riches. Although the tiny tea comic was declared the "coolest thing here!" by everyone (er, right) except maybe the young man who said "why did you do that? why would anyone do that?", most of the people who came by my table were off the other tables, and as desperate to make their return bus fare as I was.
Still, I ended up making enough to cover expenses (read: to pay for the next round of ink for the printer), which is always nice, but I'm a long-time distruster of mall-type comics events, and this did not dissuade me.
Small, brightly coloured, shiny.
It is, of course, always nice to hang and jaw with the things and the people who make up the scene, to drink and look through other people's sketchpads and swap comics (although, weirdly, almost no-one was doing that this year -- maybe some rule I'd missed? the organisation is done in forums for the Thing and I got non-recoverably pissed off with internet forums sometime in 1992) but it's nicer with heating and a bar so we did most of that in the evening at the local Wetherspoons where they won't let you in unless you take off your hat. The gang from Camden Comics Mart joined us, and they'd sold their Tiny Tea Comics too, so I got a bit more money and some overexcited chat about the next big event (which does sound great, actually).
On a personal note, it was good to be there and not ill, injured or recovering, as well. The worst I felt was some mild angst when at some point in the evening someone snapped at me and I was suddenly besieged by a sort of feeling that I should up my game or piss off out of the subculture. That I wasn't trying hard enough or I'd have gotten "somewhere" by now. And you sort of open your mouth to answer that one and then shut it again, because different people want different things and that's part of what makes the scene so varied and interesting. Of course, I do have a point to make, but it's not one that's going to endear me to anyone who's looking to "break into comics". That art's not something to be reserved for just a few privileged creators, but ought to be open to all, that zines and comics, precisely because of their cheapness and accessibility are ideally suited to this, that creativity of some sort should actually be available to all, it should be on the list of rights ... and yeah, I know. Starry eyed DIY enthusiast, scrappy amateur, self-redefining failure -- whatever arguments you've got, I've had them before. With Neil Gaiman. Before you were born.*
Not that wanting to break into comics is wrong, though. Not at all. Well, perhaps that one guy who came up to the stall and told us we'd do much better if everything was about one character and he was easy to draw and instantly recognisable. He was wrong. But then he'd probably just been on a course, and isn't that great? To think I should live to see comics creation taught in colleges, and not just one college, but lots of them.
I confidently expect my jet-pack. Any day now.
*I may be exaggerating.