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Trailer Park and Gob-Smacking Merchandising

Trailer Park on its first outing into the Wild

Last weekend was significant for two reasons: Comica’s Comiket was the first comic convention of the summer season (makes it sound like Royal Ascot when you say it like that…). But it was also my first outing at a show with “…Trailer Park…” out in the world and ready to be purchased. Felt pretty good. I held down the fort with fellow Myriad author, Darryl Cunnigham whose book “Science Tales” has its launch tonight at Gosh Comics in London. If you’re free, you should go along. Not just because Science tales looks to be a stand out book (we sold out on Saturday) but also because Gosh is one of the best comic shops I’ve ever been in!

On Friday, I had a little bit of time. Still being new to this idea of my comic being out in the world and not just stacked on my desk, I wanted to have a look round and see if I could find it loping through the literary landscape. Here’s what I found.

Shocked Sister in Law!

Now, of course, Dave’s Comics, one of the best comic shops in England, has copies in stock. Awesome to see however that, one week after my signing there, they’ve still got copies in the window, as evidenced by proud/shocked look on the face of my sister in law.

Trailer Park at WH Smith's in Brighton

I was happily surprised to see that the WHSmith’s, on the ground floor of the shopping centre where I work for the day job in Brighton had a copy.

Then went round the corner to the local Waterstones. I’d checked in there previously and had seen that they didn’t have it, so I was pleasantly surprised when on a second visit, they’d clearly ordered it in.

Trailer Park in Waterston'es in Brighton

I was in London for a work meeting Thursday so decided to swing along Charing Cross Road and see if the book had grown some legs in the Big Smoke.

Trailer Park at Forbidden Planet in London

In spite of spending the first 18 years of my life in the wilds of Idaho in the US, the conservative nature of the state meant that the first comic book store I ever set foot in was Forbidden Planet in London. My grandfather, twigging to the fact that I was always nose down, scribbling in a pile of paper, somehow discovered that there was a curious store that sold nothing but books with curious pictures in them. He was a doctor, and I don’t think would have known a comic book from a pamphlet by a Marxist radical, but it was unbelievably sweet that he found the shop and took me there.

So you can imagine my little kid joy when I popped in and found that not only did they have both version (soft and hard cover) but they also gave it a cover facing and had it in two spots! Warm gushes of geeky joy bestilled my cartoonist/fanboy heart.

But the best was just round the corner at Foyle’s. If you’ve not been to Foyle’s, you need to get your butt down there soon. It’s not a comic book store, it’s a Book Store (in capitals), in the same way that a shop that still sells vinyl is a Record Shop. They’ve got something for everyone, including a formidable collection of graphic novels.

I walked in and had a look round wondering what I might find and to my utter amazement was greeted by this table. What should I see at the end buy “…Trailer Park…”

Trailer Park at Foyle's on the Far Side

Seeing it on the table was one surprise, but then it started to dawn on me who my neighbors were. Regardless of where his politics have recently taken him, I’ve long been a Frank Miller fan and his new “Holy Terror” was on the same table. One of his stated major influences, and a figure so lauded in the franco-belgian bande desinée scene that there’s statue of his main character in the Hollywood of comics, Angouleme, is Hugo Pratt. And there on the table is a recent English edition of a set of Corto Maltese stories (the Pratt Corto Maltese stories were such a big influence on Miller that he names a global hotspot that figures as a major plot point in “The Dark Knight Returns” after the character).

Then there’s Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s “V for Vendetta”, now world famous to people who know nothing about the comic because of the appropriation of David Lloyd’s Guy Fawkes mask design by the global Occupy Movement. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know David a little bit and have a beer from time to time at Brighton’s Cartoon County meetings (which is also where I met my publisher).

Then there’s a recent comics super star Craig Thompson and his exquisite tomes, Habibi and Blankets. In writing pitch letters to agents back in 2005/2006, I referenced Thompson and his work as a touchstone for what I was trying to do in my work (although if he and I ever got in a pen and ink fight, I be bruised and bleeding on the floor before he ever broke a sweat; that man’s got skills!).

Then round the other side, there’s Bryan Talbot and his anthropomorphic, Victorian Steampunk series Grandville right next to his recent collaboration with his wife Mary Talbot about her relationship with her father and the parallels with the lives of James Joyce and his daughter, “Dotter of her Father’s Eyes.”

Then there are a couple of collections of Gilbert Shelton’s legendary underground comix “Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”.

Trailer Park at Foyle's London Near Side

But, finally, the most stopping of my gob was my book’s immediate neighbor. Alan Moore was already well represented by “Vendetta” and “From Hell”. But just off the side of my book was his and Dave Gibbons’ legendary, genre destroying and redefining “Best Superhero Comic of All Time” “Watchmen.”

To be in such company is a fanboy’s greatest dream. My only hope now is that everyone who reads the book and enjoys it tells a friend. And that “Trailer Park” can grow the legs and the readership that could justify such exquisite placement.

Thank you to all the great retailers for 1) choosing to carry the book and 2) for giving it such wonderful placement in your shelves.

I’m already hard at work on the next ones!

2 Responses to Trailer Park and Gob-Smacking Merchandising

  1. Richard Barnes says:

    And deserved it is too Nye. Chuffed for you!!