For many people the 4th of October was a very important day filled with entertainment, networking and some very serious perusing. This was due to the return of Bristol’s Comic and Zine fair. Now in its third year, the annual event plays host to an assortment of comics, posters, illustrations, artist books and artworks by independent and DIY publishing houses. Attendees were treated to a fine selection of styles ranging from the downright weird to the strangely profound and the event saw a great turnout with all 60 stalls busy until closing time.

Comix Fair

I spoke to a few different people which had important advice for aspiring comic artists, storytellers and illustrators. This year has been curated by Bear Pit Zines.“Talk to everyone in the business. Everyone’s so friendly”, they say. Wolf Mask, who has worked with Don’t Panic and Kerrang!, said to just keep “Doing what you want to do!” and things will happen.

In association with Decadence Comics and Breakdown Press, Lando’s work offers a refreshing take on the world, as beautiful as it is eerie. Vast deserts see lonely travellers picking through the bones of places that have long since been. This near-future dystopia is dominated by its sense of baron futility and is drawn with style brimming with life while dripping in death. A compendium of Lando’s short stories comes in the form of a very aesthetically pleasing book named “Gardens of Glass”. I spoke to Lando about what advice he can offer after his 6 years of professional work and his pointers ring true today more than ever –  to “self-publish on the internet and in paper, and just keep it cheap and do what you love.”

Credit: Chris Duncan
Credit: Chris Duncan

At nine years old, Reuben and Max were definitely the youngest contributors, but were in no way out of their depth bringing to the table not just a zine, but a well constructed and wonderfully realised “conservation conversation”. The aptly named “BARK” is out to raise awareness about the rainforest and the issue of deforestation with a series of stories, facts and pictures. All proceeds from sales go to the World Land Trust, so you can do your bit for the environment while enjoying the adventures of “Tree Man, a mix between a tree and superman” created by Max.

This was a testament to the variety and sense of acceptance that the day inspired. For all those who attended, the day was an intimate one that felt inclusive, very unpretentious and truly welcoming. Anyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to make it this year, pencil this in your diary, as it’s one not to miss. Get yourself down there and make sure you take your inquisitive side.

By Caspar Ash