London Underground Comics was set up in October 2007 by Oli Smith, who managed to grab together an elite team of comic creators from around London to help him man a weekly market stall every Saturday in Camden Lock Market. Starting with five creators, the stall attracted the attention of dozens of fellow small pressers who submitted their comics to be sold on the table, peaking at around sixty different artists over the summer.
The stall was a fantastic social event, forging friendships that went beyond the casual acquaintances developed on the mainstream convention circuits. It also introduced many new people to the world of comics who otherwise either wouldn’t have been able to afford a convention’s table prices or who simply hadn’t known that such a thing as self publishing existed.
LUC went on to hold two comic festivals in the center of Camden Market, with universal profit making and beautiful weather, the events attracted hundreds of visitors and hosted sixty creators each time (details of these events can be found on the Past Events page).
As well as their own events, London Underground Comics has exhibited at the ICA, helping promote ComICA- a week long comics event on the Mall, and was interviewed for the Radio 4 show; Word of Mouth and has appeared regularly On Alex Fitch’s Resonance FM show Strip/Panel Borders. The stall has also been endorsed by such comics luminaries as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
The Camden Stall was closed at Christmas 2008 after over a year of selling several thousand comics to the general public. We felt that although the Camden market idea works, the remit of LUC has always been to try new things and explore new avenues of raising awareness of small press.
London Underground Comics is organised by Oli Smith, Sean Azzopardi and Oliver Lambden, but special mention must also go to Jake Harold who designed all our fliers and logos, Francesca Cassavetti who made our convention signs as well as Phil Spence and Dan Lester for all their general behind the scenes work and enthusiasm.
London Underground Comic’s last event was held on the 27th of June 2009 in Project Space 176 and combined animations, DJ’s and comic selling with a family friendly atmosphere, free tea and coffee and a bar. The event was free to all exhibitors and as such marked the fulfillment of LUC’s initial remit. At this time there are no further plans for future London Underground Comics events, as Oli and Sean pursue their personal work, but I’m sure they’ll be back one day…