January hotspot pt 1

This month, we are starting a new feature on the SDGS page, as announced late last year. We are running a monthly ‘Hotspot’ feature, to showcase some of the hidden gems and talents the South West has to offer.
This month we are kicking off with a special double feature:
We would like to introduce to you GNASH Comics and Graphic Novels, and also local comic artist and illustrator, Lee O’Connor.
So let’s start with Gnash:

1) Please introduce yourself and your business to our readers
Gnash Comics & Graphic Novels is an independent shop for the many comics fans of south Devon! Our aim is to stock the most interesting comics and graphic novels from all levels of the comics scene, all over the world! Our mature graphic novels section is unrivalled outside of, say, Soho, but we have a children’s and teens section too and new comics arriving every single week from the United States. We also do art books, prints and games too. We’re always putting on events like signings and panels with comic creators as well as hosting workshops for people to have a go themselves.

2) When did you first start doing this? What led you into this area of work?
We’ve always been interested in comics ever since we could read and that never went away. There are stories being told in comics, the like of which you don’t find anywhere else, and it’s up to us to get them out there, into people’s hands so they can see the incredible things people are doing with this medium.

3) Give us one unusual interesting fact about yourself.
We sell to some famous people too y’know… We’ve had Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and John le Carre in the shop going mad over the graphic novels…

4) Do you have any plans or special events coming up that our readers would want to know about?
We’re relaunching our online shop: we’re now doing our online shop listings in advance, so you can order your American comics and collections before they’ve even reached our shores!
Elsewhere, we’re now of a high enough level on the Wizards of the Coast Play Network to give people previews of new Magic: The Gathering sets before they’re on general release! We also have unique goodies and lots of different free promo cards to give away for coming to Gnash and playing Magic. February brings our next How-to-Draw Manga workshop with manga book author Keith Sparrow and our Storytime events for kids under five will be continuing too. So it’s all happening, just as usual.

5) if you weren’t doing what you do, what do you think you might be doing instead?
Somewhere behind a big pile of comics and graphic novels, just reading them instead of selling them!

6) Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?
I think it’s got to be Ms Marvel for being so groundbreaking; a young teenage, female, Pakistani-American superhero! Everybody loves her and we’re no different. Captain Marvel – Carol Danvers – is a close second: she’s the young-professional air-force pilot who goes into space! Oh and there’s Spider-Gwen too, Gwen Stacey with spider powers (and trouble finding gigs for her band). And Batgirl… Hang on, we were only supposed to go for one, weren’t we?

7) What is your guilty pleasure?
There are no guilty pleasures in comics! If I had to dig around I’d say the ‘Garbage Pail Kids’ comics from IDW for being so lewd, but they’re so well done. It’d be like we’re putting them down, which we would never do.
A genuine guilty pleasure is the Moondog CD next the Gnash stereo…

8) Who do you most admire and why?
The folks who blazed a trail, selling indie and small press comics and graphic novels in ‘bricks-and-mortar’ shops. All of the creators out there, whether they’ve just inked a Hollywood movie deal or are just stapling their first home-made mini comic. They’re the ones keeping us all going: thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Please check them out on Facebook, Twitter (@Gnashcomics) & at http://www.gnashcomics.co.uk.


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