Posts Tagged ‘Fast Fiction’

Fast Fiction info sheets

Sunday, February 27th, 2011


I’ve started to add scans of the Fast Fiction info sheets, which I hope will do something to enhance readers’ understanding of the history of the UK small press. These four-page pamphlets contained listings of small press comics as they appeared, offering what was then a form of “instant” recognition. As Nick Jones has expressed it, “Fast Fiction was the name of the ’80s scene’s mail order distributor (with Elliott and Pinsent in command, as well as Paul Gravett), not to mention the name of the table the outfit had at the regular London Westminster Comic Marts. Essentially, Fast Fiction was the hub around which countless small press comics creators twirled, and the means by which one bought small press comics back then. The way it worked was, you either bought comics off the Fast Fiction table at the Westminster Mart, or picked up one of their four-page flyers, chose the titles you liked the look of, and sent in your order form and money.”

My collection starts in October 1982 with #7 of these sheets, which marks the date when I first went to the Westminster Mart. If anyone has copies of #1-6, please get in touch. I’ve scanned everything quite large to allow for maximum legibility, although the text isn’t OCRd (if you read them, you’ll understand why). Later years will be soon added to the resource, so watch this space.

Illustration on this page is © Eddie Campbell 1983/2011.

Fast Fiction #1

Sunday, February 28th, 2010


Our thanks go to David A. Simpson, a long standing reader and collector of UK small press comics, who kindly sent us scans of the covers of Fast Fiction #1 from his own copy. He also provided the catalogue description of the contents.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen this artwork, an early example of Phil Elliott‘s quirky humour and distinctive use of Letratone. David also sent us scans of the Fast Fiction Catlog 1989, which isn’t a comic but a listing of the Fast Fiction back-stock I produced in an attempt to sell various unsold items. This missing piece of the jigsaw now completes the Fast Fiction cover gallery. Well, almost. Neither of us can identify the artist who drew the back cover of FF #1.

Budden and Brock

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Down The Hole
To our great delight we were recently contacted by Tim Budden who got in touch by email from Taiwan. In the 1980s, this Welsh artist contributed his extraordinary badger stories to issues of The Wimp, which he co-published with Mike Hemsley and other art school friends, sometimes working under the alias of T.N. Neddub. He also contributed to Escape and Fast Fiction. Using the figure of Brock The Badger (which could be read as an alter-ego), Budden created strange rural visions of a life beneath the ground, where the activities of the badger community seemed to connect to long-forgotten and semi-magical burial rites. They often got the better of the human beings who wanted to kill them and stuff their bodies. The stories, and the unusual way they were told, have puzzled me to this day, but what’s also striking is Tim’s powerful black and white artwork, and the strong patterns he could make from arrangements of the badgers’ pelts. Since his distinctive work never appeared on the covers of The Wimp, I have reproduced (with his permission) some examples for Budden’s page on this website. Now let’s hear from the man himself and what he’s doing now:

“I spent many years being a teacher and a non-artist. I realised that that was due to some kind of cultural dislocation. I couldn’t find a connection between my art and Taiwanese culture, then I discovered paper cutting and since then have produced numerous cuts using a kind of silk paper. It has a graphic and sculptural quality I really like plus it is all about story telling. So for the last 4 years I’ve slowly rediscovered the artist in me and have a website, which is about to be updated big time and a blog.”

“The badgers are there still, but nobody is sure what a badger is here, which makes Brock’s role more difficult. Even North Americans are confused. The North American badger is a real mangy looking nasty beast – more like a rat weasel than the gentlemanly badger I grew up with in the UK. I have a new character called Daniel, a cherubic curious asexual child. In Taoist philosophy the innocent child is seen as embodying the best way to experience the world – curiosity unencumbered by indoctrination – a pure openness coupled with playfulness. Since following this path of working I’ve been working up to producing a longer cartoon strip called Lost in Forest Wild. It is a work in progress and bits of it can be seen on my blog.”

“As to the history of The Wimp, I remember the high point was when the National Library of Wales asked for copies and gave us an ISBN number. For me the whole Wimp FF Escape thing is still important. Last year I even got a fan letter from a guy in Kent who told me how moved he was by the badger tales, so much so that he became a wildlife officer in Kent. Every time he picks up dead badger roadkill he always pauses for a moment and thinks of Badger Tales and Brock!”

Small press galleries update

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Many thanks to Russell Willis, the editor of a fanzine called Infinity in 1984-85, who sent us a link to his Facebook galleries of UK small press cover art from his personal collections. “Feel free to use whichever ones you feel fit,” he adds encouragingly. I’ve added a few of his images to the first gallery and I’m sure his collection will be extremely useful for filling gaps in future additions. I regret I’m currently unable to credit the artists, or ascertain dates, for some of these comics.

UK small press galleries opened

Monday, July 6th, 2009

gallerybanner1We’re starting to build a gallery of UK small press cover art from the 1980s (and 1990s). The first gallery (A5 titles A-D) opened today and further galleries will be added over time. I hope the collection will build into a fairly representative sample of the unusual and imaginative small press comics and stripzines published in England in this period.

We are publishing these covers online since we regard these artworks as an important and neglected part of UK comics history. If you are one of the artists and you object to this, please contact me if you wish to have your cover removed from the site. Conversely, you should also contact me if you wish to further the enterprise and submit any further examples of small press comics from this period.