John Allison's UK Indie Comics Manifesto

Bad Machinery and Scary Go Round creator John Allison has just returned from attending some comics events in the USA and he’s written a 10 point manifesto about what he believes is wrong with the UK indie comics scene. It’s useful reading for anyone involved in making comics, whether they live in the UK or not.

2. Small press: it is not 1994 any more

There are comics on the internet now. If you’re good enough, have a decent website, and keep a reliable schedule, you can have a whole career there. The notion of the primacy of a photocopied quasi-zine “small press scene” in the UK is ludicrous. 1 in 4 people in the world can speak English. Questionable Content has half a million readers. It is not rocket science.

4. Forget what you learned at art school and read some business books

You need entrepreurial chops to make a living from your art, or the help of someone who has them. It’s not that hard. You copy someone who has already succeeded. It usually works.

7. Diary comics: stop it

If your only comics outlet is a diary comic on the internet, you are wasting your time and your energy. The success stories in this field are the product of people with strong, often eccentric personalities and a robust visual vocabulary, capable of turning their lives into a compelling narrative. The 200 people who read your diary comic, on the other hand, all make their own dull diary comics. Or are about to start.

Read the whole thing on Allison’s blog.



  1. There’s some sound business advice in here, but I got excited when I saw the word “manifesto” and hoped there would be more of a statement on content.

    The closest he comes to this is saying, roughly, the overwhelming majority of diary comics suck and comics are inferior to prose.

  2. Concise and all good advice!

  3. Well said Mr. Allison!

  4. I think the commons sense nature of these comment attests to the ongoing struggles of the UK indie scene. It’s a shame!

  5. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    That last point is so right(in both the US and UK) and so chuckle worthy!

  6. moubius44 says:

    give us a smile :)

  7. Telling people to stop doing anything creative, be it comics, writing, painting, scrapbooking, etc., is a ridiculous notion especially when coming FROM a creative person. If a someone wants to do a diary comic or a mini comic or whatever it is that fulfills them, I say go for it. Have fun and create. At the end of the day comic creators do it for themselves. (at least the good ones) Fans, T-shirt sales on your website, are a result, not the reason.

  8. Bob Cobbs says:

    Randy, the first point Allison makes in his article is that “there is always room for hobbyism and art for art’s sake” – this is aimed at people wanting to take their work further.

  9. “Diary comics: stop it!”

    Ha ha ha!
    Sentences like that prove it: less really is more. I love it.


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