Every month here at comicsclub.blog Hannah Sackett will be shining a spotlight on some of the great work being done at Comics Clubs around the country, to share some amazing kids’ comics and to help give you ideas you can try in your own groups. Let’s get things started with a visit to beautiful Yorkshire!
Name of your Comic Club:
The Team Ketchup
Where do you meet and how often?
Once a month at Skipton Library, for a ‘Library Lock-in’ – we get to stay on after the library has closed to the public. When we’re judging for the British Comic Awards we meet once a week, but that’s only in the autumn.
Average number of members:
30 members as we can’t take any more and there’s a waiting list. Ketchup Splats! the junior section has ten children at a time on six week courses, we have run two of these so far, and are planning some more to
get more children involved.
How long have you been running?
We started in 2013, just as judges for the British Comic Awards Young People’s Choice, but it really took off in 2014 when we decided to publish our own comic and take it to Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival in Leeds, and we haven’t stopped since!
Tell us about your club:
We are aged from 10 to 17, with members from seven different schools around Skipton area and beyond, run by parent volunteers and one employee of the library. We all love reading comics or creating out own materials, and come together once a month to talk about our own comics, read each other’s materials, and make plans for events like Thought Bubble, Skipton’s Sheep Day and holding public comic-jams. We have published five issues of our comic ‘Pink Fluffy Ketchup Covered Flower Ponies ‘ (which was the original name of the group, but Team Ketchup is much easier to remember!) and have published a small run of the junior section’s comic Ketchup Splats!.
We originally bid for some money from Craven Dragons’ Den so that we could publish one comic, but it seems to have grown since then. We have exhibited at Thought Bubble three times, and last year ran the family area of the convention, inviting the public to comic-jam with us, draw a doodle for our awesome doodle wall, or just to drop-in and draw with us. We won the Craven Community Champions Arts Award in 2015 and were runners up for the North Yorkshire Volunteer Awards for Best Community Group.
We’ve had two artists come and do workshops with us and the public, Neill Cameron, creator of MegaRoboBros, Tamsin and the Deep and other Phoenix Comic stories, and Dan White, creator and independent publisher of Cindy and Biscuit. These were really helpful and made a difference to our comic drawing style. We’ve also worked with other agencies who have realised how awesome comics are for communicating information, and we had a commission from Rural Action Yorkshire to make some materials to go out to schools with one of their campaigns. Mostly, the group is a fun place to meet up, make friends, make and read comics with like-minded people and eat biscuits. It just so happens that the members are developing a lot of skills along the way – bidding for money, meeting and selling to the public, talking to professional comic creators, marketing their materials, time management, meeting deadlines, matching commission briefs, democratic decision making and creativity. But don’t tell the kids that!
Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share?
Comic-jams are always fun and a great way to get people to work together. At public workshops we’ve had people in from age 4 to 84, and so many of them say they can’t draw or don’t know how to make a comic until they see how easy it is to develop a story working with someone else. Probably the most popular activity are the end of term parties that involve a lot of cake and balloons!
Which comics should we be reading right now?
Ooh, too hard a question! With thirty members there are so many different styles and genres of comics that are favourites. The Phoenix Comic is always popular with all members, even the older ones love the stories and different styles – most of us voted for Lost Tales by Adam Murphy for the British Comic Awards, which was the winner –it is beautiful and interesting, and has such detail in each story. Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel are popular, Ghosts by Rainer Telgemeier, all the Hilda books by Luke Pearson, and of course, anything with Deadpool!
What are your plans for the coming year?
We will be creating and publishing Issue 6 in time for Skipton Sheep Day (yes, it’s a thing!) and will be selling the comic on a stall on the high street as well as holding a public comic-jam workshop. Last year we had over two hundred people so we’re hoping to beat that this year. We have plans to collaborate with the Reading Hacks and the Reading Agency in holding a competition to create some zines, that’s for the older members of the group. We might be able to run Ketchup Splats! again, depending on the older members of Team Ketchup who run it. We will be at Thought Bubble again, running the family area with drawing activities, and we might have time to produce another issue later in the year!
Many thanks to Alix for answering my questions! Find out more about Team Ketchup’s activities here: @theteamketchup
Please get in touch via the Contact page if you would like your comic club to be featured here!
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