is Jay Eales and Selina Lock. Born in the year 2000, our
first project under the Factor Fiction imprint was the highly
acclaimed unofficial Doctor Who fanthology Walking In
Eternity. Published in 2001 in order to raise funds
for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death (FSID),
it was a perfect bound book with 366 pages, 44 stories and
40 illustrations; a heady mix of professionals from film,
television, novels and comics, alongside the very best unpublished
talents, many of whom have since gone on to great success.
After this, we
turned our attention to the world of small press comics.
Unsurprisingly, given the number of comics professionals
involved in our previous publication, we continued our ethos
of showcasing the best new talent alongside established
At the Comic Festival
in Bristol in 2002, we launched our ongoing anthology title
The Girly Comic, edited by Selina Lock. It was originally
conceived as a vehicle for her own writing, and that of
other women, and aimed at a female audience (primarily the
comics widows who are dragged kicking and screaming by their
boyfriends to comic conventions) As submissions started
to roll in, it was clear that a rethink was in order, as
most submissions were from men!
I suppose that
we shouldn't have been surprised given the ratio of male/female
comics readers, but it left us with a dilemma. Should we
reject an otherwise stonkingly good comic strip, just because
the creator has a Y chromosome? And if we did adopt this
policy, as an unknown quantity, would we be able to attract
enough quality material to fill each issue? Would we need
some kind of test to prove that our creators were indeed
And yet, if we
opted for an open submission policy, where's the hook? What's
so Girly about it? In the end, we settled on a compromise:
Anyone can submit story ideas/scripts for consideration,
regardless of gender or genre, as long as there's a female
protagonist, and the editor likes it. As simple as that.
It seems to work,
and has led to an eclectic mix of styles in any given issue
- oh, and although we have a handful of recurring characters,
every story is complete in each issue, so readers can feel
safe in picking up any issue at random without fear of missing
out on half the story. Though, of course, we hope that they'll
want to buy all the other issues anyway!
Fast forward a
year, and British comics readres voted The Girly Comic
4th Best Small Press/Indy Comic in the National Comic Awards
2003, behind the likes of Fred The Clown by Roger
Langridge and Jack Staff by Paul Grist.
Fast forward another
year, and we placed 2nd, ahead of both the aforementioned
gentlemen! It's unfortunate that there won't be a National
Comic Awards in 2005 to see if we could continue our rise
With The Girly
Comic firmly established, we decided to launch a companion
title in order to publish strips which didn't really fit
within the Girly remit. KissKiss BangBang (not to
be confused with the title of almost the same name from
CrossGen that came along some time after our first issue)
launched in 2003, using the gimmick of appearing as a flipbook
on the reverse of The Girly Comic #3. Well, it was
cheaper than a hologram cover!
In the meantime,
Jay had been writing strips for another small press comic,
Violent! edited by Mike Sivier. Launched in 1999,
Mike was finding it increasingly difficult to devote time
to producing the title, and Jay was increasingly writing
more and more of each issue. So, after some discussion,
it was decided that Violent! should replace KissKiss
BangBang, and come under the umbrella of Factor Fiction,
leaving Mike free to concentrate on the creative side of
things, while we handle the publishing and promotional side
of things. Issue 6, published in 2004, was the first Violent!
published by Factor Fiction, changing format from
its original A4 size down to the standard A5 size of all
Factor Fiction publications.
And that's the
story so far...