Factor Fiction 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and 40 illustrations; a heady mix of professionals from film, television, novels and comics, alongside the very best unpublished talents, many of whom have since gone on to great success.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 creators.

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 female?

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 to glory...

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...


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