#SYPcon | Ahead of his appearance at the 2020: A Publishing Odyssey (ticket info here, just saying), Sha Nazir, Art Director/Publisher at BHP Comics, takes us through a Day in the Life of a bustling comics publisher…
As an artist, I’ve always had an interest in comics and been heavily involved in the community. Over the past five years or so, I’ve headed up BHP Comics. Starting as a collective before evolving into a fully fledged publishing company in 2013, we produce comic books and graphic novels, as well as play a role in a number of events across Scotland and beyond. We also founded the Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards (better known as SICBA), which has celebrated local up and coming talent since 2011.
A typical working day for me starts around 8am and, while I try finish at 5pm, some nights I’m in the office until 7 or 8. My mornings always begin with a full inbox (I’m definitely prone to checking my emails outside office hours!) but my work can vary depending on the time of year. I try to schedule all my meetings for the week on a specific day as I need to spend as much time as possible at my desk! BHP Comic’s Editor-in-Chief Jack Lothian works between London and Bangkok, so we keep in touch via Facebook throughout the day. My tasks range from drawing, production and design work to liaising with distributors and retailers to ensure our titles are stocked as widely as possible.
As I write this, I’m putting the finishing touches to Rai Con, an anime convention I’ve helped organise, which takes place in Glasgow later this month. I also arranged for tickets to July’s Glasgow Comic Con go on sale later today – the event has grown so much over the past few years we’re moving to a bigger venue for 2016 – although we won’t release any more line-up details until May. I’m also thinking about Edinburgh Comic Art Festival, which is happening for the first time in November. At the moment, events take up about 40% of my work time! I also have an artist coming into the office to go over notes for upcoming title Mighty Women of Science.
It’s an exciting time for BHP Comics, we have so many great releases coming up. We’ve just launched the first issue of Rok of the Reds, a series with comics legends Alan Grant and John Wagner at the helm, and Comic Inventions, a deluxe box set celebrating the world of comics past and present, which is in conjunction with an exhibition at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery, both launching March 18th. While we aren’t accepting submissions right now – we’re expecting to open our inbox to pitches again in April – looking over potential new titles is usually a huge part of my job. We have to be ruthless (last year we received over 70 submissions and accepted two!) but we’re open to all sorts of stories… except superheroes. We don’t do superheroes.