A year ago, Banter Books was just an idea. It had a dozen or more names, no longer, no website, and three creators. There were no books lined up for publication, just a goal: to put out work in 2017. None of us – Paul Carroll (me), Gareth Luby, or Tracy Sayers – had produced our own comic before. Tracy and Gareth had worked together on an 8-page comic before, with Celtic Knights, which granted them some measure of experience, but nothing self-driven, and Tracy’s first book was falling through without an artist.
The idea was to create an anthology of four stories. We wrangled in Venus de Vilo to do art on two of them, while Gareth would illustrate the other two. Then, Gareth became too busy to work. Tales You Think You Know was made from the remaining stories by Tracy and I, which we launched in April, at K-Con.
Shortly after that, Tracy signed Trisha O’Reilly up as artist for Freya, and I was signed up to work on Forbidden Planet’s Small Press Day event. Gareth didn’t have a comic, and my brother wanted to produce one from his own character. I churned out scripts for both that they could manage. For Gareth, this meant an 8-page zine: How to Live With Your Cat (When Your Cat is an Internationally Renowned Assassin), featuring Frankie, from the comic that he’d wanted to include in the anthology. For Conor, it meant an 8-page first issue of Chuck. Both books were ready to launch in July. For Tracy, this meant writing and printing four short stories: Freya: The Helpers.
Dublin Comic Con approached shortly thereafter. Gareth finished Meouch: Operation Bad Dog. Rather than put off publishing it for when Gareth might have a second story done to mimic the publication of Tales You Think You Know, we decided to publish Meouch in the same format as Frankie’s first book, and Chuck. At the same time, Tracy published Freya #1. We were officially in business, with all three of our creator-owned titles now at conventions, after something of a rocky start.
Myself and Gareth ended the year with a set of Frankie badges – inspired by Tracy’s inclusion of Freya badges at Cosmic Rebels Con! – and Frankie’s First Colouring and Activity Book for Grown Up Kids. Gareth also decided to start working on some short Meouch comics for online release, to fill in the gaps between his other comic-related work: sketchcards for Marvel!
To mark the end of the year, we’ve just opened our Etsy store! It currently has every book that I worked on – everything I could get my hands on during the Christmas period! You can find it here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BanterBooksIE/
We’ll be back in 2018 with more comics, more news, and more banter. (And I’ll actually keep the blog up to date!)