Carnegie Hall and The Little Shop of Heroes

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I was in Little Shop of Heroes, Dunfermline, signing Death Sentence London on Saturday – and I heard the most amusing tale about Andrew Carnegie, of ‘Carnegie Hall New York’ fame. Did you know he was born and educated in Dunfermline, Scotland? And that there’s a Carnegie Hall there too? Neither did I. More on that story in a minute.

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In the interests of transparency I should admit that in my supreme ignorance I didn’t even know Little Shop of Heroes existed until about six months ago, so to arrive late (one way system, parking, no change, re-parking, walking, apologizing) and find the downstairs room packed with new and old Death Sentence readers was a lovely surprise.

Little Shop of Heroes turned out to be the perfect comic shop: small, focused, well ordered, well stocked, helpful, and very friendly. A must visit.

I was directed to a small downstairs room with rows of chairs arrayed across the width, silky black cloth over tables and walls, and basic lighting – all of which evoked the pleasing air of a 1920’s anarchist meeting. Or an eccentric 1960s strip club. And I was the entertainment >gulp<!

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Entertain us, comics gimp!

I like to give a short talk about the craft of writing and the comics biz on these occasions  – just to add value for a more general audience. So I rambled on  about generating ideas, plotting, learning the craft of story construction, dialogue, panel descriptions, marketing, publishing, and the specifics of Death Sentence itself for as long as people wanted. Then we had a Q&A,  everyone bought the book, and I gleefully signed everything thrust my way.

Nestled within the interesting crowd was Rick who was a big time supporter of Death Sentence from back at the very beginning, and who owns the most amazing page of Mike Dowling artwork ever. I’m really quite envious of Rick.

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Rick and his orginal framed Mike Dowling artwork. Bastard!

Suffice to say that if every signing and shop was run as well as Alby runs Little Shop of Hereos then believe me, there would be no troubles in this world.

So, to Andrew Carnegie and the fact people don’t realize he was born here. It was a crisp and sunny spring day, so I wandered around Dunfermline marveling at the centuries of history exuding from these ancient buildings. As is my way I fell into conversation with an elderly Scottish man who told me he’d seen an American lady ask a passerby what there was to do locally, and get directions to Carnegie’s birthplace just 200 yards down the lane. The American lady thanked him, moved on, and then ignored the tip. So this elderly guy approached her and explained that he himself worked at the Carnegie Museum, and the birthplace was indeed just down the road, and it really was worth a visit. To which the American lady smiled and walked off, saying

“Gee – you Irish really do have a great sense of humor.”

Death Sentence London by me and Martin Simmonds is available from comic and book shops worldwide, priced £14.99/$19.99, at 160 pages from Titan Comics.

 

 

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