404 Ink and BHP Comics on collaborative publishing

404 Ink and BHP Comics on collaborative publishing

Scottish publishers 404 Ink and BHP Comics are partnering to bring out a graphic novel anthology in celebration of the centenary of women gaining the vote in the UK. We Shall Fight Until We Win celebrates a century since women gained the right to vote inthe UK in 1918, and the "many pioneering women who have been, and are part of the ongoing fight". The Bookseller spoke to 404 Ink’s Laura Jones and BHP’s Sha Nazir to find out what it was like working together.

Why did you guys decide to collaborate and what has it been like working together on this title?

Sha Nazir of BHP: BHP and 404 have a lot in common. We are both relatively new, independent publishers creating books outside of the mainstream in Scotland. This book is very timely and we realised that, working together, we could create a book which was beyond the usual scope of our respective houses and push it to be a success. Working together on We Shall Fight Until We Win has been a great experience. Heather [McDaid, co-director of 404 Ink] and Laura are such a powerful team who bring with them a lot of expertise in the area of anthologies and it's brilliant to be part of that.

Laura Jones of 404 Ink: It's fair to say we've had a substantial admiration for BHP Comics since they established. We share very similar opinions on how publishing could and maybe should work and what books should be given the space they deserve.

What do you most admire about each other?

SN: 404 Ink is a powerhouse which you can't help but admire. I think, though, what is most striking about 404 is their determination to create what they identify as missing from the book industry and from the market, catering for overlooked or underestimated readers out there. They are a good influence on Scotland's publishing scene.

LJ: We knew of them in the early days when they were known as Black Hearted Press and have loved watching them grow from strength to strength, truly making a place for comic creators in Scotland. The Mighty Women of Science is a title we particularly admired BHP for and beyond their publications, their insane convention organisation skills in bringing Glasgow Comic Con to thousands per year - that's truly something we're in awe of. They're carving out those spaces for comic lovers in Scotland that maybe weren't as prominent before. They're an important organisation and we're very lucky to be working with them.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

SN: The title comes from one of the original Suffragette banners and slogans. We Shall Fight Until We Win, as a title, highlights the fact that the work suffragettes began hasn't yet been completed but their purpose is being upheld by the generations which came after them. Both in Britain and internationally there is a lot of progress still to be made for reaching equality, especially in politics. Westminster is, after all, 48th in the world for representation of women, with women making up only 32% of the House of Commons.

Do you have any plans for future collaborations?

SN: We would love to work with 404 Ink in the future. Making We Shall Fight Until We Win with them has been great and I am sure you will see more from this pairing on your bookshelves in the future.  

This interview is part of The Bookseller’s Scotland Country Focus. For more stories and interviews from the Focus, click here.