Alumni from Teesside University set up comic book publishing company

Founded by comics creators James Brady, Tom Philipson and Theo Pickering, CoCo Comics publishes digital and physical comics and anthologies.

Popular titles include The Magician’s Curse, Strange World, and AzeVentures.

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The team, whose shared passion for comics brought them together while studying at Teesside University, also organizes events to support other comics creators and they look forward to hosting CoCo Comic Con next month.

After the successful start of last year’s inaugural event, held above a pizza restaurant, the team wanted to expand for the return.

Tom Philipson, 22, from Gateshead, said: “The first CoCo Comic Con went great, it was really amazing. I’m really looking forward to the next one because I think it’s going to be bigger and better.

“It’s still cool to have comic artists in a room and hang out and sell stuff together, but we hope to do something different and exciting every year.”

With its event, CoCo Comics wants to highlight the importance of comic book creators. Tom added: “I think it’s always good to remind the makers and exhibitors that they are the sole reason the events are happening. They are not second fiddle to an actor from Doctor Who or Star Wars, they are the backbone of the event. I think that’s the ethos of what we aim to do with every event we host in the future. The creators come first.”

While studying at Teesside University’s School of Arts & Creative Industries, James, Tom and Theo began discussing their plans for the future.

After bonding as members of the Comics Society, the group decided to join forces and start their own business with support from Teesside University’s Launchpad FUEL program, which helped them through access to workshops, mentoring, resources and funding to boost their business.

James, 25, from Hebden Bridge, graduated from Teesside University with Bachelors and Postgraduate degrees in Comics and Graphic Novels. He said, “The Launchpad FUEL program helped sharpen our focus on what we wanted to create with our company and got us thinking about the brand we’re making.”

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“We managed to get a grant that got us through our first year of production — printing, getting other artists to collaborate, paying for travel to comic cons, and so on.” It was really instrumental in helping us were able to take off.”

Tom added: “It’s a great thing for people to be able to pitch their business idea and potentially get funding for it. If you have the passion and a good idea, you will support it, so it’s very exciting and motivating.”

Lizzie Dixon, Enterprise Officer at Teesside University, said: “The Launchpad FUEL program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with fantastic support to bring their business ideas to fruition, but one of the most important things participants need to bring to be successful is passion.”

“Even then, James, Tom and Theo’s passion for comics was evident, and we’re delighted they continue to share that love with the general public as their business grows.”

CoCo Comic Con will be held on Saturday, June 24th from 10am to 5pm at The Storey, a historic building in Lancaster. Alumni from Teesside University set up comic book publishing company

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