The Return of REDEYE: A Magazine Dedicated to Promoting Independent Comics

by Benjamin Williams
2nd January, 2024
3 minutes

If you are a fan of independent comics in the UK, you might be familiar with REDEYE Magazine, a publication that showcases the best of the small press scene. REDEYE Magazine was launched in 2003 by Engine Comics and the Accent UK collective and ran for six print issues and one digital edition before going on hiatus in 2009.

Now, after a long absence, the magazine is back with a 60-page REDEYE 2024 Annual, featuring interviews, previews, articles and reviews of some of the most exciting and diverse comics being produced today.

REDEYE Annual 2024 cover

Redeye Magazine was praised for its news coverage, previews, articles, interviews and reviews. The magazine was unique in that it treated every small self-published comic with the same respect and interest as major releases from mainstream publishers like Marvel and DC. 

In 2009, Editor and Publisher Barry Renshaw put Engine Comics on hiatus and went on to work as a freelance production editor, artist, designer and writer for magazines such as Comics International, Multiverse Magazine and others. 

The reviews for Redeye Magazine were overwhelmingly positive. SFX Magazine called it "Excellent" and "a vital read... it has never failed to impress"; Aintitcool called it "a must-have"; and DownTheTubes said it was "simply brilliant."

REDEYE Annual 2024 Preview one

Barry Renshaw has been a regular face at UK comic conventions for the past twenty years and has recently provided art for the launch title from publisher Cutaway Comics, the four-issue fully painted Doctor Who spin-off series Lytton.

He puts the decision to revive REDEYE down to the current state of UK comics.

"The diversity of comics available now from independent publishers and small press creators is extraordinary. I'm overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of choice, and at the last Thought Bubble, I began to feel the excitement again in comics I used to feel back in the early 2000's. Obviously, so much has changed in the interim - technology, distribution, printing, crowdfunding, multiple social platforms - and it felt like the right time to bring it back, twenty years after that first issue, to reassess where we are now."

The lineup for the latest incarnation of the magazine includes cover star Gustaffo Vargas, the spicy Peruvian talking about the streets of future Lima City in Anticucho; Time Bomb Comic chiefs Dave West, Steve Tanner, and David Morris talk about bringing independent anthologies back to the newsstand; writer Joel Meadows and artist Andy Bennett talk about having the Worlds Greatest Consulting Detective face homegrown fascism in their alternate history graphic novel Sherlock Holmes and the Empire Builders; co-founder of Comics Youth Rhiannon Griffiths MBE talks about how comics are saving lives in marginalised communities with Graphic Medicine; and artist Beck Kubrick and writer Christof Bogacs cross timezones to talk making friends on Twitter, crowdfunding and intense work ethics on Meat4Burgers: Welcome to Burgatory.

REDEYE Annual 2024 preview two

The Annual is a test of the waters for the editor to see if there is still an appetite for this type of magazine, and if so, future issues will include more interviews, reviews, and articles. Renshaw asks readers and creators alike to get in touch via email and be involved.

"Ultimately, the magazine is there to highlight the most interesting new work being done, while also putting that in the context of what has come before. There are great champions of this online with the likes of Andy Oliver and Broken Frontier and John Freeman with DownTheTubes. REDEYE is just one of a very long and distinguished line of news and reviews magazines, and I think it's important to look at the past as well as the future with retrospective articles alongside interviews and previews of the newest kids on the block."

Engine Comics will also make scans of the previous issues, long out of print, available to download "in all their messy, typo-filled, naive but well-intentioned glory."

Print and PDF copies are available at https://enginecomics.gumroad.com/. And a review will be coming, so keep an eye out on our reviews for that!

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