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Delighted to be hitting the road again this weekend and heading to Lizzie‘s home city of Birmingham! Birmingham Comics Festival runs from 9am – 6pm this Saturday, 18 April, at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. And the line-up looks FANTASTIC!

CoverWe’ll be there with copies of political satire anthology CROSS, a brand new print run of Sentient Zombie Space Pigs 1 and 2, sketches, artwork and much more. We’re also happy to talk to writers and artists who are just starting out and want advice about, well, anything!

This is typically the point where I start to talk politics to draw attention to CROSS, so I won’t let you down. Given how much I love stats, here are some voting numbers from the 2010 General Election for you:

If you live in North Warwickshire (which takes in Atherstone, Coleshill and bits of Bedworth), a 0.1% swing in voting could unseat your current MP (though he’s avoiding that by not standing). That 0.1% could be brought about by the 33% of people who didn’t vote in 2010 showing up at the ballot box…

If you hail from Solihull, you’ve got a similar situation though with different protagonists. A 0.3% swing could topple Lorely Burt (Lib Dem MP for the past ten years after an eternity of Conservatives). Voter turnout was better last time round, at 72%, but there are still a lot of unfilled ballot papers.

And what of Edgbaston itself, home to this year’s Birmingham Comics Festival? Well, kudos to Edgbaston for having returned a female MP every election since 1953. This year, the only woman standing is current MP Gisela Stuart (Lab), suggesting that the other parties have missed a trick when it comes to local history trends. It would take a 3.1% swing to unseat Gisela Stuart. But – and here’s the biggie – turnout in 2010 was a pitiful 60%. Yep, that’s right. 28,000 voters in Edbgaston did not show up to vote in 2010, and the election was won by just over 1,200 votes. And you think that voting doesn’t make a difference??

And that – folks – is the point of CROSS. It’s not just about poking fun at people in power. It’s about using comics, humour, storytelling and art to engage people with the ideas and issues that make up the way we organise our world and the ways in which we live.

Anyhoo: we’d be delighted to see lots and lots of folks at Birmingham Comics Festival on Saturday. Come and have a chat, look through our comics, look through everybody else’s comics and generally have a great day out!Usual Suspects FINAL