Thought Bubble is the favourite UK comics event for many, both fan and creator alike, and it’s easy to see why. The event is practically a love letter to comics, and is gaining popularity every year. Well organized and well attended, the enthusiasm in the air is almost infectious.
The mix of comics and creators available is inspiring, with everything from children’s comics (and children’s books) to European science fiction, and professional comics artists and writers to creators attending their first convention.
The event has been growing every year since it started, though thankfully this year the crowds weren’t too bad (as long as you avoided the line for John Romita Jr.). I did hear more than one creator say they hoped in future the convention would expand in some way, possibly to two days.
Before I dive into the photos, I’ll mention that one creator who has worked for DC was accidentally sent an extra comp box of comics last month. They decided to bring them along to Thought Bubble and give them out to anyone who wanted some. The last comic remaining near the end of the day? Outsiders by Dan Didio. Eep.
It was only the second con for Things in Panels (Nick Soucek (left) and Simon M), but they did pretty well with their comics (featuring ghosts!) and the awesome bicycle magazine that Soucek (and fellow comics creator Warwick Johnson Cadwell) have contributed to.
Neill Cameron, creator of Mo-Bot High from the DFC Library, was kept busy drawing robots all day. The launch party for Mo-Bot High is this Friday in Oxford. And watch this blog for more on the DFC Library soon.
Sarah McIntyre, creator of Vern and Lettuce, was kept busy running a popular kids section where you could make aliens, draw comics, and who knows what else. She also met Gillian Rogerson, the writer of her children’s book You Can’t Eat a Princess, for the first time. It was also Rogerson’s first comic event, though she seems to have survived unscathed.
Check out those aliens!
Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine had copies of his new collection “Find Comet, Hit Comet, Watch Comet, Sleep” and spent the day keeping his handmade Twitter account updated (the most recent update in this picture says “There are far too many crotches on display at Thought Bubble #TB10”).
While Joe Decie‘s facial expression may not show that he was having a good time, his double thumbs up indicates otherwise.
Aaron Murphy had the fun idea of doing a comic about actually attending Thought Bubble itself. Unfortunately due to losing a bet he’d shaved off all his hair the week before, leaving the drawn version of himself unrecognizable!
Ian Edginton has more UK comics out than I’d realized, writing a number of serials for 2000AD as well as the series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations from Self Made Hero. He has more (top secret) DC work coming up, but asked me not to mention it online.
Marc Ellerby unfortunately didn’t have any copies of Chloe Noonan #3 for sale, due to a printer’s error. He did have lots of original art for sale, include some from the story he did with Kieron Gillen for CBGB.
Fans desperate for new comics by Ellerby were at least able to pick up the newest Solipsistic Pop anthology, which isn’t actually in this photo of “Sloppy Pops” editor Tom Humberstone. Well, you can see the upper right-hand corner.
Nich Angell debuted the oversize, full-colour zero issue of 7String, and apparently drew many strange commissions throughout the day.
Philippa Rice made this amazing diorama of the characters from her webcomic My Cardboard Life attending a comicon. It features miniature versions of loads of amazing comics, which could practically be used as a checklist for what to buy at Thought Bubble.
This was the first UK event for John Allison since attending the New England Web Comics Weekend and posting his indie comics manifesto. He sold out of the Bad Machinery collection early on and apparently isn’t going to reprint it, drat.
John Romita Jr. was kept busy either sketching for fans or participating in panels and talks where he discussed his career, and the (several) times he almost quit the comics industry back in the ’90s because of how he was treated by several editors.
Barry Kitson has in the past said that Thought Bubble is “Definitely the best show the UK has!” and he looked like he was having a good day doing water-colour sketches for fans.
Unlike Tony Harris who looked like he was having a terrible day, but actually wasn’t. The posters behind Harris showed off some of the art from creator-owned title The Whistling Skull that he’s doing with B. Clay Moore. It’s set to be released by DC next year.
Paul Cornell is excited that sales on Action Comics seem to be bucking the trend and going up with each issue. He told me his original plans for Action Comics #894 featured The Black Racer, but he figured might as well gave Neil Gaiman a call and see if he’d be able to use Death instead. Since Gaiman ended up writing about half of Death’s dialogue it seems to have worked out well.
Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo (with Sean Phillips in the background). Fegredo’s next Hellboy story, The Fury, is due out in April of next year.
Becky Cloonan didn’t expect to be at Thought Bubble this year, so she only had art from her upcoming issues of Northlanders on hand. She was disappointed there wasn’t more hiphop played at the after-party, but does have fantastic taste in fashion as she said she liked my hat.
I caught Gary Erskine doing this magnificent drawing of a Spider-Hello Kitty, though he did wonder how I managed to happen by at that exact moment.
Erskine’s also been drawing comics about malaria and other diseases for a project by the University of Glasgow and the Wellcome Trust for Molecular Parasitology.
Mezolith artist Adam Brockbank was looking a bit tired at the end of the day. Thankfully his art still managed to look great.
Of course the clear high point of every Thought Bubble festival is the dance party in the casino afterwards. This time the DJ set was a Phonogram vs. Thought Bubble battle, as Phonogram creators Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen (and friends) hit the decks against some of the Thought Bubble organizers. Exactly who won is still up in the air, though the dance floor was quite filled for much of the night.
Gillen couldn’t stop dancing and singing along even when he was DJing. Sadly I didn’t get a better photo.
Sunday was considerably more relaxed, with the only events being some workshops, discussions, and the announcement of the winners of the Northern Sequential Art Competition. Here you can see Timothty Winchester and others drawing up a storm in the library/art gallery cafe.
There are a lot of other posts about Thought Bubble out on the internet, but this one concentrating on the academic conference on comics is interesting.