A sign that the UK creative scene are eager both for conventions and the opportunity to queue, exhibitor tables for Leeds Thought Bubble Convention went on sale yesterday at 1pm, and had sold out by 3pm. This follows a very recent trend in the UK for conventions to sell out exhibitor tables at an increasingly quick rate, and it’s a double-edged sword for UK comics.
It’s great that Thought Bubble has so quickly managed to sell out all the tables, of course – it shows that there is a growing mass of creative talent who want to show off their work at a well-praised comic convention. On the other hand, it highlights the fact that there is a growing mass of creative talent in the UK, who want to show off their work at a limited-space convention. The UK, being a smaller area that the US, is easily travelled across, so writers and artists (and inkers, and colourists!) are not stranded in their own region. Welsh people can go to Scottish conventions, Scottish people can nip across to Ireland, and everybody can get to London in hours. So the entire comic book industry can decamp to every convention, and fill it up.
Many other conventions are starting to feel this rush, now – Glasgow Comic-Con, which is a smaller convention than Thought Bubble, sold out of tables in just over a day. And it means that creators now have to fight for their place. There’s been a lot of talk over the ol’ social networks today about how quickly Thought Bubble booked up, with many people now on the waiting list in case somebody else drops out, and much talk of table-sharing now setting into place. I noticed a few familiar names amongst those who can’t make it, including inker Guillermo Ortego, artist Kristina Baczynski, and Edward Ross.
It seems that there’s a lot more talent out there now who are able to publicise and offer work at a convention table than ever before. Now we have the internet, creators can make comics quicker and rapidly amass quality material to sell and share at conventions. So with the increased number of new artists and writers, it becomes pot luck as to which of these myriad creators will be first in the queue once tables become available. It’s brilliant news for conventions, and a sign that the comics industry – especially at a small press/self-published level – is still surging.
It also means that many writers and artists are going to have to set up a fringe bubble convention in a nearby pub.