Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival has announced its dates and first wave of guests for the 2022 edition. Sadly, within an hour of the guest announcements, the news broke of the passing of longstanding British comics artist and legend, Ian Kennedy. A bittersweet day.
The first seven guests to be announced included writers Gail Simone, G. Willow Wilson, and Magdalene Visaggio; alongside star artists David Aja, Rafael Albuquerque, Christian Ward, and the late Ian Kennedy.
Thought Bubble 2022 will take place across the week of November 7 to 13, with the main con (as always) capping the lot off on November 12 and 13.
The loss of Kennedy seemingly overshadowed the news for many, with an outpouring of grief for the artist – who was 89 – was found across social media.
His former publishers at D.C. Thomson – he contributed covers and features for their longstanding Commando comic while in semi-retirement – and 2000AD were among those offering tributes.
It is with heavy hearts that we pay tribute to our dear friend Ian Kennedy.
His legacy in the comics world will continue to inspire and bring joy. For Commando, Ian was our Squadron Leader and our best pilot. We salute him.
Our thoughts are with Ian’s family at this time. pic.twitter.com/H19M2JPLxe
— Commando Comics (@CommandoComic) February 7, 2022
— 2000 AD Comics (@2000AD) February 7, 2022
Not only was Ian Kennedy still doing conventions as recently as 2019, he would make a point of visiting every table and personally wish everybody good luck before the doors opened. Truly one of the nicest people in comics.
— Dan Whitehead (@DanWritehead) February 7, 2022
RIP Ian Kennedy.
An amazing artist. An even more amazing person. Kind, humble and genuine. I want to be like him when I grow up ❤️
It Does NOT Have to be a Bloody Masterpiece!!! https://t.co/S6rixTAX49
— Tula Lotay (@tulalotay) February 7, 2022
The Dundee-born artist’s enormous body of work began in 1949 when he joined the Scottish city’s stalwart comics, magazine and newspaper publisher D.C. Thomson as a trainee illustrator. Kennedy’s iconic art was a staple of many childhoods, typically on boys’ war, action and science fiction titles. He was still at the drawing board into his 80s, as an interview in a Scottish newspaper last year attested.
Thought Bubble has been running in the UK since 2007. It was created by Lisa Wood (known as artist Tula Lotay) and began life in the city of Leeds, in the county of Yorkshire. The festival soon outgrew its metropolitan city setting. In 2019 it rebranded to a Yorkshire comic art festival and has resettled in the historic town of Harrogate. Peripheral events still take place in Leeds but the main con is in Harrogate’s convention centre. The 2020 show was affected by the pandemic but the event returned in 2021 with covid safety protocols zealously (and thankfully) kept.
Lutay has also recently announced her decision to step down as festival director to enable her to focus her energies on her busy artistic schedule.