Posts Tagged ‘Leeds’

Thought Bubble 2011

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

So we were at Leeds’ fantastic Thought Bubble Festival. Now twice as big and twice as long (snarf snarf), it continues to be the most fun event on the UK comic book calendar. Judging by everyone I spoke to and all the reports I’ve read, a brilliant time was had by all and I’m sure everyone who went is looking forward to the next one as much as I am. Would it be too much to ask for two Thoughtbubbles a year? Or three? Make it happen, Obama!

As I mentioned (moaned about) previously, my copies of Hope For The Future 14 had not arrived from the printers on time, but even with this potentially disastrous mistake, we still managed to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. I felt it was necessary to have something new  to flog, so I did a bunch of sketches of various comics characters (and not, as I had threatened while at my lowest ebb, a series of pics of cock and balls). People seemed to like them anyway, so much so that I struggled with the number of requests I got. The lesson we can take from this is clear: charge more money for them!

I accidentally got up an hour early due to drunk alarm setting and a poor grasp of the concept of time, but for once I was prepared and remembered to bring such essentials as a pen, some change and a bottle of vodka. I’m getting better at this conventions lark. What I haven’t mastered yet, clearly, is the art of going in for the kill, sales wise. Our fantastic brand new comic Pizza The Action, drawn by Award Winning Artist Andrew Livesey and written by me, was available for a reality shattering low price of 10p – officially the lowest priced comic at the convention (I decided). Look, I’m sure there was stuff being given out for free but this comic is actually good. I should have been screaming this at the top of my lungs every second of the weekend in order to publicise it. I would make a terrible prostitute.

The nearest I got to any cool creators was surreptitiously taking this photo of the top of Woodrow Phoenix’s head, and staring creepily at Peter Milligan from across the room. Never meet your heroes, kids. Especially if, like me, you are incapable of forming a comprehensible sentence at the best of times, let alone in front of someone whose work you admire.

There are always plenty of cosplayers at Thoughtbubble. I never tire of seeing stormtroopers. They look brilliant even if most of them are too short. At one point I passed The Joker at a urinal, which really isn’t something that happens enough in my life. Talking of which, this Harley Quinn was so perfect she could have sprung fully formed from the pencil of Bruce Timm. Mr J would be happy.

If you don’t want to cosplay yourself, you can always dress up your kids. I saw a mini Jedi and a mini Han Solo. Why doesn’t anyone dress their kid up as an ewok? Or Grievous?

Far too late on the second day I realised that we were opposite the bar prompting me to tell people Come over, buy some comics and get pissed! By this time, everyone (including us) was recovering from a hangover, but I reckon if that had occurred to me on the first day we would have sold ten times as many comics. Other ruses that we missed were procuring an endorsement from someone famous, and getting hot girls to pose for photos with our merchandise.

Contrary to my carefully constructed image of a socially inept curmudgeon, I did actually speak to some folks over the weekend. Apart from everyone who came to our table (hello), I had a chance to catch up with some old friends. Lee Carter’s a brilliant illustrator who’s currently doing some truly jaw dropping stuff for 2000AD. I knew him when he had long hair and listened to Steve Forbert. John Welding‘s a good pal and is currently doing some wonderful artwork for a new comic for kids called The Phoenix (incidentally, if you’re a fan of his work, he once drew a story I wrote in Hope For The Future issue 4). I hadn’t spoken to Terry Wiley for a while so it was good to bump into him. I say it all the time but his Sleaze Castle was a massive influence on my stuff and his new comic Verity Fair looks total aces. Also big ups to my convention chums and Twitter pals Jason Cobley (whose Frontier: The Weird Wild West collection is soon to be published in hardback) and Richard J Smith (who gave me a copy of his new opus Dino-Might, the everyday tale of a luchador who may or may not be a dinosaur). I hope I didn’t forget anyone. If I did, tell me off in the comments!

I dunno what my highlight was, but being mistaken for a student was up there. Or maybe when my new comic arrived THE VERY NEXT DAY! Argh! Ah well, there’s always next year.

More pictures over at Flickr – get taggin’!

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Thought Bubble 2012

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Another year, another Thought Bubble Convention in Beautiful Downtown Leeds. It was pretty much the same as last year’s, but better. Normally at this point, I would write a long rambling blog post about what I got up to, with lots of stupid gags and dopey sketches that I’d scribbled on the day. I fear if I were to do one this year I would be repeating myself. It’s still exceptionally well organised and managed, it’s still packed to the rafters with insanely talented artists and crawling with cosplayers of all castes, and it’s still the most fun convention we’ve ever been to.

This kid wins Thought Bubble - actually this kid wins at life!

People love that Harley Quinn - I saw at least seven of them

I tried to get around and have a look at as many artists’ work as I could – I think I must’ve managed about 3%, but I have since made it my mission to follow every single exhibitor (and most of the punters) on Twitter. I can genuinely say everyone whose work I have seen was really good. I could have done with seeing a few that were crap to be honest. The trouble with seeing so much great art is that I can’t decide whether it’s inspiring, or alternatively makes me feel like I should give up and set fire to everything I’ve ever done. I can’t be alone in this.

Here's a pic I drew for our pal Richard J Smith of one of his many characters, surly bat demon type thing Chainsaw

It looks like I'm about to be assimilated. I hate it when that happens. Of course all you need to do in this situation is start busting some dance moves and sing "We Are Here To Change The World"

As we were walking away from the venue at the end of the second day we came upon a weird little scene playing out. Some people were stood around watching another man stood above them on some steps, who was shouting at them. It entered my mind that it could have been one of those religious guys that stand in the centre of town at the weekend that yell at passers by about how they’re going to Hell, but as we got closer, it became apparent that the man was performing a soliloquay, and was dressed as Doctor Who (surely the easiest and least imaginative costume, next to “normal guy carrying gun”). Now if I was up on Doctor Who lore I would be able to identify what episode the monologue was from, and what its significance was, but, alas I must remain ignorant. But it struck me as something that just wouldn’t happen anywhere else. Our sonic screwdriver wielding pal wasn’t playing to a big audience, just a handful of mates, but he was having a whale of a time. It summed up the friendly, welcoming and diverse atmosphere of Thought Bubble. I haven’t worked out how quite yet, but as soon as I do you’ll be the first to know.

Love that Joker

Long time readers of this blog will remember we were interviewed back in ’09 by Spider-Girl. This video never emerged, and I presumed it was because our answers were a bit dull – possibly our thoughts were elsewhere i.e. trying to work out precisely what relationship this young lady had with Peter Parker. However we were interviewed again last year, and that video has just emerged. I wish I had shaved, and I keep pulling slightly pissed off faces for no apparent reason, but I do gush about how brilliant Thought Bubble is, so, y’know, Thought Bubble people – don’t ban me next year!

Thanks to: All at Thought Bubble HQ for the Herculean task of making the convention run smoothly. Andrew for being my sidekick on Saturday and making me buy him loads of drinks at the evening party. Harriet for helping me out on Sunday in the face of my terrible terrible hangover. Rosie for interviewing us, editing the vid and acting as if we are the big shots that we like to think we are although definitely are not. Everyone who came up to chat to us, and bought comics, sketches and prints – you people are what makes Britain Great.
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