It would be very difficult to compare this years comic festival to another comic con as there isn’t anything else like it in the UK. If you’ve eve read a comic there will be something that will interest you at Thought Bubble. I’d probably go as far to say that Thought Bubble has grown so big over the years it’s probably the most important event outside the USA for comic creators and fans.
I’ve went to the first Thought Bubble comic con and I’ve been to most all but one or two since then but this year pretty much nailed it in terms of true epicness.
In terms of guests from the comic industry we were totally spoilt, dozens world class comic book legends assembled in one location happy to meet and greet fans, it’s a really amazing feeling having read so many comics this year and being able to meet the people on the creative team and being able to ask them to sign your favourite comics. One table I missed this year was the Elephantmen team, they have been at every other TBF that I’ve been to but only Boo Cook represented this year, although I did manage to find Richard Starkings to sign a few new issues.
One of the main highlights for this years comic festival was being able to meet Korean artist Kim Jung Gi who doesn’t visit England often and to have the chance to meet him, get books signed and watch him draw was amazing. He’s got a very unique style and approach to drawing which I think sets artists like Kim apart from so many. A truly inspirational person. I’m not sure how the organisers of TBF16 managed to get him there but I hope they can get him back in the future.
If you’re an artists the festival is the best place to be to network, you can get feedback from veteran artists who are always happy to help and give advice and you can also pitch your comics to publishers like Image Comics and 2000AD who have helped launch so many careers by headhunting the top talent in the industry from events like this.
Each year the convention gets a little more refined and this years festival was almost perfect, they were based at Leeds Dock which is a short walk from the train station. There they used the big halls to house tables and also put up Marquee in the middle to make use of the space which was used for more comic artists dealers and all the VIP signings. One of this years VIPs was Mike Mignola who created Hellboy and worked on the movies, he’s a very cool guy to meet and again I hope the organisers manage to bring him back in a few years time.
The comic festival isn’t just about meeting the big names in comics, the main highlight of Thought Bubble for me is to get to see all small press / true indie comics. One of the new ones I was introduced to this year was Attic Studios who made a few comics but one called Lou Scannon really called out to me, it’s a sci-fi comedy, almost like Red Dwarf but a much ruder comic form of it. I’d love for more comic shops to stock work like this but it would be impossible and that’s one reason why digital comics are becoming so popular now.
This year was the first that let me stand behind a table for the first time and help drum up some interest in a Super Robot Mayhem comic. Producing my own comic is something I’ve wanted to do for maybe twenty years and thanks to the Subversive Comics, friends I’ve made from Thought Bubble I’m one step closer. All we had was a preview of a few pages but people picked them up and seemed to really like them, I also managed to get feedback from a few legends in comics like Richard Starkings and John Wagner which was really encouraging. Thanks to TBF16 I was even able to ask Transformers legend Andrew Wildman to do a sketch of the title character which is going to inspire us to keep working on the comic.
Things I’d change: It was a pretty amazing weekend but Thought Bubble has grown so much in the last ten years or so and the organisers did an amazing job of giving everyone an opportunity to show off their work but there was way too much to fit into one weekend. I could have probably spent a whole week just talking to artists and not made it round to everyone. At this point I really hope Thought Bubble decide to do two conventions a year and spit it up, maybe one in May and then keep the November one. The interest is there and they don’t have any problem attracting the biggest names in comics anymore. Another thing that would be cool is to split up the halls in comic genres maybe, like a sci-fi, superhero, fantasy section etc. It would make it easier for people to find new comics they are interested in and discover new series related to others.
Overall Thought Bubble has become a really unmissable event if you’re even remotely into comics. The comic legends that Thought Bubble attracts aren’t seen at any other UK based comic convention and it’s well worth attending each year.
Posted by Adi Mursec on November 6, 2016
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