Comics Anonymous


Thought Bubble 2013

Last weekend saw Thought Bubble come to its annual climax as a week long celebration of sequential art ended with the 2-day comic con on the Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th November…..and it’s safe to say that this event has become one of the most popular events in the Comics Anonymous calendar.

After missing last year’s event I was more than hyped to be hitting the road again and driving to Leeds in the company of my wife Fiona with Skunk Anansie blaring from the radio seemed to set the tone for a fun-filled weekend.  The promise of a bigger, better event spread across three halls and a typically high calibre of guest in attendance was more than enough to send this giddy, comic-book loving geek into over-drive……the only hope was that it would live up to expectations.

Sean Gordon Murphy

The thing about Thought Bubble is that there just seems to be something in the air on the run-up to it and during that seems to separate it from other cons.  It’s clear focus on comics & graphic novels and in particular the self-published creators is unique to this con in many ways – there’s no corporate vibe or heavy merchandising on the go – you’re getting stories and creations from people who are passionate about the latest issues they have displayed on their tables.  Even more of surprise in the earlier part of the year was just how quick the tables sold out……the timing of those being released clashed with a high number of the regulars being at London Super Comic Con and following an outcry at that – the Thought Bubble team pulled things out of the bag and released a second wave for a newly added third hall to the Con.

So ahead of going, there was more than enough to be hyped about as UK self-publishers would be well-represented and they’d be sat alongside some of the big names in comics.  The fortunate thing for this con and part of its charm is that equal playing field for all involved…..newbies, seasoned geeks, first time writers/artists and all-out comic book pros are there as a collective.  All loving the comics they read and produce and all willing to generally have fun, have a catch-up and meet like-minded people who are just as nuts about comics as you are.

Stephen Mooney

So Thought Bubble kicked off in typical fashion with a mix of comics, queuing and conversation and I’m pleased to say that the “magic” was still there.  The draw of Thought Bubble saw the likes of Fiona Staples, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Sean Gordon Murphy, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Geof Darrow, Ramon Perez and many more appear to chat, sign and laugh all in the name of comics.  This was the reason I came along……and although I missed out on a signature/sketch from David Aja…..I got my geek on with loads more signings and sketches.

I was lucky enough to catch-up with some of the creators I’ve come to know over the last couple of years and it was like I’d just seen them yesterday.  Catching up with the team at Accent UK, the team behind Lou Scannon (Kris Carter, Dan Harris & Jim Bampfield), Jon Lock at his Afterlife Volume 3 launch and the local creators from Glasgow and across the UK – John Lees (And Then Emily Was Gone), Sam Read (Exit Generation), Colin Bell ( Man behind Dogooder Comics and letterer on a million books…..roughly :)), Neil Slorance (Artist on Dungeon Fun and many other gorgeous books)  is all part of the reason for going to many of the UK cons but Thought Bubble in particular.

One quibble I have has to be with the additional hall and while it helped ensure more of the regulars were able to attend it was far from complete.  This took away from what always feels like such a polished comic con as the rough walls and taped down carpets seemed to lessen the enjoyment for those inside.  Sales in this third hall seemed to be lower from those creators I spoke to over the weekend and this took the shine from what’s usually a highlight for all involved.   My hope is that this hall will be finished off by the time next year’s con comes around (which I’m sure it will) and that will regain the same vibe and sales across them all.  While the queuing for certain guests seemed to struggle under the numbers – the staff for Thought Bubble were solid at keeping folks up to date, keeping spirits up and being realistic with the time things would take.

{Photo’s by Fiona Watson Photography}

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Thought Bubble variation in panels would again cater for the broad section of visitors and guests and see that comics of all types and from all publishers (big or small) were given a chance to shine…..and with good reason.  There are some amazingly talented creators in comics both home and abroad that entertain us week after week and it’s only when you get the chance to speak to these people in a relaxed atmosphere that you start to appreciate those entertaining titles even further.

A comic community in comic con form……what a way to end the year!

Roll on 2014


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