Filed under: Features | Tags: British Comic Awards, SICBA, Thought Bubble
Yesterday (9th November) saw the start of Thought Bubble, a week long art festival in Leeds that ends with a weekend long Comic Con that’s become arguably the best in the country. It’s focus on a mix of comic creators and some big name guests has been a highlight for me & many others in recent years and the date is blocked out on calendar’s well in advance as it proves to be a great opportunity for friends to catch up – be they artists, writers, cosplayers or just comic book fans. A big part of my weekend tends to be scouring the small press tables for the next addition to my reading/review pile and here’s some of the suggestions I’d have for titles to look out for…..
Ask Flimsy – The book is called “ASK FLIMSY” and in it Flimsy answers questions from real people on the subject of LOVE. Some questions include: Can you find love online? Where do broken hearts go? and How do you get over a crush? Some of Flimsy’s advice is not very good, but all of it is downright adorable.
Written & drawn by British Comics Award Nominee (Emerging Talent) – Rachael Smith
New Dock Hall – Table 63
The Kill Screen – is a brand new creator owned comic written by Mike Garley, with artwork by Josh Sherwell, and letters by Mike Stock. Set two years after ‘The Kill Screen’ event, humanity is left on the brink of extinction leaving the remaining survivors caught in a deadly 8-Bit fight for survival. No one knows what caused computer errors and technological faults to infect our world, but with a wide range of different dangers, threatening the lives of the survivors on a daily basis, no one cares. Surviving is all that matters.
Written by Mike Garley with artwork by Josh Sherwell and letters by Mike Stock
Eponymous – The age of superheroes is over. All are long since dead or forgotten, allowing the world to return to its preconceived idea of normality. But when a massacre on a global scale is predicted at the hands of Casey – the first super-powered-individual the world has seen for nearly twenty years – the decision is taken to find her and to kill her, before it’s too late. Dragged into a deadly game of cat and mouse, Casey must fight to unravel the mysteries of her past, fight to avoid her predicted role in the nightmarish version of the future – and fight just to stay alive.
Royal Armouries – Table 30
Moon – In the year 12AD a group of Celtic Druids attempted to summon the Moon to Earth and bind it into human form, an eternal guardian to defend our isle from all who would do her wrong. 2000 years later and he’s still doing that job: suited, booted and ready to investigate any crime deemed too strange for the regular police. A detective story like no other, Moon is the tale of one astral body’s quest for revenge, justice and shandy!
Written by Dan Thompson with art from Steve Penfold & Ivanna Matilla on colours.
Review of issue #1 & #2 with issue #3 available now.
Lou Scannon – For millenia, the Union oversaw the galaxy until it was usurped by the Galactic Coalition Police Force. The unrest caused by this upheaval is a fertile breeding ground for space pirates and mercenaries… Lou Scannon is one such pirate. A GCPF soldier turned space mercenary (it says so on his business cards), Lou travels around in the starship “Raging Hormone”, his pride and joy. His crew-mates are an eclectic mix of disturbingly sexy pilots, grouchy engineers, genetically modified gunners and a werewolf bodyguard – and we don’t mean a bodyguard enlisted to protect Lou from werewolves…This being sci-fi, Lou has a robot too. Obviously.
Created by Dan Harris, Kris Carter & Jim Bampfield
New Dock Hall – Table 41
7String – an explosive graphic novel adventure set in a universe where music is everything. A once tranquil planet of 4 peaceful Clefs is threatened by the ambitions of a dictator who seeks to rule at any cost. This is the story of the adventure of 4 young people, complete strangers to each other who will find their destinies intertwined and their strength and emotion tested by an epic adventure across an amazing fantasy sci-fi world, in the onset of a musical war.
New Dock Hall – Table 191
AfterLife Inc. – When corporate con-artist Jack Fortune’s life comes to an abrupt and brutal end, he discovers a business opportunity on a previously unimaginable scale. A mysterious Calamity has struck the afterlife, wiping the ruling body from existence and plunging the Empyrean – the great golden city of the dead – into chaos. The time is ripe for modernisation. With the vision, the business-smarts and a ragtag collection of allies behind him, Jack strives to reinvent the afterlife as a modern-day corporate entity. Establishing a new business is always challenging, but now Jack must balance the demands of a free market with rampaging archangels, a misplaced God and the dark secrets at the heart of their world.
Catch up with Jon at this year’s con and find out more over at his website.
Jon will also be launching the Afterlife/7String crossover collected graphic novel – The Heavenly Chord so be sure and get your hands on that.
New Dock Hall – 192
And Then Emily was Gone & The Standard – from Creator John Lees.
And Then Emily Was Gone with art by Iain Laurie – A haunted former police detective goes in search of a missing girl, and finds Hell instead. A solid start in #1 & #2 lead us deeper into the mystery in #3 and with #4 recently released and the finale in #5 on the horizon this is another disturbing & involving tale from John & Iain.
The Standard with art by Jonathan Rector – the story of two different men from two different eras who share the same heroic legacy. In the past, The Standard was the world’s greatest superhero. Today, he is a celebrity with his own reality TV show. But when a catastrophic event brings the two generations into collision, The Standard is forced to ask if superheroes still have a place in today’s cynical world. Check out the reviews here for issues #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 as one of the consistent titles out there….well worth a read.
Catch them all at Thought Bubble or through ComixTribe
TB Teepee – Table 77
Exit Generation – It’s 2055 and Jack is bored.
20 years ago most of Earth’s population abandoned the planet in search of a less crowded place to live. But rather than descend into chaos, the world they left became a paradise, free from poverty, war and crime.
In this utopia Jack spends his days hanging out with his friend Mo, and obsessing over action movies and punk records, longing for some real excitement. But then a bunch of extra-terrestrial visitors arrive, and Jack’s wish is granted…
Exit Generation is a four part series telling the tale of one boy’s search for purpose against a backdrop of space aliens, big firearms and punk rock.
New Dock Hall – Table 99
Dungeon Fun – This is a story of a girl and her sword…
Raised by trolls in the moat of a castle, Fun Mudlifter lives a life of boredom, until one day when adventure finds her and a sword plummets into her village. Setting off to confront the trolls responsible for the falling items that plague her and her neighbours, Fun begins an off-beat odyssey that encompasses jobsworth trolls, three-headed beasts, soothsaying shamans and headless barbarians, as she valiantly battles her way up through the dungeons to her final goal. With hilarious results!
After a phenomenal response to Book One and then double-SICBA award winning Book Two…..one of the must get issues of this year’s con must be Book Three. Creator’s Neil Slorance & Colin Bell have already been pulling all-nighters to get this to us in time so that shows you the passion behind it……and with fun in the title and fun in the pages it’s THE all-ages book with an emphasis on ALL!
Reel Love – Ever feel your life is a film?
Following a visit with his Father, a young boy forms a relationship with the local cinema.
Obsessed with the silver screen, and convinced it is his destiny to become a director, he ropes a street-smart classmate into producing their first motion picture over the course of one fateful summer.
From Owen Michael Johnson – the creator of indie hit & British Comic Award nominee for Best Comic, Raygun Roads – Reel Love is a bittersweet fantasy of imagination and memory, in the vein of Daytripper, Cinema Paradiso, and Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy.
Space Captain – Chris Baldie and Michael Park bring us Our story which starts with Space Captain realising he’s stranded on a distant planet, and he has to make his way back home. Of course it’s never that easy, and along the way elements of his past will come to light and many enemies will come out of the woodwork. Check out some of the pages over at the Kickstarter page where they smashed their total!!
Night Florist – a book of paintings and comics by Becca Tobin – check out more over at her website.
New Dock Hall – Table 161
Rapid Gazzer – A 5-part sci-fi, b-movie, comedy that became a real surprise for me after reading issues #1 & #2 and laughing my ass off at it. A great small press book to try out which keeps it’s art consistent as the writing weaves the laughs in and out of a smartly-paced plot which creator Gavin Boyle has to be praised for…..great stuff.
Check this out and keep tabs on further issues over at the website.
TB Teepee – Table 74B
Vietnam Zombie Holocaust/Horror Show – from creator George Lennox
VZH – The year is 1969, and President Richard Nixon has a problem: The Vietnam War. With protests breaking out all over the country and the death toll rising each week, he needs a new solution. Enter Dr Franklin Herbert. Dr Herbert gets approval for Operation Zombie Holocaust, in which a team of special force soldiers are selected to undergo a new program to make them into an elite fighting machine that can counter attack the North Vietnamese Army. Meanwhile, new recruits Cooper and Clay have just been deployed with 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lighting”. Their first duty is to search a Vietnamese farm suspected of holding weapons for the VC. But before they get to the farm they discover something too shocking for them to imagine, too shocking for them to witness, too shocking for them to believe. They have just entered the Vietnam Zombie Holocaust.
Horror Show – A new horror anthology featuring three gory tales all set in Glasgow.
Check out the Cult Empire back issue list and pick up these two titles at the con or over at their website.
TB Teepee – Table 19
Team Girl Comic – A Glasgow-based group of comics creators from a variety of backgrounds, ages and interests. We regularly publish anthologies, and a lot of us have side projects we collectively promote. Our aim is to showcase women in the alternative comic scene, as well as to entertain! Our stories range from autobiographical to the more whimsical and surreal.
The group was founded by Gill Hatcher in 2009 and has rapidly grown in numbers since. Today we are a thriving social community, creating comics together, organising events, going on roadtrips to comic cons… and just chatting online about comics!
We are strictly non-elitist and invite anyone female-identified in Scotland to submit to the comic, whether they create art professionally or just fancy giving it a go.
Catch up with issues #1-10 from the team and check out their website for more info.
Founder Gillian Hatcher will also be there to promote her own title, The Beginners Guide to Being Outside which has earned her a nomination for the Young People’s Comic Award in this year’s British Comic Awards.
New Dock Hall – Table 185
Rollerskates and Breakfast Dates – is a classic tale of girl meets boy, girl turns 2 year period of their life into a comic & readers giggle their way from page to page. It’s THAT simple as MJ Wallace tells us the highlights, lowlights & everything in-between with real honesty in this heartwarming & relatable release.
Catchup with this to escape the whole superhero world and into something a bit more real…..well…..with a bear.
You can check out this and more over at MJ’s website too.
New Dock Hall – Table 186A
Freak Out Squares – A breakneck, breathless, freewheeling ride, Freak Out Squares is a four issue series from writer Harry French (Master Tape) and artist/colourist/letterer Garry Mac (Gonzo Cosmic), that drips neon pop colour and cultural commentary.
Harrison Stargazer’s world is changed when he discovers that his idol, underground rebel rock god and arch-duke of disobedience Johnny Orion, is a government controlled tool of suppression. Aided by forthright community activist Trisha Oscan and rapidly unspooling robot emcee Young Wolf Lord, Harrison endeavors to change the world, one pointless act of rebellion at a time.
Neverending – The Glasgow spy drama continues for the girl who never sleeps. Written by Stephen Sutherland with art by Gary Kelly.
Go find out more over on their website
New Dock Hall – Table 124
Porcelain A Gothic Fairy Tale – As snow falls on a magical city, the urchin, Child, steals into the Porcelain Maker’s garden. Captured by his alchymical porcelain automata, she charms her way into his life and he becomes the father she never had. He has only one rule; she must never, ever, open the workshop door. An achingly beautiful work with elements of Dickens, fairy tales and the Victorian Steampunk combined into a tale that is both touching and frightening, as the best fairy tales should be.
A Gothic Fairy Tale was the first volume from Improper Books and after impressing in both writing & artwork – we’re going to get our hands on a 12-page Preview of Volume Two, Bone China. Can’t wait for this!!
New Dock Hall – Tables 49-50
Metal Made Flesh – Taking place between “Made” and “Flesh, Infection reveals the fate of the roguish purveyor Mud as he finds himself in trouble for dealing on another gang’s territory. Slowly we come to realise that Mud may be more than he seems.
Infection is the sequel to the acclaimed “Metal Made Flesh” illustrated novella, and the first ever full comic from artist Simeon Aston. In Infection we hope to have given readers the key to be able to go back and re-read Metal Made Flesh and understand the stories from a different perspective.
Royal Armouries – Table 39
Merrick – The Sensational Elephantman – Joseph Merrick aka The Elephant Man fucks up the occult, in a Victorian tale of gin joints, black magic and carnival freaks. A comic by Ward & Parker. A gaslamp tale set in 1880’s London which steps between historical facts and figures and turn of the century folklore juxtaposed with the American superhero comic conventions of super powers, masks, secret identities and fantastic adventures.
Royal Armouries – Table 88
Beast Wagon – Owen Michael Johnson has described Beast Wagon – scheduled for release in 2015 – as ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest with talking animals…’ and promises ‘an examination of systems and control. This preview is an intense little introduction to the book we’re making. John is an honest artist. We’re pushing each other, creatively, into dark waters.’ Pearson, an illustrator heralding from Leeds and one of the contributors to the CULT exhibition at Orbital Comics in April, said ‘Beast Wagon will be a debauched tale of insanity. Owen has pulled out the stops to explore madness and frustration across many complex layers. I’ve been scooping out my mind to put together a collection of images that feeds into the vision of hell we’ve had. Madagascar this is not.’
The 6-page preview and fold-out map will be available at this years event through Changeling Studios and from the description’s above…..it sounds all-kinds of crazy…..but I’m IN!
New Dock Hall – Table 193
Accent UK – have been a strong source for anthologies & some great titles in recent times with the likes of WesternNoir, Whatever Happened to the World’s Fastest Man, The Man of Glass and many more already available…..they’ll be debuting two new releases at this year’s event with Stephenson’s Robot #1 and Tales of WesterNoir #1……which are already on my “to buy” list.
New Dock Hall – Table 46
Random Trials – A huge drug company has been secretly trialling its drugs on the general public – and some of the test subjects are about to get nasty!
Creator Dean Beattie hit on a great idea with this release and after issue #1 impressed me – I was glad to hear a successful Kickstarter would see issue #2 released. Keep up with these and his great artwork over on his website.
New Dock Hall – Table 130
Saltire – Annihilation Pt.1 – Full Colour Graphic Novel by John Ferguson, art by Claire Roe & Coloured by Lauren Knight. Published by Diamondsteel Comics Ltd. The Dark Age, a desolate time. A power grows to the south. A power bent on destruction…on annihilation. Not human…not spirit or shadow. Unleashed, she will bring despair. To protect the innocent, the guardians will stand once more… As chaos reigns before a vengeful enemy he shall rise once more…the Immortal Guardian of a Nation.
The all-new Scottish hero impressed with it’s first release in Saltire: Invasion and this looks to be continuing that momentum.
Catch-up on them both over at the DiamondSteel website
Art Heroes – the focus from Art Heroes on getting new readers into comics sees the release of Endangered & More Strange Stories acts as a follow-up to their impressive Halcyon & Tenderfoot. A strong emphasis on fun in these titles with some smart humour gives these titles the truest feeling of the term “all-ages”.
Keep track of their releases and their events over at their website
Royal Armouries – Table 60
Squatters – a comic book about the only natural predator of the human race. Could they conquer the human mind and take our place?
A GREAT opener in #1 should see this prove to be a series worth getting your hands on now. Check their Facebook page for more info.
Tir na Fuil – Ireland. The early 20th Century.
Available now through Comixology
Artist Graeme Howard for both these and more will be on hand to talk all things comic related.
Good Cop Bad Cop: Casebook #2 – Rough Cut Comics releases Jim Alexander’s (Savant, Food Chain, Wolf Country) now award winning tale of a Jekyll & Hyde cop on the mean streets of Glasgow. As volume #1 won Best British Black & White Comic in the True Believers awards earlier this year – their’s big plans for more after talking with Jim so it’s a good time to check this and his other titles out now.
Jim Alexander’s Planet Jimbot will be sharing a table with Rough Cut Comics to promote this and his other titles so go grab an award-winning issue from them or from their website in December.
New Dock Hall – Table 100
Popgun – The story of a man coming up to retirement, ready to spend some quality time with his wife. The only real issue is that she thinks he works as an insurance salesman and in fact he has been a hitman the whole time he’s known her. So Popgun is set over a week where he has to balance one last hit, setting up a fake retirement party and not go insane dealing with actors. So a little bit of humour and a lot of drama with a nice noir beat to the whole thing. The book’s written by Mark Peyton, with art by Nicola Scott (from before she worked on DC’s Earth 2) and Chris Connelly. Also in the book is the short story “No More Heroes” also by Peyton, but with art by David Hitchcock (Springheeled Jack and Whitechapel Freak) telling a Witchhunter inspired tale with a definite twist.
Available through Not Quite Human in the New Dock Hall – Table 173
Plagued : The Miranda Chronicles – In the near future Scotland has been left a post-apocalyptic wasteland, due to a plague that has swept the country. Ordinary people struggle to survive from day to day. As a result of the plague witches now walk among us, hunted down and forced to stand trial by specialist freelance witch-hunters.
One such witch-hunter is Thomas Mackie who, along with his talking dog Dex, hunts for only one reason – to earn enough bounty to have a better life. Things take an unexpected turn when Mackie’s latest target, Miranda Lee, blackmails him into helping her act out a dangerous plot to cure the plague once and for all.
New Dock Hall – Table 29
Fixed Up – Is a collection of tales of growing up as Ian Norris captures the ups & downs from his early years at school working towards the present day. Sad, funny & very real as Ian lays out his life with a stark honesty that captures that “Wonder Years” vibe to it.
TB Teepee – Table 76A
Crawl Hole – Creator Craig Collins (Metrodome, Roachwell) teams-up with regular collaborator Iain Laurie and after receiving two nominations in this year’s SICBA awards (Best Comic & Best Cover) this and their other work are well worth checking out.
Check out more over at Craig’s Blog
New Docks Hall – Table 139B
Midnight Man – Falling from Big Ben whilst being chased by a possessed horse from the American Civil War, the time-travelling vigilante Midnight Man has had stranger days.
Can he foil the plans of a malevolent time-spanning cabal, and save humanity in the process?
He might be out of luck, he’s possibly out of time, and he’s definitely out of his mind.
Get ready for some TEMPORAL. BULLET. ACTION.
Courtesy of Midnight Man.
New Dock Hall – Table 45
Given this is one of THE best con’s around the list above will surely be the tip of the iceberg for the small press titles on offer…..so wander around the tables, take a chance at something that grabs your eye and you’ll surely find a hidden gem in among them.
Take a look at the Thought Bubble website to see what else is on offer as well as the big name guests…..because COMICS are why we’re all there.
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