Thought Bubble 2014: 9th-16th November!


Friends of Thought Bubble: The Uncanny Blog-Men by thoughtbubblefestival

Hello! Has it been a week already? Well, as promised, here’s a new profile for the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Masters of the Friendiverse) portfolio, and also some information on a fantabulous new anthology which you should all check out. Would you like to know more? If so – simply read on, Macduff.

This week we’re extremely happy to be dusting off, and rolling out, the red carpet for Huw “Lem” Davies, a Leeds local whose lunatic tales of leporidaen life are lovely! Just take a look at the gallery (below), and I’m sure you’ll agree. If not, then there is simply no helping you.

Lem is a twenty-something, Leeds-dwelling graduate in Fine Arts with an
emphasis on sculptures that go beep. Somehow this has translated
reasonably well to the science of creating comics.

In-between drawing a webcomic called Bunny – which features a family of
small marshmallow like creatures on a mission to understand their world
and ours – and sewing together plush toys for a living he can be found
drawing covers and introductory comics for short-story anthologies about
Robots in the Wild West, stories about lonely cosmonauts for the 69 Love
Songs Illustrated project, and small bleak comics about sleepwalking
into a city made almost entirely of rather forbidding spires for his own
amusement.

You can also follow Lem’s work on twitter, and via his blog. I recommend you do, it’s seriously worth it.

***

In other Small Press news, the time is fast approaching for the launch of Solipsistic Pop volume 2!

Solipsistic Pop is a biannual anthology designed to spotlight the best in alternative comic art from the UK. It features diverse, beautiful, twisted and peculiar comics that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Comic artists old and new are encouraged to contribute.

Volume 2 contains 64 pages of sequential art from some of the best comic artists, illustrators and designers working in the UK today. With a 12 page newspaper insert, gorgeous gatefold cover and specially designed tote bag, it’s a must have for any comic fan.

Contributors include Kristyna Baczynski, Becky Barnicoat, Adam Cadwell, Stephen Collins, Joe Decie, Marc Ellerby, Sally Hancox, Anne Holiday, Tom Humberstone, Philippa Johnson, Daniel Locke, Lizz Lunney, Jack Noel, Mark Oliver, Luke Pearson, Octavia Raitt, Anna Saunders, Julia Scheele, Matthew Sheret, and Matilda Tristram.

The first volume received rave reviews (for good reason), so be sure to get your hands (or other appendages) on the sophomore issue. Awesome.

***

That’s it for this week, but we’ll be back in seven(ish) days time with some more sequentially goodness, so you won’t have to wait too long. Of course, if you’re really impatient, you could store yourself in carbonite for seven days and then get a friend to begin the thawing process (and aid your recovery from the associated hibernation sickness) just before then. But that would be silly.

Put the bunny back in the box.

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: BloGalactus (it’s a big post, and it eats planets) by thoughtbubblefestival

Howdy Thought Bubblers! We’re back in business with a bumper edition of the blog bringing you a small press profile (below), info on some up ‘n’ coming events (below), more YouTube frolics (below) and a lengthy opening sentence (here). There’s only 222 days remaining until this year’s festival, and according to numerology that particular set o’ digits signifies we’re on the right path. Reassuring to say the least.

First up is the latest in our series introducing you to some of the crème de la crème of the UK’s comix community, members of this exclusive club are inducted into the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Defrienders of the Earth) for all of time. This week we’re welcoming into the ranks the awesomely talented Joe List, hijacker of the Guardian’s Saturday output with consistently hilarious results, and producer of fine comic wares, as can be seen in the handily placed gallery (below).

Joe List is designer and illustrator from Cheshire.

He is better known for his work on The Annotated Weekender, a blog where, each week, he doodles onto the Guardians Weekend Supplement. His first comic book, Freak Leap, was released last year and features a series of abrupt adventures in glorious black and white vectors. He has recently put together a mini comic, GUTS, which is a collection of sketch book comics

Joe enjoys running away from fights, stamping on things, and letting people know how they have nice shoes.

If you’d like Joe to compliment your footwear then he’s on twitter, and also has a handy site from which you can see his work.

I thoroughly endorse Joe’s comics, The Annotated Weekender is a regular source of mirth and is single-handedly helping to save the newspaper medium (I assume).

Next up, some info on forthcoming attractions which UK comics fans should be excited about…

April 22nd-25th sees the inaugural UniComics Festival – a celebration of all kinds of comics for everyone. The four day festival features sequential art superstars Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons and Kevin O’Neil, and a broad spectrum of work drawing upon and inspired by comics – from film and story-boarding to illustration and theatre performance, encompassing opportunities for learning, networking and idea sharing. UniComics is presented by the University of Hertfordshire and you can find out more at their site, following them on twitter, or their Facebook.

***

The MCM Expo have just released their guest list for this May’s comic village (which includes us!), and it looks set to be a good one. From the 29th – 30th May at Excel London we’ll be in attendance with a table, new flyers for this year’s Thought Bubble, free stuff/prizes, and smiles. Lots of smiles. Like the UniComics festival (above), the Expo’s comic village also has an aim  in common with Thought Bubble, one which should be encouraged: to allow creators of all styles, mediums and levels to join together in one equal space and promote the good word of sequential art. The Expo and its visitors provide a unique fusion event for comic creators and fans to gather and share in sequential art goodness with those new to the medium! Come say hi, howdy, or hello! (Other greetings may be acceptable, depending on context).

Finally, we’ve put up some more videos from 2009′s Thought Bubble on our YouTube channel, including Bryan Talbot’s excellent talk on the history of anthropomorphism in British comics, and the “Do Zombies Read Comics?” panel from last year’s convention (featuring Ben Templesmith, Charlie Adlard, Sean Phillips, and Antony Johnston). Both well worth your time and the effort of a few clicks of your mouse.

… And that’s it for now, next week we’ll be back with another Small Press profile, I vow to you that they’ll be weekly for the foreseeable future, and my word is my bond people, so you know I mean business.

Geronimo!

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: The Return of the Blog by thoughtbubblefestival

Good ‘morrow Bubblers! Plans for this year’s festival continue apace and remain highly secretive for the time being, but as it is only 269 days away (coincidentally also the number of feet jumped by Travis Pastrana in his rally car last December, thereby setting a new world record) rest assured all will be revealed in good time.

Until that momentous, er, moment we’re pleased to present you with a fresh installment in our rapidly growing series of small-press/indie comicker profiles. This week, for your viewing delight, we’re spotlighting the wonderful work of Philippa “The Juzzard” Rice, whose webcomic ‘My Cardboard Life’ is surely the greatest outcome of the era of the Kraft process. Proof of this can be seen in the gallery below by simply lowering your gaze a few degrees. See you after the jump.

Philippa Rice is an illustrator/animator living in London. Philippa completed an animation degree in 2007, and since then her hand rendered and stop-motion films (examples of which can be seen here) have been screened at animation festivals including Animation Block Party (New York) and Animac (Catalonia).

For the last year and a half Philippa has been making people feel sentimental towards recyclable materials with her webcomic My Cardboard Life. Philippa’s internet shopping addiction and habit of looking through bins have provided plenty of cardboard and paper supplies for making five new collage comic-strips every week.

As well as online comics, Philippa, aka “The Juzzard” makes mini-comics and ‘zines such as her illustrated activity booklet series Intricate Dwellings. All of these things can be seen on Philippa’s website and blog.

We at Thought Bubble towers are big fans of Philippa’s work, and ‘My Cardboard Life’ is one of the main reasons (besides not wanting to anger Gaia) that we started a recycling programme. Love comics; love the environment, yo.

That’s your lot for the present, I hope that you enjoyed it (sorry if you didn’t, I’ll try harder, I promise) and will be back in a fortnight for some more profiling goodness!

Scotty, beam us up.

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: Reborn by thoughtbubblefestival

Hola! It’s now only 285 days until this year’s Thought Bubble Festival (18th-21st November), and not only is this the degree of solar celestial longitude which marks the end of the 22nd annual East Asian solar term, but it also signifies the start of this year’s Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or 2010: The Year We Make Friends)!

For those of you who missed out on last year’s installments we basically use the blog (between festivals) to showcase some of the amazingly talented indie sequential art creators who we’re priveleged to meet at our convention each year. We love ‘em and we think you will too – or else

Kicking off the futuristic sounding 2010 series with great style and panache is the super-talented (and crazy prolific) Julia Scheele – an illustrator extraordinaire, examples of whose work can be seen in the nifty gallery below. Peep it, yo.

Julia Scheele is one of “those” 20-something illustrators living in London. Before returning to her undying love for comics, she had taken part in various film festivals and exhibitions, and used to co-organise an art/film/music event which mainly involved getting people to dress up as cardboard robots and dance. She has produced work in and around the UK small press scene under her own name as well as with her collective We Are Words + Pictures who are currently organising workshops and events in London and beyond. Julia also runs the 69 Love Songs, Illustrated project on the internet and can often be found at ‘zine fests and conventions throughout the UK. Her comics and illustration work can be seen at her site and her blog.

I think you’ll all agree that we’d have been hard pressed (unintentional pun +5pts) to find a better example of the UK’s awesome illustrative community to kick off this year’s series, and I think it serves as an excellent taste of the awesomeness to come (spoiler alert: awesome). I’m hoping to update the blog on a fortnightly basis hereafter with more entries into this canon, but there’ll be many surprise, ninja updates (more frequent the closer we get to the festival) with bonus Thought Bubble information as we officially announce the various sweet things we’ve got planned for y’all. Seriously check out 69 Love Songs, Illustrated though – it’s proper ‘mazing.

Ok, that’s it for now, if you want to keep up-to-date on our to-ing and fro-ing in Jack Bauer-esque real-time-o-vision then come hang with us on twitter or facebook. Social networking’s so hot right now (so my sister tells me).

Catch you later Bill & Ted!

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: All Your Blogs Are Belong To Us by thoughtbubblefestival

Hiya Bubblers! It’s now just a scant 67 days until the start of this year’s festival – the orbital period for planet Gliese 581 D, a seven-Earth mass spacial body discovered in April of this year – a short enough period that you should all be well and truly psyched, I know we all are. To continue raising the anticipation to near insurmountable levels I have here, potentially, the final Small-Press and Independent Friend of Thought Bubble (or Challengers of the Unfriendly) for this year. For this week’s friend we continue our voyage across the Irish sea to be greeted on our arrival by none other than Patrick Lynch, an up-and-coming talent on the webcomics scene, whose work – examples of which can be viewed in the handily placed gallery below, or at his site – has shot from strength-to-strength over the past year.

Patrick hails from Dublin, Ireland and is a graphic designer, illustrator and independent comic artist who has been active in the Irish and UK Small Press scene for about a year and a half now. Since June of 2008, he’s published three comics – namely Last BusIn the Aquarium, and Stop Gap, as well as contributing shorter pieces to a couple of anthologies. Patrick is also one half of Cardboard Press, a small press publishing outfit which he runs alongside his partner Katie Blackwood, under which they issue comics and artists’ books.

Patrick’s personal work tends to be subtle, meditative, and slice-of-life based, although he’s not ruling out the long-form science fiction epic just yet. At the moment Patrick makes a living mainly through commercial graphic design, but is beginning to balance this with more illustration and comic work. Alongside this he is also one third of the Edition Book Arts collective, which formed in 2009 with fellow artists Katie Blackwood and Philip Barret. The collective exists to promote and organise events, showcase illustrative work, and foster interaction in and around the book arts, comic and fanzine communities in Ireland. Edition Book Arts organised the highly successful Summer Edition event in July 2009 – a  fair/convention held in the centre of Dublin – which brought over 30 exhibitors from throughout Ireland and the UK together for a day long celebration of self-expression through the medium of DIY publishing. They hope to continue to organise events throughout the coming year and have plans for a similar Summer Edition convention for 2010. They’d love to have more people come over from the UK, so if you’re interested (and you should be), get in touch!

As if this staggering workload wasn’t enough, Patrick also helps run the monthly Dublin Comic Jam event, which has been going for the last 12 months and serves as a great regular meet up for comic artists/illustrators.

That, I’m sure you’ll agree, is pretty damn fine comicking for someone relatively new to the scene – a great way to cap off this year’s series of profiles on some of the Small Pressers you can meet at Thought Bubble in November – if you don’t mind my saying. You don’t? Good. There may be one more special entry into this canon, but for the remaining run-up to the festival we’ll be having something a little different to tickle your fancy. Starting soon, maybe even sooner, the Thought Bubble Blog will be hosting a series of mini-interviews, or minterviews, with the various creators who’ve been featured over the past year. A, sort of, Inside the Artist’s Studio if you will. Look out for them, they will be epic.

In other small-pressy news, the super-cool Hugh Raine has created a poster (below) for this year’s convention, detailing some of the various Indie guests who’ll be appearing, I think you’ll agree it shows those high falootin’ superhero types a thing or two. We love it, and for this the blog is bestowing its highest honour on the man of the hour – an imaginary high-five. Use it wisely, Hugh.

Small Press @ Thought Bubble

And that’s your lot. We hope you’ve enjoyed the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble for this year, commemorative programmes are available in the foyer, please keep your parking tickets handy for validation by an usher.

- Clar



Friends of Thought Bubble: Crisis on Infinite Blogs by thoughtbubblefestival

Greetings Earthlets! Time for another helping of the Small-Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or the League of Extraordinary Friends); the only series of blog posts which eight out of ten super-cat owners would say that their feline prefers, although quite how we worked that out I’m not sure, because, for the life of me, I can’t think of many past Captain Marvel’s Talky Tawny and Streaky, Superman’s cat. Our friend this time is a favourite from the emerald isle: Phil Barrett. His work, some of which can be viewed in the gallery below (featuring some art never before seen on the interwebs) or at his site, is both delightful and ever so slightly deranged – a thoroughly winning combination.

Philip Barrett resides in Dublin, Ireland and has been working on comics of one sort or another for as long as he can remember, an enterprise which became a bit more regular (i.e. producing at least something a year) in 2001, upon the release of his first self-published work.

Phil has, to date, written and drawn 9 issues of ‘Matter’, which is a catch-all title for various short stories mostly preoccupied with the collision between the worlds of the fantastical and the mundane. He has also worked with Liam Geraghty to produce ‘Gazebo’ and ‘The littlest Arsonist’ (some free copies of which are still available).

Phil has contributed to numerous anthologies including ‘Sorry I can’t take your call right now…‘  and ‘You Ain’t No Dancer‘, and at the moment he’s working on a couple of longer stories, but still allowing himself to be sidetracked at any opportunity. For more information on Phil’s excellent work please visit his blog.

Well, there you have it, we’re at the end of yet another Friends of Thought Bubble, which, as the festival looms, is slowly winding down for this year, inevitably cooling as blue-shift occurs, entropy grinding to a halt, the vast expanses of its reach collapsing inwards until it is nothing more than a super-dense dot of information, a kernel of knowledge if you will, waiting for the cyclical nature of space-time to re-ignite the flame and cause the big bang anew. However, don’t get too morose, the old girl’s got a few tricks up her sleeve, so we’ll be back with a couple more yet. Just promise to never tell us the odds, and we’ll see you with another friend of ours next week.

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: Rebirth by thoughtbubblefestival

‘Sup, guess what? After another, increasingly familiar, hiatus (my bad), the Small-Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Blog-Force) is back – just when you thought it was safe to go back in the internet. This edition focuses on one of the big guns in British webcomics: JohnScary Go RoundAllison. Operating, in a small-press context, since almost the inception of the internet*, and thus producing quality sequential output on a regular basis for longer than is generally thought healthy (but is hugely appreciated by his multitude of fans), John is one of the institutions (meant in the nicest way possible) of internet comics. If you don’t believe me – and I repsect the need for proof in the face of such high praise – then check out the gallery below, or his site.

*Ok, maybe not since the inception of the internet, but since 1998, which, in internet terms, is a long time.

John is one of the UK’s premier makers of comics on the internet. He grew up in Addingham, in West Yorkshire, and is old enough to remember when Thought Bubble was all fields. He now lives near Manchester and has been, variously, a music writer, a magazine designer, and a web designer, as well as having earned a degree from Sheffield University in “the journalism”.

John previously drew Bobbins, one of the first webcomics, from 1998-2002, which came runner-up in the category of ‘best online comic strip’ at the 2002 UK National Comic Awards. He subsequently followed this with Scary Go Round which began in 2002 and will conclude (after a staggeringly succesful run) next month, followed by his new project, Bad Machinery, in late September. Comics have been John’s full-time job since 2003, and examples of his fine wares can be found in his shop. For more information, and to keep up with John’s new project, you can check out his website or his blog. Both are AMAZING.

Well, sadly, that brings us to the end of yet another ‘Friends of Thought Bubble’, big thanks to John Allison who will also be appearing at this year’s festival. If all goes to plan there should be a couple more posts in this series on the horizon, followed by a super-secret plan the like of which would stun even Lex Luthor into humbled silence. If you think the Manhattan Project, meets Dream Patrol, meets Voltron, well, to be honest, you’d be miles off, but it’s a sweet idea in itself so who am I to judge? If you build it, they will come…

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: Redux by thoughtbubblefestival

Right, so, after a brief hiatus, covered admirably by the ‘Best of the Web Series’ (installments of which can be found here and here), the internet phenomenon known as the Small-Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Defenders of the Mirth) is back once again to astound and delight. This week’s friend is Lizz Lunney whose online comic sushi serves up bite-size portions of excellence to eat-in or take-away on a regular basis – a tasting menu can be found below (click on the images to enlarge) – and are a fine example of haute bandes dessinées cuisine.

Lizz is an illustrator and animator from Birmingham. Amongst other things she likes black tea, knitting and cats. Other animals she thinks are good include rabbits, elves, bears, dragons, unicorns, monkeys, dinosaurs, lions, tigers and meercats.

Lizz’s latest comic is ‘Sushi Karaoke’ which comes with free 3D glasses. Her previous work includes ‘I Love Dinosaurs and they Love Me’ 2008, ‘Tofu and Cats” 2007, ‘Party Animals’ 2007, ‘Waiting for Sushi’ 2006, and ‘Bears in your Face/The Man with Tetris on his Chin’ and ‘Cat Hearts/Peanut butter and Marshmallows’ two colourful flip comics. In May 2008 she became one of the artists for the Top Shelf 2 online comic. Other examples of her illustrative work can be found in her online sketchbook.

Lizz’s site also features examples of her brilliant animation work as well as a shop from which you can purchase all sorts of excellent gifts. This month also sees the start of the one-a-day comic sushi extravaganza, which can be found here. For more information on Lizz’s work please visit her site, her blog, or check out her MySpace page.

As with all the Friends of Thought Bubble, Lizz will be appearing at this year’s convention at Savile’s Hall, Leeds, on the 21st November.

All good things must come to an end, and Friends of Thought Bubble posts are no exception to this age-old adage, so without much further ado I’ll say fare thee well for now and hopefully will see you back here in a week or so with either another Friend of Thought Bubble in tow or a further installment of our Best of the Web series. May the force be with you, always.

-update-

Latest news hot of the (small) press: a new workshop has just been announced for later in the year and it’s one all you comic lovers will, well, love!

Thurs Oct 9th 6.30 to 10.00pm Travelling Man Leeds

This October sees an incredible masterclass lead by industry genius Adi Granov. Adi made a huge impact on the comics scene a number of years ago as one of Marvel’s young guns. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, with an exceptional run of covers for various Marvel titles, the brilliant Iron Man Extremis with Warren Ellis and mind blowing concept work for the Iron Man movies, Adi has become one of the comic book industry’s shining stars!
Numbers are very limited so sign up soon to secure a place. (travellingmanshops@googlemail.com or telephone 0113 2436461)

Adi will also be appearing at this year’s Thought Bubble convention, but for a unique opportunity to see a truly great comic artist at work this workshop is not to be missed!

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: Requiem by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey there everyone! We here at TB Towers are happy to present the next in the series of posts known pithily as the Small-Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Aqua Teen Hunger Friends). This week on the cavalcade of comics we profile sequential-art super-star Marc Ellerby, a name near synonymous with the UK indie comics scene, and for good reason as his work – some of which is viewable in the gallery below – is sheer brilliance. If you don’t believe me check out his diary comic Ellerbisms or his illustrative work both of which showcase his trademark artistic style and infectious sense of humour.

Marc Ellerby is a comics illustrator living in Essex, England. Although he’s dabbled in some illustration work (Mannequin Republic/Atlanta Records, Truck Festival, Drowned In Sound) his main focus over the past few years has been comics.

Marc illustrated the “rock and roll romance” graphic novel series Love The Way You Love (written by Jamie S.Rich and published by Oni Press) which was selected as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s top graphic novels for teens in 2009. His work has also been published in the This Is A Souvenir and Put The Book Back On The Shelf anthologies (both Image Comics). He has more anthology work coming-out soon in the shape of Fat Chunk 2 – Zombies (Slave Labour Graphics) and Popgun Vol. 4 (Image Comics).

As well as working for the American comic industry, Marc is still a firm believer of the UK small press scene and reguarly makes mini comics to showcase new ideas and collect work. Previous mini comics have included Venal Muse, Polar Opposites, Sad Girls For Life and Speed Trail.

He is now, however, concentrating on two series, Chloe Noonan and Ellerbisms.
Chloe Noonan (pages of which can be viewed in the gallery above) is a monster hunter – but like most 19 year old girls (whose surname is not Summers), she doesn’t have any powers; she gets a stitch when she runs, is kinda rubbish at fighting and has to take public transport to even hunt the monsters as she can’t drive. Life is tough for ol’ Chloe Noonan, especially when it involves the bus.
Ellerbisms is an autobiographical web comic which takes a small moment from the day and isolates it within a comic. Like life, it can be quite dark at times, though there’s hope and humour throughout – the story now concerning Ellerby’s life with his girlfriend Anna. There are three collections so far, all of which are avaliable from his website.

For more of his work visit his site and for rambles and updates he has both a Twitter, and a blog.

And with that we bring to a close another edition of the Friends of Thought Bubble, swiftly followed by a couple of quick reminders: first, the thought bubble hotmail account has finally been consigned to the great trash compactor in the sky so contacting us can only be done via our googlemail account (thoughtbubblefestival@googlemail.com); secondly, don’t forget that next weekend sees the first TB Workshop of 2009 (details below) with a free manga masterclass from the thoroughly excellent Yishan Li. See you next week for another post, but until then: Keep watching the skies…

- Clark



Friends of Thought Bubble: A New Hope by thoughtbubblefestival

Welcome to the fourth in our weekly (for the time being) series of posts detailing some of the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Uncanny X-Friends), bringing to you the best in sequential art on a regular basis. This week we usher into the spotlight Mr Steve Tillotson, producer of brilliant art, both sequential and portraiture, whose site is a treasure trove of wondrous delights – some of which can be viewed in the gallery below.

Steve Tillotson trained as an artist at Batley School of Art and Design, and went on to do a masters degree at the Royal College of Art, London. He started making comics as an outlet for his frustrations (artistic and otherwise) which include the titular Banal Pig Comics (with contributions from Gareth Brookes), Ethel Sparrowhawk (with Jemima von Schindelberg), Jolly Bear and Fun Coconut, The Manly Boys Annual (again with Gareth Brookes), and an anthology of landscapes to mention but a few.

All of Steve’s art is available for purchase through his store, and, for the more thrifty amongst you, he is even giving away some pieces for free! Further information on Steve’s projects can be found on his blog which contains regular updates on his myriad works, and which is where you can also find his self-penned funnies webcomic.

That dose of delectation wraps up yet another edition of the Friends of Thought Bubble, I’ve got another one in the works so make sure y’all tune in again next week same bat-time, same bat-place, to see some more top-flight sequential art. It’ll make the wait until this year’s Thought Bubble just fly by! (Not a legally binding guarantee.)

- Clark




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