Thought Bubble 2014: 9th-16th November!

Thought Bubble Programme 2013 by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

The final countdown to this year’s Thought Bubble has well and truly begun with the release of the full festival programme for 2013’s events! Taking place from 17th – 26th November at venues across Leeds and beyond, 2013’s celebration of comics comprises 90 events for fans of all ages, and includes free art & writing based workshops for young people & adults, talks & masterclasses lead by industry professionals, a programme of sequential art related film screenings, & our massive two-day comics convention on 23rd & 24th November!

The full festival programme can be found on this page, with full information on events available by clicking their titles.

A similar programme highlighting the screenings taking place in association with Leeds International Film Festival can be found on this page, with show times, ratings, and film blurbs listed, including showings of a new digital print of Akira, a documentary on the making of The Dark Knight Returns, and a retrospective of renowned Polish animator Walerian Borowczyk.

Details of books making their début at this year’s Thought Bubble can be found on this page, and if you’ve got a project launching at the show then there’s details of how to get it listed on there too.

Thought Bubble 2013 is extremely grateful to Arts Council England for their generous support of the festival, which this year will allow us to open the special Bubs Lounge venue, and commission a sequential art project with the Best Joined Up collective. Full details of these endeavours can be found in the festival programme.

Thought Bubble 2013 promises to be a whole heap of comics-related fun for everyone, and is now only 38 days away, so don’t forget to check out all the guests and exhibitors who’ll be joining us, and make sure to get your tickets for this year’s convention (although more will be available on the door).

We look forward to welcoming everyone to Leeds very soon!

TBF13 Exhibitor Update – Third Hall Announcement by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

As we mentioned earlier in the year, exhibitor tables for this year’s Thought Bubble Comic Con sold out in a couple of hours, which was rather unexpected.

As you may be aware, in previous years, tables have been available for a couple of months before selling out completely – and we’ve had a reserves list in place for those who’ve missed out. Obviously we were delighted that the tables were all snapped up so quickly, it just goes to show how quickly the community of comic creators here in the UK has grown over the last few years, and how interest in the medium continues to grow every year both here and abroad. However, we were also acutely aware of the frustration this caused to those exhibitors who missed out on booking a table, and we really appreciate the passion that people have developed for our festival, which is one of the many reasons we love putting it on so much.

Exhibitors, whether they are self-publishers or retailers make Thought Bubble what it is, and your contribution to the festival each year helps it to grow and expand in ways we never thought possible when we first started.

As stated in previous updates, we’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to create space to accommodate more exhibitors at this year’s convention –  over the last few months we’ve looked at erecting a marquee, and also the possibility of finding an extra hall in the area.

In the end we found exactly what we were looking for with support from the wonderful people at Allied London, the new owners of the New Dock site where the majority of convention events take place. Since the beginning of the year Allied London have been carrying out some major redevelopment work on New Dock, and many of the empty retail units have been opened up into large open-plan spaces. As a result of which we have been offered the use of an extra 1400 sqm space, which is comparable in size to New Dock Hall, and means we can now accommodate more exhibitors than ever before.

The new unit is just a few yards away from both New Dock Hall and Royal Armouries Hall, so audiences will only have to take a few steps before they’re in the new additional venue. This means we’ll be taking over the whole of the New Dock area for this year’s convention, and turning Yorkshire into the hub for comics for one very special week as the wider festival takes place!

What we have to do now is make this space fully accessible, which means fitting a temporary floor in one half of the hall, overseeing the installation of a new lighting and heating system, and initiating a big clean-up operation to spruce the place up to our standards. There’s a lot to do, and that’s why it’s taken us longer than expected to finalise plans, so we’d like to thank everyone for their patience while we’ve worked out all the necessary action we’ll need to take to expand things at our end.

While the unit isn’t a purpose built exhibition hall, we hope that by the time Thought Bubble arrives we’ll have a high quality, temporary hall space that can accommodate many of the exhibitors on our waiting list, enabling even more people to attend Thought Bubble in 2013.

Table space will be available soon and we’ll be contacting exhibitors on our reserves list for first refusal in chronological order – each entry on the system creates a unique time-stamp so we know who filled it out and when they did so. We’ll let everyone know of the table prices once we begin contacting exhibitors regarding the new space, and once all the available slots are filled people can still sign up to the reserves list to be notified should any cancellations occur in the run-up to the event and more spaces become available that way.

While we can’t promise we’ll be able to fit everyone in who’s applied for space via the reserves list, we’ll do our best to try and accommodate as many people as we possibly can, with a view to making this year’s event even bigger and better than the last.

We’re really excited to have this new additional space at our disposal, which will help us to accommodate more exhibitors and bigger audiences, and provide an even more diverse experience for everyone attending the show. We’ve popped some photos under this post of the space, taken at the start of spring this year.

We’d like to thank Allied London for their invaluable help, but most of all we want to show our gratitude to all those exhibitors who have patiently waited for us to deliver on our promise of a new space – thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing even more of you in a few months time!



Thought Bubble 2013 Summer Update! by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang, we hope you’re enjoying/enduring this blast of summer from the giant nuclear furnace in the sky, hopefully the heatwave will last until November and we can all wear shorts to the festival.

Shorts are fun, they’re like knee/ankle clothing windows. Yay!

We’re currently busy working to pull together all the many ingredients that are baked into a Thought Bubble cake each year, and we’ll be revealing the full (looking to be pretty darn huge) programme in the autumn, but in the meantime here’s an update on some of the things we’ve got cooking. Let’s go in alphabetical order this time, eh chums? ALPHABET… INITIATE!

Anthology: this year’s anthology will be in the same tabloid format as 2012’s issue and will feature all-new material from a number of wonderful creators both from within the UK and beyond!

You’ll be able to see the winning entries to last year’s Thought Bubble Comic Competition, and all profits from the sale of the anthology will again be going to The Barnardos Charity – a great cause that does some amazing work that’s very close to our hearts here at the festival.

More information can be found in the October solicits which are now up at Comic Book Resources.

British Comic Awards: Thought Bubble 2013 sees the sophomore British Comic Awards ceremony, and we’re delighted that such a prestigious judging panel has been assembled to pick the best of this year’s British comics. You can see the full judging line-up, as well as find out how to nominate your favourite comics of the last year, at the website.

Competitions: if you’d like to see your comic strip featured in 2014’s Thought Bubble Anthology, then you should look at entering our comic competition! We’re looking for single-page scripts from UK creators aged from 12 – 112 (or older, no ageist discrimination here), and there’s some great prizes up for grabs as well as getting your work featured in our next Anthology! Full details can be found at our website, and the deadline for entries is 07/10/13.

We’re also very pleased to be running another 2000 AD Portfolio Competition as part of this year’s festival, and you could win a paid gig with the galaxy’s greatest comic! Last year’s competition saw Will Morris emerge victorious, and his comic appeared in Prog 1836, with The Mighty Tharg’s steely approval. If you think you’re up to the challenge then check out the details on our website and get to drawing!

Hotel: this year Thought Bubble is a proud partner of the Leeds Marriott Hotel – conveniently located in the heart of the city centre! The Leeds Marriott hotel is the official and exclusive hotel partner of the Thought Bubble Festival, and is within walking distance of most event venues. We’ve secured a special festival rate for executive rooms over the convention weekend, and these are filling up fast, so head to the website for full details.

Tickets: passes for this year’s Thought Bubble convention (taking place on the 23rd and 24th November at Armouries Square) have been selling like warmed up baked goods! If you’d like to bag one of the first 500 weekend passes, and get guaranteed entry into our mid-convention party on the Saturday night, then head over to the website and get one quick-like!

Volunteers: if you’d like to help out with this year’s festival, then we’re always on the look-out for new Thought Bubblers, Bubblenauts, and Bubblifiers! We’re extremely lucky to bring together an incredibly friendly group each year, and we’d love to see some new faces in the mix, so if you think that sounds like your cup of bubble tea, then you can find more information at the website.

Website: we update the site throughout the year, including putting up guest profiles and exhibitor icons as we receive them! We’re really happy that we get such a diverse selection of creators and exhibitors each year, and we’d really recommend checking them out if you’re looking to find a new favourite, or simply see some artwork from some of the best!


That’s all the updates we have for now, we’ll be back very soon with an exhibitor update, and then later this year we’ll be unleashing the full Thought Bubble programme into the wild, along with all the amazing screenings you can expect to see in partnership with our friends at Leeds International Film Festival.

We hope you all have a lovely time until next we meet, oh, and go see Pacific Rim, because it’s Robots hitting Aliens, and those are both Good Things.

TBF13 Tickets Now On Sale! by thoughtbubblefestival

Greetings fellow human beings and any aliens who are viewing this archive many thousands of years in the future to try and piece together an idea of how our now extinct society may have functioned!

We’re currently hard at work bringing together all the many elements that form a Thought Bubble Festival, handling them with care, and using the requisite safety equipment to ensure the good health and well-being of our team. We’ve also just returned from adventures to the Toronto Comics Art Festival, MCM Expo in London, and we’ll be heading out to the 2D comics festival this weekend for some fun on the emerald isle! We always enjoy meeting comicky folks, so if you see us at a show, don’t be shy, say hi!

In the meantime, we gots some of those good olde time updates for you, including details of tickets for this year’s Thought Bubble Convention! If you would like to know more, please continue reading…

Firstly, this year’s Comics Forum call-for-papers is now open! Comics Forum was established in 2009 as part of that year’s Thought Bubble Festival; taking our emphasis upon the educational value of comics as its starting point, Comics Forum aims to increase the visibility and accessibility of comics scholarship through an academic conference that brings together scholars, artists and fans in a spirit of mutual cooperation and development. This year’s Comics Forum takes place on 21st – 22nd November, and is focusing on small press, independent, and artisanal comics, and is hoping to put the spotlight on creators and publishers whose voice may not necessarily conform to the mainstream. For full details of the conference’s call-for-papers, and information on how to get involved, please visit the website.

Speaking of websites, we’ve just updated ours, with new guests, new exhibitors for New Dock Hall, and new exhibitors for Royal Armouries Hall! It’s looking like this year’s Thought Bubble is going to be absolutely jam-packed with creative talent, and we’re looking forward to what will be our biggest (and hopefully best) festival yet! We’ll be updating on the fly throughout the remaining months, weeks, and days leading up to the festival, so please keep an eye on twitter (@ThoughtBubbleUK) and Facebook (search ‘thought bubble festival’) to find out the hottest gossip as it happens!

Finally, and most importantly, tickets for this year’s Thought Bubble convention are now on sale! Prices are available at that link, and if you’ve never bought tickets in advance for the show (or have, but can’t remember that far back, because the excitement of previous year’s Thought Bubbles has wiped your memory), then here’s some handy information to be aware of:

  • Pre-ordered tickets will not be posted out – just bring a valid form of ID, or the card you booked the ticket/s with and you’ll be able to claim your festival wristband on the day from the ticket desk at New Dock Hall. Alternatively, for example if you didn’t book the tickets yourself, just bring along a print or electronic copy of the confirmation email that you’ll receive from Leeds Box Office;
  • If you’re coming to the show in costume, and are wanting to take advantage of the cosplay discount, then please purchase your ticket on the door when you arrive at the show, the cosplay discount doesn’t apply to pre-ordered tickets;
  • Under-12s can enter the show for free, provided they are accompanied by a ticket holding parent/guardian, we’ll have loads of young people’s and family programming at the convention, so if you know anyone whose kids (or parents) would like to come to Thought Bubble, then please let them know about the festival – we love meeting new people, and helping introduce new fans to the wonderful world of COMICS;
  • If you have any queries regarding a transaction for any ticket/s that you have pre-ordered, please contact Leeds Box Office directly, as we don’t handle sales of the tickets directly, and they’ll be able to help you more promptly with any requests you may have;
  • There’s no cap on ticket sales, but pre-orders will be taken down in the week of the festival, to allow for processing of the lists of attendees ahead of the show, after this time, we ask that anyone wishing to attend the convention please purchase their passes on the door, at the same price as pre-order bookings - tickets on the door are not limited, but are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and some queuing at the venue may be required;
  • The first 500 pre-ordered weekend passes confer guaranteed entry to our lovely Saturday night party, and once these have all been allocated, a note will be added to the website at this page.

That’s all for now! We’ll be updating the website again soon with some more guests and some more exhibitors, and we’ll be bringing you the first details of this year’s programme later in the summer to get your adrenal glands working at full capacity! YAY!

174 days to go!

Minterviews 2013: Emma Rios by thoughtbubblefestival


I hope you’re all eggcited for Easter, or an equivalent egg-based non-denominational holiday of your choosing! EGGS! Here at Tho Bubs Central, we’re continuing with our plans, plots, and schemes for this year’s festival, and because of that we have some fresh as the dickens updates for you!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only, and because of this we’ve updated…

The Thought Bubble 2013 guests pages! Including… Geof Darrow, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Matt Fraction, and David Aja!

The Thought Bubble 2013 New Dock Hall exhibitor pages!

The Thought Bubble 2013 Royal Armouries Hall exhibitor pages!

It’s gearing up to be our bestest festival ever, so keep your eyes out for more and more goodness coming at you, thicker and faster as the festival dates near, exponentially increasing in amazingness until it all collapses into a singularity of super cool awesome times.

If you’re exhibiting with us and are yet to send over an icon then please do, you can see all the details of what’s needed on this page, and if you missed out on a table, then you can sign up to our reserves list here.


Now. You may have heard that each year we like to have a chat with some of the wonderful creators that we get to meet through the festival, and pop the transcripts up online. We ask the same 5 starting questions to everyone, and then figure out 5 more questions from their answers to those to form a mini-interview, a MINTERVIEW! They’re also called MINTerviews because that’s our favourite flavour ice-cream, and we always eat it when Minterviewing people. Mint ice cream is good for you because it is green. THIS IS SCIENCE.

This week we had a talk with Emma Rios, amazing artist on Dr Strange, Prophet, Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel, and more besides. Her art is lovely, as can be seen on her blog, flickr, and tumblr. You can see what we talked about below, so get readin’, pilgrim!

TB: Hi Emma! First off, how did you get started in comics? Did you get a big break, or was it more gradual?

ER: I learned how to read by reading comics, so creating them felt quite natural. I started drawing comics quite young, when I was 13 or 14 years old, and I’ve been involved in comics during all that time, but actually never thought I was going to become a professional. 

TB: So, which comics did you start off reading as you were growing up?

ER: Asterix and Obelix, Donald Duck, some old Spanish stuff I inherited like Jabato, anime adaptations like Mazinger and Gatchaman and Superheroer. I didn’t read any manga stuff until starting High School.

TB: And what’s your proudest moment been, in comics or otherwise, to date?

ER: Probably when I took my first self-published work to a professional printers when I was 21. I’d already done several photocopied ‘zines at that moment, but this felt different.

Artwork by Emma Rios

Artwork by Emma Rios

TB: Do you still produce any self-published stories, or does your work on titles for publishers like Marvel and Image mean you no longer have time to do that?

ER: Not really, just short collaborations. I definitively have to find time for that.

TB: Do you enjoy attending conventions and other events like Thought Bubble?

ER: I have a lot of fun, but they always make me feel a bit nervous. I’m not very fond of huge cons but I do like small ones, a lot.

TB: You sketched live on stage for our audience at 2012’s Thought Bubble convention, how was that as an experience?

ER: Less traumatic than I thought it would be, actually. I always freak out regarding these things because of not being an English speaking person, but it went great. I had a lot of fun, thanks to Peter Doherty and all the guys there.

Artwork by Emma Rios

Artwork by Emma Rios

TB: Which comics are you enjoying at the moment, any all-time favourites?

ER: More than anything I’m quite obssessed with anything that comes from Taiyou Matsumoto. I do like Brandon Graham’s stuff, Frederik Peeters, Angie Wang, Hwei Lin Lim, Guy Davis, Frank Quitely, Burns, Pope, Samura…

I’m enjoying Hawkeye, Daredevil, BPRD, Prophet, what Josh Tierney and the gang are doing in Spera, and Brandon´s Multiple Warheads quite a lot… I’ve also had a blast reading the Spanish edition of Prison Pit last week, the Shigeru Mizuki bio… My reading is pretty chaotic, but I enjoy that.

I´m reading Fantagraphics’ Heart of Thomas right now. And some all-time favourites are Wolfman and Colan’s Drácula, Batman: Year One and DD: Born Again by Mazzuchelli and Miller, Ditko´s Doctor Strange, Nocenti´s run on Daredevil, Otomo´s Akira, Lone Wolf and Cub, Sienkievicz and Claremont´s New mutants, Tezuka, specially Ode to Kirihito and Ayako, Moto Hagio, Shigeru Mizuki…

It´s completely impossible to do a full list, honestly.

TB: So, do you think that your varied reading habits have influenced your artistic style? Are there any creators in particular that you see as having had a strong influence on your own work?

ER: Yup, definitively. I think I have quite a lot of different influences because of that.

Bernet, Colan, Samura, Ikeda, Pope, Miller, probably Crepax, some Bilal… The first Ghost In The Shell movie had a huge impact on me, and also Yoji Shinkawa, the guy who does the concept art on the Metal Gear games.

TB: Have you got any big work plans for this year? How’s Pretty Deadly coming along?

ER: I have quite a long schedule planned so far, which is a bit frightening but great. These are exciting times for me, I couldn’t be more grateful. The only thing I can talk about though is Pretty Deadly.

I’m having a blast working on this book. Kelly Sue and me are pretty close, we are a dream team, honestly, having so much trust in each other’s work. Everything feels smooth, the collaboration is organic and perfect. About what I’m doing there – one of the reasons I decided to move to creator owned stuff was because I needed to stop a bit, and think about how to improve the quality of my drawing. I really want to do something a bit different here and moving a step forward.

The western atmosphere, being so suggestive, helps a lot. Everything seems to flow on the page. I know this feeling is not going to last long -I’m always so insecure and a maniac perfectionist – but I’m kind of OK with how my work is looking so far.

TB: Finally, as always, thought bubbles or caption boxes?

ER: I do like both, but the way you use them is a bit different, I think. I normally try to express the character´s thoughts through their acting, before writing their thoughts – I can´t help it.


A huge thank you going out to Emma for taking the time to talk to us, Pretty Deadly is looking like it’s gonna be a whole heap of awesome, so keep an eye out for that dropping at your local comic emporium – and we’ll have the creative team behind it at this year’s festival, so come along and say howdy!

More Minterviews and updates coming sooooooon!

Minterviews 2013: Giannis Milonogiannis by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey you guys!

Did you have a nice vernal equinox? I went to school with someone called Vernon Equinox, but he was no relation, and that’s a whole different story for another time!

The story right now is one of updates! These are not bad dates, these are the best dates, and they lift your spirits, hence being called UP-dates. Or something? I’m no word scientist. Anyways, we have updated…

The Thought Bubble 2013  guests pages!

The Thought Bubble 2013  New Dock Hall exhibitor pages!

The Thought Bubble 2013 Royal Armouries Hall exhibitor pages!

All of which are slowly, but surely, getting crammed to the gills with some absolutely brilliant comics creating talent. It’s gonna be a fun ol’ time in the city of Leeds this November. BOY HOWDY!

If you’re yet to send over an icon then please do, you can see all the details of what’s needed on this page, and if you missed out on a table, then you can sign up to our reserves list here.


Now, every year, we like to have a chat with some of the wonderful creators that we get to meet through the festival, and pop the transcripts up online. We ask the same 5 starting questions to everyone, and then figure out 5 more questions from their answers to those to form a mini-interview, a MINTERVIEW! We also call them MINTerviews because reading them is like inhaling a cool blast of mountain air for your mind grapes, and leaves your noggin minty fresh. For any neurobiologists in the house, please don’t email in, we’re just having some fun. WHY YOU GOT TO HATE?

This week we’ve been talking to Giannis Milonogiannis, the excellent creator of cyberpunk webcomic Old City Blues, and whose (awesome) work can currently be found in Prophet and Spera, the collections of which are both worth picking up, as they’re firm favourites here. You can see what we chatted about below, and for more of Giannis’ work you can check out his website, or his art tumblr.

TB:Hey Giannis! So, to open, can you give us an idea of how you got started in comics? Did you get a big break, or was it more gradual?

GM: I sort of gradually scammed my way into comics – I got started doing small things locally in Greece, before putting up Old City Blues online in 2010. I suspect most people have found out about my stuff through Prophet, though.

TB: And how long were you publishing OCB online before Archaia expressed an interest in putting the book out? How did that come about?

GM: The book was online for about 7 months before Archaia found it – I had actually submitted it to them when they found it online themselves around the same time. So it’s like the book worked itself out in that way.

TB: So, do you prefer working on projects like OCB that you have complete control over, or collaborative projects with other writers/artists like Prophet and Spera? 

GM: Both are great for different reasons, I suppose – and doing one helps you better understand the other. Working with a writer is infinitely easier, most of the time, but I like to be able to show readers something like OCB and know it’s all my own, for better or worse – the characters and situations in a solo project are part of the creator in a different way than on collaborative books. It’s a totally different feeling.


Artwork by Giannis Milonogiannis

TB: What’s your proudest moment, in comics or otherwise, to date?

GM: Finishing anything up is a pretty proud moment. The feeling doesn’t last long, but the high you get from finishing a story is probably when I feel proudest – “wow, we actually finished this?”

TB: And does that feeling of satisfaction become addictive after a while then? Do you think it’s that high that drives you to create, or do you just like telling stories?

GM: I think the cartoonist’s high is addictive even if we don’t realize it at first. I’d like to say it’s solely the stories that push me to make comics, but I’d probably be trying to write novels or something if that were true. The high I get from being in the zone while drawing or from just having finished a book is a big part of the fun in making comics.

TB: Do you enjoy attending conventions and other events like Thought Bubble?

GM: Definitely. I’ve only been to two or three because I live a ways from everything, but it’s been fun the times I’ve been. It’s fun to see people walking around for an entire weekend in a constant state of excitement.


Artwork by Giannis Milonogiannis

TB: So, did you ever go to any conventions as a fan, when you were still trying to break into the industry? Do you think showing your work at events can help when you’re starting out? 

GM: I did go to a convention in the States in 2010 purely as a fan trying to break in. It was great to finally get to meet people up close, and see their immediate reactions to my work. It’s definitely something that helps you grow more comfortable with being someone who draws to be in such an environment.

TB: And as a comics fan – which titles are you enjoying at the moment, any all-time favourites?

GM: Some favorites: Adam Warren’s Dirty Pair: Sim Hell, Yukinobu Hoshino’s 2001 Nights, Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese, obviously anything by Shirow and Otomo. Right now I’m going back and reading a lot of Tezuka, Golgo 13 and 90’s X-Men stuff.

I should really read more current books.

TB: Do you have any characters, that aren’t your own, that are particular favourites to draw? Any that you’d jump at the chance to work on a title featuring? 

GM: I draw too much Metal Gear Solid fan-art probably, but I don’t know if I could draw a decent book of that. It’s definitely the first thing that comes to mind, though.

TB: Finally, thought bubbles or caption boxes?

GM: Both – in my head they’re two entirely different things with their own use. I don’t see how we can ban the use of thought bubbles – it’s like saying we can’t use red in our comics anymore.


We’d like to say a massive thank you to Giannis for taking the time to talk to us, and you really should check out the excellent free-to-read cyberpunk awesomeness of Old City Blues. It’s ACE.

We’ll have another Minterview for you next week, as well as more guest and exhibitor updates, so be sure to check back, check in, and check it out.


Minterviews 2013: Pia Guerra by thoughtbubblefestival

Hola amigos!

Hope you’re enjoying the first sprunging of spring sunshine, mixed in with icy death winds, and hyper-condensed snow blizzards. Isn’t global warming wonderful?

We’ve gotten through the avalanche of bookings that arrived last month for this year’s convention, and have started popping up some wonderful exhibitor icons on the website to reflect that – you can see the ones we’ve received so far for New Dock (Octopus) Hall and Royal Armouries (Wars) Hall by clicking on the links!

We’ll be updating the pages throughout the year, and be sure to have a click around on the icons to discover some wonderful creators. We’ve also been updating the guests pages regularly over the last month, so go and have a gander to whet your appetite at some of the awesome talent that’s coming to Leeds this November!

If you’re yet to send over and icon then please do, you can see all the details of what’s needed on this page, and if you missed out on a table, then you can sign up to our reserves list on here.


Every year, we like to have a chat with some of the wonderful creators that we get to meet through the festival, and pop the transcripts up online. We ask the same 5 starting questions to everyone, and then figure out 5 more questions from their answers to those to form a mini-interview, a MINTERVIEW! In an ideal world thunder will crash and lightning will flash as you read that mighty word, but if it doesn’t, just use your imagination.

This week we’re speaking to the awesome Pia Guerra whose artwork in Y – The Last Man is a perennial favourite here at Thought Bubble towers, and we were extremely honoured (and grateful) to be able to auction some of her original art earlier in the year as part of our charity sketch event. You can see our chat below, and for more of Pia’s work, check out her website.

TB: Hi Pia! So, to start off, could you tell us how you got started in comics? Did you get a big break, or was it more gradual?

PG: I was always drawing my own comics and friends told me I should do it for a living. I went to some local comic cons and showed my work to other artists and editors and their feedback convinced me I could make a go of comics as a career. It was a very slow creep upwards, I worked on a lot of indy books, and this being the early 90s, just as the whole industry was about to implode many of those projects never saw the light of day or were so limited no one got to really see it. I did work illustrating role playing game manuals, cards and storyboards for television on top of crappy part time jobs to keep a roof over my head. Every year I went to San Diego Comic Con to show my work and it was there I met Heidi MacDonald who made me her pet project. I tried out for many books over about a three year period, got rejected for each but kept going until 2001 when I got a call about Y. The rest you know.

TB: Are you a tabletop gamer yourself as well as a comic fan then, or were the RPG manual & card illustrations just a job to pay the bills?

PG: I did a lot of tabletop gaming in high school and with friends after that, mostly D&D. I came across White Wolf gaming manuals while hanging out in game shops and really liked the artwork, especially Tim Bradstreet’s pieces. We never played those modules, it seemed complex and a bit too gothy for our group but I always kept an eye out for the manuals when they came in.  Later, after trying out and landing some work on the books some Masquerade gamers tried to explain how the system worked but it didn’t really grab me enough to try it. A lot of it involved LARPing and I wasn’t into that. I enjoyed the work though, I approached it from the perspective of a National Geographic photographer roaming the world of Vampires and Werewolves, I was very happy with how it looked.

TB: Did your working style change much over those three years before Y? Do you markedly tailor the art style to a given project / story, or does it develop more organically?

PG: I spent most of that time just trying to get up to working speed and still making it look right. It was a few months before Y that I was finally comfortable with basic technique and that was when I started experimenting with style.  Also, since I was getting a lot of rejections from Vertigo I figured I’d switch focus to superhero books, my portfolio was starting to loosen up and feel more dynamic, enough so to get me on a waiting list for the Buffy comic (which I was pretty excited about) and then Y came along and I had to pull my style back to a more cinematic realism as fitting to the script.

Artwork by Pia Guerra

TB: What do you think is your proudest moment, in comics or otherwise, to date?

PG: Proudest moment in comics? Wow. Safeword is up there. That arc was fun and different and struck some nice notes. I really like how it came out. And then of course the last issue. I was wreck after that but in a “Holy shit it works!” kind of way. I never feel a hundred percent about any book I’ve done, there’s always a part of me that thinks I could have made this better if I’d done this or maybe if I did that in another way it would have popped more… the last issue could have been better in many ways but it was the strongest I’ve ever managed and I’m proud of that. I hit the marks just the way I wanted to hit and every time I hear how it messed someone up reading it I just feel “yeah, nailed it.” It’s a rare and good feeling.

TB: Would you say that that’s the hardest part of making comic for you – sending them out into the “real world” once you’ve finished working on them?

PG: Working on them. Absolutely. Sending them out, or to put it bluntly, getting them out of my hair so I can spend crazy hours on the next batch, that’s the part you live for.

TB: Do you enjoy attending conventions and other events like Thought Bubble?

PG: Working in comics is very isolating, you work in a studio for most of the year, you don’t get out much to socialize, especially if you’re on deadline. Your main form of communication is electronic, whether it’s with colleagues or readers and there are limits to what comes across. Conventions are fantastic because you just get a face full of interaction. You get to really hear what people think of the work you do and there’s a great back and forth exchange that’s immediate and engaging. There’s also the chance to give advice to new artists and see the enthusiasm that’s just bursting out of them, it makes you want to point them in all these new and, hopefully, helpful directions. Not to mention getting to hang out with other creators, many of them long time friends, who are in very much the same boat and eager to catch up and share all the stuff they’ve found in the time since you saw them last… or you’re meeting new creators who you’ve alternately adored for years or never heard of before and you want to hear everything they have to say, look at everything they have to show. It’s a very exciting time for all involved, very electric and I love it.

TB: So, do you think that that human interaction, and face-to-face criticism/appraisal of work, is an essential part of breaking into the industry for a budding artist or writer then?

PG: It is possible to get work through email and internet networking but I believe it’s a tougher slog. Editors don’t just want to see your work, they want to see YOU. It’s the direct interaction that gives them an idea of how you’ll be to work with, whether you’re good at communicating, whether you’re an easy or difficult personality, whether you’re the type who listens to feedback or gets defensive, whether you behave professionally and most important, whether you’re consistent. Artists rarely get a job after one meeting, it usually takes several follow ups with an editor to get a clear picture, and that’s why going to cons, establishing and building relationships is worth the time and effort to go.

Artwork by Pia Guerra

TB: Which comics are you enjoying at the moment, any all-time favourites?

PG: I am so digging Hawkeye right now. It’s a well written, very funny book with amazing artwork from David Aja (the kind of amazing that makes you SO ANGRY BECAUSE IT’S SO GOOD! ARRR!) Also, Wolverine an the X-Men is fun and Saga which is so damn beautiful. I’ve been getting sucked into manga lately, Bakuman and Drops of God are very good. All time favourites… Uncanny X-Men #205 has mind blowing art from Barry Windsor Smith that made me want to make comics, Sean Phillip’s run on Hellblazer was very inspirational.

TB: Have you been enjoying the recent superhero title upheavals from the ‘big two’?

I’ve never been a big follower of “events” in comics. I have my titles that I read every month, creative teams I prefer and if I suddenly have to read a bunch of other books that never grabbed me before just to stay up to date, I get irked. That being said, I have been impressed with what Marvel has been doing with their big arcs. While it’s helpful to read other titles, it’s not as essential, and the tent-pole books, those mini-series that run separately and tell the bulk of the story, I really like that. The fact those books have brilliant eye popping art helps too.

DC is a bit different. I admire the effort to revamp and streamline EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE but the execution felt really rough and rushed. A lot of creative teams got shuffled about, there was inconsistency in places, a lot of changes made and then all these stories seemed interconnected in that way that I personally can’t stand. It kinda lost me.

TB: Finally, thought bubbles or caption boxes?

PG: Oh that’s a tough one. I was raised on thought bubbles and in a way I miss them, but yeah, caption boxes bring a very different feel to it, a more personal approach, like it’s closer to your ear as you read it, conspiratorial.


We’d like to say a massive thank you to Pia for taking the time to talk to us, and we hope you enjoyed reading – we’ll be bringing you some more comic chats in the coming weeks, and you can check out the archives of previous years’ Minterviews at this page.

Remember, the force will be with you. ALWAYS.

TBF13 Table Registration Update by thoughtbubblefestival


As some of you may have heard, tables for our convention went on sale yesterday, and had completely sold out within 2 hours, which is pretty spectacular really.

We really are amazed at how quickly the available spaces were booked up. This is unprecedented, even given the demand that we normally experience – last year took around 6 weeks to sell out – and we had assumed that, while it would be quicker this year, they wouldn’t be gone in less than a day. We’d estimated that at the very least it would take about 3 weeks, which would still have been a record time!

The fact that the tables sold out in such a short time just shows how quickly (and extensively) the comics community is growing in the UK, and we think that’s something to be celebrated. Since Thought Bubble started back in 2007 we’ve seen new faces every year, both in terms of creators and readers of comics, and that’s great – it’s an exciting time to be involved with such a vibrant medium, especially one with such passionate people involved in its ongoing evolution and expansion.

We’re aware that some exhibitors who wished to attend have missed out, and if you’re among them then we’d ask that you sign up to our reserves/cancellation list, so that we know who you are, and to let us judge the numbers more accurately. We’d also like to offer our apologies to those who are disappointed about not being able to secure a space – we hate turning anyone away, and, given the massive demand for tables this year, we are actively pursuing further convention space.

Though we are not in a position to promise anything definite at the moment, things are looking positive and we are hopeful that we will be able to provide more tables to exhibitors at this year’s Thought Bubble, if it’s at all feasible. We will do our very best, and will keep everyone posted with regular updates. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to find a solution that lets us open up the convention even more, allows more exhibitors and more attendees to pass through our doors, and helps us to introduce hundreds of new readers to the medium that we love.

We really can’t begin to express how important all our exhibitors and guests are to us, and we are eternally grateful for you all supporting Thought Bubble, and we hope you’ll continue to do so in the future. We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s booked a table, or signed up to the reserves list so far, and to those who have attended previous year’s Thought Bubbles.

We couldn’t do it without you.

Thought Bubble 2013 – Official Festival Announcement by thoughtbubblefestival

Greetings, true bubblievers!

Spring is approaching, and the sun is valiantly fighting its way back into the sky, so, by my ancient Babylonian crop tracking device, I make it just about time to make some big ol’ TBF13 announcements! HUZZAH!

We are delighted to reveal that this year’s festival will run from 17th – 24th November, in conjunction with the 27th Leeds International Film Festival, and our humongous convention will take place on the 23rd & 24th November! We’ll have announcements coming soon regarding table registration and ticket sales for the convention, but in the meantime we have our first wave of guests confirmed, including…

- Rafael Alburquerque (American Vampire);
Gabriel Bá (Daytripper, Casanova);
Andy Belanger (Swamp Thing, Black Church);
Becky Cloonan (Batman, Wolves, The Mire);
Ming Doyle (Mara, Jennifer’s Body)
Fábio Moon (Casanova, Daytripper);
Sean Gordon Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus);
Ramón Pérez (Wolverine & The X-Men);
Emma Rios (Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly);
Annie Wu (Hawkeye, The Venture Bros)

You can see more details on the website, and we’ll have many, many more guests to announce as the festival draws closer, so keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook to find out as soon as we add new names to the list!

In further TBF13 news, and as you’ve probably spotted from the top of the blog – we’ve got an awesome new festival image! This year’s festival icon has been provided by the wonderful Alice Duke, and we should hopefully have a blog post soon about her process for creating it. We love it, and the sci-fi vibe that it’s giving to this year’s proceedings is out of this world. Literally! Hahaha– sorry. You can see the full version of her ace art below (click to embiggen).



That’s all for the time being, but there’s plenty more to see up at so be sure to have a nose around, and we’ll be back soon with more updates for our biggest festival ever!

Oh, and Minterviews will be back next week! So look out for that! YAY!

1000 Words 2012 – Round-up by thoughtbubblefestival

Over the last couple of weeks, the extremely lovely Matt Sheret has been popping up videos from the ‘1000 Words’ strand of talks that he curated (along with web-presence-phobic Thought Bubbler Mikey B) at this year’s Thought Bubble convention. After the jump there’s a summary of the event, and links to all the talks collected in one handy block, but first – a few thank you’s…

If any of you went to last year’s We Are Words + Pictures strand of talks on independent comic creation at Thought Bubble’s convention, then that was organised by Matt too, and  this was coming off the back of his working as Thought Bubble 2011’s Writer in Residence, so to say that we owe Matt a debt of gratitude is a bit of an understatement. We’d highly recommend checking out his Paper Science anthology, and, if we can convince him and Mikey to put on 2000 Words: A Space Odyssey next year, then we’re sure we’ll be thanking him again in December 2013. Cheers Matt, you’re a Good Egg.

Another big thank you has to go to Anne Hollowday, whose films on Thought Bubble and the British Comic Awards had already put us eternally into the red on the karmic balance sheet, but her filming of the 1000 Words talks has cemented the Wookiee life-debt we now owe. Thanks Anne, may your lenses ever be clear.

Massive thank you’s as well to all the speakers, including Kate Brown, Andy Belanger, Kristyna Baczynski and Laura Snapes for delivering some excellent talks on the day, all those whose presentations are presented below, and our lovely technical crew. And a big final thank you to all those who came along and made up the audience, we hope you’ll be back for more next year!

That’s enough preamble, on with the shows!


1000 Words was a series of short talks about comics & culture by those who make them curated by Matt Sheret and Mike Bennet, full information on the talks can be found by clicking here.

1000 Words 2012 video presentations:

Emma Vieceli – 50 Shades of Niche
a talk about the distinction between mainstream and niche, and about one very popular novel…

Anne Hollowday – Don’t Over Manage the Scene
a few lessons from the world of documentary filmmaking and tells us how it links to comics writing with the Marvel Method…

Si Spurrier – Day of the Dingle
some delicious brainfarts on the topic of Collaborating With Creative Humans, as filtered through a true story from Spurrier’s brief and traumatic career in TV.

Antony Johnston – And His Massive Ego
setting us straight about the terrific and powerful ego of artists and writers everywhere… or does he?

Hannah Donovan – Digital Craft
a talk about music, personal expression, and the pixels we pin to our bedroom walls.

Kieron Gillen – Decimation [2012's Keynote Talk]
As a writer, Kieron’s been dancing with comics for a decade now. He’s trying to decide if he’s learned anything. If he has, he’ll tell you about it. If not, this video will be extremely quiet…


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