Thought Bubble 2017 runs 18th – 24th September!


Thought Bubble’s Best of the Web (Part 2) by thoughtbubblefestival

Greetings fanboys and fangirls, welcome to the next installment in Thought Bubbles Best of the Web (or tuhbuhbuhohtuhwuh); chronicling the cream of the online-comics crop at the moment (or, at least, as it currently stands in my humble opinion). Acting as a companion piece to our ‘Friends of Thought Bubble’ series, these are works of sequential art which, while not necessarily created by persons appearing at this year’s festival, are well worth your time.

So without much further ado, and by the power of greyskull, let’s see what this week’s installment has on offer… (As always the links will take you to external websites and thus may contain material not suitable for youngsters, consider yourselves warned kids.)

1) Lackadaisy

Do you like thrilling tales of prohibition-era gangsters? Do you like gorgeous line art and shading to accompany said tales? Do you like characters to be portrayed by super-cute anthropomorphic cats? If the answer to any of those questions was yes (and let’s face it, who in their right mind doesn’t like cute cartoon cats dressed as peoples?) then Lackadaisy may be the comic for you. Created by Tracy Butler, and perhaps best described as Damon Runyon meets Blacksad, the comic mixes brilliant art with a thoroughly excellent sense of humour and narration to culminate in one of the best ongoing series on the web.

2) American Elf

Some of the sequential art fans amongst you may already be familiar with the work of the wonderful James Kochalka (Monkey vs Robot, and Superf*ckers to name a couple) but perhaps his most interesting work is the daily diary comic American Elf. Combining Kochalka’s unique artistic style, along with an unflinching ability to honestly portray snapshots of his everyday life, American Elf represents one of the bastions of online sequential art and can be generally relied upon to raise either a smile or a sense of pathos in the reader on a regular basis.

3) Order of Tales

Order of Tales is the second of creator Evan Dahm’s ‘Overside’ stories and follows the adventures of wandering raconteur (and reluctant hero) Koark and his ward Bottle-Girl. Set in a fantastical land of otherworldly beings Order of Tales shows just how inventive independent sequential-art can truly be. Dahm’s first Overside story ‘Rice Boy’ first explored the delights of that particular universe and, in The One Electronic, featured possibly one of the most brilliantly cool characters ever conjured up from a human imagination. While the two tales can be enjoyed independently, read together (in increasingly large sittings) they demonstrate Dahm’s immense skill as a story-teller in the graphic medium.

4) MS Paint Adventures

MSPA represents the latest project from one of the most avant-garde creators currently working in online comics – Andrew Hussie – and shows what can happen when a ridiculously inventive artist comes up with a truly original idea and then runs with it. Presented in the style of classic text-based role-playing games MSPA represents not only one of the most regularly updated online comics, but also one of the most consistently hilarious. Start with the epic Problem Sleuth (a hard-boiled detective story which ends up bringing in elements of Chaos theory and quantum physics) before moving on to the newer story of Homestuck. I personally guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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And with that we have reached the end of yet another post, but don’t fret, parting is such sweet sorrow and it won’t be too long until we have some new sequential-arty goodness to impart to you. The preparation for this year’s festival continues, and we should also have the names of a few more guests to whisper to you soon.

-edit- News hot off the TB press: Comics superstar Frank Quitely (Batman and Robin, New X-Men, We3, JLA: Earth 2) has just been confirmed as a guest for this year’s convention. Groovy.

Klaatu barada nikto y’all!

– Clark

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Thought Bubble’s Best of the Web (Part 1) by thoughtbubblefestival

Alrighty then, something a little bit different this week on the ol’ blog: One of Thought Bubble’s remits is to bring the world of Independent Sequential Art to you the, lovely, viewing public. As part of this aim we already have the ‘Friends of Thought Bubble’ series, where previous (and future) guests at the festival provide us with some of their work and a little bit of back-story on themselves in a thoroughly wonderful gesture of arty kindness. Starting this week, and sort of running in parallel to the aforementioned posts, I’ll be bringing together what I, personally, like to think of as the best of the web. This will feature Sequential Art/Illustrations by creators who, while not necessarily appearing at this year’s Thought Bubble (and for a list of some of the creators who will be appearing, simply cast your mouse here), are still producing work which is very much worth your time.

One quick note before we proceed: most, if not all, of the entries in these forthcoming lists (the links to which will take you to external websites) may contain material not suitable for youngsters, consider yourselves warned kids.

There will be no order to these, they’re simply the interweb based sequential art creations which I’m digging at the moment. Egotistical? Yes, but check ’em out anyways.

1) Freakangels

Put simply, the daddy of all webcomics at the moment. Written by comics legend Warren Ellis and pencilled by rising-star Paul Duffield this tells the story of what may have happened had a group of individuals with powers equatable to the Midwich Cuckoos survived to adolescence and, possibly, caused a near-apocolyptic event. Also available in collected hard copy, Freakangels updates with 6 new, free (!), full-colour pages every Friday and contains Ellis’ trademark brand of high-concept future-fiction and mid-blowingly graphic violence. Tasty.

2) Bolt

Created by Kazu Kibushi, the guru behind the Flight anthologies, Bolt tells the, occasional, stories of the epnoymous boy and his dog Fred. A sort of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ for the interwebs generation, Bolt has some insanely beautiful line art and a consistently trippy, dreamscape-esque line in narration, and, while only updating sporadically, is a wonder to behold.

3) A Lesson is Learned (But the Damage is Irreversible)

The brainchild of messrs Dale Beran and David Hellman (who would later go on to produce the artwork for the game Braid), A Lesson is Learned is, sadly, now on hiatus, but for the meantime the archives still represent a wealth of mind-boggling goodness. Best described as ‘indescribable’, the comic manages to be hilarious and poignant at the same time while delivering sequential art which stands up on both its storytelling and illustrative merits.

4) Dr McNinja

Created by Chris Hastings, the Adventures of Dr McNinja chronicles the exciting life and times of an individual who is both a doctor and a ninja. Starting as a forum-avatar, before becoming a fully-fledged comic character in his own right, McNinja rapidly became an internet phenomenon and tales of his derring-dos have, to-date, been collected in three graphic novels. Presented in a ‘traditional’ comic-book format, with three new pages a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), Dr McNinja has, thus far, battled the evils of drugs, McDonalds, zombies, Dracula, and a giant tennis-playing Aztec robot. If that doesn’t whet your appetite for medically ethical destruction, then nothing will.

5) Dresden Codak

Created by writer/illustrator Aaron Diaz, Dresden Codak represents an exploration into the vagaries of science and philosophy, with his magnum opus Hob (an epic voyage of post-human self-discovery, time travel and robots) representing one of the single greatest things about independent art on the internets. Alone the art or ideas would be to die for, together they are simply awesome in its most literal sense. If you’ve ever wanted to see various schools of philosophy pitted against one another in the arena of table-top role-playing-games then you need to be reading this. Right now.

Okay, so that’s enough for this week, I’ll try and drop another edition on the blog in the coming weeks when there isn’t an edition of ‘Friends of Thought Bubble’ to bring to you, if your favourite webcomic isn’t featured here, or you have any suggestions of your own feel free to shout them out in the comments box (below) or just sit tight until I bring you the next installment of Thought Bubble’s Best of the Web.

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In other, more directly Thought Bubble-related, news; a few more names have been added to the guest list for this years festival. The new additions, along with the full line-up so far, can be viewed at the Thought Bubble website, or alternatively on the Facebook group page. Once all the guests have been finalised you will, of course, be able to see the full line-up here in all its glory as soon as it’s announced. Here’s a hint: it’s looking swe-ee-et.

So say we all.

– Clark



Thought Bubble Blog Bumper Edition (Hold the Presses) by thoughtbubblefestival

After a slight hiatus on the blog (while I transfered from my Fortress of Solitude to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth. Basically, I moved house.) we’re back on track with a special giant-sized edition of TB-related information to blow you away with. So, without much further ado, atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed, let’s roll…

Last weekend saw the first Thought Bubble workshop of 2009 with a manga masterclass hosted by the amazing Yishan Li. A thoroughly good time was had by all over the two days which included the aforementioned tutorial as well as anime screenings at both the Hyde Park Picture House and the Travelling Man (Leeds) Coffee Shop. A big thanks to Yishan for running the masterclass and all the people who turned out to share in the fun and helped make the events so enjoyable, a few pictures from the days can be seen below.

If you would like to keep up-to-date about any of the future Thought Bubble workshops (which will be happening throughout the year up until the festival proper) then you can acheive this extremely worthwhile goal by: checking back to this very blog regularly; signing up to the Thought Bubble mailing list (thoughtbubblefestival@googlemail.com); following our twitter feed; or joining the Facebook or MySpace groups. These events are a whole heap of fun and well worth checking out!

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In related convention news the London Film and Comic Convention is taking place on the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July at Earls Court (travel info can be found here). Entry is £10 before 11am and then £5 thereafter. Tickets can be booked in advance online or on the door on the day with full admission details available here.

The LFCC now has over FIFTY guests attending including Vic Mignogna (Full Metal Alchemist), Spike Spencer (Evangelion), Transformers’ Bumble Bee and many MANY more! The full guest line-up can be browsed at the site.

The convention is also catering for anime fans with a number of events including a £100 top prize for the winner of the cosplay masquerade as well as a number of other events for fans of everything anime.

The LFCC promises to be a great event and a perfect way to get yourself excited for this year’s Thought Bubble Festival, so, if you’re free that weekend, why not check it out!

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Also on the horizon for this summer are a couple of Death Note Days taking place at the Leeds and Newcastle Travelling Man stores on the 1st of August and 8th of August respectively. If you’re a fan of Tsugumi Ohba’s magnum opus then be sure to make a note in your diaries now. More details can be found on the flyer below or at the Travelling Man Blog.

That’s all the sequential art related news for the time being, but rest assured the plans for this years TB are continuing apace so it won’t be long before we have some more intriguing information to impart to you. You lucky, lucky people. Finally, in a little bit of blog news, this week will also see the start of a “best of the web” series showcasing some of the finest webcomics which everyone should be following, and acting as a companion piece of sorts to our Friends of Thought Bubble series. Live long and prosper, yo.

– Clark