Thought Bubble 2018 runs 17th – 23rd September!

Minterviews 2012 – Ivan Brandon by thoughtbubblefestival
09/04/2012, 8:12 am
Filed under: About Thought Bubble, Minterviews, News, Thought Bubble 2012

Hey gang!

TB plans continue to be afoot, and we’ll have some more news for you soon on what we’ll be bringing to you in November. In the meantime, however, spring appears to have unsprung itself, if the weather is anything to go by, so to pass the time until the sun comes back to warm us (obviously this only applies if you’re reading this in England/on Earth), we’ve got another minterview for you and some details of another comics-related event coming soon to Leeds!


Zine Making Workshop: Saturday 19th, 11am – 5pm

This workshop is all about doing it yourself. It will look at what a ‘zine’ is and the many ways people go about creating them. Zines can be a quick and often inexpensive way to get your ideas out there. They can be visual, written or a mixture of the two. During the workshop we will make a number of zines using different folding techniques and exploring content matter. The quantity of zines produced is up to you, you could come away with a small handmade library!

Helen Entwisle is an illustrator based in Leeds. She regularly screen prints illustrated zines and organises collaborative small press publications with a number of artists and illustrators around the world.

You can find out more about the tutor here

Online booking and more info available here:


Onwards to today’s comics chat!

No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns, they observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. So, to give them something to read, we decided to chat with a few comics creators and write down the results! Minterviews!

The format’s the same each week – five standard questions are asked to every contributor, and then five special follow-ups are derived from their answers to the initial batch of questions, so ten in total, a mini-interview, a Minterview. Hopefully it’ll make for some nice informal conversations about the funny books we know and love from those who make them.

This week we spoke to Ivan Brandon, a wonderful writer in many mediums, whose comic Viking is a great take on the crime genre, and the collected edition is well worth picking up. See what he had to say after the jump!


TB: Hi Ivan, to begin with can you give us an idea of how you got started in comics? Did you get a big break, or was it more gradual?

I’d been a fan since I was a kid, more or less… I dropped out in the 90s to focus on girls and when I got back into it I’d been doing some prose writing and was inspired by some creator friends to give comics a try. I spent a weekend trying to learn the format, to force myself to write a “finished” script. It was about an old man who’d quit killing and instead was raising tomatoes. I sent that around and got offered some work.

There’ve been a lot of ups and downs in the 10 years since then, but those initial few months were definitely a “break”.

TB: So, do you now have a standard routine for writing scripts, or is it different depending on the project? Does your process change depending on the medium?

It varies. I’m known for painting myself in a corner, I for no good reason come up with a new approach every time that makes me rip my hair out. I think I can’t perform in stasis. I need a challenge. A lot of the time it changes for the sake of collaboration. Not because anyone’s requested it, but I think a lot of how we make comics as an industry in 2012 is a little lopsided in terms of collaboration, and I’m always trying to figure out ways to bring out a more genuinely shared expression with an artist. Trying, basically, to figure out how to spark an artist to be the voice of the final work rather than dictate to them my own vision.

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

My first official day as a full-time writer. The first day I woke up in my own bed and realized I didn’t have to go to anybody’s office. It was immediately followed by panic, but that first moment was pretty amazing.

TB: What’s your workspace like now? Do you have a set office, or do you get out of the house to write?

I have a set office that I almost never sit in. I work everywhere. I’ve worked on my couch, I’ve written on a train in Peru and a park in Paris.

A lot of planes.

A lot of bars.

TB: Is there any individual script of yours that you’re particularly proud of?

Ha – I wish I could say there was. I’m proud of my scripts for about 30 seconds before I hate them forever.

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

Oh yeah, I love it. I love meeting readers and other professionals, talking about craft, about the potential of comics. I especially love it in a context where it’s a different culture in a place I’ve never been, like Leeds. I’ve only ever been to the UK very briefly once last year.

TB: You seem to be very vocal about the increasing availability of, and options presented by, digital comics, do you think they’re the future of the medium, eventually superseding print copies?

No, I think that polar attitude you hear a lot is a mistake. I think comics is the most agile and malleable entertainment medium, I think we’re capable of being 100 different things to 100 different people. What digital presents is a new potential conduit for story, new people to talk to. That’s a new conversation, SUPPLEMENTING what we already are, not replacing it.

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

Right now my favourite comic, and also one of my favourites all-time is Scalped. Probably the best ongoing work Vertigo has ever published. Other recent favorites include Prophet, Casanova, Phonogram… I’m enormously excited for Brandon Graham’s King City. On the newer tip, Loose Ends is one of the few books that rises to the full potential of the medium.

TB: Are there any characters/properties that you’d relish the chance to write for?

The ones I’m not smart enough to have created yet.

TB: Finally, thought bubbles or caption boxes?



Many thanks to Ivan for taking the time to talk to us, if you would like to speak to the man himself in person, and many more great comic creators, then come along to this year’s Thought Bubble Festival 11th – 18th November!

We’ll be back again with another minterview next Monday, but, until then, have a good week!

No. Have a great week.

NO. Have an amazing week.



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