Thought Bubble 2017 runs 18th – 24th September!


Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine Mini-Interview by thoughtbubblefestival

Greetings Bubblers! Time to finally exhale the indrawn breath of anticipation that was induced by the news of our upcoming series of interviews with the Friends of Thought Bubble, because it’s finally here!

As a nice lead-up to this year’s festival we’ll be bringing you some mini-interviews (or minterviews) with the contributors to the Friends of Thought Bubble series which has been running on this very blog for the last handful of  months. All the folks who’ve, very kindly, taken the time to talk to us will be appearing at the convention on 21st November, along with a whole other bunch of wonderfully talented people.

Kicking us off, in style I might add, is the Pride of Yorkshire – Mr Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine – who also started the Friends of Thought Bubble ball a-rolling all those months ago. His TB profile can be found here, and I heartily recommend checking out his site, but without much further ado – let’s rap…

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hugh raine logo

Hi Hugh, thanks for talking to us, to start off do you think you could give us an idea of how you first got into sequential art?

I thought I’d ‘grown out’ of comics by the time I was a teenager, and was concentrating on being an illustrator, but I still watched a lot of cartoons and was attracted to programs like The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Adventures of Pete & Pete on Nickelodeon. I somehow found my way into reading Marvel, but in comic shops I eventually became exposed to Peter Bagge, Steve Weissman, Robert Crumb, and Tom Hart. I always made my own comics, but became more focussed at university – doing an animation degree – where I honed the storytelling and gag side of comic making.
I got involved making comic-zines in Hull, namely working with a bunch of lads making Lobster Magazine. When that ended, I decided to start my own, as a way to keep drawing, when I had little on creatively. It took a long time for me to tune into the small press scene but once I found it, I liked it! I never realised there was a scene for people like me until a few years ago.

Your comics have a slightly warped sense of humour running through them, juxtaposed with the often ‘cute’ illustrations – was this contrast intentional?

I think I started using that juxtaposition as a quick and easy way to get a laugh, or some reaction. Now I only really use it to upset my wife. The “set ’em up, knock ’em down” technique never really gets old though, does it?
My latest stuff deals with more adult themes and still employs a cute style, but it’s darker than before. Also, working as a greetings card illustrator, I think abusing cute characters helps me keep sane.

Do you view your commercial illustration work simply as a means to fund your comic-making endeavours, or are your small press projects more of a hobby?

I treat them as completely separate entities – it’s like having two jobs. I wouldn’t say I think of my day job as funding my comics financially; the things I learn at work “fund” my comics creatively. I like the things I do for work, or as a freelancer, but with the comics I can do whatever I want, and it’s important to me to have that.

You self-published Reet! for four years, do you think the small press scene has changed since you started?

When I was making and distributing REET! I was frequenting record shops, gigs, retro clothes shops, and only the occasional comic shop. I wasn’t really part of the small press scene – not intentionally, anyway. In fact, I was avoiding the term “comic” altogether, because some people didn’t really understand what comics were; I thought I was making ‘zines – I was actually doing both. My first experiences of the small press scene were some of the things I picked up in OK Comics, like Lee Hardcastle’s self-published comics, and when I went to Thought Bubble 07. And not much has changed since then, as far as I can tell. The main difference is that there are more outlets for comics on the internet, bringing us wider recognition.

Do you think the fact that when one mentions the term “comics” most people’s thoughts turn instantly to superheroes is part of the reason they’re not more widely accepted as a storytelling medium?

Unfortunately, yes! I’d like there to be a time when I don’t have to follow up the word “comics” without qualifying it, and explaining the difference between superhero and everything else. It’s really weird that we have such a rich comic history which a lot of people seem to have forgotten about.

You’ve worked on a number of anthologies, is the creative process different when working on those as opposed to your own solo projects?

I approach anthologies the way I used to approach some of the one-off strips for REET! I draw and write in lots of different styles so I pick one that suits, once I have an idea based on the theme. I just try to make sure it fits into the anthology nicely while still having my personal stamp on it. I always say yes to anthologies. It’s good practice – and I’m a bit of a comic slag, for anyone who’ll have me.

So, have you avoided rigidly defining a set style for your comics’ in order to allow yourself the freedom to go wild, creatively, if the mood takes you?

I don’t even know what my style is any more! I don’t think it was a deliberate decision not to get tied to one style – each comic just sort of suggests its own look. I think it pays to be versatile, too – I’d get bored drawing in one style all the time. Comic artists like Pat Moriarity always impressed me with the way they approach each project differently.

You’re appearing at this year’s Thought Bubble, what will you be bringing to the convention?

I’ll be bringing more copies of all my previous comics, including Barbs, Olive’s Mix Tape, Jenny’s Weird Friend, and the first REET! collection. New stuff includes the second REET! collection, badges and desktop calendars. I’ll also be bringing issue 1 of a four-part mini-series called Find Comet, Hit Comet, Watch Comet, Sleep, which is the story of a scientist who decides to hide the fact that a comet is on course to destroy the world. I’m currently making music to go with the series.

I’ll definitely NOT be bringing Vodka and Coke, disguised in a Dr. Pepper bottle.

Finally – thought bubbles or caption boxes?

Don’t ask me that. I still haven’t made my mind up over Daddy or chips.

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Big props to Hugh for taking the time to talk to us, incidentally Thought Bubble chose Daddy over chips, as it was on the Atkins diet at the time. Ha… Hello? Is this thing on? I’ll be here all week…

In other TB news, don’t forget the Adi Granov masterclass running at Travelling Man Leeds next month (sign up now if you don’t want to miss out), and we should be announcing the full festival programme line-up any day now. Exciting times.

I do hope you’ll join us on Thursday for the next Thought Bubble Minterview, in the meanwhile, stay safe and keep watching the skies

– 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 Inaugural Edition by thoughtbubblefestival

As part of the build-up to the Thought Bubble Festival I’m going to post a semi-regular feature (updates on Wednesday) whereby we here at the TB Blog-o-mat exhibit some of the awesome work of the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (spift-bee for short,  possibly.)

Hopefully this will introduce those of you unfamiliar with the more online/indie aspect of comics to some of the genius works that are out there, and also let you get an idea of what to expect from this years convention.

Kicking off this Tony Hart-esque series of posts is the work of the brilliant Mr Hugh Raine owner and proprietor of Reet – a thoroughly excellent example of Leeds’ flourishing Small-Press scene – some of which can be seen in the gallery below (click on the thumbnails for larger versions).

Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine is a cartoonist and small-press comic book maker from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and self-published REET! for nearly four years, which was a free comic-zine distributed in Leeds and Hull.
The free comic was retired so Shug could persue other comic projects, like Jenny’s Weird Friend for the alternative arts magazine Dangerous Ink, various anthology contributions such as Fat Chunk and titles such as Barbs, Interference and Olive’s Mix Tape, produced for small press and alternative press fairs across the UK.
For information about upcoming REET! projects and more free comics than you can waggle a twig at, visit www.reetcomic.co.uk or check out his regularly updated blog.

Hopefully that little lot will satisfy any sequential art cravings you might be harbouring, remember to come back next week for another installment of this steadily growing pantheon of small press lovliness.

– Clark