Thought Bubble 2017 runs 18th – 24th September!

Convention Tickets 2017 by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

Following our launch post earlier this week for our Friends of Thought Bubble initiative, we’re very pleased to announce that tickets for our convention, which this year takes place on the 23rd and 24th September, in the heart of Leeds city centre, are now on sale!


We have full information on the costs and types of passes available on our website, and have also updated our cosplay information and guidelines for 2017, for those wishing to attend the event in costume, and join in with our expanded cosplay programme!

As with previous years, we have free entry to the event for under-12s and over-65s, and complimentary tickets available for carers attending with disabled visitors to the convention. For full information on these, including how to book, please visit our website.

Convention tickets will grant full access to the various convention halls, signing events, and our programme of panels and live-events taking place across the weekend. We’ll have full venue and scheduling information coming as part of the full festival programme later this summer.

Tickets for this year’s mid-con party will be going on sale later in the year, and we’ll provide full details for this as soon as possible, via this blog, and our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Thought Bubble remains a not-for-profit organisation, and your support of the festival through convention tickets, exhibitor tables, and now also becoming a Friend of Thought Bubble is invaluable to us. We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who attends every year, and if you’re going to be joining us for the first time in 2017 we look forward to welcoming you to Leeds, and will have an updated visitor’s guide going up online soon!



Friends of Thought Bubble by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

We’ll be coming at you later this week with a big post containing info on tickets for this year’s convention going on sale, but before that we just wanted to let you know about our new Friends of Thought Bubble programme, supporting our community outreach and educational events.


For the past decade, we’ve been growing as an organisation, coming up from our humble roots as a one-day convention, through to a fully-fledged not-for-profit comics festival, and one of the most fun and rewarding aspects of this has been our community outreach programme.

As well as our centrepiece convention each year, and our wider programme of signings and exhibitions, we run a number of free schools workshops, our book crossing programme that gives away hundreds of free comics to those who might not otherwise have access to them, work with Leeds Libraries on the Young People’s Book Awards, design quiet spaces like Bub’s Lounge at our convention for people with anxiety issues and autism, run our Rainbow Age LGBTQ* reading events, and work with local groups like the Bradford Action for Refugees centre and Leeds Specialist Autism Services.

Our work within the community lets us connect with young people and adults across Yorkshire, and use comics as a force for good, as well as bringing the medium into schools as a learning tool. As we head into our second decade, we’d like to expand that programme as much as possible. In order to help with this, we’re launching our Friends of Thought Bubble initiative, which will part-fund the work we do in the community, and let us continue and grow our educational and outreach programme.

We’ve full information on the initiative, and what it entails, on our website, and there’s a number of great perks available for becoming a Friend of Thought Bubble, and supporting comics education, as well as the option to simply donate a small amount if it’s a cause that’s close to your heart without subscribing to the full programme.

We’d really appreciate your help spreading the word about this on social media, or to anyone you think would be interested, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped support Thought Bubble in the past, and let us do some amazing work in our local community!

Thanks again, and we’ll be back soon with information on booking tickets for this year’s convention!

Thought Bubble 2016 – Panel Videos by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

A little update here coming out of last year’s Festival, as we’ve got some great panel videos from 2016’s convention for your viewing pleasure. If you missed out on these talks, or just want to experience them again, we’ve got a selection of panels and Q&As up on our YouTube channel now (along with lots of archives from past Bubbles), with full details for each video below. Enjoy!

A special thank you to all our hosts, and panel speakers, and to Green Light Video for producing and editing the footage.

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CREATING WORLDS took place on Sunday 6th November – a fascinating panel talk on the reality of inventing worlds for creator owned projects, as well as inhabiting those of comics’ hottest licensed properties.

With speakers Cecil Castellucci, Becky Cloonan, Jeff Lemire, Simon Roy, and Cameron Stewart.

Hosted by Steve Morris.



COMICS IN CONVERSATION WITH MIKE MIGNOLA took place on Saturday 5th November – where Mike Mignola, the award-winning creator of Hellboy (and its spin-off titles BPRD, Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Witchfinder) and The Amazing Screw-On Head, discussed his career with journalist and PR-Coordinator for Rebellion Mike Molcher.



I IS FOR INNOVATION took place on Saturday 5th November – a wide-ranging discussion about creative freedom in the new age of comics independence and the panelists’ exciting new projects at Image Comics.

With speakers Brenden Fletcher, Kieron Gillen, Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, Declan Shalvey, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr.

Hosted by Publisher of Image Comics, Eric Stephenson.



2000 AD WRITING COMPETITION 2016 took place on Saturday 5th November – writers were invited to pitch their ideas for a brand new Future Shock to a panel of top script droids – but they have just two minutes to make their case!

With judges Al Ewing, Leah Moore, and Matt Smith.

Hosted by PR-Coordinator for Rebellion Mike Molcher.



GOSH! COMICS PRESENTS THE BEST THING I’VE READ ALL YEAR took place on Saturday 5th November – helping to discover the hidden gems and best of the year’s comics that you should be reading.

With speakers Hannah Chapman, Sarah Graley, Claire Napier, and Andy Oliver.

Hosted by Tom Oldham of Gosh! Comics / Breakdown Press.



DECOMPRESSED: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE took place on Sunday 6th November – a panel featuring Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Stephanie Hans, Kevin Wada and Dee Cunniffe talking about how they create really, really, really ridiculously good looking comics.


Thanks again to all our panelists, hosts, and to the audiences who attended the events – we’ll be adding to the YouTube playlist with videos from last year’s events, and updating this post, as they become available!

TB2017 – Exhibitor Registration by thoughtbubblefestival


Table registration for this year’s Thought Bubble convention is now open, and we wanted to put up some more information on the curation process, and how that will work for this year’s show, which takes place 23rd and 24th September.

2017’s convention will be taking place in Leeds City Centre, and a map of the area of the city we’ll be taking over to spread the good word of comics can be seen below, with convention exhibition spaces marked on it. We’ve also got a google map of this area of the city, which can be found here.


A large version of this map can be found here.

This year’s Thought Bubble convention will have four exhibition spaces, as seen above: Leeds Town Hall’s Victoria Hall, and three custom-built venues on Victoria Square (in front of Leeds Town Hall), Millenium Square, and Cookridge Street (in front of Radisson Blu Hotel / The Light), with surrounding venues hosting panels and live events taking place across the weekend.

We remain committed to being as inclusive a show as possible, and it’s one of the core values that makes the convention, and the festival as a whole, what it is. While we’d like to be able to include everyone who may wish to exhibit at the show, Thought Bubble has now reached the stage where the demand for exhibition space exceeds the venue space available to us, and the convention is curated.

As with previous years, this involves a simple online registration form which is now live on the website, and will remain open for two weeks until midnight on Sunday 29th January. In order that this process remains as fair as possible, after this time we won’t be able to accept any more exhibitor applications (including to the reserves list).

The registration form contains full terms and conditions of exhibiting, which can also be found on our website here, so please take the time to read these fully before submitting your application, and if you have any queries during the process, just drop us an email. Remember that all applications received during the window will be considered in full, so there’s no need to rush your entry.

Following the close of the registration window, we’ll contact all those who applied by mid-February to confirm whether we’ll be able to accommodate them this year, and also to take payment for the table – and any changes to this schedule will be communicated ahead of time. If your email address, or primary contact reference, changes at any point during this time, please let us know as soon as possible.

Because of this curation, and the nature of the festival as a forum to promote comics and those who make them, we need to give priority to comic book publishers and retailers, and comic book artists and writers (either independent or publisher-affiliated). If you have exhibited with us in the past and do not fit into this category, please do still fill in the online form once it goes live, as we would love you to come if we do have room in one of our exhibition spaces.

Every year, we also have a small number of people who book tables and are then unable to attend, and so we’ll form a reserves list of unsuccessful applicants who will be offered tables should they become available. As these offers are based on previously confirmed exhibitors cancelling, we are unable to advise on the date at which they will become available, but as soon as we receive a cancellation we’ll contact the next person/group on the reserves list with first refusal.

The decision on who we can accept to the convention will be made by the organisational team as a whole, to ensure the process remains as fair as possible, but due to the number of applications we receive, we’re unfortunately not able to give feedback to unsuccessful exhibitors, as we’re only a small team. However, to give an idea of what we’re looking for, we’d like to see:

  •  Examples of your work, ideally online versions (including webcomics)/e-shop listings of comics/graphic novels/prints/illustrations you’ll have for sale at the show;
  •  If the above is unavailable, then a portfolio website such as DeviantArt or Tumblr will also be suitable;
  •  If your work is mostly print, as opposed to online, then we’d also be able to view scanned versions of documents via dropbox links (or similar);
  •  If you’re a creator with no online examples of your work, then please link to/provide a bibliography/list of credits if none of the options above are possible;
  •  If you’re a retailer with no formal online presence, then please give as full an idea as possible as to the range of merchandise/titles you’d be bringing to the convention;
  •  If in doubt shout it out – tell us about what you think you can bring to Thought Bubble, even if it may seem obvious to you; if it’s not immediately apparent on the information you provide to us we may not know about it, and we don’t want anyone to miss out;
  • Similarly, if you’d like to table next to/near other specific exhibitors please let us know – after curation closes and table plans are drafted it becomes very difficult to move people around, so please make sure to be specific if you’d like to be close to someone at the show;
  • Thought Bubble also loves sharing – we’re more than happy for exhibitors to share table space, so if you’d like to exhibit with friends or as a collective then please do send us a combined application;
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when filling out the application form, take your time – you’ve got two weeks to complete the form, and all applications received in that window are considered fully after the close of the registration period before a final decision is made, so make sure to fill it in correctly and with as much detail as possible to the answers.

Full details as to pricing, along with full tabling terms and conditions, are live on the website now along with the registration form, and the terms and conditions will remain in place for reference until after this year’s events. Please do make sure to read these carefully, as they contain very important information about attending the convention, should your application be successful.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports Thought Bubble, and we look forward to seeing many of you this September!

Thought Bubble 2017 – January Update! by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

We hope you’ve had a nice festive break, and an enjoyable start to the new year – we’ve been cracking on with planning for this year’s Thought Bubble events, and we’ve got our first wave of updates below, including important information for people wanting to apply to exhibit at this year’s convention.

Our website has undergone its yearly regeneration, and you can probably spot part of our brand new festival image at the top of this very blog! 2017’s image has been created for us by the brilliant Jen Bartel, and is helping us spring into action after a short winter break. You’ll be able to see the image below popping up on all our online media, and later this year once our posters and billboards start appearing all over the country!


We’ll be updating the website throughout the year as we confirm details for this year’s events, so be sure to check it regularly – and any time we have important information about the festival we’ll pop it up on here and our Twitter and Facebook accounts too, so however you like to get your bubbly news there’s an option for you.

As mentioned last month, this year’s Thought Bubble is moving to Leeds city centre, and in the calendar to September, in order to give us more space to work with for our events, and a wider range of partners to help the festival grow.

We’re excited for this new incarnation of our convention, which will be taking place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September, and we’ll be opening exhibitor table applications for the event on Monday 16th January. Exhibitor applications for the convention will be open for 2 weeks, until midnight (GMT) on Sunday 29th January, and we’ll be aiming to let people know if their application has been successful by mid-February.

We’ll have another blog post coming on Monday with full information on how to apply, and the curation process, if you’ve never attended Thought Bubble as an exhibitor before, as well as providing more information on the new convention village we’ll have in place this year. Don’t forget that this is a curated process, not first-come first-served, so there’s no need to rush your application when the system goes live.

Finally, following on from our exciting announcement that 2017’s first festival guest of honour will be Gerard Way, we’re delighted to present our next wave of guests for this year’s Thought Bubble! We’ll be updating our guest list throughout the year, but early confirmations include:

Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead, Astronauts In Trouble)

Cecil Castellucci (Shade the Changing Girl, Soupy Leaves Home)

Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Rogue One)

Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer, Superman: American Alien)

James Stokoe (Orc Stain, Godzilla: The Half-Century War)

Marley Zarcone (Shade The Changing Girl, Effigy)

Thought Bubble 2017 – Festival Dates! by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang!

We hope you’re now fully recovered from last month’s Thought Bubble, and are gearing up for a nice winter break – we’d like to say another massive thank you to everyone who came out and made this year’s events such a huge success, and a special shout-out to our amazing (and ever-growing) army of red-shirt volunteers who helped make Thought Bubble 2016 possible.

Looking ahead, we’ve been hard at work this year planning for Thought Bubble’s future, as we enter our second decade (!!!) of putting on events to help promote the greatest story-telling medium in the known universe, and the creators who inhabit it.

After nine years of putting on our flagship convention at Leeds Dock, 2017 will see us heading back to the area of the city where Thought Bubble began, with the introduction of a brand-new, expanded festival village in the heart of Leeds City Centre. As well as this geographical move, next year’s Thought Bubble will also be moving in the calendar, taking place from 18th – 24th September 2017, with our convention falling on the weekend of 23rd and 24th September 2017.

While we’ve enjoyed our festivals being the de facto closer of the comics event calendar, a move to earlier in the year gives us more opportunities to work with local partners, and get the whole of Leeds involved in celebrating comics – helping Thought Bubble to grow as we look ahead to the festival’s future, and how we can bring our message to a wider audience.

The new multi-venue site in central Leeds will include a series of huge marquees that will take over popular outdoor spaces in the city including Millennium Square and Victoria Gardens in front of the art galleries. In addition, some of the city’s favourite venues will play host to events in the festival programme with Leeds Town Hall, Carriageworks Theatre and Leeds City Museum all involved, and many more to be confirmed. A map of this area of the city can be found here.

We’re very excited to also be celebrating the first anniversary of DC’s Young Animal comics imprint, by welcoming the line’s curator (and writer/co-creator of other hit comics such as Umbrella Academy and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, as well as being former frontman of My Chemical Romance) – the amazing Gerard Way – as a guest of honour to 2017’s festival, with many more guests to be announced in the new year!

We’ll be bringing further 2017 festival details, including how to get involved with our convention, our new festival image, and more information on guests who’ll be attending 2017’s events, in the new year, and if you’d like to keep up-to-date with everything that’s planned, please subscribe to the blog, follow us on Twitter, or like our page on Facebook.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported Thought Bubble these past ten years, and helped the festival grow into such an exciting fixture in the comics’ calendar – we hope you’ll all join us on this next part of our adventure!


As this year’s festival starts in just under 3 weeks, we’re continuing with some selected highlights from this year’s programme here on the blog – helping you get the most out of the festival week!

Taking place from 1st – 6th November at venues across Leeds (and beyond), 2016’s Thought Bubble will be a celebration of comics comprising a huge range of events for fans of all ages, and will include 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 comic convention on 5th & 6th November on Leeds Dock!

The full festival programme can be found on this page, with full information on events available by clicking their titles, and a map of venues for this year’s festival can be found here.

Don’t forget to check out all the guests and exhibitors who’ll be joining us for this year’s convention, and make sure to get your convention tickets (although more will be available on the door), and tickets to our expanded mid-con party!

We’ve also updated our visitor’s guide for the festival, including travel advice for getting to/around Leeds, which can be found here.

Today, in our series of festival highlights, we’re looking at some of the live events taking place in the festival week across the UK as part of 2016’s festival, leading up to our massive comic con to close out the festival!


The Rainbow Age: LGBTQ* Comic Book Club

Tues 1 Nov, The Portal at Leeds Central Library, 17:00-19:00, 16+, FREE

Join us for a celebration of LGBTQ* comics & creators with an informal book club evening!

Bring along your favourite LGBTQ* comics, or come and discover something new from our collection, kindly supplied by Travelling Man. Meet like-minded fans and make new friends over comics.

After our previous Rainbow Age events, Travelling Man donated all the books to Leeds Libraries to create a completely unique collection for the whole of Leeds to enjoy; the first of its kind in the country. This year, they’ll be adding to the collection with some incredible new LGBTQ* comics from 2016. All are welcome, so come along for a relaxed atmosphere and to read some amazing, life-changing comics!

Presented in association with

Political Cartoons Collection – Talk at Leeds Central Library

Wed 2 Nov, The Portal at Leeds Central Library (2nd floor), Calverley St, Leeds LS1 3AB, 14:00-15:00, All Ages, FREE

Join Librarian and Urban Historian Antony Ramm at Leeds Central Library for an illuminating exploration of their Political Cartoons Collection, which offers a fascinating look at caricature and controversy in the politics of 19th-century Leeds focusing on three key elections – 1868, 1874 and 1880.

This talk will give you the keys to unlock the satire behind the themes, issues and personalities depicted in a Collection comprising more than 200 individual images. Antony will also take a look at the occasionally-mysterious artists and publishers behind these cartoons, asking who the intended audience was and what affect these sometimes-shocking images actually had on the election process.

Comics and Mental Health: Zine Making Workshop with Una Bauer

Weds 2 Nov, Room 2 at The Carriageworks Theatre, The Electric Press, 3 Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD, 18:00-20:30, ages 11+, FREE

On Sanity, a free comics creation workshop for adults and older children hosted by Una, artist/author of Becoming/Unbecoming and Tom Bailey, freelance illustrator and well-being worker with Arts and Minds.

Join the artists to draw and write comics based on a first person perspective of mental health and recovery. There will be fun drawing activities and creative writing. There will also be a slide show and a short talk about the On Sanity project that took place in Leeds throughout July 2016, from which emerged a new comic book by Una, On Sanity:One Day In Two Lives and an anthology zine, We All Start At The Beginning.

On Sanity is a creative project about illness and recovery in mental health, devised by the Yorkshire based comics creator Una, author/artist of the novel length comic Becoming/Unbecoming (2015) Myriad Editions and On Sanity: One Day In Two Lives (2016) Self published, supported by Arts Council England.

To book a place, please email

In partnership with Arts and Minds Leeds.

Supported by Arts Council England.

Comics Forum Academic Conference – Day 1

Thur 3 Nov, Leeds Library Exhibition Space, 09:00 – 16:45, recommended for 16+ (some talks unsuitable for under 18s)

Genre has played an active role in shaping our understanding of comics, be it as a term to describe the medium itself, or the stories that they tell. Comics may support and adhere to the conventions, styles, and effects of a given genre, or they might redefine and challenge its definitions and boundaries through their form and content.

Comics Forum 2016, the eighth event in the annual conference series, will consider a wide range of subjects relating to comics and genre.

Tickets are priced as follows:

1 day (3rd or 4th November): £12

2 days (3rd and 4th November): £24

4 days (2 day Comics Forum pass + 2 day Thought Bubble convention pass): £48 (this is a saving of £5 on the cost of Though Bubble convention tickets if bought separately.)

Please visit for full details, and to book tickets click here.

Creative Networks and Leeds College of Art… Mike Mignola in Conversation

Thurs 3 Nov, Leeds College of Art, Blenheim Walk, Leeds, LS2 9AQ, 1745-2000, All Ages, FREE (£5 deposit required, booking essential)

Join us for an evening where Mike Mignola will discuss his work and career with fellow illustrator Richard Starkings followed by an audience Q&A.

Mignola is perhaps best know as the award-winning creator, writer and artist of HELLBOY – now celebrating its 22nd Anniversary.

He was also visual consultant to director Guillermo del Toro on both Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army films. He also co-authored (with Christopher Golden) 2 novels – BALTIMORE, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, Joe Golem and the Drowning City.

Booking is essential as places are limited, so please click here to book a ticket.

Please note: the start time of 5.45pm is for drinks prior to when the talk starts at 6.30pm in the lecture theatre.

Please note: that the £5 fee is refundable if you attend the event. The amount will be transferred back into your account the day after the event. There is an option to donate your deposit for the future support of Leeds College of Art when you reserve your place.

Pints & Pencils, with Paper Jam

Thur 3 Nov, Nation of Shopkeepers, 29 Cookridge St, Leeds LS2 3AG, 2000-late, 18+ (please bring a valid form of photo ID), FREE

Proudly presented by Travelling man and the Leeds university comic society, Pints and Pencils is the social drawing competition with plenty of prizes, laughs and drinks. Artistic ability is not required to win top prizes and drawing equipment will be provided!

Also premiering tonight is the new comics creating and writing event Paper Jam! Come on down for a preview of this new ongoing social event for Leeds’ professional and amateur comics creators – a great resource for people looking to break into the small press world.

Presented in association with

Comics Forum Academic Conference – Day 2

Fri 4 Nov, Leeds Library Exhibition Space, 09:00 – 16:45, recommended for 16+ (some talks unsuitable for under 18s)

Genre has played an active role in shaping our understanding of comics, be it as a term to describe the medium itself, or the stories that they tell. Comics may support and adhere to the conventions, styles, and effects of a given genre, or they might redefine and challenge its definitions and boundaries through their form and content.

Comics Forum 2016, the eighth event in the annual conference series, will consider a wide range of subjects relating to comics and genre.

Tickets are priced as follows:

1 day (3rd or 4th November): £12

2 days (3rd and 4th November): £24

4 days (2 day Comics Forum pass + 2 day Thought Bubble convention pass): £48 (this is a saving of £5 on the cost of Though Bubble convention tickets if bought separately.)

Please visit for full details, and to book tickets click here.

Thought Bubble Book Crossing 2016

Fri 4 Nov, Various libraries across Yorkshire (please see below for details), from 10:00, All Ages, FREE

Thought Bubble is once again teaming up with Diamond Comics and Travelling Man to give away FREE all-ages graphic novels and comics to everyone! Just pop into one on the libraries listed below on Friday 4th November, and help us to achieve our aim to get everyone reading more!

Libraries taking part are: Armley; Bolling Hall; Baildon; Burley; Bingley; Clayton; City; Dewsbury Road; Eccleshill; Holme Wood; Keighley; Laisterdyke; Leeds Central; Manningham; Menston; Moor Allerton; Shipley; Silsden; Thornbury; Ilkley; Wetherby; Wibsey, Wyke and Yeadon.

Just pop along to any of the libraries participating, and pick-up some great comics for free, to take home and read, or give to a friend!

Presented in association with:

Thought Bubble 2016 Pre-Convention Reception

Fri 4 Nov, Radisson Blu, 1 The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8TL, 19:00 until late, FREE, 18+, Fire Lake Grill House will be serving food from 18:00-22:00

A chance for guests, exhibitors and attendees to relax and chat in the lovely surroundings of the Radisson Blu before our huge comic convention starts on Saturday 6th November!