Thought Bubble 2017 runs 18th – 24th September!


Thought Bubble 2016! by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang! We hope you’ve had a good 2016 so far, and are as excited as us for this year’s Thought Bubble and our 10th Anniversary celebrations!

The countdown to 2016’s Thought Bubble Festival begins here – our website has undergone its annual overhaul, and has been reborn like a mighty phoenix, and now features the first batch of updates about this November’s events!

This year’s Thought Bubble will be taking place from 1st – 6th November at venues across Leeds (and beyond!) and will see hordes of comics creators and fans travel from around the world to visit Yorkshire. For the first wave of information, please read on!

 

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FESTIVAL IMAGE

This year’s official festival image can be seen below, and has been illustrated for us by the brilliant Emmeline Pidgen! We love nothing better than spending a quiet afternoon in Leeds’ gorgeous Hyde Park with a stack of comics, so this speaks to the festival’s very soul! You’ll be able to find this on the cover of our anthology later in the year, as well as all our web presences, and the festival programme.

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GUESTS

Each year we have the immense pleasure of welcoming some brilliant artists, writers and publishers to Yorkshire for Thought Bubble, and for our tenth birthday we’re hoping to see even more new faces coming to the city and helping expand the minds of the comics-loving public, as well as welcoming those who’ve never even picked up a graphic novel before into one the the friendliest creative communities out there!

Our first wave of guests can be seen below, and we’ll be adding to this list on the website throughout the year, so be sure to check back regularly!

Initial guests confirmed to attend this year’s festivities are:

Mahmud Asrar (All-New All-Different Avengers)

Lee Bermejo (We Are Robin)

Tess Fowler (Rat Queens)

Kim Jung Gi (Spy Games)

Lisa Hanawalt (My Dirty Dumb Eyes)

Stephanie Hans (Angela Queen of Hel)

Faith Erin Hicks (The Nameless City)

Mike Mignola (Hellboy)

Ryan North (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)

Babs Tarr (Batgirl)

Claire Wendling (Iguana Bay)

 

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EXHIBITORS

We’ll be opening up our exhibitor registration on Friday 4th March this year – we’ll have another blog post coming with more details on Wednesday, and the registration form will go live on our website for potential exhibitors to complete on the date above. We saw some amazing talent at the convention last year, and we’re hoping that Thought Bubble 2016 will be our most diverse yet!

 

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YOUTUBE CHANNEL

As part of 2014’s Thought Bubble, we were awarded a very generous grant from Arts Council England in order to allow us to take video recordings of the panels and talks at 2014’s convention, and we hope that these will get you in the mood for this year’s festival!

We uploaded lots of videos to our YouTube channel throughout the year (joining those from previous year’s festivals), so, as 2016’s Thought Bubble (or Thought Bubble (Weapon) X as we may at some point call it) gets ever closer, you can get into the bubbly mood by revisiting some classic panels and masterclasses from our past! Make sure to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss any! You can find Thought Bubble’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

 

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We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned for 2016, as well as big plans for Thought Bubble’s future in the pipeline as we enter our second decade, and we hope to see you soon at an event!

We’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports Thought Bubble and makes organising it such an enjoyable and rewarding experience – it’s mind blowing that we’ve come so far in the ten years the festival has been running, and it’s all down to you, the creators, publishers, retailers, visiting public, and of course our amazing volunteers – we couldn’t do this without you, so thank you.



Lizz Lunney Minterview by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey gang! We’re back, as you can probably see from these strange symbols in front of you. A short break was embarked upon whilst I recovered from a mild case of The Andromeda Strain, or possibly a cold – we’ll never know. Anyways, back to business! We have a brand new minterview for you hot off the presses! Today we’re talking to the super-talented Lizz Lunney, creator of the delicious Online Comic Sushi, and seller of quality wares. We’ve previously featured Ms Lunney as one of our Friends of Thought Bubble, and I can confirm that her site is really worth your time and attention. Really. So, pull up a chair, stoke the fire, swirl your brandy round in its glass, and read on

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Hi Lizz, 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?

Hello there, thanks for inviting me! I’d say there was never an exact turning point when I could say I “got into sequential art” – I’ve always drawn comic strips since I was able to hold a pen so it just seems a natural thing for me to do. I studied animation at University, got into storyboarding and drew comics for fun, and then it just developed into making comics for real. For real!

So, did you grow-up reading comics?

Yes! I loved The Beano. My granddad used to buy me The Dandy each week, and I also read Wizzer and Chips, Buster, Twinkle, Disney comics, Garfield, and probably loads of others too. I liked the Bumpkin Billionaires, The Bash St. Kids and Roger the Dodger.

My Favourite was always Baby Face Finlayson. Your Online Comic Sushi is a very surreal affair, were you attracted to self-publishing because of the creative freedom that it allows?

Um, not really, I sort of just started self-publishing because I didn’t know how to get my work known. I did a comic course that ended in self-publishing a comic at the end and then I just continued to make them. I’ve never really thought about the creative freedom aspect, in fact, I don’t think I take advantage of it enough! Some stuff I draw I think might seem a bit weird or unsuitable for the comics so I kind of self-censor the work I get printed or put online, and maybe I should just put the lot in and not worry so much about it… I usually test ideas out on my bro – if he reads a comic strip and his reaction is “huh, that doesn’t even make sense”, then I burn it in a sacrificial ceremony in the garden at night and cry.

Kind of like Luke Skywalker, burning Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi – no plans for a “director’s cut” of your comics then?

I’d like to do a Depressed Cat collection one day when I have enough to collect together which could include “out-takes”, etc, but at the moment it makes more sense to print new stuff!

As well as comics you also produce a wide selection of gift items – are these simply a way of creating revenue, or is your arts/craft output more an extension of your illustrative endeavours?

I think it’s more of a personal interest, I like merchandise! I always try to make things that I would buy myself if I was looking round a shop or convention. I sometimes feel a bit sad that the badges, stickers and other spin-off items sell better than the actual comics, and people will buy them who have never read my comics so they don’t know the characters or anything, but on the other hand it’s nice to sell things that will appeal to people who like “stuff” and perhaps don’t want to buy comics in book form.

Do you think this misconception is stunting the growth of the comics scene – that sequential art can only ever be in the form of a graphic novel?

Yes, perhaps. If you go to comic shops in France they are full of other items based on the comics even for lesser known characters and comics. I think if you have an idea or a story it shouldn’t be limited to a book. I want to make some animations of my comics eventually. And lunch boxes. Lunch boxes are the dream.

The small press community seems to be growing at an exponential rate at the moment thanks to the digital revolution, how easy was it to establish yourself on the scene?

I just bribed and stalked people wherever possible. Haw, no, not really… I don’t know, I just go to a lot of conventions and spend far too many hours on social networking sites talking to other small press people.

The small press community does seem to be more in tune with the latest social trends than ‘mainstream’ comics – do you think this is why the scene’s grown so much over the last few years?

I guess the small press community is just more in tune with the people who actually buy things just from speaking to people, and by actually running the stalls, rather than the work going through a distributor. I don’t really buy mainstream comics and have a very limited knowledge of anything superhero or manga based, so I couldn’t say if this is true or not, to be honest! Personally, I just write about things I like! If other people like them too and buy the comics because of them, hurrah!

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

Lots of awesome treats in time for Christmas – I’m currently working on a bigger project (which I’m going to try and keep secret for now!), so for Thought Bubble I plan to have lots of cool smaller stuff. New things will hopefully include Hairy Midget toys, tattoos, Christmas cards and new badges! I might bring some cake. I will definitely bring some sushi and crisps and chocolate, maybe a flask of tea.

Do you enjoy attending events like Thought Bubble?

Yes! Very much so. Although I find it tiring work talking to so many different people for an entire day (or two depending on the con), and can’t speak to anyone for weeks afterwards to make up for it.

Finally – thought bubbles or caption boxes?

Um, I use caption boxes mostly, but, so not to upset the convention name, I’ll pick thought bubbles!

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And there you have it – another fine minterview with one of our wonderful Friends. Thanks to Lizz for taking the time to talk to us, and who gets major bonus points (+520pts) for (eventually) choosing thought bubbles over caption boxes. So should we all.

We’ll be back on Thursday with another minterview, if you’d like some more TB goodness in the meantime then feel free to check out our youtube channel to see our awesome new trailer! It’s like Michael Bay and Ridley Scott having a fight, in 3D!



Events! Videos! Exclamation marks! by thoughtbubblefestival

Hotter on the heels of our last post than the Flash in pursuit of Captain Cold, here’s a whole other bunch of sequential art themed goodness for you to stare in wonderment at…

First up is news of a signing at Tokyo 15, Manchester’s finest purveyors of manga and anime-themed wares. Sonia Leong, manga artist extraordinaire – who will also be appearing at this year’s Thought Bubble festival – is going to be in-store signing books and giving talks, so if you’re able to get to the rainy city in the North on September 12th then it promises to be well worth your while! For more information visit their site, or glance downwards slightly for a cheeky peek at the flyer…

Sonia Leong SigningAs if that signing wasn’t enough, word on the street has filtered up to the lofty spires of TB towers of a signing at Travelling Man comic shop, Leeds by a legend of British comics – Dan Abnett.  Having sold over 1.1 million Warhammer novels worldwide, his last novel Horus Heresy: Legion, was the 8th bestselling science fiction and fantasy title overall in the UK for 2008. As well as having written 20 novels for Warhammer, and books and audio plays for Doctor Who and Torchwood, Dan has penned numerous comic series for legendary imrpints DC and 2000 AD. To celebrate the November release of his latest work, Blood Pact, Travelling Man will be holding a signing on October 19th at 3pm, followed by a Q&A session, at their Leeds branch. Mere adjectives will not suffice, so needless to say we think this is going to be ‘the bomb’.

Finally, and more directly Thought Bubbly, never let it be said that we aren’t at the forefront of modern advances in technology, for we now have a YouTube channel! This is going to be the zenith of video repositories, where you’ll be able to find comic trailers, animations, films made by attendees of the Thought Bubble festival, and video blogs made by us! There is now no communication format known to man, carrier pigeons aside, which we don’t have our agents working tirelessly to keep updated with the newest of news, all for your delight and delectation. The upshot of this is that, hopefully, you’ll never be more than 1.8 feet from some way of getting the latest updates about this year’s festival, short of us coming round to your house and shouting through your letterbox (although we are considering this for our marketing campaign next year).

That’s it for now, we’ll be back soon, and, if the trend the last few posts have set continues, it will be with even more exciting sequential art news, all the better to build the anticipation for November’s Thought Bubble to fever pitch. Oh yeah!

– Clark