Oh, Thought Bubble.
Highlight of my social calendar, pinnacle of the annual comic world. It’s gotten bigger each year but managed to maintain its charm. Despite only managing a day of this year’s convention, I had an incredible time and met so many wonderful creators.
This year was the first Thought Bubble not to take place at the Royal Armouries Hall and surrounding areas, and there was some concern that some of the atmosphere might have been diluted by the presence of the “normal” people going about their business in Leeds city centre. But aside from the few weddings trying to take place amidst a swarm of cosplayers (sorry, guys) it didn’t feel diminished.
One of my favourite things about this year were the huge number of LGBT stalls – so many in fact that some enterprising person made their own “rainbow road” map of the convention, the easiest way to take in all of the fantastic LGBT comics, art and merch on display. Falling as it did on Bi Visibility Day, it felt especially poignant to pick up this excellent pin.
My personal mission for the day was to get my Saga Vol 1 signed by Brian K Vaughan, and to get my email address into his hands, and it was certainly worth getting in early to get that accomplished in the first hour. As out of touch as I’ve been with comics this last year, I wasn’t sure who was worth looking out for – except for Gillen and McKelvie, creators of The Wicked and The Divine (among others), whose signatures I’ve sought out for the last few years to no avail. Obviously the first year that I didn’t bring anything for them to sign, their queues were accessible!
There was a divide at the weekend between those excited about Gerard Way’s appearance, and people like me who wondered why anyone cared. Admittedly I’ve never read any of his comics, and I have been told by reputable sources that they’re good, but I find it hard to shake off the anti-emo sentiment of my metalhead teens. Clearly I was in the minority though, as Way’s queue would suggest (Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool got it on video) and tales circulated of fans crying as they came away from his table. I was marginally worried that the grown-up-emo contingency might ruin the vibes, but they were generally occupied in his very long queue all day, so it certainly could have been worse.
Without further ado, this year’s haul!
From top left going anticlockwise:
Time and Space – An H.G. Wells Comic Anthology from Dundee University
The Skillamalink Chuckaboos (illustrated limericks) by Stish
D & Doodles, an artbook anthology by various artists
A drawing of my head on a snake warrior’s body by Awesome Comics
Into The Black by Benji Goldsmith & CJ Reay of Black Lodge Press
Video Games For Good, an anthology curated by Claire Hubbard
I also picked up this beautiful necklace from Birch, Please (whose designs I’ve been painfully resisting for years)
And this amazing Divine patch from Black Lodge Press
So long, my comics family – see you next year at Thought Bubble!