One of, if not the, best comic convention the UK has to offer, Thought Bubble, took place this weekend at the Royal Armories in Leeds and, as we do each and every year, Blogomatic3000 were at the event soaking in the atmosphere and checking out all the attending artists, new and old – and this year saw some familiar faces return, along with a whole heap of new artists and illustrators. And of course there were the fans, who have literally come from all corners of the globe to little old Leeds.
Of course we not only cover comics here at B3K but also movies, so I thought I’d take a look at the comic-con from a movie fans perspective and bring you the Top 5 reasons why movie lovers should have been at Thought Bubble this weekend…
5) The screenings
As the event runs during the Leeds International Film Festival, there’s always interesting screenings taking place during each Thought Bubble and this year was no different. This years movie highlight was a screening of Judge Dredd fan-film Judge Minty:
“Judge William Minty has spent his entire adult life policing the violent streets of Mega-City One – & now he’s slowing down. When a lapse of judgement almost ends his life, he knows that it’s time to quit. He can choose to teach in the Academy, or he can leave the city & walk alone out into the anarchy of the Cursed Earth, taking law to the lawless.”
4) Scott C
Artist and illustrator Scott C, whose book The Great Showdowns (which features tons of movie-based tete-a-tete’s) has just been released by the folks at Titan Books, was at this years Thought Bubble promoting his new book, as well as debuting two new prints: “The Hilltop” and “Lazy Afternoon”. Besides sketching a character of your choice in the front of each and every book (I chose Kermit the Frog), Scott C also had a number of movie-inspired prints for sale, including those based on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Planet of the Apes.
3) Comics in Film panel
Each and every year there’s a panel at Thought Bubble, usually hosted by Impact Magazine’s John Mosby, that discusses the roles comics play in film and the transition of comics to the big and small screen with the creators who have worked on transferring stories from paper to celluloid – and this year was no different as the event saw the From Stands to Screen panel take place on Sunday.
2) Olly Moss/Mondo Exhibit
If you’re a movie fan and you don’t know who Olly Moss is you should hand in your movie-lover badge now and go back to film school! Responsible for some of the greatest movie posters committed to canvas for the folks at Mondo, Moss’ artwork has become some of the most sought after on the web. Not only was Olly Moss in attendance at Thought Bubble this year, signing copies of his new Silhouettes from Popular Culture book but he also had two limited edition prints (limited to 150 copies each) for sale. Plus, as part of the larger Thought Bubble convention, Moss curated a collection of Mondo posters for a very special Mondo So Far exhibition at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds – a first for the UK no less!
1) Jock’s Mondo posters
OK, so maybe this one is intensely personal choice but this year, as part of the Mondo So Far exhibit, artist Jock, whose work has graced the pages of 2000AD, Detective Comics and The Losers (film & comic) to name a few, brought some of his Mondo poster artist proofs for Shaun of the Dead, Dredd 3D, The Raid and Zombie to Thought Bubble to make them available for fans to buy. And buy them they did! Having sold out of both Dredd and The Raid by Saturday it seems fans, myself included, couldn’t grab them fast enough. My choice? Why that would be Jock’s Zombie one-sheet!
This weekend saw the annual Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds, running for two days as opposed to the traditional one for the second time only, which meant that the panels were a little more spread out but greater in number and more varied in content, and though there were a more than a few disappointing absences – Fiona Staples contracting food poisoning two days before the con being one of them – and a bigger scale to everything, the TB staff all carried on as if nothing had changed.
Daredevil and new Hulk scribe Mark Waid was characteristically verbose in the writer’s panel, having an insight or trade tip to contribute to every question or discussion as you’d imagine the most experienced creator at the table would. Waid also frequently plugged his digital comics site Thrillbent, citing a need to really push digital comics for the good of the medium and the business, and publicly extended an open invitation for fellow panelists Jason Aaron, Ivan Brandon, Andy Diggle and Nick Spencer to create for Thrillbent if they so desired.
The rest of the panel was filled with the kind of stories one usually hears at these things, from how each writer broke into comics (there’s no one way, and once a person gets through one hole in the system it’s immediately covered up, according to Brandon) to optimum submission conventions (“no more than 5 panels a page, no more than 35 words in a panel,” Waid said shortly before continuing, “and everyone here breaks those rules.”).
Due to a combination of TB’s now-infamous after-show party (now mid-show thanks to the extended schedule) – at which Antony Johnston and Phonogram team Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are among the creators playing tunes and the whiskey is painfully expensive – and a turbulent bus journey back to my home of York at 4am, I missed out on more of Day 2 than I would have liked.
That said, the atmosphere was just as enthusiastic and the guests equally accommodating as the first day, despite my secret hope that half of them felt as rough as I did.
I attended a panel on the relationship between comics and films/TV, at which the panelists included Robin Furth, Jock, Phil Noto and the last-minute but very welcome addition of Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. Those hoping for a look at the inner machinations of that comic’s transition to the small screen might have been disappointed as Adlard spoke more of adaptations as a whole, at one point describing Hollywood as “intrinsically lazy” for its tendency toward buying and re-using ideas rather than creating them, though I’d say the comic industry isn’t exactly innocent on that count either.
Jock’s contribution to the discussion, though muted, was intriguing as he spoke highly of the recent Judge Dredd reboot he worked on, yet seemed quietly bitter when the film adaptation of his and Andy Diggle’s The Losers was mentioned. Furth was more bemused by the industry and had some amusing stories about shopping the long-awaited Dark Tower film/TV adaptation around studios, like one executive who wanted to make sure it didn’t look like a western…
One of the joys of the floor, aside from getting stuff signed and the bargain buckets of comics, is the small press stalls, at one of which a friend discovered the hysterical Swanzeus from Gronk Comics, a reimagining of the Greek gods of myth as bickering, philandering animal people. Oh, and Zeus has his wang out the whole time, though tastefully hidden behind a (disturbingly long) censor bar. It’s pretty much the funniest thing I’ve read in months.
All in all most cons have more than you could possibly hope to explore in their duration and this one’s no different, though the extra day definitely gave me a fighting chance. Though, like Kieron Gillen said on Twitter the day after it all died down, the only bad thing about Thought Bubble is that it’s a year until the next one…