Last weekend was Thought Bubble, one of the UK’s premier comics conventions, and I was lucky enough to be one of those in attendance. It was my first big UK convention after attending a couple while in the States, and the UK Mini-Comics Thing a couple of years ago, which was great fun but very small. All the conventions I’ve been to have been wildly different, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was hoping for something a little special, and the Thought Bubble team didn’t disappoint.
I traveled up Friday and met up with Alex Spencer, of The Dirty Mistress and his rather splendid main blog. Alex deserves a lot of the credit for making the weekend so good - I’d been planning on going to the convention for a while, and my occasional chattering about it convinced him to join me. If he hadn’t decided to come, I would have been probably been trudging back to a youth hostel each night, and would have awkwardly attended the Convention Party and barely worked up the courage to dance. Thankfully, having Alex there meant we could:
A) Share a moderately nice hotel room close to the convention hall
B) Enable each others’ compulsion to go pester Kieron Gillen for gems of wisdom
C) Go crazy on the dancefloor, knowing there was at least one other person there who was at least as ridiculous as ourselves
Alex was a star all weekend, and I had a blast playing B&B DJ with him, marching around Leeds looking for the right restaurant and having every conversation end up with us discussing Los Campesinos!
The convention itself was brilliant - a fantastic mix of bigger names and indie/small press titles. There were some great panels throughout the weekend, a lot of which ended up discussing the impact of digital comics on the industry, which seems to be on everyone’s mind. The creators who we talked to were all incredibly generous with their time, in particular Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, who we must have talked to on at least half a dozen occasions.
Saturday night was the Thought Bubble mid-convention party (in previous years it was the after-party, but this year the con ran two days for the first time ever) and it was quite the rager. Hosted in the nearby Alea Casino, it saw a whole bunch of con attendees and professionals packed together and increasingly drunk. There were a couple of bands, including one featuring some comics creators, and then the main event was a host of comics folks DJing until 3 in the morning. Kieron Gillen has already written a great post on the weekend that breaks down the set lists which I heartily recommend reading, but I’ll say this - any club night that includes “Pull Shapes”, “I’m Not Okay”, “Groove Is In The Heart”, Kenickie, Belle & Sebastien and finishes with a massive, melodramatic sing-along to “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” will win my eternal affection and respect.
Alex left on Sunday afternoon, and I spent Monday morning in the Royal Armouries and wandering Leeds centre until I caught my coach back - I’ll whack some photos up here in a little while, as well as a snapshot of my swag from the weekend.
Thought Bubble - you were wonderful, and you better believe I’ll be back on that dancefloor next year