Thought Bubble 2013 – Leeds comic convention highlights

Posted on 19 November 2013
By James McAllister
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In the past Yorkshire has long been associated with green fields, terriers and puddings, but in an effort to shake off its stereotypes the area is fast becoming synonymous with the sequential arts – making the area the comic book culture capital of the North.

Artists, collectors and fans from all over the globe have descended on Leeds over the past month to celebrate comic book culture in all forms, and the city is set to continue the celebrations this weekend with their annual Thought Bubble Festival.

Pegged as the thinking man’s convention, Leeds will be bustling with comic book fans making their way to exhibitions, talks and events including the Core Mix Exhibition at Cuvee Wine Bar and a Fanomenon Anime Day at Leeds Town Hall.

Everything you want to know can be found in the festival guide, but we have put together a variety of best picks for the weekend, to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.

Thought Bubble promises to have more guests than ever this year. But, you can still expect to bump into your favourite talent or discover the future talents in comic books. Thought Bubble has everyone covered.

A number of signing events and talks will be happening this weekend. Hosted by many famous names in the industry, you can catch a glimpse writers, or even watch your favourite artists at work.

If you can only catch one artist, we highly recommend Rafael Alburquerque. Working on the NY Times bestseller American Vampire, as well as being co-creator of Crimeland, this award winner is definitely one of the festival’s heavy hitters.

But, the weekend isn’t just about those who have made it. Thought Bubble looks to throw a spotlight on those coming through the ranks.

Becky Cloonan is the perfect example of someone who has one foot in the spotlight, but another rooted firmly in her origins.

Working on mini-comics since 1999, the cartoonist has worked with DC, Vertigo and Dark Horse, but still supports the independent scene by releasing at least one mini series herself every year.

The best way to see the next big thing in comics is through one of Thought Bubble’s many competitions.

The Comic Art Competition, has been showcasing entrees throughout the month at the Leeds Central Library, but make sure you catch the awards ceremony this Sunday at the Bury Theatre at the Royal Armouries building.

The ceremony is free and begins just after 10 – definitely worth it if you want to keep a close eye on the changing landscape of comic books.

Whether you want to learn how to draw awesome robots or talk processes at the writer’s roundtable, all aspects of the sequential arts will be discussed at a variety of events happening over the weekend.

The perfect opportunity to pick up advice if you want to start your own independent comic book.

If you already have some prized work and want to hear some professional’s opinions, many of the major comic book publishers are attending and they are offering portfolio critiquing sessions.

Image, Titan, 2000 AD and Marvel have all been open to submissions over the past few months for those looking to get their work evaluated by professionals – such a rare opportunity is too good to pass up.

Anyone who hasn’t been able to make a submission in time, the Selfmadehero stand is well worth seeking out. They will be running drop in critique sessions throughout the festival offering advice and words of wisdom – but queues will be long, so get in line early.

If you’re not interested in writing or drawing and just want to discuss comics, a whole host of talks are being held throughout the festival on everything from women in comics to adapting the sequential arts for the big screen.

We would recommend checking out the Comics 2.0 discussion, where a panel will look at the place of comics in the digital age.

The Thought Bubble Festival is happening this weekend in Leeds. Tickets are available from a variety of locations and day entry is £14 and £22 for a weekend pass – check the website for further details.

If you can’t make it, don’t fret. Purple Revolver will be heading to Leeds this weekend and covering as much of the festival as humanly possible.

Here’s a breakdown of our hot-picks;

Friday
– young People’s Comic Awards: Leeds Town Hall @ 1300-1500
– Pre-Convention Reception: 1871 Bar @ 2000

Both Days (Sat & Sun)
– Doctor Geof’s Travelling Tea Museum: Centre of Royal Armories @ All Day
– Exhibition: Portland Comics Heaven: Creative Bubble Room @ All Day

Saturday
– Comics 2.0: Bury Theatre @ 1150-1240
– 36 years of 2000 AD: Speech Bubble Panel Area @ 124-1330
– Make It Then Tell Everybody – Jeffery Brown: Speech Bubble Panel Area @ 1340-1430
– vertigo Comics: Defy: Bury Theatre @ 1450-1540
– Image Comics Presents – Independence in the UK!: Bury Theatre @ 1550-1640
– Marvel: Your Universe Q&A: Bury Theatre 1650-1740
– British Comic Awards Prize Giving Ceremony: Bury Theatre 1800-1900
– Mid Con Part: Venue TBC 2000-Late (invite needed)

Sunday
– Thought Bubble Comic Art Prize Ceremony: Bury Theatre 1010-1040
– Writers Roundtable: Bury Theatre @ 1150-1240
– Sketching Spotlight: Bury Theatre @ 1250-1440
– Dreams of a Low Carbon Future – James McKay: Speech Bubble Panel Area @ 1540-1630
– From Stands to Screen: Speech Bubble Panel Area @ 1640-1730