Thought Bubble is the highlight of the comic fans year. This is a comic convention in it's purest form. Guests from all over but for me, there is always a massive showing of 2000 AD droids and the evenings are great fun in the local drinking establishments . All in all, it's the perfect package! By the way, it's in Leeds and here's a link to the con THOUGHT BUBBLE
Here's how it went for me. Friday night set off with Carolyn and Sam just after 18:00 and it took us nigh on an hour to get out of Maidstone, I was not happy but eventually we arrived in Leeds at 22:20 and unpacked at the Premier Inn. While Carolyn relaxed, I took Sam into town to grab some dosh for the weekend and we met a couple of 2000 AD fans on the way back. They'd been drinking with a few others in the Palace. It's a small world!
We parked the car at the Con and wandered over to the Riveresque Cafe for a full English, which set us all up for the day. I then left Carolyn and Sam to do some shopping while I went to the con to begin my assault. I was after signatures for my books, comics and trading cards, along with a sketch or some artwork and a few books to complete the day.
Let's just say I accomplished everything during the first day, as I set myself a rigorous mission, so could relax the next. First off was the Strontium Dog and Planet Replicas stands over in the Royal Armouries, where I picked up a set of 2000 AD cufflinks. I had a great chat with Steve Sterlacchini and Steve Green about the preview screening that night, of their Strontium Dog Fan Film and was looking forward to it even more, especially as they said there would be goody bags!
Next it was poor Dan on the PR stand, where I pumped him mercilessly, for information about what he's got lined up from the world of Dredd. I was heartened to hear about the limited edition run of one million life size Judge Burdis figures but as for what else I was told, you know the score. What happens at the con, stays at the con. Sorry!
Now it was off to the 2000 AD stand were I bought the last Script Book at 10:20, that Mike must've worked hard nearly selling all those before I could get there. I must admit the book is an impressive thing and anyone wanting to know a little on how writers work could do no better than to grab one of these. Excuse the pictures, as I didn't want to break the spine. The new addition to the PR team, Owen, was enjoying himself by the looks of it.
Now it was off to the FutureQuake table to see Dave and grab the latest issues of Zarjaz and Dogbreath, the unofficial fanzines of 2000 AD and these are awesome little comics. There was even a 2016 special of Zarjaz, with a Nemesis script and art by Mick Cassidy, who works on Family Guy. How does Dave manage to grab the stars I will never know!
Now it was time to collect the rest of the signatures that I required and see what else I could do.
I managed to get this brilliant page of Dredd from Peter Doherty, from the Justice 1 story and have a few laughs with him as he was sketching for people.
Next up, Simon Davis who is about to start work on the next Slaine book. I'd been asked if I could grab a certain piece of art from him for a friend and I did accomplish that and at the same time buy his first ever painting of Slaine (I know, it's not Dredd but I do venture outside the law every now and again). As I was looking through all his work and chatting he was painting a Judge Hershey on one of my IDW blank Dredd covers.
By the way, I had to wait for ages to grab this picture, as they were nearly always busy when I was near to them.
The rest of the cards were signed by John McCrea, Peter Doherty, Sean Phillips and Simon Davis. They've now been put back into their various folders. I also took in a load of covers from the past year to get signed, including the 4 Prog 2000 AD's which was signed by Wagner but I won't post those up but they included covers by Ian Kennedy, Boo Cook, Simon Davis, Tom Foster, Matt Ferguson and Jon Davis Hunt.
Talking of Jon Davis Hunt, I picked up this fantastic poster from him and if you want to know about the background of it, then look here. Prog 1981 cover
I then took the poster over to John Wagner to add his signature and also got him to sign his Rok of the Reds comics that I had.
I also managed to grab a piece of artwork from Ian Kennedy, who was selling Dan Dare, Dredd and Strontium Dog original coloured drawings and they looked stunning.
Then it was time to get back to the hotel and get ready for the 18:30 screening of Strontium Dog in the Everyman Cinema. It was a laugh trying to get to the cinema, as there were Christmas things happening and the escalators were closed off due to a Brass Band using them. Eventually we got there and it looked like we were the first.
We were given a goody bag each and that's when the torture for me began, as there was a voucher inside (you'll see in the pictures) that gave you a free drink but I needed to keep that for the collection. Luckily Steve gave me a spare!
Eventually everyone was here and so we took our seats and watched John and Carlos' work come to life on the screen once again. I've gotta say, the 20 minutes flew by, as it was that enjoyable.
Everything you could possibly want from Johnny and Wulf on screen happened. Lots of action, the Westinghouse, the Happy Stick, certain sayings, equipment being used and a little bit of fun thrown in at one stage.
The actors chosen to play the characters in this short were brilliant and took it to another level, making it believable. The locations and special effects were perfect and helped spread the story across the universe. Can't really say much more without spoiling it but John Wagner was impressed and that's all you need to know. By the way, this was not quite the finished thing, so it'll be even better when they add some more of their magic, if that was possible!
Afterwards we milled around and chatted before I went off for a meal with the family and then met up with the lads for a drink or two later that evening. I got back to the hotel at 03:00'ish
Sam was with me for this day but it was more relaxed, as I had done everything I wanted to do on the first day. I just chatted to mates and creators and enjoyed the time more as I wandered about without too much of a care. Once Carolyn came back from her shopping, then it was sad goodbyes to everyone and then the drive home, with the customary stop at the OK Diner for refreshments.
Thought Bubble is the bastion of British comic conventions, as it does exactly what a comic con should do. It's comic creators everywhere, from famous names, up and coming names and the small press independents. There is something for everyone!
Roll on 2017, which I hear will be earlier in the year but we shall see!