A Thought Bubble Tale

I’m pretty bad at writing up my Thought Bubble experiences and there are plenty more better accounts online than mine. That said, here is a me-centric view if Thought Bubble 2014.

I’m not certain if I am right but I think Thought Bubble is the biggest Comic Convention in the UK. There may be bigger conventions but they tend to include comics rather than centre on them. add to that the fact it is in my home city of Leeds and obviously I will think it grand!

wpid-received_573874686090196.jpeg.jpgI got busted by Judge Anderson and Senior Street Judge Burdis, the photo was taken by Ellis Cook.

Judge Anderson was portrayed by Integra Fairbrook who played the part in the popular fan film Judge Minty. If you look around this blog you’ll find I’ve written quite a bit about Judge Minty, including an interview with Integra.

IMGP0011Here’s another shot taken by John Pearson. My face is out of focus as I am demonstrating my ‘scared’ face, it shakes with terror. Not that I’m scared of Judge Burdis. I’m a Judge-Tutor after all!

Clearly I was undercover…

Integra and John were publicising the wonderful costumes made by Planet Replicas. Though these photos are from later in the day the Planet Replica’s table was my first port of call.

Planet Replicas are a brilliant company run by Daniel Carey-George – he is on the left in the photo below, right is Steven Sterlacchini the writer/director of Judge Minty, photo by John Burdis.

Planet Replicas

Dan is working with Steven and Steve Green on the upcoming fan film based on another character created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, Strontium Dog. Prototypes of designs for the iconic helmet and electronux by Steve Green were on display, Dan will be working on developing these with Steve for the film. Johnny Alpha’s gun, the Westinghouse and S/D badge were also on display, designed by Dan, I am certainly in the queue for an S/D badge if Planet Replicas put them on retail.

After visiting the PR table I went about tracking down as many people I could who I had featured in my Reviews Booklet this year. You can download a free copy to see what is in the booklet. I was giving these away free at Thought Bubble, the reviews are mostly abridged versions of longer reviews from this blog. With each review are details of where the creators might be found.

Knowing where a creator might be found isn’t always the same as finding them. I wanted to get as many autographs on a copy of my booklet as possible. Yet it is very egocentric to ask people to autograph reviews I have written about their work. Last year I managed to get 11 people to sign my booklet, I wanted to beat that this year. Oh I started off with getting an autograph from Dan. I should have asked Steve Green and Steven Sterlacchini while I was at it… missed opportunity.

The easiest targets for this were some of the Small Press chaps. I knew that Futurequake Press were next to David Broughton in New Dock Hall. Futurequake publish the 2000AD fanzines Dogbreath and Zarjaz. David Broughton has been published in both these fanzines but was at Thought Bubble to publicise his other publications, Shaman Kane, Martillo and Spectre Show. I nabbed autographs from the FQ Editors, Bolt-01 and Richmond Clements, and David Broughton.

Also easily spotted was Sam Read writer of the 4 issue miniseries Exit Generation. Sam also works at my local comic shop, OK Comics. While I grabbed his autograph Sam was quick to introduce me to his friend Harry French who wrote Freak Out Squares, which I promptly purchased. Owen Watts and Geoffrey Crescent, editors of The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel were also easy to track down.

Now from here on I can’t fully recollect who I saw in what order… I do know I met Tom Foster on Saturday but got his autograph on Sunday… more about my autograph hunt later.

On Saturday I also attended the 2000AD panel which was ably conducted by Iz McAuliffe and Stacey Whittle – of ECBT2000AD fame. This is always an interesting panel with a number of 2000AD creators put to the questioning.

A highlight of Saturday was certainly the documentary “Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD“. Sadly there were a few faults at the screening but that was a minor inconvenience. The team behind this documentary obtained input from most of the big names behind 2000AD past and present. A very interesting film which I must see again.

Saturday night I met up with a few folk from the convention, mostly from the 2000AD Forum. I chatted for a while to Neil McClements and managed to forget to ask him to sign my Reviews Booklet. Neil has drawn a few pictures for me that I wrote 500 words to go alongside, There Are Others Out There and the WWI anthology To End All Wars features a story illustrated by Neil.

Sunday I went to the 2000AD Portfolio Competition final. Weeks before the Convention a script was released for artists to draw. On the Saturday the hopefuls could show their entries at the 2000AD table. A shortlist would present their work to a panel of 2000AD creators. The prize, a paid gig in 2000AD. Last year’s winner was Tom Foster. This is always a highlight for me as a 2000AD fan, for one thing I see some great new talent, I also learn a lot from the comments of the panel.

Before the Portfolio Competition though I bumped in to Douglas Wolk, NY Times and Time Magazine columnist and writer of the IDW title Judge Dredd: Mega City Two. I was quite thrilled that he actually recognised me, possibly as I was wearing a t-shirt with a Judge Badge saying ‘Semple’, maybe because I’ve not shied away from showing my picture online from time to time. I must admit to babbling a little. I’m an amateur writer about comics, Douglas is the real-deal. I didn’t know Douglas was there so hadn’t included a review of Mega City Two, I asked him to sign the cover of my Reviews Booklet though.

More autograph hunting on Saturday and Sunday netted my autographs from: Leah Moore and John Reppion, who I interviewed a while ago about Black Shuck; Robbie Morrison who penned the WWI story White Death; Sean Phillips, artist on Fetale; Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokley, writer & artist of Six Gun Gorilla; D’Israeli, artist on Ordinary; Al Ewing, writer of Mars Attacks Judge Dredd; Rob Williams, writer of The Royals:Masters of War; Dave Taylor, one of the artists on Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fallout; Andy Diggle, author of Judge Dredd vs Aliens; Ian Edgington and INJ Culbard, writer and artist of Brass Sun. Quite a haul.

The finale for the convention for me was the panel Comics in Journalism which was chaired by Dan Berry, Blogger and Podcaster, the panelists were; Douglas Wolk, comic critic with New York Times and occasionally Time Magazine; Laura Snapes, Features Editor fire NME; Zainab Akhtar, Freelance Writer & Blogger. A very interesting talk that has already given me one article and I still have another planned.

Another great Thought Bubble experience for me. Looking forward to 2015 already!

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