After the roller coaster of a year since the launch of my debut comic “It Girl” at Thought Bubble comic festival 2013 I made my return visit last weekend with this year’s short comic “Vivacity“. The festival layout had extended this year to include a teepee between the New Dock Hall and the Royal Armouries Hall.
We were given a stall in the Royal Armouries, same as last year but with a greater flow of traffic because of the breathing space with the additional exhibition area.
I found myself in celebrated company with Boulet and Hope Larson to my left and my friend Mark Buckingham to my right. And of course he had an ever increasing queue before he even arrived.
My trusty cohort Bob Wakelam had done a brilliant job packing all my burgeoning comic and art stock. It looked pretty impressive… two new comic banners, four boxes of comics, sets of about 20 different postcards plus my brochure and flyer handouts, copies of “To Arms” and “To End All Wars” as well. No one can say I’ve been napping this year.
The event is extremely well organised. I had Teresa Flavin (one of the many smiling volunteers) check that I had everything I needed and tweet a photo of me with my cargo. The doors opened at 10am and the queuing customers poured in. Of course there was a lot of non committal standing from afar, glancing over and mental toting up of comic spending budget before taking the plunge and buying a comic from a new supplier. I had success with “It Girl” last year but the majority of people who came to look and buy my goods were new to me and my books.
Familiar faces came by too… Steve White, Sean Phillips, Al Davison, Martin Eden,
Jade Sarson, Nora Goldberg, Chris Thompson, Jay Gunn, Terry Wiley, Colin Mathieson but for the most part comic com-padres had to stay rooted to their pitches and make the most of one of the biggest independent conventions all year.
I managed to go for a mooch around. Couldn’t miss having a look at the steampunk tea emporium across the way… a massive pop up shop with the most incredibly creative array of comics, prints, boxes and all manner of merchandise lovingly constructed.
Over in the teepee I made the acquaintance of Des Taylor who does fabulous glamorous comic art work with a slightly retro animation feel. It got talking to Maxwell Oginni who is assistant artist to Des and animator for the Mr Bean cartoon series. He wanted to know all about my comic journey as he is just stepping into this world himself.
I had a lovely diversion at lunchtime as I had agreed to meet deaf musician and sign performer Paul Whittaker to collect a very special package. Earlier in the weekend I had put up a post on Facebook about James Mason (the model for my hero in “Elsie Harris Picture Palace“). Paul had commented that his family knew James Mason and he had a personal letter from him in his possession. Would I like it? And that he was in the Leeds area the following weekend. If that isn’t a huge rap on the door from fate, I don’t know what is. Paul has done signed performances for lots of musicals including the production of “Sunset Boulevard” that I played Norma Desmond in, so we had a lot to catch up on.
I also bumped into my immensely talented comic creator friend Jason Wilson aka Jay Gunn who had his finished portfolio of “Surface Tension” with him. Titan are releasing it in a few months and it is going to be extremely impressive. He had written, drawn and coloured it to a superlative level.
The cyclical theme of the year in comics was completed with an evening spent in the company of the wonderful Andy Oliver. He is responsible for advancing my profile and that of many small press comic creators for no other reward than the joy of giving new work a spotlight. It was his first visit to Thought Bubble and I know he greatly enjoyed being there and seeing his ‘discoveries’ flourishing.
I didn’t spend much time partying in the evening but I did get to meet Lisa Wood who goes by the name of Tula Lotay, illustrator for Image and Vertigo. She is the mastermind or should I say mistressmind behind Thought Bubble. It is no mean feat to have put this event on, be the director of Travelling Man comic shops and a star comic artist… ask a busy woman!
I couldn’t stay the whole weekend as I had to get to Plymouth for rehearsals on “Elf” but I still managed to sell some comics in the brief hour I spent on my stall on Sunday morning. I had good sales for both “Vivacity” and “It Girl” and made some new friends and connections.
So now it’s time for my other hat with performing over Christmas… then onto the main event… Finishing “Elsie Harris Picture Palace” ready for summer 2015!