Leeds Comic Convention continues to set the bar.
I think I can safely say that the past four days have been among the nerdiest of my life. And I loved it. Not only did I finally get to see Thor: The Dark World (which was ace) yesterday, but this past weekend just so happened to be the Thought Bubble Comic Convention; capping off a whole week of events, talks and screenings about all things sequential art. I think this one was my…fourth? Following on from last year’s fantastic event, I was keen to see if it could be topped. And, without a doubt, it could.
After having drinks in the geek heaven that is Fab Café Leeds with a few of the Thought Bubble-goers on Friday night – where much was drunk (by me) and many laughs were had – I returned to Leeds on Saturday morning with my good lady and my brother in tow. The mission: buy a bunch of comics and try to speak plainly with talented people without forgetting how to speak the English language.
After having breakfast at the train station we headed straight down to the Royal Armouries – no matter that we go there once a year for this convention, I always get lost somehow before we’ve actually reached the nearby canal. We arrived at about 11am to find the New Dock Hall fit to burst with people, as you’d expect for the first morning of one of the biggest cons in the country! We decided to take our chances in the Royal Armouries hall instead, where we saw some beautiful stuff.
One of the things which worried me most about going to both days of this con was that, if I browsed hard enough on every stall, I would almost certainly run out of money before the first day was out. However, what worried me even more was this year’s addition of a third hall! The Allied London room appeared to have been refurbished and ready just in time – still a little rough around the edges, and not to mention cold unless you were next to a thermonuclear generator aka space heater – but I was able to have a chat with Ian and Dani, co-creators of Razarhawk, who were kindly enough to sign my new copies! We briefly discussed the upcoming television event of the half-century (more on that later) before I joined my fellow con-goers for a coffee.
Then it was time to brave the New Dock Hall, which the three of us tackled with aplomb. I could definitely have done without quite so many people throwing elbows, though. I was there once again in time to see Robert Llewellyn signing books behind a massive group of people at the Travelling Man table.
I then had a chat with Rachael Smith and Drew Askew, respective creators of The Way We Write and Have A Go Hero, both of which I’d picked up at the end of this conversation (and enjoyed very much) – but rather than introducing myself as a fan of both their previous works, asking how their con was going and expressing my hope to see them at the mid-con party, sort of just ended up half-having a go at Drew for not updating his website enough. Apologies guys!
We also got talking to David Lloyd who was there to promote his Aces Weekly venture – bringing some great comic talent (including the afore-mentioned Miss Smith!) to your digital device – and we were lucky enough to get a sketch of V; the character he’d brought to life in one of my favourite comics ever.
A couple more hours there and we were ready for some dinner, which was at Wagamama and was delicious. Then, with hotel room booked and after-party cried off from tiredness, my lady and I settled in to watch the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. Which. Was. Awesome. But I could spend hours on that and have already decided not to.
The next morning we decided to risk another trip back to the con, where we were able to spend a little more time among the much less crowded aisles. We caught our first and only panel of the weekend, given by Neil Gibson of T-Pub Comics on the topic of using comics to further your work or study, and how your brain can process and retain instructions more effectively when produced in a visual medium. It was a fascinating talk given by a very likable guy who’s clearly passionate about his chosen art form!
The panel over, we headed home…and back to bed. Yep. The weekend had just been that awesomely tiring.
My thanks to all the organisers of Thought Bubble for another exciting instalment of what is by far my favourite geek event of the year – and look forward to doing it all over again!