Monday, 10 November 2014

Things to buy, people to see, at Thought Bubble 2014

I've compiled a list of interesting books to look out for, tables to visit at Thought Bubble that you may find helpful. I know people (myself included) like to pinpoint certain artists they'd like to meet, or books they'd like to buy prior to attending conventions, as once you get there it can all get a bit overwhelming -in the best possible way, as you're distracted by the goodness on display. Much of this list is composed of information derived from the Thought Bubble website, bits and bobs from artist's websites sharing what they'll be selling, with a bit of personal knowledge chucked in- it doesn't really need saying that there will be so much, much more on offer that I'm not aware of; this list is made up books and people I'm excited to see. I've not really included any big names or signings on here, as I think those are probably the kind of things that people identify most easily with a knowledge of who they'd like to get around to. I've included table numbers and hall locations in brackets next to most names.

Breakdown Press (table 143, New Dock Hall): You could quite easily spend all your money at the Breakdown Press table as no doubt they'll have with them the whole of their catalogue to date. If you're yet to read Connor Willumsen's Treasure Island, I'd make a beeline for those 2 books (part 1 and part 2), but their new alt manga release The Man Next Door, which I read last week, is very good (so compelling visually) and interesting contextually to consider its author significance in the gekiga movement; a great example of the whole 'dramatic sequential pictures' school. I'll be looking to get my hands on the new books from Lala Albert and Ines Estrada, as well as Generous Bososm by Conor Stechschulte, 'an erotic psychological thriller about a rainy night spent among a stranded motorist and a strange isolated couple,' risograph printed in 4 colours. I'd not heard of that Stechschulte before, but after perusing his Tumblr, and looking at some sample pages, I'm keen to see more.

Becca Tobin (table 153 Comic Book Slumber Party, New Dock Hall): Becca Tobin is one of the freshest, most exciting talents in UK comics right now- if you need proof of that statement, Youth in Decline just announced she'll be one of the artists partaking in their monograph series, joining the likes of Hellen Jo, Michael DeForge, Jiliian Tamaki, Emily Carrol,l and more.  She'll be at the Comic Book Slumber Party table so make sure to stop by, and she also has a new book, Night Florist, collecting comics and illustrations, published by DoGooder Comics who will be at table 161.

Isaac Lenkiewicz and Benjamin Wright (table 155, New Dock Hall): At this point you know I'm a big fan of Lenkiwicz's, and so I'll be over there sharpish as he's got a new comic, Look Out, Bawang! out. Hell be tabling with fellow Simpson's drawing club member, Benjamin Wright who makes the snazziest wooden badges: Storm Trooper and Ninja Turtle Heads. It's not new, but if you haven't already, pick up his excellent Flesh of the Simpsons comic.

Disa Wallander (table 103, TB teepee): Another of my favourite comic artists, Wallander will have a second collection of her strip Slowly Dying which also contains some not-yet-published strips. She's just released a new mini-comic with Latvian publishers kus, so look out for that, too. I'm hoping she will also bring along some of the figures and sculptures she makes, but I'm not sure. Get to her table anyhow- it's sure to be interesting.

Cinebook (tables 19-1, Royal Armouries Hall): One of the best European comic publishers, and never has the term 'something for everyone' been more thoroughly applicable. A wide, quality range of books and genres in album size at very friendly prices. Make it a stop if you have kids- I  highly recommend the Alone series, and I think SAM: After Man might be out just in time for the festival, too.

The Great Salt Lake by Matt Taylor (table 16, TB Teepee): I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy of this over the weekend (review forthcoming), so I have no hesitation in declaring it a must-buy- the kind of book you'll be gutted to have missed later, so take heed!. A beautiful, wordless comic about a shipwrecked man, left floating the seas alone in a wooden life-boat, determined to make it home. Just gorgeous. Taylor's art does everything here.

Cindy and Biscuit volume 1 by Dan White (table 1, New Dock Hall): I've been a fan of Cindy and Biscuit ever since -like most people- I read Richard praising it over at the FPI blog. It's a superb, genuine, all-ages comic about a girl and her dog and their are-they-or-aren't-they-real adventures. This is the first collection, so if you're yet to become acquainted, it's the perfect option- 184 pages, with 2 brand new strips.

Stickleback and Brass Sun from 2000AD (tables 111-112, TB Teepee): Stickleback will very definitely be available for the festival, and while the Brass Sun collection is officially releasing in December, I hear there may be a number of early copies at the 2000AD table- I've refrained from reading that in issue form -in both UK and US release- so I'm really wanting to get one. The pictures Ian Culbard's been posting on Twitter of his hardback advance copies have only exacerbated my excitement.

Go see Boulet (table 17, Royal Armouries Hall): I'm really bad/awkward at going up to tables just to say hello to people and tell them I enjoy their work, but I'm going to try with Boulet- it's one of those things that you're not sure if the opportunity will arise again. It'd be really nice to make him feel welcome and his experience the festival and city better,  too.

Peow Studio (table 54, New Dock Hall): A first Thought Bubble appearance for the Swedish outfit, and much like Breakdown Press, this is a case of a table you really have to visit as there's so much on offer it's probably best to have  a look through the offerings and see what takes your fancy. I'd personally recommend both Olle Forsolff's and Mikael Lopez's Nava series, Patrick Crotty's Internal Affairs if you prefer something a bit more light and fun, and Hanna K's Third Wheel. The new thing that they'll have is Mathilde Kitteh's MGCL_GRL 'a style magazine for magical girls and sad boys,' and also Crotty's Devil's Slice of Life, both of which I'm looking to get. Elliot Alfredius' Three Blades artbook is absolutely stunning, too. I wrote about most of these books here (with links to reviews) if you'd like to see interior images. I imagine they'll also have some prints and things on sale.

Philippa Rice and Luke Pearson (table 150): Philippa always has a bunch of great comics at her table- I know Soppy is due for release in January, but I think she may have some of the minis for sale. I'm going to try and catch one of Phillipa's amazing creations- a sculpted or crochet crochet figure this year- I always miss out and feel major envy when others show theirs off. I'm guessing Luke will have a selection of his comics and books as well- if you've not read Hilda and the Black Hound yet, you need to get that- hands down one of the best comics I read this year, regardless of target audience.

Phil McAndrew (table 96, TB Teepee): Another first appearance, this time for Phil McAndrew, whose art and comics I really like, especially what he's doing with his Patreon- the tiny drawings club.. He'll have his book of comics, Crying in front of your dog and other stories, amongst other offerings. Check him out.

Lynn Allingham (table 148, New Dock Hall): I try to stick mostly to comics, but Lynn Allingham, also known under the guise of Tuck Shop Jewellery, is super talented and makes the best handmade and original designs- both comic related and beyond. I bought a T-Rex necklace and a couple of Batman rings a couple of years ago, and am looking to upgrade.

Town Mouse Wants Tea, Graham Johnson (table 171, New Dock Hall): This is the sort of thing I find very appealing: a 12cm square little comic about a town mouse with a cold, who decides the best way to get better will be via a cup of tea. Not come across Johnson's work before, but really liking the illustration style, and I like the tactile nature of it.

Jack Teagle and Donya Todd (table 154, New Dock Hall): Am I allowed to write that Teagle and Todd (there's a double act name for you!) simply make interesting comics and always have a range of art and prints so you should stop by their table? The duo designed the official Thought Bubble t-shirt, and Donya will probably have the new Bimba comics anthology which she's contributed to. That's in addition to offerings from their collaborative project, Chubby- I'm hoping for more of those ace t-shirts.

Will Kirkby (table 138, New Dock Hall): Another person who I'm not entirely sure what new things they may be offering, but are too good to miss. There should be copies of the first Tuk-Tuk and maybe a second... Will usually has some original art and great prints with him, too.

Robert Ball and Warwick Johnson Cadwell (table 10, Royal Armouries Hall): Apart from a new Dangeritis comic that will be on display, you'll be able to pick up Warwick's new 24-hour comic, The Last Hand, that he did in collaboration with the Lakes festival- and it's a good one. While we're on the subject of 24 hour comics, you should go check out Joe Decie's, Dan Berry's, Fumio Obata's, Kristyna Baczynski's and Sarah Mcintyre's books, too. Robert will have Dark Times, his collection of comics, and there's always a good selection of postcards and badges at the gents' table.

Dreadful Wind and Rain by Isabel Greenberg: Greenberg is no longer attending the festival but there will be a very limited amount of copies of her new comic available at the Comic Book Slumber Party table Risograph printed, and based on the traditional folk tale ‘The Two Sisters’ it's a tale of a scoundrels lover, two jealous sisters and a very honest harp.

Hoss by Andy Barron (table 83, Royal Armouries Hall): The new comic in Andy's Om universe series, this is another gorgeously coloured silent comic. I only read my first Om comic recently, but was incredibly impressed by the design and aesthetics of it, and the level and range of emotion and atmosphere created within- which I find is more difficult ot do in the case of bright, primary coloured works.

Second by Opposite the Alley (table 50B, Royal Armouries Hall): A 24 page, limited risograph publication based  around the theme ‘Second,' largely illustrative, with contributions from a host of quality artists including Owen Gent, Fumio Obata, Eleni Kalorkoti, Jan Vismann and more.

OK Comics (tables 95-98, New Dock Hall): I will be here on the Saturday! Most likely stuffing my face with snacks and generally lowering the tone. Come and say hello- it's the nciest thing to meet people. On a serious note, Jared always pulls together a superb array of comics (including books from people who are at the festival if you want something signed), or we're just happy to recommend you titles if you're looking for new stuff- that's our favourite thing to do. And a quick reminder I'll be moderating the 'Spotlight on Gotham' panel on Sunday, and then participating on the comics journalism one.