Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Thought Bubble unveil 2015 festival icon, announce first wave of guests: Kate Beaton, Farel Dalrymple, Joan Cornella, and more

Festival fever is fully in swing: this morning I woke up to a glorious new Charles Burns TCAF poster, and now there's exciting news about Thought Bubble, widely regarded by fans and professionals alike as the UK's premier comics festival. It takes place annually every November in Leeds, and each year, the festival commissions a different artist to design and illustrate the icon/image for the event, which goes on to adorn the website, flyers, posters, leaflets, and so forth. Previous year's have seen Becky Cloonan and Annie Wu take on the challenge and 2015's fun and vibrant logo is designed and illustrated by Batgirl illustrator, Babs Tarr. I really like how fresh and cool it feels- lovely bright colours against a white background, whilst the lettering is reminiscent of neon light signage- there's sort of a summery, Hawaiian vibe to it.

The festival has also divulged details regarding guests- they usually stagger these announcements over the course of the year, so more names will be added.  The first wave of confirmed guests are: Kate Beaton, Joan Cornellà, Farel Dalrymple, Scott Snyder, Emma Rios, Noelle Stevenson, Jeff Lemire, Becky Cloonan, Gemma Correll, Ray Fawkes, Tess Fowler, Nicholas Gurewitch, Kate Leth, Jerome Opeña, Amy Reeder,  Rick Remender, and Kurtis Wiebe. What makes Thought Bubble such a successful con is its ethos of mixing more mainstream, recognised names with independent talent, something which is apparent from a read-through of that list: there's plenty there for various audience segments to be excited about. 

It's a really solid, diverse (in terms of area of work) line-up, but there are a few people I think people will be particularly looking forward to see. It'll be excellent to see Kate Beaton return to Leeds- she has 2 new books out this year, which will no doubt boost her perennial popularity. I'm thrilled to see Spanish cartoonist Joan Cornellà on the list, too- if you're unfamiliar with his name, chances are you have probably seen his very funny, bizarre cartoons. This year will also see the publication of the first English edition of Cornellà's work: Mox Nox from Fantagraphics. I know Farel Dalrymple came to many people's attention in a big way in 2014 year after the publication of the superb The Wrenchies (that sold out everywhere at Thought Bubble last year, and is still selling well in shops) and I'm pleased too, to see Noelle Stevenson, of Lumberjanes and Nimona, on the list. The complete, print edition of Nimona release in the summer, and the first Lumberjanes trade will be out a little earlier. Those four artists reflect the range of the festival quite well, in that I imagine they each have individual and specific fan bases and people interested in their work, which nicely compliments guests like Emma Rios, Scott Snyder, Becky Cloonan and Jeff Lemire.

For those wishing to exhibit at the festival, registration will open on Monday 2nd March for a two week application period ending on Monday 16th March -it will involve filling in and submitting a form (which will go live on the 16th). Further details for applicants will be available on the website this Friday, so check back there if you're interested in tabling- spaces sell out very, very quickly (within a few hours). In the meantime, there's plenty here to get hyped up for.

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