The Thought Bubble pre-party….

Published On November 24, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, General


We chatted about the unofficial Thought Bubble party back here, but now Owen Michael Johnson gets in touch with pics and words about the event… and what a fine event it looks like, Johnson and band, The Kittelbach Pirates bestriding the stage in best Gerard Way fashion, all manic energy and cool as you want attitude…


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“Vince Paradise & The Kittelbach Pirates is an electrfying and silver-tongued band that will give you a night to remember.” – Nora Goldberg (Soaring Penguin Press)
“(The band) looked like Parliament redesigned as Doom Patrol villians. Sneery, supercool pomp punk” – Iain Laurie (artist, And The Emily Was Gone)

Well, Grant Morrison did have dreams of music superstardom when he was younger, perhaps Johnson et al have a similar strategy… comics and music, perfect bedfellows.

The deal was to take over an unused bit of Leeds shopspace and transform it for a night into a pop-up venue, creating an event out of nothing, all supported by Assembly House Studios and East Street Arts, and organised by John Pearson and others. Music, performance, live drawing, a little drinking, a little dancing, and a lot of happy people…

“The best part was people coming in off the street to see what was happening and then staying for the duration. It was a little bit raw and wild, but I spotted comic creators there from all over the world, big publishers and complete independents alike. Much love to the main organiser, John Pearson, who put a lot of blood and sweat into making the night a success, and thanks to Tula Lotay and everybody that makes Thought Bubble possible. Always the highlight of the UK comic-book calendar.” – P M Buchan (writer, Blackout, Love Will Tear Us Apart)
“Vince Paradise and the Kittelbach Pirates delivered! An evening of superlatives: Most diverse audience, cheapest beer, minimalist-est lighting, snuggest fitting legwear and of course the obligatory blood on the dance floor.” – David Hine (writer, The Man Who Laughs, Bulletproof Coffin)




The whole thing sounds like it was a great success, Johnson had talked of working to expand the comics audience in the UK and outreach events such as this, raising the profile, particularly in association with a huge event in Thought Bubble is certainly a step in the right direction. As Johnson says…

“Fascinating surprises happen when comics breed with live art, and photography, and music. This approach will only enlighten and expand the potential of all mediums. This evening was so much fun.”

And from John Pearson, artist and member of Assembly House Studios:

“The art scene in Leeds is rising in profile at such a rate that it feels on the cusp of something incredible happening, and events like The Gatecrass Stage not only build on that but share what creatives in Leeds do to a much wider audience.
“Thought Bubble as well has grown in recent years massively, along with the audience it attracts, so starting up an event that draws in a slightly different crowd and explores different paths from what they do is a natural progression, and something I hope other people pick up on in coming years and we have other fringe events getting developed by other people.”

Johnson once more:

“It was energizing to see these disparate worlds meet. Leeds artists, comic book professionals, mad drunkards, local musicians, passers-by and the band Vince Paradise & The Kittelbach Pirates (who formed in April for the CULT exhibition held at Orbital Comics).”


“Aside from myself organizing the night alongside Lester Drake, we had Assembly House illustrators Bobbi Abby and Mike Winnard drawing on the night, members of Precious working the bar, all of which are Studio Holders at Assembly House.





There are plans in place for 2015 as well:

“It’s going to be bigger, better, and dirtier. One of the best things from the night was seeing established creators drawing side by side with Leeds Artists and members of the public, we had local acts playing live on the stage with acts from out of town.
Everyone was welcome and everyone joined in. There’s no divide between anyone, the people working the bar were the same people drawing and playing. Next year expect more artists, more bands, more cheap drinks, more collaboration and more scuzzy times.

“It’s very different to the rest of the Thought Bubble schedule and what they set out to do, but something that in my opinion is essential for branching out even further to get more people involved in the incredible work the Thought Bubble team do.”

Owen Michael Johnson is the writer of British Comic Award nominated Raygun Roads, which you can read (for free) right here (it’s well worth that click!).


His latest project, Beast Wagon, had its preview comic at Thought Bubble, with artist John Pearson

The 6-issue series will launch in 2015, and is described as:

‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest with talking animals…‘
‘an examination of systems and control’.
‘a debauched tale of insanity. Owen has pulled out the stops to explore madness and frustration across many complex layers. I’ve been scooping out my mind to put together a collection of images that feeds into the vision of hell we’ve had. Madagascar this is not.‘

More on that in the New Year no doubt, and maybe, just maybe, if I can drag my old arse out next year, I may be there for the 2015 pre-Thought Bubble show!

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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