The big conventions are both go, go, go… Lakes and Thought Bubble….
Oh yes, ’tis the season to be announcing details for conventions. Now, I do intend to have a look at at least another couple of conventions and events this year, but in terms of size, importance, presence and general bloody hell they’re great-ness, I don’t think you can really argue the toss with my assertion that The Lakes International Comic Art Festival and Leeds Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival are the two premier events in the country right now. Sure ELCAF is up and coming with a great reputation, but it’s smaller, more exclusive, for good and ill. As for the other events (and you can see them all in our regular Comics Calendar feature) they’re either smaller or have more of a pop culture rather than pure comics focus.
And this week, both the Lakes and Thought Bubble had major announcements. Experience tells me there will be many more and whilst I have no intention of bombarding you with every minute detail, I did think this was worth telling you about.
First, The Lakes.
Boulet’s one of two new patrons of The Lakes, along with comic shop owner Stephen L. Holland, joining existing patrons Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot, and Emma Vieceli (details here), all of whom will be attending as guests at the Festival. There’s also news of the first major international guest for the festival, Canadian artist Darwyn Cooke.
The tickets for The Lakes go on sale on the 1st June and the actual Festival is on the weekend of the 16th-18th October 2015. I went last year and had a great time, really enjoying a very different comic event experience, as the Festival really does take over the entire town, with events, workshops, exhibitions and more happening all over, with a real sense that the entire town is involved. I’m certainly hoping to get back there this year and enjoy it all over again.
And a month later on from The Lakes, Thought Bubble hits Leeds once more. By now Thought Bubble is firmly established as the biggest convention in Britain, and I think I’m confident in saying it’s the biggest comics event we’ve ever had in Britain as well. I’ve been for the last few years now and I have to say it’s been a brilliant experience each year.
Last year saw a major change in the organisation, with the addition of the “tent” in the middle of the Festival site, between the two indoor arenas. Initial worries that this would be a real problem were immediately washed away, the “tent” was nothing of the sort, a huge, comfortable, light structure, and really showed just how well organised and forward thinking Thought Bubble can be.
Every year Thought Bubble commissions an artist to provide the imagery associated with the event, with previous years art provided by Annie Wu, Alice Duke, Becky Cloonan. This year it’s something big, bold, colourful and rather fab from Batgirl artist Babs Tarr which you can see just up the page. I think it’s a really great image, wonderfully fresh and new, forward thinking and nostalgic, quite perfect.
Thought Bubble have also just announced their first tranche of guests for the show, including Kate Beaton, Rick Remender, Noelle Stevenson, Joan Cornellà, Becky Cloonan, Gemma Correll, Jeff Lemire, Kate Leth, Emma Rios, Farel Dalrymple, Ray Fawkes, Tess Fowler, Amy Reeder, Nicholas Gurewitch, Jerome Opeña, Kurtis Wiebe and Scott Snyder. Now, if you can’t read that list and see the real diversity of comics represented at Thought Bubble then you’re not reading the FPI Blog often enough. There’s everything from big name Marvel and DC bods straight through to the not that well known (as yet) such as Spanish artist Joan Cornellà. It’s a great list that’s only going to get longer and better as we get closer to the event.
Thought Bubble takes place on the 9th-15th November with the 2-day convention on the weekend of 14th & 15th. As last year, the event is curated and if you’re an artist looking to take part, you’ve got two weeks from Monday 2nd March to register interest. If you’re successful you’ll find out by Monday 30th March.
And perhaps most importantly of all, both The Lakes and Thought Bubble (and every other convention going I’d imagine) are after YOU to volunteer and join in, everybody welcome, everybody needed to help make these events so wonderful. Full details at their websites.