Thought Bubble 2013: Reflective Post-Comic Con Round-Up…

Thought Bubble 2013 happened and it was quite a happening. I had a great time over the weekend and came away in a discombobulated state of upbeat energy, worn-down exhaustion and fresh creative impetus and inspiration. All those different forces are not necessarily compatible so I’ve been sort of drifting around in a smiley-but-weary slightly-dissonant post-geekout Zen fog. Still, even though I think I’ve recovered now I’m still feeling the comic convention rush and that is a right-on feeling that can just run and run and run, heck yes. (And I feel like I’ve been overdosing of awesome experiences lately. A couple of days before the con I got to see the Pixies live and meet comics writer hero Matt Fraction on a pre-con signing tour within the space of a few hours. I’m on a high! I’m surfing waves of euphoria and beatific double rainbows all over the damn show! Yeah yeah whoop whoo!)

Back to Leeds, and at TB I occupied an exhibitor’s table in the Allied London Hall which was an overfill venue rigged up to meet high demand. There I sat/stood touting my wares and here is an iffy action shot of me and my wares at my table…

Showin' off my stuff with jazz-hands showmanship...

I took the James Clayton show on th’road…

Though it can get a bit lonely sitting behind a table for long, quiet periods (as you can see from some of the pass-the-time con doodles I’ve posted on my sketch blog), I really enjoyed it. People might not buy much of your junk and shower you with coins but it’s worth it just to be there, in that space and soaking up that atmosphere. Having people pass by my stall, speak to me, spend a moment contemplating my creations and pick up my cards is a bonus. Smiles, compliments and positive responses when I explained my ‘Meanwhile, in an alternate reality…’ shenanigans, talked about The Working Barbarian and my other activities were an extra-bonus. I’m a lonely guy who spends most of his time creating in complete isolation so I appreciate those rare occasions of social engagement. I therefore would like to say a big thank you to all those souls who hung around for a bit and said nice things. You are all lovely.

I spoke to more excellent people when I got chance to leave the stall and go walkabout. (I could do that ’cause Chris Fairless came to cover for me for some time on Saturday and my mum dropped in to stand-in on Sunday afternoon. They are both extra-lovely and, hey, thanks Chris and thanks Mum!) Crossing back-and-forth across the venues I somehow managed to acquire a mountain of comics. It’s easily my largest ever Thought Bubble haul and I’m slowly making my way through all this fantastic stuff made by inspired, über-talented folk…

I have too many good things to read...

I have too many good things to read…

I may have read ’em all by next year’s fest and because I’ve barely made a dint in the slushpile I can’t write any reviews and flag up all the individual creators. What I can do though is have a “well, aren’t you pleased as punch” moment celebrating the fact that I shook hands with a few comics rock stars and got special stuff signed. I picked up bitchin’ new material direct from Andy Belanger! Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá signed my Casanova books (Fábio quickly sketching Newman Xeno as well)! Nicolas Gurewitch scrawled in my Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack! Brandon Graham inked my copy of King City! If these names mean nothing to you I’ll break it down like this – these are incredibly gifted artistes who I admire a lot and whose creative output and abilities are outstanding/godlike. Getting to say “thanks”, see ’em in the flesh and find that they are friendly, generous guys in reality is very cool and another reason why conventions like Thought Bubble rock.

The rest of the geeking out generally comes from seeing others with similar enthusiasms going all out to celebrate and share those enthusiasms. Its infectious and I really my con enjoyment is amped up by the cosplayers. I’m always amazed at the crafty skill and sheer effort these heroes put into making costumes and, thus, they all got shouts of “Hey [Insert character name here]! That is such a brilliant costume!” when they passed my table.  Seeing people dressed up as Star Wars Stormtroopers, Hawkeye, Hobbits and steampunk-juggernaut-titan-warrior-things-from-something-I’m-not-familiar-with-but-it’s-kickarse-all-the-same is sweet indeed. Special honourable mentions go to the woman who was roleplaying as Susan Strong and the man who wore a holstered gun in his shorts and S.H.I.E.L.D. t-shirt beneath a Hawaiian shirt with a sign on his back that said “Tahiti. You should go… It’s a magical place.”

That’s probably more than enough culty chatter and rambling reminiscence. That concludes my own personal Thought Bubble 2013 blog chronicle and I will not get back to riding the waves of creative impetus and work away at fresh things – maybe even things that might make an appearance at Thought Bubble 2014. Either that or I’m going to get back to trying to read my way through this insurmountable pile of indie comics…

Comics, friends. Pa-zow…

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  1. The Total 2013 Backtrack Trip Before We Bring the Axe Down Ahead of New Year Revolutions… | ENTER... JAMES CLAYTON

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