In just under two weeks the wonderful Leeds Thoughtbubble one-day convention will be taking place on Saturday 15th November. We were at the first Thoughtbubble event last year and had a great day there so are really looking forward to this year's event. We'll be manning our table and selling our comics and hoping we'll find another artist as fabulous as Dan Barritt who we met at last year's show. All in all, we're expecting to have as much fun as last year. One thing that is going to be different is the scale of this year's event - over 100 tables compared to last year's 30 or so, which is a huge increase and necessitated the change in venue from Leeds Town Hall to the Armouries.
There's a few things about Thoughtbubble that make it different from the usual comic conventions. One thing is that it seems to be an event embraced by the city itself, running alongside the Thoughtbubble film festival taking place throughout the week before. It's no secret that BICS runs very independently to Birmingham itself with no real awareness of the event outside comics fans, but not so Thoughtbubble whuich seems to have flyers and posters at every Leeds entertainment venue worth its salt. This approach is borne out by the show's sponsors which include bars, restaurants, a casino, local entertainment websites and a local newspaper group as well as the usual Diamond UK, Forbidden Planet and local comic shop prescence.
There's also a sheer exuberance about the show's organisers that's hard to beat. Last year all the exhibitors were given home-baked cookies and cakes throughout the day by the organisers. This year there's an after-show party being held. But throughout there's a real sense of professional organisation that makes being part of Thoughtbubble such a joy in itself. Now, this is not to say that the other UK conventions lack that, not at all, but there's a level of service that gives the guys in Leeds an edge. Case in point: yesterday I received the Thoughtbubble show passes and tickets through the mail. Along with them came a useful crib-sheet about setting up on the day. I didn't ask for these to be sent me. They just did. The other conventions don't do that. It's such a small thing. And the passes were already nicely marked "Time Bomb Comics" and with ribbons for ease of use. Another small thing. But believe me, from an exhibitor point of view it makes such a difference.
Thoughtbubble could well be the dark horse of the UK comics convention circuit. It was overlooked by many last year for being a small-scale one-day event. This year it's making some waves with a palpable bzz about it at BICS. Next year? It'll be bigger than Bristol.