Monday, 17 November 2008

Night Thoughts - Thought Bubble 2008

On Saturday the 15th of November Insomnia had a stand at the 2nd Thought Bubble convention as part of the Leeds Sequential Art festival.

This is a fantastic show with a really great atmosphere. It seemed more creator focussed than other cons and we met a lot of very talented people, all of whom had many unique and interesting ideas they wanted to talk to us about.

There was very much a sense that creating comics is suddenly, dizzyingly, possible, that people are no longer believing what they are told and are finding new ways of cutting through, tunnelling under, bounding over or just completly ignoring what they have been told for decades were impassable obstacles. This is exactly why Crawford Coutts formed Insomnia, and it was a real pleasure to meet so many of you face to face.

The drive and creativity of the indy scene is staggering - and extremely inspiring. The generosity of creators is always heartening and hearing how many people were recommending each other for projects, or introducing people to each other because "they need to meet" is great to see. We have seen some amazing work and met "just the right person" so many times this way, which we would, most likely, never had done so were it not for this collaborative attitude.

The visitors, publishers and creators were the most diverse mix I have seen at a comics event, and it is really becoming very apparent that comics as a form are making their way out of dank back bedrooms and clammy collectors paws to stand proudly alongside any other storytelling media. Kind of reminds me of what happened to computer games when the original Playstation made it into clubs and front rooms and gaming became not only socially acceptable, but cool. Still, I digress.

Different cons have different feels and so each is better for getting particular things done. The buzz and enthusiam from creators from all aspects of the industry made being a publisher at Thought Bubble like being a kid in the world's best sweetshop. Now we get the great job of stickily making our way through all the goodies we gathered and signing up our next wave of books and creators in a sugar fuelled frenzy.

As well as meeting up with lots of old friends and seeing people "live" for the first time that we had only spoken to online, particular Insomnia Related Highlights from the show were:

  • A great meeting with Barry Nugent where we discussed how the Fallen Heroes adaptation is going to work in practice.

  • Signed up several new stories for Layer Zero on the spot, and discussed ideas with several more writers who want to make submissions. Watch this space for a Layer Zero update about some of the stories, writers and artists very soon.

  • Found several new artists for our longer projects on the strength of some stunning portfolios on show. Any artists who brought portfolios and but didn't get to speak to us please drop me a line at (the biggest file I can receive is 7mb in one email, though)

  • Discussed several full length Graphic Novel proposals of exactly the kind of challenging, left field, thought provoking stories we are after. For those wanting to make submissions, but could not make the show then have a look at our submissions guidelines page.

  • Had a brilliantly in-depth meeting with Chris Barker about Shiver a creator owned original graphic novel that we first discussed at BICS. In the last few weeks it has gone from an outline concept to a full proposal for an unsettling story that is by equal turns , horrifying, moving and, best of all, deeply troubling. I can't reveal more at this stage, as nothing has been signed, but I am hoping to be able to tell you that has changed in the very near future.

  • Spoke with Markosia boss Harry Markos, MyeBook and the Superman of Independent Comics Publishing, Shane Chebsey about a plan to make it easier for readers and retailers to find out about independent books in a bit more depth than you get from Previews. We know all about how annoying it can be as a reader or a retailer to hear about an independent book from a friend, online, via a review or whatever and just not be able to find any details about where to buy it, or how your local comic shop can get hold of it for you. Big thanks must go to Manny Armario of Whatever Comics for adding a veteran retailer's experience to this discussion over the last few months. More on that as we work out the details.

  • Spoke to Neil "Dynamo 5, X-men, Iron Man" Edwards about drawing a new OGN by Cy "Starship Troopers, Cancertown" Dethan. More news as and when, if everyone's schedules work out so it can happen.

  • While I was having all the fun talking to creators, our sales manager and co-founder of Insomnia, Alasdair Duncan, was doing the hard graft of manning the stand and talking distribution and logisitics and all the organisational side of things with various retailers and chains. He really knows his stuff, and we are pleased to say that if your hometown has a comic shop it won't be hard to find Insomnia books on the shelves.

  • Alasdair also found time to run the interactive "Monster Wall" where you had a chance to design your own monster. This been succesful at cons in the past but was a huge hit this time.

  • I was gratified by the number of people who said they were reading this very blog, and the fact that people were coming over to speak to us about project because they had heard good things about working with us. But you'll have to ask them about that.
Which is all a very long and round about way of saying the con was great for us - if there is any chance of you making it next year I highly recommend you take the trip to Leeds.

Thanks to Tamsin, Lisa and all the other organisers for making it happen.

Until next Monday...

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