If it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas, which is to say, if you’re heading to this year’s Thought Bubble comics convention in Leeds – we’re right there with you!

We’ll be at Table 80 in the Originals Marquee on Cookridge Street all day on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September.

The SILENCE! boys will also be teaming up with Al to Astonish for a live podcast spectacular at 11am on the Sunday morning.

SILENCE! to Astonish will take place at the Carriageworks Theatre, with special guests John McCrea, Matthew Rosenberg, Babs Tarr and Sam Humphries - expect jokes, games, insight, and a certain amount of hungover chaos.

We’ll also be flogging our wares to try to balance out the cost of booze and transport. So who’s bringing what this year?

DAN WHITE / THE BEAST MUST DIE 

Thought Bubble 2018 will see the debut of the first issue of Dan’s new horror anthology Sticky Ribs.

There’s always been a strong horror influence on Dan’s work, so I’m really looking forward to reading this and letting it seep through my fingers and into my bloodstream.

Living treat that he is, Dan will also be selling Cindy and Biscuit prints and the new fun-size edition of Cindy and Biscuit – Sundays.

FRASER GEESIN / GARY LACTUS

Fresh from drawing a wonderful comic about how cleaning is better than art, Fraser continues his bid for domestic domination with the Ikea themed anthology KOMISK.

Featuring Geesin’s work alongside contributions from Paul Jon Milne, Kathryn Briggs, Gareth A Hopkins, Tom Mortimer and some prick called David Allison, KOMISK will make you question the motives of that nice stool you use as a table.

DAVID ALLISON / ILLOGICAL VOLUME

I’ll be giving away copies of my Looking Glass Hearts comics, which are all about hauntings and the resilience of home.

You can read these comics for free on this website, but if you want a poorly stapled version you know where to find me. I’m not charging for this work because I’d rather you donated some money to Living Rent, Scotland’s Tenants Union, or a similar organisation closer to home.

Paul Jon Milne / Thrills

We’re pure buzzing to have the last copy of Paul’s Tussle Hunks card game for sale on our table this weekend.

Brutish and sensual, Tussle Hunks is the best thing you can buy at the con this weekend… UNLESS YOU’RE A PUNK!

Paul has just completed the sixth and final issue of Guts Power, so we’ll have that for sale alongside the rest of its grubby brethren.

As I said after a previous Thought Bubble adventure:

I’m stuck on Milne’s style, on the use of that old fashioned alt-comix grossness not as a mode for outrageous straight white guy funtimes, but as a way to genuinely queer the Sex-Men experience.

With its tentative dance floor adventures, “Pepto-bawbag particles” and alluringly grotesque cast, Guts Power manages the rare trick of making one man’s whims, stray thoughts and fancies seem like a genuine delight, probably because the combination feels fresh and true; would that the same could be said of all such ventures.

We’ll also have copies of issue one of Grave Horticulture up for grabs this weekend.

A gnarled delight, Grave Horticulture takes ’90s superhorror as the starting point for an honest-to-fuck aesthetic – get in now before Netflix adapt the expanded universe!

Ad, Andre Whickey, Bobsy, Maid of Nails and Mister Attack will also be in full effect this weekend – they won’t be trying to sell you anything, but their presence will make the con at least 500% better!

See you there/then?

Are you celebrating comic book Christmas in Leeds today?  Are you struggling to fight off the sense of despair that comes with another winter, suddenly sure in the knowledge that your attempts to break the wheel of time itself have been unsuccessful – again! – and that while it might feel like you’re living in a bubble where nothing ever changes, that’s an illusion that can’t survive winters yet to come?

Are you at the Thought Bubble comics convention, trying to find something that will make the change of seasons seem bearable?

If so, why not come see the Mindless Ones at tables 13 and 14, New Dock Hall?

We might not be able to solve your problems, but I can guarantee that we’ll haunt your dreams.

We’ll also be blogging for money throughout the weekend – for a penny a word, one of us will write about any topic of your choosing. If you’re looking to be really cruel you should wait until Sunday morning when we will be at our most vulnerable and ask us to write a 25,00o word justification of the life of Mark Millar.

The Beast Must Die / Dan White is here, selling Cindy and Biscuit  - The Bad Girl part 2:

If you like comics that are packed full of adventure and strangeness and gross humour comics, you’ll like Cindy and Biscuit!

Gary Lactus / Fraser Geesin is here flogging his autobiographical comic The Cleaner:

If Fraser wasn’t a pall I’d have made a fool of myself online by banging on about The Cleaner at every possible opportunity.  As it is, I’m mostly going to stick to burbling lovingly at him in the pub, telling him about how the attention he pays to the overlap between everyday chores and outsized thoughts makes for one of the most hilarious and profound comics going.

My main man Mister Attack / Scott McAllister is selling copies of his student sit-com comic Wake Up Screaming, and Points on a Graph, the story of a man who is separated from his body and still has to go to work on Monday:

Scott’s one of the funniest guys I know, and his comics are a testament to his digressive wit and wicked imagination.

Andrew Hickey / Andre Whickey will be here selling his books about Doctor Who, Seven Soldiers, The Beach Boys, and the concept of entropy for £3 a pop – not a bad price to have a load of new connections in your head.  Andrew will also probably be writing 10,000 words a minute and shaming the rest of us with his ever-productive brain. The bastard.

I might have come away from the Thought Bubble comics convention with a terrible hangover and an overwhelming desire to have a proper rummage through the back issue bins, but I can’t say that I came back short of good zines, great comics and better memories.

Here are five of the most exciting books I picked up last weekend…

1. Jonathan Chandler – Another Blue World (Breakdown Press, 2015)

At last Saturday’s SILENCE! x Breakdown Press interview panel, Jonathan Chandler was discussed as an artist who had staked out territory similar to that which Brian Chippendale had occupied but who had got there before it became a trendy holiday destination for art house cartoonists.

I’m not familiar enough with the man’s work to debate these claims, but reading Another Blue World what struck me was how important Chandler’s elusive sense of space is to communicating this particular set of hostile environments:

It’s not so much that Chandler is limiting what the reader can see to a few tufts of grass or a short stretch of water around his characters that makes his work stand out, more that he seemingly feels no pressure to fill up blank space on the page.

In a Brian Chippendale comic we might find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by the amount of detail, struggling to distinguish signal from noise whether we’re faced with the tiny cramped panels of Maggots or the wider canvases of If’n Oof or Ninja. In Prison Pit we are confronted blocky horror after blocky horror, but we know that this grim escalation will follow proceed through the sort of absurd escalations that are Johnny Ryan’s speciality.

Reading Chandler’s work, meanwhile, we are confronted with an eerie silence. All around us, we find unreadable white space, all of it primed with danger. Forms approach, assaults are perpetrated, sex is weaponised, but we can never be sure whether things are going to get worse or just sort of hang there:

I might crave for something beyond this harsh replication of animalistic imperatives, but there’s no denying that Another Blue World makes them painfully vivid.

Speaking of moving beyond, here’s Lando, back with another bleak, arid and yet undeniably stylish science fiction story!