Thanks for stopping by our table and beholding the wonder that is our faces.  If you’d like to look deeper into those faces in a stress-free environment, you can find out more about our exhibitors and their wares by clicking on the links below (Exhibitors 1-7 are shown from left to right above).

  • Exhibitor 1 – David Allison, who documents life before, during and after demolition in his LGH comics and contributes to Cut-Out Witch and KOMISK when he’s feeling less demolished himself
  • Exhibitor 2 – Fraser Geesin, big funny genius behind The Journey to the Surface of the Earth, wonderful autobiographical comic The Cleaner and gag strip The Amusing Brothers
  • Exhibitor 3 – Dan White, writer and artist of beloved kids comic Cindy and Biscuit and lush horror anthology Sticky Ribs
  • Exhibitor 4 – Paul Jon Milne, man of muscle mystery and creator of gnarly wonders like super-horror comic Grave Horticulture and scrambled sci-fi masterpiece Hard Ships
  • Exhibitor 5 – Gareth A. Hopkins, the man with the abstract face, whose comics will bewilder your eye even as they burrow their way into your soul
  • Exhibitor 6 – Hitsville UK, a tale of imaginary pop music and real dreams by John Riordan and Dan Cox
  • Exhibitor 7 – Andrew Hickey, author of books on Grant Morrison, The Beatles, Doctor Who and The Strange World of Gurney Slade and creator of A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs

EXHIBITOR 1 – DAVID ALLISON

November 9th, 2020

Creator of the ultra-lucrative PHOTOCOPIED PICTURES OF BUILDINGS extended universe, David Allison aka Illogical Volume is a man of few words these days.  He charges £50 for a disinterested sigh and refuses to write even a paragraph unless you agree to follow him around the house praising him for how well he’s doing at life. 

He particularly likes it when you compliment him on his skill with the toaster, as we found out while procuring the following comments…

I’m David Allison and I’m a multidisciplinary fuck-up from Glasgow.   When I’m not writing about comics for this website or talking about them in random public spaces, I can usually be found working in and studying the housing sector.  Sometimes I find the time to make comics too!

For the last few years I’ve been working on my LGH comics, which are my attempt to document abandoned places and the people that live there.  You can still access those spaces, no matter what they say.  You just need to know the right entry points…

If you want to check out the LGH comics, portal #3 (Unfit) and portal #5 (Under the Water) should give you a sense of their style and what they’re about.

You can buy the complete set here for £3, and hey – who am I to stop you?  Those who’ve had physical copies of the first three issues pressed into their hands may note that this collection includes a new issue, Raptor, that brings this sequence to a close.

Praise for Looking Glass Heights:

Classic British indie small press pamphlet, and a sharp burst of mood and ideas. It’s very much comics as poem – it’s the sort of work that Douglas Noble has been known to do” – Kieron Gillen

A spooky zine… Liked this a lot. The writing is really strong and the art suggests just enough to make you uneasy – Sarah Horrocks

***

For the goth-curious, there’s also Cut-Out Witch, my collaboration with Edinburgh based artist and ghost merchant Lynne Henderson.

Cut-Out Witch is twenty five pages worth of lost souls and lo-fi monster magic – Lynne provided the pictures, which as a manifestation of her own inner world are the real reason you’ll want to read this.

The original print run has sold out, but Cut-Out Witch is now available in PDF format for the princely sum of £1!

Praise for Cut-Out Witch:

“Cut-Out Witch is really good… Lovely creepy stuff” – Twitter’s own James Baker

“You do seem to be able to dash such things off quite easily, I kind of wish I could do that…” - A Trout in the Milk

***

Finally, I contributed two strips to the sensational IKEA-themed anthology KOMISK.  Featuring work by Fraser GeesinGareth A. HopkinsTom MortimerPaul Jon Milne and David Allison (that’s me – hi mum!), KOMISK exists at the point where mild domestic ambition blurs into existential terror and where novel shelving solutions seem to mock you in your dreams.

Like all good existential terror, KOMISK is available to buy in both digital and physical formats.

One of my KOMISK strips was a solo mission, the other was a collaboration with the phenomenal Kathryn Briggs, without whom Thought Bubble just isn’t the same.

Praise for my contributions to KOMISK:

“David Allison and Kathryn Briggs, meanwhile, conflate IKEA and a near vision of Hell in ‘Jörmungandr’, neatly merging Norse mythology and furniture retail in a twisting spatio-temporal paradox…  Allison’s own ‘Spegelvärden’ is a deliciously straight-faced parody.”Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

EXHIBITOR 2 – FRASER GEESIN

November 9th, 2020

The big headline here is that JOURNEY TO THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH #2 is now done and you can buy it.  It’s £4.50 for the physical version and £2.00 for digital.  Let’s have a look at it shall we?


Sure looks good doesn’t it?  Yes.  Yes it does.  You are impressed.  Let’s not forget that issue one of Journey To The Surface Of The Earth is still available too.

 

Twenty pages pf A4 full colour and B&W goodness,  the first issue of Journey To The Surface Of The Earth was described as “a fittingly witty celebration of the mundane” by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, who asked us all to celebrate “the unique mindscape of this seriously underappreciated mainstay of the UK self-publishing scene”. 

DARE YOU DENY HIM?

We’re not sure if Fraser knows how much his autobiographical comic The Cleaner has impacted how we think about life, art and what we’re actually doing when me make our lives into art, but we’re sure like you to find out for yourselves!

Click on the images below if you want a closer look at some of Fraser’s work, some of which is serious and all of which is intensely funny:

Fraser’s comics can be bought in digital and physical form via his website, and you can chat away to him on twitter here

EXHIBITOR 3 – DAN WHITE

November 9th, 2020

If you were brave enough to come to the haunted spa town commonly known as Harrogate for last year’s Thought Bubble, you might have heard tell that Dan White was out there flogging  the second instalment of his new horror anthology, Sticky Ribs.  You might have struggled to substantiate this rumour – who could be sure of anything in that eerie mist? – but if you’re anything like us, it’s the sort of idea that would have stayed with you.  What is Sticky Ribs?  Is it safe to read?  Can it travel across the threshold of your grandmother’s house without being consumed by fire? Ever fond of a tall tale, Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver decided to elaborate on the rumour of this harrowed comic in his usual comprehensive manner: 

This is prime White material with the juxtaposition of innocent, childlike diary entries and horrifying reality perfectly counterpointing each other and, through their contrast, making events all the more chilling. It’s Maurice Sendak by way of Cormac McCarthy, with wide-eyed innocence going hand in hand visually with a surrounding inescapable devastation.

This year, in the absence of the face-to-face contact and unquantifiable murk of a physical comics convention, we finally feel that the truth can be told to the shuddering masses.  Sticky Ribs is real… and you can buy it at Dan’s website! Don’t believe us?  Here’s the cover to the second issue:

Dan’s legendary kids comic Cindy and Biscuit can also be purchased at his website, with volume one now being available in tasty digital edition! 

If you want to encounter the digital edition of Dan you can do so here, but think carefully about initiating this encounter if you value your immortal soul. 

EXHIBITOR 4 – PAUL JON MILNE

November 9th, 2020

Unlike some of the punks we’re hosting at this table, Paul Jon Milne is the real deal: an artist whose dedication to his work is so extreme that it has transformed his whole body into living, grunting work of art.  It’s muscle on muscle all the way down with Milne, who is now so ruggedly handsome that to look upon him would leave your eyes feeling bruised. 

Because we respect the sanctity of your own personal vision, we’re not going to include a picture of the main man himself in this post, but if you want to get as sense of the gnarled beauty we’re sparing you from, here’s a picture from 2019′s seminal sci-fi blasterpiece Hard Ships:

 

As someone who believes in the beauty of ACTION! in ACTION! rather than the turgid boredom of inaction in action, Paul has condensed his blurb to a series of useful links and illuminating quotes that you can read just below this eminently clickable gallery of his artwork!  

MILNE WEBSITES:

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PJMillustration

www.comixology.co.uk/Paul-Jon-Milne/comics-creator/190012

[email protected]

www.artstation.com/pauljonmilne

QUOTES ABOUT MILNE COMICS:

“(Grave Horticulture’s) a mesmerising vision of punk agrarianism that feels like the next logical step UK comics should take…
Wreckage, in the most empowering sense.”

-Sarah Horrocks (the Comic Journal)

“You know that one artist who drewcats until he went mad? Like that but with bulging muscles”

- Dan McDaid (Firefly, Doom Patrol)

“There are no comics that make me laugh more (onpurpose) than Paul Jon Milne comics, and that’s a fact!”

- Claire Napier (Women Write About Comics, Dash Dearborne)

“Milne’s work has what I can only describe as a niche irreverence”

- Andy Oliver (Broken Frontier)

We have lied to you, dear Thought Bubble patron. You clicked on this link expecting more pictures of a man with an abstract face.  A beautiful man, no doubt, but a man who has concepts for cheekbones and a half-remembered memory where the hair should be.  Instead, we present to you… this lovely, normal looking art bloke:

 

Enough of our waffle though.  Let’s hear from the man himself… 

I’m Gareth A Hopkins and I’m an artist and comic creator based in Essex. I’m most well known for my Abstract Comics work, most notably my autobiographical graphic novel ‘Petrichor’ and my ongoing project ‘The Intercorstal’.

As well as my published and self-published solo work, I’ve had comics featured in the award-winning anthology ‘Jazz Creepers’, ‘Sliced Quarterly’, ‘Komisk’ and the record breaking ‘Tales From The Quarantine’.

My current project ‘Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors’ is a collection of short stories, told as abstract comics, and cover themes such as ageing, family dynamics, the paranormal and the magical aspects of empty car parks.

I’m perpetually tired, listen to music that my wife and children hate, and don’t watch a lot of television.

(Click on the above images to see them in all of their glory!)

My website is at www.grthink.com, my Twitter and Instagram accounts are @grthink and my online store is grthink.bigcartel.com

EXHIBITOR 6 – HITSVILLE UK

November 9th, 2020

What is there to say about the Hitsville boys, Dan Cox and John Riordan?  They’ve been interviewed by Smash Hits and by this very website, and they’ve handled both situations with aplomb.  A stylish pair, they can usually be caught at Thought Bubble looking a little something like this…

Ah, real humans! We don’t know about you but we’ve grown to miss them in this plague year. Here’s how they’d like to represent themselves to the listening public…

Hitsville UK

The cult musical-pop-art-soap-opera comic book collected in 240 pages of psychedelic colour.

Follow a carnival of angel-voiced grotesques, monster-hunters, imaginary robots, hip-hop agitators, faded 80s starlets, 60s throwbacks, drug-addled producers and demonic accountants as they try to hit the big time.

“Like comics and music? Then get Hitsville UK” – Stuart Maconie, BBC 6 Music

“A colourful cast of wildly imaginative, mind-bendingly bizarre and always utterly compelling characters. One of my absolute highlights, an essential piece of UK small press comics” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

“A bloody great accumulation of inspired madness, musical insanity and general chaos… a pure, unadulterated hit of a comic” – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International

“Cox is a gifted satirist… Riordan’s art is superb throughout. It’s full of energy, with vibrant colour and extremely creative use of panels to enhance the storytelling. Matched with the writing, the subject matter and the witty, incisive political content, Hitsville UK is exactly the kind of comic we need right now” – Pete Redrup, The Quietus

Hitsville UK

By John Riordan and Dan Cox

Paperback, 240 pages, full-colour

£20

USEFUL LINKS!

Hitsville UK is available to buy at John’s Shop, but of course pop crazed youngsters of all ages can tune into comic’s frequency at the official website.

Of course, if you feel like screaming at the Hitsville boys like the eager audience you are, modern space-invasion technologies are available that will allow you to…

…or if you’re feeling particularly ambitious…

GALLERY OF MODERN ARTS!

EXHIBITOR 7 – ANDREW HICKEY

November 9th, 2020

Andrew Hickey aka Andre Whickey is a demon.  We say this with love but also out of a deep, almost spiritual sense of terror.  Many times we have conversed with Andre in these very halls, only to discover that he has somehow managed to write 10,000 words outlining a previously unconsidered connection between Charles Mingus and Jack Kirby in between fistfuls of sugared almond. 

Andrew Hickey is a demon, but when he wears his human face he looks a bit like this:

Don’t let our dire warnings or Mr Hickey’s tendency for self-deprecation put you off, though.  All of Andrew’s books are worthwhile, and you can find out what he has to say about them by scanning past his lovely face and reading on! 

I’m Andrew Hickey, and if you’ve visited our table at non-virtual Thought Bubble, I’m the one with the biggest beard, who sits there nearly all the time while the others go about doing stuff and talking to people and so on.

Unlike the others, I have not created any comics you can buy, though I am now on my tenth year in a row of saying “I really need to get my own comic made for this year’s Thought Bubble” and then remembering I can’t draw even a little bit. I do have other stuff you can buy, though — mostly books. I’ve written novels, short stories, and books on pop culture like music, TV, and comics. If you’re looking for my books about comics, they can be found, along with my other self-published books, right here — the ones you want are An Incomprehensible Condition and Welcome to the Multiverse, both of which are about Grant Morrison comics, and maybe Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!, which is about all sorts of other things as well as comics.

(Please note, the books about Morrison were written before their recent coming out as non-binary, and so use the wrong pronouns for them.)

While you’re there, you can also find my books on music, on Doctor Who, and other such things.

Another place you can find my writing is at Obverse Books, where you can find my first novel, Head of State, which is part of the Doctor Who spinoff series Faction Paradox, plus books I’ve written on the Doctor Who story “The Mind Robber” and the 1960 TV series The Strange World of Gurney Slade. I also contributed short stories to a few other books from Obverse.

But like every white man with a beard, I am legally obliged to have a podcast as well. Mine is called A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs, and does what it says — goes through five hundred songs, starting in 1938 and ending in 2000, to tell the story of rock and roll. So farI’m up to episode 103, and 1962. The podcast, unlike the books, is free, and people seem to like it.

I also used to make music myself, in a band called The National Pep. We’re hoping to make more music next year, but the old music can be found at thenationalpep.bandcamp.com/releases if you like that sort of thing

And finally, it’s been far too long since I’ve done any comic blogging, but I’ve written a lot of stuff for this very site over the years, and plan to start up again soon. You can find what I’ve written (including two big projects I started but left abandoned in 2018 when a few things went horribly wrong in my life, and which I plan to start up again one day) by clicking here.

For the ninth year in a row the Mindless Ones will be hawking our tawdry wares at the Thought Bubble comics convention, which is taking place in Harrogate this weekend.

None of us have cracked the secrets of eternal life, but the dadforce is strong in this group, and at least three of us are more handsome than we were back in 2011, where Andre Whickey tried to sell me for low low price and failed completely.

Will the gang manage to make some money off me this time?

Unlikely. Everyone knows my love is free.

But we’ll be more than happy to see you either at our stall – ComiXology Originals Hall, Table 16 – or at the SILENCE! to Astonish panel at Room A – Queen’s Stage, 2pm on Saturday!

Here’s the blurb for the panel:

Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die of SILENCE! and Al Kennedy of House of Astonish inflict daft games, badly researched questions and ill-advised impressions on a very special, hand-picked, crack group of comic professional victi-err… guests.

House to Astonish is Scotland’s longest-running comics podcast and has been featuring comics news and reviews for over ten years. SILENCE! is the world’s only comics podcast.

This year’s guests are: Giant Days writer and Steeple jack John Allison (not my uncle), Analog scribe Gerry Duggan, These Savage Shores writer Ram V, and word/art specialist and Breaks-smith Emma Vieceli.

Team Mindless will also be happy to savour the sweet, sweet taste of money in exchange for the products of our labour.

Here’s who’ll be selling what at our table…

ANDRE WHICKEY / ANDREW HICKEY

Dre isn’t selling any books at our table though you may be able to buy some off him.

GARY LACTUS / FRASER GEESIN

The big massive genius of his generation, Larry Gactus will be in the building with his latest misterpiece, Journey To The Surface Of The Earth #1.

Twenty pages pf A4 full colour and B&W goodness, Journey To The Surface Of The Earth was described as “a fittingly witty celebration of the mundane” by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, who quite rightly asked us all to celebrate “the unique mindscape of this seriously underappreciated mainstay of the UK self-publishing scene”. DARE YOU DENY HIM?

Larry Leesin will also be selling a brand new micro-zine, Good Frence #1

Good Frence has new Amusing Brothers strips and what I’m reliably told by the postman is a full page, ham-fisted Brexit analogy. Andy Oliver might not have told you to buy it but I am, right here and now. Am I not good enough for you? Fair enough, but you still deserve Good Frence, for all your sins.

Gazer Freesin will also have copies of his phenomenal autobio comic The Cleaner, the world’s best Ikea comics anthology KOMISK! and a fistful of other treats for the faithful on the table too.

ILLOGICAL VOLUME / DAVID ALLISON

I’ll be there with Beyond Whiles, the latest in my series of comics about abandoned places and the people who live in them.

A leisurely walk through a glitchy environment in the process of rebooting, Beyond Whiles is also an attempt to turn cheek into currency – in this case, by adapting the works of Weegie author and mural-enthusiast Alasdair Gray into comics form.

I’ll also have copies of LGH and Labyrinths if slow explosions or hauntings are more your thing, and I’ve reprinted Cut-Out Witch, my 2013 collaboration with Lynne Henderson.

Praise for my solo comics:

Classic British indie small press pamphlet, and a sharp burst of mood and ideas. It’s very much comics as poem – it’s the sort of work that Douglas Noble has been known to do” – Kieron Gillen

A spooky zine… Liked this a lot. The writing is really strong and the art suggests just enough to make you uneasy – Sarah Horrocks

Praise for my comic with Lynne:

“Cut-Out Witch is really good… Lovely creepy stuff” – Twitter’s own James Baker

“You do seem to be able to dash such things off quite easily, I kind of wish I could do that…” - A Trout in the Circus’ very own Plok

Praise for you, praise for me – PRAISE ME!

THE BEAST MUST DIE / DAN WHITE

The mighty Beast is back with the second installment of his new horror anthology, Sticky Ribs!

Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, who you worship as a god, forsaking far less useful and productive deitys-in-waiting like me, had this to say about the latest release from the werewolf factory at Dead Light Comics:

This is prime White material with the juxtaposition of innocent, childlike diary entries and horrifying reality perfectly counterpointing each other and, through their contrast, making events all the more chilling. It’s Maurice Sendak by way of Cormac McCarthy, with wide-eyed innocence going hand in hand visually with a surrounding inescapable devastation.

He’s not wrong, this Andy Oliver. I can see why you’re currently building an alter for him, out in the woods, where you think no one can see you. I don’t approve of your methods but the impulse behind them… that I can get. Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of the horrors of the first story in The Beast’s latest:

As always, the ever-loving, red-eyed Beast will have copies of his astonishing kids comic Cindy and Biscuit to sell, and stories to tell that will add or remove hair to various body parts as required.

THRILLS / PAUL JON MILNE 

Paul will be debuting his new comic Hard Ships at our table this weekend.

In a move that will astonish and tantalize my fellow Miln-o-maniacs, Hard Ships looks deep into the muscle mysteries that are Milne’s muse and finds itself out there in space, exploring new frontiers of braw humour and shame.

Or at least, that’s what the postman tells me.

Milne will also have copies of  Grave Horticulture #1 and #2 for sale at our table.

Here’s what Sarah Horrocks had to say about that mulchy wonder for The Comics Journal:

Milne is an artist who can effortlessly land a fiery car engine on the neck of a musclebound maniac and you immediately understand what that’s all about. And unlike most writers today, he can give an origin story for a character in two pages or less.

The result is a tome of addled freaks, violence poets, and blood vegans who all feel coherent within a swamp of UK housing and geographic dilapidation.

Bobsy and Mister Attack will also be in full effect all weekend, dishing out love and violence to those who know how to ask for what. I pity the fools that use the wrong code words at the wrong time. Those poor souls. Those hopeless, shattered wretches. So hard to imagine their suffering. So hard not to want to be them.

So… where was I?

Yes. Thought Bubble 2019. Harrogate. Table 16, Originals Hall. See you there?