The Beast Must Die: So frazzled, bedraggled and maybe even bedazzled we all arrived safely back from this year’s Thought Bubble 2012 comics festival in Leeds, which once again proved itself to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience for everyone. It gets the tone just right – an even balance between mainstream and fringe, with the small press rubbing shoulders with industry pros. Girls, boys, seasoned fans, neophytes, kids, pensioners, cosplayers and the just plain weird, the TB crowd is diverse, good natured and one of the best aspects of the whole affair.

Attending something like Thought Bubble also reminds you first and foremost why you love the artform, a welcome shot of 4-colour adrenaline to enliven even the most message board weary fan.

The Mindless Ones were there in pretty full effect, with Andrew Hickey, Gary Lactus and myself  joined by Legendary Weapons Bobsy & Illogical Volume, as well as Mindless Cadet, Mister Attack and the living juggernaut that is Plok. We were positioned on the right hand side of the newly christened New Dock Hall. Andrew was selling his arsenal of wonderful music and comics books, as well as a new volume of his short stories. Lactus had the collected full colour beauty of The Amusing Bros and Andrew & Steven in Knights Of The Realm, and I was touting Cindy & Biscuit, including the brand new 56 page issue no.3. Mr Attack had his comic Everyone’s Felt Like This Once for sale, and Bobsy brought along a free comic featuring both the current PM and Lord Horror no less. Together we formed like Bruticus and set about ensnaring the public.

 

 

On a personal level I don’t think I could have had a better time of it. The reception that Cindy & Biscuit received was heartening, and I sold almost everything I took with me. What was especially gratifying was the breadth of customers I had – I sold a lot to kids this year, which was ace. It’s great to think of them reading mys stuff at home, and I just hope they were all appropriately thrilled, amused or spooked by Cindy & Biscuit. Lots of nice people said lots of nice things about it too, from comics pro’s to fans who bought earlier issues the previous year. All in all I was pretty damn chuffed.

It was great chatting to friend of SILENCE!, Al Ewing, whose gift to us was surely the best comic con exclusive that has ever been. He and his lovely friends were all most accommodating to our frazzled selves in the hotel bar on Sunday evening. It was as nice to see Kieron Gillen as ever, and I enjoyed talking to ace 2000AD scribe Rob Williams about Low Life. I was too nervous to speak to John Wagner, and certainly too nervous to ask him to say ‘I AM THE LAW’ in his stentorian Hibernian brogue. We happened to be on the table next to British comics catalyst  Paul Gravett, along with comics artist and scholar John Miers and his lovely partner Megan, who co-runs the Comica Festival with Paul. Paul was his usual enthusiastic self, and did the circuits with his usual charm and aplomb. John and Megan were also  excellent company, and truly sympathetic hangover buddies on Sunday. John’s comics are here and info about Comica is here.

Add to that the thrills of our ongoing experiment in listener alienation with our SILENCE! Thought Bubble special, the epic drinkery at the post TB Saturday night bash at the Leeds Corn Exchange, and you have a pretty full weekend. As I stated earlier, the atmosphere at Thought Bubble is open, friendly and enthusiastic. I can’t rate it high enough, and will certainly back next year.

But really, I hear you pretty much scream, FOR THE LOVE OF AQUAMAN, WHAT ABOUT THE COMICS???????!

Well…

SILENCE! #40

November 20th, 2012

WHEN I GET HOME FROM SCHOOL EACH DAY, I FEEL MY TIME SHOULD BE MY OWN…

Listen. I’m celebrity guest host Jonathan Cohen from TV’s Music Time. Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die have asked me to add my special brand of gently sensible fun education to this very special SILENCE! Thought Bubble 2012 Special. Listen. Gary and The Beast went to Leeds with a bag full of dreams and sat at a table for two days trying to sell those dreams. Along the way they met a host of exciting folk like Al Ewing and Keiron Gillen. They talked about the things they noticed about the table, on the table, behind the table, underneath the table and beyond the table.

These things include Cosplayers, Deadline, Crisis, Fantastic Four, Walking Dead, Roller Girls, Breakfast, Dinner and John Wagner doing star jumps.

listen.

click to download SILENCE!#40

SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the two greatest comics shops on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton and GOSH COMICS of London.

Before we get going with this, a quick question — I’ve been thinking of releasing this series of posts, when finished (some time next year), as a book. Would anyone actually buy and read such a thing, or is it a bad idea?

I’m asking now, because here is where we head into a totally different realm of Doctor Who. I’ve done sixteen of these posts so far, and there are thirty-three after this. But fourteen of the sixteen previous ones have been about TV shows, with only two (Dr Who And The Daleks and Doctor Who And The Cave Monsters) dealing with non-TV stories. Of the thirty-four stories from 1979 to 2012 I’m dealing with, only fourteen of those essays will be talking about stuff that was actually on TV in those years. Four of them won’t even be about Doctor Who.

Because much of the 23,717 words I’ve done in this series so far has been setup. It’s only now, as we get to the close of the 1970s, that I can really start talking about what I want to talk to. From now on, these essays will be getting much longer, and much less in the “this happened, then this happened” vein. I have things to say. You have been warned…

Everything about Doctor Who changed in 1979, because Doctor Who Weekly started.

With our gift giving over but spirits still high, Zom pipes up about the problems with continuity using X-Men Regenesis # 1 as a starting point.  Conversation drifts to many areas including DC’s New 52, 2000AD and more, ending with a whole lot of talk about just how great Judge Dredd is.  Speaking of which, here’s a panel by Garth Ennis and Glen Fabry from the Dredd tale, Talkback.

Click to download

I come to you, a lapsed Squaxx.

I stopped reading the Galaxy’s Greatest in any sort of regularity a long time ago. More than 15 years ago I reckon. That wasn’t always the way though. For a long time 2000AD was the most important comic in my life. I don’t really need to list the reasons – you’ve heard it all before no doubt. English comics fans proudly informing their bored US counterparts that they don’t know shit son, cos they weren’t there. But fucking hell man sometimes it was hard not to gloat – Millligan & Ewins on on the scorching psychedlic war strip Bad Company; Morrison & Yeowell on Zenith;  Mills & O’Neill on the utterly original and frankly just plain crazy Nemesis; Mills & Bisley on the heavy metal nihilism of ABC Warriors; the incredible John Wagner (whose contribution alone to absolute fucking rock solid thrill power for the last 35 years means that, really, we should have a National holiday celebrating the man…); Brendan McCarthy; Mike Fucking McMahon; Bolland, Gibbons; Cam Kennedy’s incredible shattered war torn planetscapes that still absolutely kill it; Brendan McCarthy again; Halo Jones (Alan Moore’s best work, and it is so fuck off and it’s a proper tragedy but also kind of beautiful that it’ll never be finished); John Hicklenton (RIP); DR & Quinch; Big Dave;Dredd’s boots….JOHN MOTHERFUCKING SMITH….

Fuck, I did it anyway. Sorry…

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