Missed out on the festival? Jenessa Williams rounds up ten of the stallholders worth browsing
Thought Bubble has come a long way since its 2007 beginnings in the basement of Leeds Town Hall. Now a week long extravaganza of talks, exhibits and installations, thousands of comic-loving fans descended in 2018 to shop the stalls, practice their own drawing skills or cosplay as their favourite characters.
With the weekend Comic Con the star of the festival, we spent a full weekend weaving out a labyrinth of tightly packed traders, all selling an array of inspiring and creative zines, prints and merchandise. If you didn’t manage to make it down, here are ten of our favourite exhibitors worth following.
In need of a new Autumn wardrobe? Illustrated Mind have got your back with t-shirts and sweaters adorned in witty pop-cultural references. Known for their collaborations with some of the best designers in the business, they also worked on the official Thought Bubble T-Shirt with Jenn Woodall of Funeral Beat.
Using her Thought Bubble stall to debut her graphic novel, Retrograde Orbit, Kristyna is one of Leeds very own. You’ll likely be familiar with her work if you spotted her Leeds Letter in the train station last year or frequent the city centre – she is a regular at many craft and independent fairs. If you’re new, check out her etsy store – we’re coveting her ‘Wild Woman’ print.
Promoting girl power with attitude, Jen’s squad is one you’re going to want to be part of. Selling stickers, comics and zines, her illustrations are modern and inclusive, ideal for adorning the ultimate go-getting office or stationery.
Based in London, illustrator Ellie Crews is best known for her graphic novel The Times I Knew I Was Gay. Its cute and quirky illustrations guide you through the process we all have to go through to find ourselves, delivered with heart and humour.
One for all the curly-haired queens out there, Jamila Rowser’s ‘Wash Day’ was easily one the standout 'zines from the festival. Detailing the trials and tribulations of caring for afro hair, it added some much-needed diversity to the event, and came with adorable stickers and art sheets.
Viva La Eloise
Digital cartoonist extraordinaire, Eloise Szaruga-Bolt is the creator of various funky people in delicious bold and beautiful colour palettes. Her interpretations of classic Pokemon and Steven Universe characters are also worth a honourable mention, as are her comic books – snap yours up on eloisezagurabolt.com.
Purveyor of the political, Dom McKenzie is your go-to fella for artwork that looks out to the wider world for inspiration. Often found illustrating for newspapers and magazines, his book ‘The Legend Of the Wizards’ is his latest effort, chock-full of self-deprecating humour.
The Sad Ghost Club
Championing positive mental health awareness, The Sad Ghost Club are a place of solace and motivation for anyone struggling with low mood or self-care. Their motivational pins make great gifts for anyone going through a hard time, while their zines centre around useful advice for seeking support, being a good friend and dealing with pressure.
One Beat Zines
A zine collective and distribution club, One Beat are a great place to start if you’re new to the world of independent press. Trading at fairs all over the country, their stock updates regularly, but current zines include Polly Who (an 18+ comic on polyamory) and Furious Women, which is accompanied by sassy prints and patches.
Is there a musician alive that Johnny Fighters can’t draw? Through his work on the Hitsville zine and full-length book, Sound and Vision, he has created likeness of everyone from Blondie to Bowie, creating the perfect coffee table compendium.