Thought Bubble 2016

Let's talk about this year's Thought Bubble, because I only got home a few hours ago, the suitcase isn't yet unpacked, and the memories are still fresh.

I've been going to Thought Bubble for five years now. I've gone every year that we have been doing the podcast, and have had a fantastic time each year. A big part of that is the social aspect of the convention, as between con-goers and comics creators, there are a lot of people that I know that head to Leeds every November. And, with one exception, I've been able to spend time at each convention with Andy.

In previous years, I've attended as an attendee, with a rucksack full of books to get signed by creators. It's rewarding, but exhausting. This year, I attended for the first time as an exhibitor, taking The Fantasticast to its first comic convention. We shared Table 11 in New Dock Hall with Michael Georgiou, who you will know as the artist for the show.

Due to a lovely coincidence in timing, we found ourselves in a position to be able to launch a new visual look for the show at Thought Bubble this year (this look will go live next weekend). As a result, we decided to go all-in with the new logo, riffing on the next iteration of the comics logo. We also asked Mike to revisit the heads that border each episode image, as the ones we've been using over the past 3 years were taken from a piece of artwork, and were never designed for that specific role. With a new logo (initial design by show designer Sam Savage, and adapted by Mike) and artwork, we then went and ordered a banner and business cards. And t-shirts. And mugs. And stickers. We had a lot of stuff!

After missing the show last year, Andy made a return this year. Sam Savage also made an appearance, meaning that after a very close-miss in 2014, we finally managed to get all four of us in one place at the same time. As well as taking silly pictures, we also managed to steal away for half an hour to record an episode of Steve & Andy vs The Fantastic Four (Cartoons) for our Patreon backers who are eligible for this.

Andy also brought his wife Ange, who I was very surprised to discover was an actual person and not just a distant background voice. It was lovely to meet her in person, and we made an energetic and engaging team behind the table.

Our main activity was talking about the podcast to various people who stopped by the table. We sold stickers featuring the new artwork, and handed out many business cards. To take advantage of many guest-hosts (previous and future) being at the convention, we did some at-table recording, subjecting our hapless hosts to a Fantastic Four pop quiz. We'll be messing around with the audio over the next few weeks, and hope to be able to present this as a Christmas special.

Both days were huge amounts of fun, even if Sunday was tempered with exhaustion from celebrating at the mid-convention party. I didn't get to go around the tables as much as I wanted to, but I did manage to grab a few small press comics, and dive into some back-issue bins for issues of Fantastic Four and Marvel Two-in-One.

I'll almost certainly forget some people. but people make the show, and this is now going to be an incomplete list of people who helped make this one of the most enjoyable conventions I've ever attended:

Seb Patrick, Joe Cunningham, Laura Cunningham, Rob Cureton, Bekki Tordoff, Christine Hanefalk. Stacey Taylor, Jenni Newman, Phil Thomas, David Wynne, Ian Sharman, 'Olly Rose, Al Kennedy, Colin Bell, Kelly Kanayama, Fraser Geesin, Dan White, Sarah Millman, Sian Jefferson, Abigail Brady, Rich Johnston, Kulbir Mann, Micheal Leyland, Angela Leyland, and anyone else who helped make this weekend really great. But, especially, Sam Savage, Michael Georgiou, and Andrew Leyland.

Michael Georgiou, Andrew Leyland and Steve Lacey survey their weekend domain, casting literal shade on the face of Doctor Doom

Michael Georgiou, Andrew Leyland and Steve Lacey survey their weekend domain, casting literal shade on the face of Doctor Doom

A slightly-out-of-focus Sam Savage joins us all to replace the banner with our t-shirts.

A slightly-out-of-focus Sam Savage joins us all to replace the banner with our t-shirts.

Once upon a time there were four little podcasters who went away to a comics convention...

Once upon a time there were four little podcasters who went away to a comics convention...

We found a Daredevil blogger! Steve and Andy meet up with our most request guest-host, Christine Hanefalk.

We found a Daredevil blogger! Steve and Andy meet up with our most request guest-host, Christine Hanefalk.

Having given up climbing under the table, We decide to lean precariously into fan-favourite guest-host Stacey Taylor. If you look closely, you can see why Steve's looking so happy...

Having given up climbing under the table, We decide to lean precariously into fan-favourite guest-host Stacey Taylor. If you look closely, you can see why Steve's looking so happy...

Steve finally takes possession of a long-awaited gift from Michael Bailey, and proceeds to talk about it all weekend to anyone who will listen.

Steve finally takes possession of a long-awaited gift from Michael Bailey, and proceeds to talk about it all weekend to anyone who will listen.

We sold stickers featuring our lovely new artwork!

We sold stickers featuring our lovely new artwork!

Obligatory swag shot #1 - new purchases. There were not enough of these, but Steve had very little time away from the table. Turncoat is by previous guest-host Ryan O'Sullivan!

Obligatory swag shot #1 - new purchases. There were not enough of these, but Steve had very little time away from the table. Turncoat is by previous guest-host Ryan O'Sullivan!

Obligatory swag shot #2 - More additions to Steve's Marvel Two-in-One collection.

Obligatory swag shot #2 - More additions to Steve's Marvel Two-in-One collection.

Obligatory swag shot #3 - Additions to Steve's Fantastic Four collection

Obligatory swag shot #3 - Additions to Steve's Fantastic Four collection

Obligatory swag shot #4 - How could Steve resist this Ramona Fradon-drawn piece of wonder?

Obligatory swag shot #4 - How could Steve resist this Ramona Fradon-drawn piece of wonder?

See you all next year!