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Thought Bubble 2013 Picks!

In a slight change to the regular format, over the next few days I’ll be posting some short and sweet shout outs to some of my favourite zines and small press comics from Thought Bubble. Enjoy - and let me know if I missed your favourite!

Jess Bradley

I adore Jess Bradley’s simplified and completely adorable style! Plus the quirky sense of humour in all of her zines. Her stand had so much to offer in terms of the cute, the weird and geeky; everything from Lovecraft colouring books and pin badges to a massive collection of character stickers - I promise you have never seem a more “awww” worthy Judge Dredd! Check out her online shop.

If you like Jess Bradley you might like:

— 8 months ago with 2 notes
#Jess Bradley  #Illustrator  #Zines  #Colouring Books  #Lizz lizz  #Lizz Lunney  #Tara McPherson  #thought bubble 2013 

filmagefilms:

Sights, sounds and opinions of Thought Bubble 2013!

Thought Bubble - http://thoughtbubblefestival.com/

Geof Banyard - http://www.islandofdoctorgeof.co.uk/

Robert Llewellyn - https://twitter.com/bobbyllew

Julia Scheele - http://www.juliascheele.co.uk/

Ted Brandt - http://tenbandits.com/

Tom Eddy - http://www.teddyillustration.com/

Brogan Coral - http://brogan-coral.com/

Filmage Films - www.filmage.co.uk

— 8 months ago with 8 notes

Thought Bubble 2013 Picks!

In a slight change to the regular format, over the next few days I’ll be posting some short and sweet shout outs to some of my favourite zines and small press comics from Thought Bubble. Enjoy - and let me know if I missed your favourite!

The Snow Queen and Other Stories by Isabel Greenberg 
(And that Hans Christian Anderson Bloke)

Another beautiful creation by the immeasurably talented Isabel Greenberg  - who’s Jonathan Cape book “An Encyclopaedia of Early Earth” came out earlier this year. The Snow Queen is on trendy indie outfit Great Beast and debuted at the festival. 

Check it out if you like art by:

— 8 months ago with 1 note
#isabel greenberg  #The Snow Queen and other stories  #Thought Bubble 2013  #hans christian andersen  #comics  #small press  #great beast  #luke pearson  #robert hunter  #vikki chu 

Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée

Susceptible is the story of a Canadian girl, Goglu, and her journey from a neglected childhood through a fraught adolescence to a fledgling adulthood at eighteen. It is comprised partly of a first person memoir-like prose narrative and partly of remembered conversations between Goglu, her family and the other adults who try to intervene in her life. The relationship between Goglu and her mother is central to the book as Goglu tries to both grow independently and win her mother’s affections.

Castrée’s artwork strikes a careful balance between cartoonishly grotesque and elegantly serene. There is blood, vomit and crying; but there are also stunningly captured snow scenes and moonlit forests. Text is presented beautifully in this book, even when many pages feature lots of dialogue and long captions, the pages are very well composed. There is also much loving detail put into every character; the textures in hair, patterns on clothing and attention to socks is amazing. 

Much of this story is a grim series of family disputes, drink, drugs, hospital visits, hangovers… but it’s made bearable by the moments of retreat that Goglu finds. Solitude and drawing.

In the end though, Susceptible is an eloquent yet grounded graphic novel, which reassures us that no matter how bleak things seem, the bad times will not last forever. 

  • Published by Drawn & Quarterly
  • Mature themes; images of dead bodies, eating disorders, self harm, drug & alcohol abuse, abortion 

Recommended if you admire:
(links nsfw)

— 8 months ago with 1 note
#Susceptible  #Geneviève Castrée  #graphic novel  #Drawn and Quarterly  #comic  #comics review  #READ THIS COMIC  #phoebe gloeckner  #Debbie Drechsler 

The Property by Rutu Modan

‘The Property’ is the tale of Mica - a young Jewish woman - and her Grandmother, Regina, who travel from Israel to Poland to track down the mysterious ‘property’ that belonged to their family before WW1. All is not as it seems however; as family secrets, a nosey cousin and missing documents all weave webs of misunderstanding around where, what and who the owner of the property is. You’ll enjoy putting your detective skills into action as the story unfolds!

Despite a materialistic title, this graphic novel is very much a story of relationships, illustrating particularly well the bickering loyalty of close family members and the tenderness of young love. Relationships between different cultures, the generations, the past and the present, location and memory are also beautifully described. There are elements of nostalgia, but the book is never saccharin or sappy.

While we read the story mainly from Mica’s point of view, it is without a doubt Grandma Regina who is the star of the show. She’s a very loveable character, a real tough cookie who’s emotional suffering I felt immensely while reading and who has lingered with me after. 

A really enjoyable read, with great characters, good pacing and a plot that keeps you invested. Plus, for me as someone with little knowledge about Polish or Israeli history, it was an informative eye-opener.

  • Published by Jonathan Cape (Random House) and by Drawn and Quarterly
  • Some mld sexual content
  • Contextualised racial stereotypes and nazi uniforms
  • Potentially a very good class room book for older teens

Try it if you like historical fiction like:

 Or if you factual intergenerational stories like:

— 8 months ago with 2 notes
#Rutu Modan  #The Property  #graphic novel  #comic  #comic review  #graphic novel review  #A Bride's Tale  #Kaoru Mori  #Amelia Earheart: This Broad Ocean  #Sarah Taylor  #Ben Towle  #Maus: A Surviours Tale  #Art Spiegelman  #Persepolis  #Marjane Satrapi  #Poland  #Israel  #History  #Jonathan Cape  #random house  #READ THIS COMIC  #drawn & quarterly 

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

Obviously everyone on Earth Tumblr has read and reviewed Ghost World so this post is serving my desire to write about it far more than anyone else’s desires to read about it. (But what else is the internet for right?) 

In case you aren’t familiar with Clowes’ modern classic, here’s the set up; Enid and Rebecca are two girls who have always been best friends, but in the vast empty time post-high school are struggling to remember what exactly it was that they had in common. Enid feels stifled by their small town existence, while Rebecca is contented just to be free of the school walls.

The setting of “Ghost World” the nameless town where they live is almost a character of it’s own, with it’s creaking collection of faux-retro diners, cheerless apartments, streets littered with abandoned jeans, graffitied walls and buses that never come. There is a spirit of boredom and quiet desperation that permeates the everything in Ghost World

The friendship between the two girls is illustrated beautifully, both their closeness and the tensions between them are believable, and their bickering never feels manufactured for drama. Enid and Rebecca have a ‘romantic’ friendship - but it’s not one that’s romanticised. Their relationship works as the linch-pin of the book because it is so genuine.

I have to hand it to Daniel Clowes, he might be an adult man, but he did a wonderful job of creating such realistic teenage female characters. Their unlikeable moments, flippant attitudes, reliance on irony, awkward sexual experiences, and glimpses of insightfulness all feel whole and truthful.

This comic isn’t for everyone, there are going to be people who find it too slow, or feel that nothing is “happening”. It isn’t action-packed. But if you enjoy a sardonic wit, love to people watch in cafes or sometimes feel nostalgic for your teenage years in spite of the fact that they were actually unbearable - then Ghost World is very much for you! 

  • Contains sexual references and strong language - it’s one of those comics that should be in all secondary school libraries though, so if you’re a school librarian you should get on that!
  • Published by Fatagraphics Books or Jonathan Cape

Try it out if you’re a fan of:

Oh and there’s a movie. In general the film is true to the tone and feel of the comic, and my understanding is that Clowes was involved in the making of it. The film does make some pretty big plot changes, but that’s understandable given how difficult it would be to fully realise the story of the comic as a satisfying film. I still prefer the comic, as a few too many of my favourite quips are missing from the movie, but it’s an enjoyable watch nonetheless.

— 9 months ago with 1 note
#Ghost World  #Daniel Clowes  #comics review  #comics  #READ THIS COMIC  #graphic novel  #Jonathan Cape  #Fantagraphics  #Fantagraphics Books  #Daria  #The Death Ray  #drawn and quarterly 

Map of Days by Robert Hunter

Map of Days is a really unique comic; not only for its format (a particularly unusual tall and narrow hardback), but also for its enchantingly sorrowful story and vibrant artwork. 

So what is the story about? That’s remarkably difficult to describe without giving away too much! After an engrossing prologue which tells a version of the creation of the solar system, a boy named Richard goes to stay with his Grandad by the sea. Like all curious children, Richard opens a door…

Hunter handles colour superbly and is able to give equal attention and poise to both organic and mechanical shapes, lending the story a sense of balance. There’s real attention to detail and a strong sense of not just ability, but craftsmanship

Fascinating, inventive and poignant, it is impossible to be bored for a moment while this comic is in your hands. There’s a real sense of the magical and mythical - it’s a new story - but it beautifully invokes ideas of ancientness and timelessness.

If you’re looking for a comic to give to a friend with the aim of shattering “speech bubbles and sound effects” stereotypes - this might just be the one.

  • Published by Nobrow Press
  • Maybe a little grown-up for most kids, but no offensive content

Perfect for fans of:

— 9 months ago with 72 notes
#Robert Hunter  #Map of Days  #Nobrow Press  #Nobrow  #Comics  #READ THIS COMIC  #comic review  #Isabel Greenberg  #Luke Pearson  #Micah Lidberg  #Love in a very cold climate  #everything we miss  #rise and fall  #graphic novel 

'Zita The Spacegirl' by Ben Hatke

The lack of good quality comics for children is an often lamented state of affairs, so it’s fantastic that something as wonderful as Zita The Spacegirl exists.

Full of memorable characters, breathless chase sequences and daring escapes; Zita The Spacegirl has everything that an epic journey to an alien planet should have! I’d describe it as basically Halo Jones for children! It sounds a bit silly I know, but Zita is a feminist space opera if I ever saw one. When her friend Joseph is pulled through a vortex into another world, young Zita gathers her wits and sets off to rescue him.

This isn’t a “princess-ey” take on the genre either - Zita doesn’t wear a pink space suit or use a laser lipstick to get out of trouble - which is great! Not because pink is a bad thing, but because those things exist already (or did in my childhood; Sailor Moon and Totally Spies come to mind) while this seems like a really fresh approach. 

Lively and funny, Hatke’s artwork is top notch, particularly capturing dynamic movement and facial expressions really well. The writing is good too, with amusing dialogue and a satisfying story arc. (I really loved the ending!)

Is there an eight year old in your life? It is your duty as a grown-up to get them this book.

  • Published by First Second
  • Perfect for reading with young children or for kids who are confident reading independently

If you want more comics with brave school-age girls in the role of main protagonist you should check out:

There’s also a neat Zita webcomic and a sequel for you to check out!

— 10 months ago with 2 notes
#Zita The Spacegirl  #Ben Hatke  #Comics  #comics review  #graphic novel  #children's comics  #First Second  #Jason Cobley  #Andrew Wildman  #Hildafolk  #Luke Pearson  #Frontier: Dealing With Deamons  #Halo Jones 

Skim - Written by Mariko Tamaki, Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

If there is a more perfect comic for teenage girls, I haven’t read it yet. ‘Skim’ the nickname of the books protagonist; a half-Japanese girl in Canada, struggling with her body image, the fraying of her closest friendship and a crush on her female teacher.

Written mainly as a first person internal monologue/ diary, Skim has a remarkably genuine teenage voice which stays on the right side of the line between the bemused naivety of being young and lovestruck, and more common depictions of an irritating lack of perspective and over-used trite young-isms. Even the poetry - a risky move - functions well within the telling of the story. 

There are narrative parallels to Ghost World, which is also the story of a long friendship between two girls fading as they grow apart. But the girls in ‘Skim’ are younger, less jaded, still seeking magic in their lives. Wicca features as a theme in this book and seems to me to be handled pretty well; rather than wasting time on the “is magic real?” question, we see the practice of Wicca as a tool used by Skim in an attempt to gain agency over a life in which she feels helpless. 

Although the book feels romantically listless and meandering, it isn’t structureless or an unfulfilling read. Moments both fleeting and enduring seem to be captured effortlessly. The artwork is staggeringly beautiful and impeccably fluid throughout. 

I initially introduced this graphic novel as a perfect comic for teenage girls, but this is a book that I think a lot of other people could enjoy too. It had a nostalgic quality for me reading it as a former teenage girl and if you like the art I think it will carry you though the story even if the high school sub-genre isn’t really your thing. 

  • Published by Walker Books
  • Mature themes (suicide, sexuality), but perfect for teens

A great book for fans of:

— 10 months ago with 6 notes
#Skim  #Marico Tamaki  #Jillian Tamaki  #READ THIS COMIC  #Comic  #graphic novel  #comic review  #Yu+Me: Dream  #Megan Rose Gedris  #Daniel Clowes  #Ghost World  #Emiko Superstar  #Walker Books 

Fish + Chocolate by Kate Brown

Kate Brown’s Fish + Chocolate is an intriguing, if at times challenging, set of three short stories each seemingly connected by the theme of motherhood. The use of colour is incredibly striking and plays a key role in every story - if you have an interest in colour theory then that’s plenty enough reason to get this comic!

The first story The Piper Man - drawing inspiration from the fable of the Pied Piper - paints a topical portrait of the contemporary career-minded single mother and her sometimes stained relationships with her children.

The Cherry Tree - visually my favourite of the stories with it’s creative page layouts and wonderfully integrated use of sheet music - is a heavily symbolic tale of a deteriorating mother and daughter relationship and the consequences of rejection.

Lastly, Matryoshka (which is another name for a Russian nesting doll), peers into a woman’s intense mental anguish after (an implied) miscarriage as her friend tries to coax her back towards ‘normality’. This story contains the most surreal, bloody and ‘gross’ imagery of the three tales; the contrast between the content of the images and Brown’s beautifully rendered artwork creates a powerful tension that frankly makes the work more unsettling. 

All three of the stories have an ‘unresolved’ quality that might not feel satisfying for everyone; but I’d implore you to take a chance on this unusual and enigmatic book even if it’s a little outside of your comfort zone. 

Stunning to look at and able to bear many re-readings, Fish + Chocolate absolutely deserves your attention. Kate Brown is one to watch!

  • Published by Self Made Hero
  • For mature readers

Try it if your a fan of:

— 10 months ago with 9 notes
#Fish + Chocolate  #Fish & Chocolate  #Fish and Chocolate  #Kate Brown  #Self Made Hero  #READ THIS COMIC  #Skim  #Jillian Tamaki  #Mariko Tamaki