The City Talking: Comics
BY The City Talking
Introducing our new documentary, The City Talking: Comics.
With Thought Bubble Festival and its founder Tula Lotay as its starting point, the film explores the sources of the passion for comic book art that has set Thought Bubble apart on the comic convention circuit, and traces the influence of comics on the lives and works of creative people in Leeds and beyond.
Although not everybody in the city has been aware of it, over the last eight years Thought Bubble has given Leeds an international reputation as a place where fans can get closest to the people without whom the international comic book industry wouldn’t exist: the creators.
“This is about art and artists and writers and creators,” says Richard Starkings, Leeds-born creator of the Elephantmen comic books and a pioneer of digital font design. “Thought Bubble is the top show for treating artists the way they deserve.”
With its huge cosplay parade and stacks of fantastical books Thought Bubble might seem like a festival of escapism, and that’s where it starts for a lot of comic book fans: “When I was nine,” Jonathan Ross told us, “the Fantastic Four were as real to me as my family”; but our documentary aims to capture the way exposure to comic books and artists has influenced the way people live and work creatively in Leeds, whether as artists, designers, retailers or readers.
“Comics now are beautiful objects, beautiful books, its literature that can appeal to anyone,” says Tula. “There are stories there for everyone.”
Tula has worked closely with Leeds Autism Services to create safe environments at Thought Bubble that encourage people to come along and get involved; and the more people who get involved, the more people discover the possibilities of sequential art, and the world of the festival’s host city.
“We get a lot of out of town visitors,” says Jared Myland of OK Comics. “Not just that weekend, but some people stay the whole week.”
“It’s not just the show,” says Brenden Fletcher, writer of Batgirl. “It’s Leeds, it’s the city, the organisers of the show, the people.”
Starting with 500 people in Leeds Town Hall crypt eight years ago, Thought Bubble now brings over 7,000 people together in every available space at Leeds Dock, plus some extra spaces they’ve had to build to meet demand. Tula has seen how conventions across America and Europe have grown, and says, “They’re massive. It’s something that’s growing so much and is so valuable to those cities and those communities.
“We can do it. We can be massive. We can take over Leeds with this wonderful arts festival.”
The City Talking: Comics
Featuring: Brenden Fletcher •• Clark Burscough •• Jared Myland •• Jonathan Ross •• Kieron Gillen •• Lucy Bellwood •• Matt Forsythe •• Nabil Homsi •• Richard Starkings •• TONE •• Tula Lotay aka Lisa Wood
Made by: Lee Hicken •• Shang-Ting Peng •• Adam Lyons •• Hebe Studios •• Stacey Hicken •• George Batty •• Giuseppe De Luca •• Austin Gay •• Daniel Chapman
With thanks to: Thought Bubble •• Leeds Inspired •• Travelling Man •• TONE
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