Over to Leeds for a weekend of comics with friends

When your bank account is still recovering from a round-the-world trip, travel plans become far less exotic. Rather than flying out to some foreign places we stick with the familiar and visit the cities in the UK where our friends are. It keeps the cost of accommodation cheap, but it’s even better that we get to see our friends again.

For almost as long as we’ve been together we’ve been visiting every year Leeds for Thought Bubble, which is a comic and arts festival full of both independent and big name comic artists. It’s a weekend of amazing art and illustration, inspiring talks and people dressed as their favourite fictional characters. Not everyone dresses up, but I’ve been known to go in costume once or twice.

This year we stayed with our friends Tori and David in their new home in Leeds. It was great seeing them both again, as well as their cats whom we usually get to visit once a year for the annual Burns Night celebrations.

On the Friday night we caught up with a few more friends over drinks who also moved over to Leeds this year. There’s definitely a booming creative scene there these days, which is something I clearly didn’t see coming when I decided to move back to Liverpool after uni in 2009.

When Saturday came around I was pretty excited for comics. I know a lot of people think of big name characters like Spiderman or Batman when they think of comics, but personally I prefer the personal work of independent artists and writers. If I had a bit more money in my account I could easily drop a few hundred pounds on zines, comics and art, but this year I had to be strict. 

One of my favourite panels at Thought Bubble is the live drawing panel, where four different artists are invited to talk about their experiences and opinions while also drawing at the same time. The work is projected on the screen as they all chat about anything and everything from their favourite pens, to how the industry has evolved. The relaxed vibe is perfect for interesting conversations that you might not hear in a more traditional panel and also help you realise that even your favourite artists are just normal people doing what they love. The drawings they make are all auctioned off to raise money for charity later in the year too, which I think is a really nice touch.

After a day of comics and panels about comics we all went for dinner at the delicious Bundobust, which was the perfect end to the day.

Sunday went by in a similar fashion to Saturday, with more comics and panels, plus some new faces as some of the stalls swapped over. We missed out on the Cosplay parade, which used to be one of my favourite parts of the weekend but I’m not sure it’s the same now the venue is in the centre of the city.

We had a great weekend in Leeds as usual, and we can’t wait to have another excuse to be back again soon.

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