Comic Art Festivals as are known in the UK are big and well organized gatherings with the purpose of connecting the readers and the fans with the comic writers, creators, designers and illustrators and animators. Initially, this event was created due to a decrease in the comic’s audience; therefore, the comics festival’s aimed to reach non-comic readers and families to expose them to a wide variety of comic’s material and so building a readers community for the future.
This is a worldwide phenomenon, in South Australia fans in many communities have managed to gather and meet the creators, designers, writers and illustrators of their favorite comic book. The purpose is the same, connect to new audiences, promote and offer the varieties of the graphic novel, plus giving both the comics and the graphic novels an artistic and literary place within the medium to preserve it for generations. In that spirit, “Papercuts Comics Festival is a celebration of comics and graphic novels over five days in September 2019 in Adelaide, South Australia. It aims to promote awareness of comics and graphic novels as an artistic and literary medium, showcase members of the local creative community, connect creators with one another, and help creators reach new audiences. Papercuts was born of a passion not only for comics but for Adelaide. The festival co-directors aim to create an event that celebrates Adelaide’s cultural reputation and develops partnerships among the creative community.”
Back to the UK, in Leeds, Thought Bubble is a celebration of UKs most expansive Comics Festival. There, from superheroes and cosplay, to big name artists and newbie small pressers, through to self-publishing and altcomics fare Thought Bubble is a festival that genuinely has something for everyone. This festival aims to catch as many readers as possible and is centered on new writers or creators that have a new project to show, so understandably many book debuts choose Thought Bubble as the platform to make their entrance. This feature is one of the most attractive of the festival because so much talent gets to be shown and appreciated by comic or graphic novel fans and to other more senior writers.
Other festival events highlights include the Women World Builders event at Leeds Arts University, showcasing leading female artists who have built a successful career in this traditionally male dominated environment, with talks and a panel debate. Thanks to major Arts Council England funding, Thought Bubble will launch their innovative new Augmented Reality project ‘Comics Are Alive’ at the weekend convention, creating a hidden trail of digital comic art pieces across the site. And marking the 10th anniversary of Nobrow’s magazine with ‘Studio Dreams’ is a celebratory exhibition featuring the work of 70 artists and illustrators and their portrayals of artist studios and creative spaces.
The week-long Thought Bubble festival culminates in a huge, two-day comic con on 22nd and 23rd September in a specially built festival village in the heart of Leeds. Here fans can meet some of the biggest names in the industry in what are frequently their only UK and European appearances. In addition to 450 exhibiting professionals, the convention offers exclusive panels, workshops, portfolio reviews and talks with the con’s 90+ international guests and culminates in an amazing cosplay parade to finish off the festivities.