Friday, November 9, 2012

Thought Bubble Anthology 2012

Written by Lucia Harris, Pete Doree, Skottie Young, Gail Simone, Richard Starkings, Matthew Sheret, Emma Vieceli, Ivan Brandon, Clark Burscough, Steve Reynolds, Martin Simpson, Ben Haith, Stephen Mooney, Dave Johnson, Lee Barnett, Warren Ellis, Kate Beaton, Chris Lackey, JG Roshell, and Fiona Staples
Art by Tony Harris, Sean Phillips, Skottie Young, Tula Lotay, Boo Cook, Kristyna Baczynski, Emma Vieceli, Leigh Gallagher, Richard Hughes, Steve Reynolds, Martin Simpson, Ben Haith, Stephen Mooney, Dave Johnson, Ollie Redding, Kate Beaton, Chris Lackey, Gabriel Bautista, and Fiona Staples

I guess it's the season for anthology comics, as the week after Vertigo's newest one hits, and the CBLDF Liberty Annual, we get the second Though Bubble Anthology - the collection sold to celebrate the Leeds Comic Art Festival in England.

This book is different from most anthologies, in that it is formatted as a folded newspaper tabloid, providing each page with a lot more space than a regularly-sized comic, and it's printed on wonderful newsprint, which always makes me feel nostalgic for the old days.

As with any project like this, which consists mostly of one- or two-pagers, the contents are a pretty mixed bag.  There are some big names here, but also a number of lesser-known (at least in North America) creators, and some up-and-comers who won a contest to be published here.

My favourite piece in this book is cover artist extraordinaire Dave Johnson's memoir about meeting Bob Layton in embarrassing circumstances.  I also enjoyed Pete Doree and Sean Phillips's memoir about collecting and swapping comics as children.  Gail Simone gives us a cool strip (with Tula Lotay, the only artist who appears twice in this book) about superheroes, as they would have been imagined in Victorian times.

I was surprised to find a multi-page story that crosses Richard Starkings's Elephantmen series with Strontium Dog, the long-running British series.  I was also impressed by Due Returns, a story by Matthew Sheret and Kristyna Baczynski, which reminded me of Borges's love of libraries.

In all, this is a very enjoyable little collection.  I'm pleased to see that this book is going to be an annual event.

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