Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

Stuff I have enjoyed: The Sandman

I go to work, it’s fairly negative right now. I put on the TV, it’s fairly negative right now. I go out, oh wait no I don’t, not compared to how I used to.

The point is, there’s a lot of reasons to not be cheerful, so I want to do some about positive stuff.

Now as someone who has read this blog before may know, I am an avid listener of podcasts (a topic for another post perhaps) and when dog-walking, walking to and from work and during my lunchtime walk to and from home. But recently I branched out into audio-books. My wife, the MIGHTY Rosie and my boy SuperSam have made good use of Audible of recent months, so since I get the e-mails for the account and they kept recommending the Sandman audio-book/audio-drama.

For those who may not know, Sandman was a critically acclaimed comic written by Neil Gaiman. It was an epic work that pretty much launched Vertigo and cemented Gaiman’s name as a legend in the field of comics. I missed out on the comic originally. Sandman was a late 80’s comic and my collected days started in the early 90’s so, you can see how I missed that boat. I read it years later of course, but for me, the art never stood up to the writing. The character designs were good, but I never enjoyed the visual storytelling enough to keep up with it.

Back to the present and the audio-book idea intrigued me and the advertising for it was ubiquitous, so since I had credits to spare I downloaded it. I listened to it over the the space of a week or so and… it was good.

Some Spoilers







The basis of the story is that Dream of the Endless, one of several beings that represent concepts such as death, desire, destiny and despair is captured on the earthly plane by a sorcerer in 1916 and for something like 70 years is trapped, cut off from the Dreaming, the plane we visit when we dream. He escapes and the story continues into his reclaiming his tools and then his kingdom. He encounters DC universe characters like The Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onnz, Mister Miracle, John Constantine, Lucifer, JLA Villain Doctor Destiny and his older sister Death. There are also other denizens of the Dreaming, creatures of the Faerie and even a nightmare or two.

The story is broken down into 20 chapters, the overall book is over 10 hours in length and this allows several arcs and stories to be told as part of the whole book’s narrative organically. The art is replaced by narration and the voices are given form by an impressive cast including James McEvoy as Morpheus/Dream, Kat Dennings as Death and the ever capable Martin Sheen as Lucifer. McEvoy is in particular excellent as Dream, offering a measured performance of someone who is beyond the regality of a king and above the confidence of a mere man. He fits the character’s voice in the way that Kevin Conroy fits Batman.

It’s an ambitious project that does it’s best to give Gaiman’s opus an adaptation with wider appeal and it sticks the landing. I have recommended it already and hope that this leads to more of these DC audible productions because this one was great.

If you have the opportunity, download the audible app, the service has the 30 day free trial thing and by the you will have listened to the whole thing.

I was unsure about this when I started listening, but by the end I wanted more.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Random Stuff, banging around in my head

I have been having nightmares.

Work stress has got to the point that my subconscious is affected. Nightmares affect sleep, bad sleep drains you, which makes you more susceptible to unhelpful thoughts and low moods, which affect your subconscious, which can lead to nightmares and so on.

There’s a lot to be stressed about, a lot to be afraid of, from the ongoing co-vid19 crisis which seems to be unending to the events across the pond as yet another racist crime committed by law enforcement has caused protests and riots. We are watching a 1st world nation of great prominence and arguably one of the most important nations in the last century devolve right before our eyes. My heart goes out to people of colour over there and their allies and loved ones and hope change comes from this, because it really needs to, we shouldn’t still be here. The people there deserve better.

But last night I got a training session with my personal trainer Ali. We used equipment in his backyard and kept full social distance between us, but I got to use weights, TRXs and also did lunges and today I am SORE!!!!!

There’s so much to be worried about, so much to fear. But we don’t have to consider that the default. I am enjoying the sweet pain today, pain I earned, pain I appreciate. This lockdown has taken so much from me. It’s taken the freedom to move around, my walk to work/school with my son. It’s taken time with my parents, shopping being a casual activity and not some kind of psuedo-military operation and the ability to hug my parents. It’s cost me a couple of weeks away and so on.

I’m not seeing this as any kind of oppression or anything and don’t want my convenience at the expense of someone’s life or anything like that. But it’s a fact that this current situation has taken stuff off me. Last night, having a training session, it felt like I got something back. I’m paying for it today like, but it’s a price worth paying.

Little is better, work is as hellish as it has been with clients and their employees being as dickish as ever, but I got something back last night. Maybe as lockdown restrictions are lowered, we can get more stuff back.

We will be alright.

We are never as alone as we think we are.

Take care of one another and stay safe.


Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuff in my head today

It’s been a while internet people. I haven’t had the time, nor really the inclination to write anything for a while, even my regular projects have fallen a bit by the wayside.

Since I last posted, we are still in lockdown, here in Blighty the government has decided to change their official policy from one of clear advice and instruction to vague handwavy suggestions. So instead of stay at home unless you are in a key or essential job, we have go into work if you can’t work at home, but don’t use public transportation. You can go to the park, but you still can’t go and see friends and loved ones at home, you can see a friend in public, but not be close to them. You can go and exercise as much as you want, but there’s no gyms. It has been somewhat confusing. We are getting daily briefings, but less and less actual information is getting across. So lockdown continues, death-tolls rise and we somehow know even less than we did in the past.

It’s been a scary and also somehow boring time and this has created unique mental health stresses in unexpected places. I am still in work, my work is not healthcare essential, but I am a key worker in that I am in financial services and people still want paying in this situation. With my wife (the MIGHTY Rosie) working from home, it wouldn’t be practical for both of us to do so, so I go to work every day as usual. The unusual is the workload, the constant interruptions and the no knowing when things would get back to normal. Giselle the dept manager was off last week, I can understand that, I genuinely can, but it dropped me and the Disney Princess into a huge vat of the brown stuff. It got so bad that she had a bit of what she called a breakdown on Friday. It was difficult to see that, partially because I know how that feels and no one wants to do that in front of people at work. The other reason is that I couldn’t just go over and hug her. She’s not a hugger really and with people I am not close to neither am I, but I would have anyway except for social distancing. The company’s director (also her brother) came in and offered to do all kinds to help, yet when I spend 2 years complaining about how we are understaffed and over worked, nowt. Still it looks like we are getting help and that sounds like a good thing. But whilst most people are working from home or not working, I am working twice as hard as ever and feeling the strain. I get up, go to work, go home for lunch, go back to work, go home. Every day of the week and I have been feeling the strain.

When the announcement came that schools would re-open early June, my primary though was “that’s nice, but my son won’t be going in.” We’ve something like the highest infection rates in Europe and we need to be sending children into places were social distancing won’t be viable. Have you tried keeping 4 year olds away from one another? Try it, it’s like herding cats. Even if children aren’t catching it as much, they’ll still carry it from their homes to one another and this looks likely to increase the rate of infection. Science may not back me up, but it still seems too soon to be doing this and it be safe. It turns out that our city Mayer agrees and Liverpool (along with Hartlepool) have chosen to defy this June return date. Our city has decided not to reopen schools on the basis of public safety. I am in the position of being proud of a political body in this country. That is a bizarre feeling I must admit. The safety and well being of my son has been my focus in this era, getting him to focus on reading and learning while he is off, making sure he keeps social distance from everyone, even his devoted grandparents and trying to manage his hayfever in an increasing warm climate is the thing that I am focused on, so I don’t see him going back to school straight away, even if other kids do. It does make me look like a bit of an anti-vaxxer, but I get the feeling that this is an unprecedented enough situation to get me the benefit of the doubt, I want his life to get back to normal as soon as possible, but never at the expense of his well being and safety.

So these are the things that are going through my head right now, well at least some of them and I felt the need to get these things out there. But here’s the thing, it’s not all doom and gloom and I feel like I need to get some positives out there.

1: My love of comics has made a resurgence, despite all of the local comic shops being closed and the distribution being stopped, I have been re-reading lots of comics as well as using the sales at Comixology to enjoy new things. DC comics have started doing digital first comics, 17-22 page one and done comics that aren’t so continuity heavy and aimed at younger and laspsed readers. They have been really entertaining and at 80p per issue, really well priced. Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash all have one and I have been really enjoying them. I think there is a Swamp Thing and a DC Girls one too, but I haven’t been reading those.

2: Local shops have become a staple of my shopping in a way that they haven’t  been for years. There’s a bakers that sells the cream soda that you used to get from the lemonade van that used to visit the streets where I lived during my childhood and that’s been a lovely slice of my childhood brought back. I have also spent money at a butchers and a fruit and veg shop nearby as well as several corner shops and newsagents, rather than visit Asda or Tesco and deal with queues and shortages. Asda and companies like that will be fine, so these smaller outfits need our support and our £s.

3: Delivery businesses. There are local firms that deliver fruit & veg and others that do cakes and treats and as a result I have had some lovely cupcakes recently. I know I should be eating better right now, but damn that’s been some tasty stress eating.

4: Whilst I have not been able to binge watch TV, I have been able to enjoy what has been available and will be posting about that soon enough, but I have been able to enjoy a re-watch of How I Met Your Mother with SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, a Power Rangers re-watch with Super-Sam and Grey’s Anatomy with the MIGHTY Rosie. I also watched the ‘documentary’ Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which I found interesting.

5: I have started exercising in the morning, some pull ups, push ups and stuff and now have a fitness tracker on my wrist (wow that’s a high pulse rate) and it’s kept my physical well being close to the front of my mind, which it should have been anyway and that early exercise has helped start my days off well.

6: My people. From the extended family I can only contact via social media, to my family (the aforementioned MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam together with Lottie the Loopydog) my people have been the best thing about all this. SuperSam is reading stuff that I have given to him and we are walking the dog together and enjoying one another’s company. The MIGHTY Rosie and I are talking more and whilst we are both suffering in our mental health, we are talking about it more and being more of a team than we have in years, a year ago things were falling apart, but now even with the world ending outside our door we are good with and for one another.

7: It’s going to be okay.

I am not by nature an optimist, I suffer from anxiety and depression and as a result the negative is never too far away, but I honestly believe it’s going to all work out. The pandemic has exposed the ‘leaders’ in this world as being as uncaring as we feared, that the system is rigged against us and that all we are in reality all just in it together. But we are all in this together. Strangers say hello from 6 feet away, “Stay safe” has become the new “see you later.” We finally recognise our healthcare workers as the super heroes that they are and we are using social media to care for one another in a way we haven’t been for a long time. These are scary times, people are dying, but this shall pass and one day this will be alright and we will be able to walk in the sun again. We will be okay and if you are reading this, I hope that includes you. Well this random bit of verbal incontinence is done, take care of yourselves.


Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Getting back in.

This year, I took a bit of a break from blogging. It wasn’t intentional, just life sort of gets in the way and all that. Time gets away from you.

Over February, I managed to get back up to date with Pilot Era , but nothing new has been come up with since then. I wanted to get back into writing something, maybe something personal, maybe something geeky, but something nonetheless.

Then the f***ing world ended. The Corona virus has cut a swath across the world, affected countless people and more besides. The response from many nations has been a lockdown. 80% of staff aren’t there, doors are locked, so getting in and out is a pain and I have found my mental health suffering over the increased workload and the overall increase in bad news, frightening statistics and overall sense of gloom.

How can I write about comics and recent TV shows I have enjoyed when all this is going on?

I don’t know, but I can find out. As scary as this thing is and believe me it is scary. When I have colleagues in with me, they talk about how scary this is, the underlying sense of disquiet and impending disaster. For me, that’s a Wednesday. The one upside of all this is that I know how to function when I am afraid, when all seems bleak. I have had to teach Giselle and the Disney Princess about coping techniques, including one I have found most useful. Whenever you feel overwhelmed and the walls are closing in, stop.

Speak outloud: 5 Things you can see.

4 Things you can hear

3 Things you can feel

2 Things you can smell

1 Thing you can taste.

I have used this a couple of times, since this Corona Virus thing has been headline news and I was thanked for sharing it with my colleagues who have had no experience with mental health struggles. I suppose that is going to be the next big problem. We are going to be looking at something of a mental health crisis before too long. I have felt the edges of it encroaching on me, just as they did this time last year, but now I can see it and can talk about it and hopefully head it off, the MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam have felt effects as well, but that’s not a thing to be discussed here. My parents are well as are my brother and his family, my sister-in-law and her kids and we are in touch often enough.

It’s a strange situation we find ourselves in, but even though we are locked away from one another, we are not. In this era of social media, we can reach out to one another, we can ask how each-other are. We’ve seen sing-songs across streets, I took part in a virtual pub quiz a week or so ago and a dozen or so things aside. We feel the absence of community, but is it absent? Or has our sense of what community is changed? We are isolated, we are socially distancing ourselves, but we can still talk to one another, we can still share our stories and remind one another of hope. This is not going to last forever, we will come out of the other side of this, with the knowledge of who is actually important in society. We forget about the people who make this world run, we pay them little, we ignore them and yet when a healthcare crisis occurs, they are there.

Every Thursday at 8pm, we open our door and clap, a nationwide thunderous applause to those people on the front line of the National Health Service. Those underfunded and over worked souls who care for us, who heal us and provide aid even at their own risk. Seeing people do that, week after week has warmed my heart. I have seen people put notes through doors asking if we need things. In my own road, there have been students going home with universities closed donating the food they would leave behind to anyone who needs it. A handyman we know asking if anyone needs anything when he is out doing essential maintenance, so we can cut down on un-necessary shopping. I have read the news, seen the scum-bags who have used this crisis as an excuse to be worse, but I have seen so many people step up. Leaders fail to lead, but helpers have been helping. It’s been little things, such as printing colouring in sheets to send to people who we know that have kids to keep them entertained, face-timing with my son’s grandparents, because they miss one another and saying hello to anyone in the street, so we know we are not alone.

This is a scary time, can’t get away from that, but I genuinely believe that there is a place beyond this. I believe that this crisis will pass and we will get back to some version of normal. Maybe it’s because I need to believe that, but I believe it nonetheless. We are locked away from one another, but we are not alone. We will get through this, if you are person reading this, that means you. It is these scary times that show us who we are and who we need to be. We need to be physically distant, but socially? No we need to remind one another that we are there. If there is anyone who you can think of that you haven’t heard from in the last few days, a call or a text might mean so much more than usual.

To all those on WordPress, thank you. You have been here for me when I have needed you, something to read, a response when I have read or even just reminding me that I and my family are not as alone as we think. I have rambled, but I need to say something, to not allow this part of my life to go dark. We need to do the things that make us smile, to remind us that we still can. My favourite podcaster on his excellent show Palace of Glittering delights always ends it the same way. “It’s all going to be alright.”

You know what, I think it will be. We can look out for each other, we can care for one another and can love one another.

Now I have rambled enough, I am going to go and give the MIGHTY Rosie a cuddle, like I said do the things that make you smile.



Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

For the Me in Me, 2019 was a challenge.

Well that was a year.

It was a decade too, but I am not going to be all “look at the decade as a whole” about it.

It’s been hard, there’s no denying that, but there’s been ups as well, since I need some kind of structure I am going to break it down into categories.


Work has been a hell of a lot of ups and downs. After a very stressful year last year, we lobbied for a new member of staff to work with Gisele (the Dept Manager), Trouble (credit control) and me, finally we got Disney Princess, the sister of one of the directors. It was great to have someone working with me doing the same job. The problem is that the workload has increased, so we are still as stressed as ever, but now we are 4 and not 3. But I have noticed that the atmosphere is better up here. We have more fun, have a laugh together and the year came to an end with more ease than the last two. Work has been difficult this year, but it ended well, a fact for which I am grateful.

Well apart from the fact that I was locked in the office on the day we broke up for Christmas and everyone had gone t’pub. Not my favourite moment.


This has been a game of two halves in that respect. My mum and dad and I have got on better than we have in a few years. The therapy I had in 2018 cleared a lot of my negative feelings about them and I was able to see them as they are, just two people trying their best with those they love. At 9, I had a grandmother who had 19 other grandkids and no grandfather as he had passed away. SuperSam has a pair of devoted grandparents whom he loves to spend time with and who are more than happy to spend this time with him.

Speaking of SuperSam, he finished year 3 and it was a rough one. We’ve had bullying and also the aftermath of losing our dog last year. But he pulling himself up and got through it with help and his own determination. Our new dog Loopy Lottie has helped with that and seeing him come back to the happy boy we knew has been so wonderful as it was having a great Christmas with him.

The MIGHTY Rosie and I have had ups and downs this year. I’m not always the man I should be, nor the one she deserves and there’s been many a time where that fact had to be addressed. But we had ridden through this particular storm and I need to work hard to make sure that the next one, isn’t one of my own making. I love this woman, always have and can see no reason how I would ever stop in my lifetime. Being away from her in November just reminded me how much I missed them and I came home early just to see them.

Mental Health

I think this has been one of the hardest years since my breakdown in 2013.

Back in May, I had a ‘wobble’ and it was terrifying being back in that place. It followed stress regarding work and family and it took me a while to get back to where I was.

Once more I have to thank the MIGHTY Rosie for everything she did and for taking off the kid gloves when I needed to be told some harsh truths.

I’m still struggling, maybe I always will, but I am still here.


I am still here.

That may not be much of a triumph, but it seemed a shaky proposition a couple of times this year. This year highlighted that most of the problem lies with me. I enjoy my job more than half the time. I love my wife, the always amazing MIGHTY Rosie and my son SuperSam who never fails to make me proud. I even love the dog 🐶 and enjoy my nightly walks with LoopyLottie. I like my life, it’s just me I can’t stand. So maybe this year is where I change that.

But apart from that, I have had many ups this year. I have made progress regarding my teeth, a sore subject that has been an increasing problem and is now being dealt with. There was also fun to be had, we went to Scotland for the MIGHTY Rosie’s birthday and had an amazing time. I wobbled, regarding my mental health, but pulled myself back without medication and continue to battle these demons (with varying degrees of success) and am moving forward. I went to a trampoline place with SuperSam and enjoyed it, despite how badly it hurt my knee. I also went indoor skydiving, taking my dad and son and all three had a great time. It’s definitely something I want to do again. I also did the comic convention thing that I have wanted to, but lacked confidence to do and met a couple of industry people that were lovely and a couple of podcasters I am a fan on. I will go again, but I will be more discerning in future in terms of guests and my spends. The fact remains though, that I did it. I also managed to post weekly to my Pilot Era blog, which has been a nice little bonus here.

This year has been difficult, there have been many challenges and it looked as though this year did it’s best to break me.

But it didn’t.

I was glad to see the back of 2019, but I am not expected 2020 to be easier. It doesn’t get easier. You simply get stronger.

This is not the story of my fall, it is the story of my rise.

Thank you all of you, who have been part of my journey, a journey which is moving towards a hopeful tomorrow.

It’s now 2020, welcome to the future.

Posted in Miscellaneous

For the Geek in me 2019 was awesome: Films

I cannot describe 2019 as anything other than a challenging year. There have been a few ups and a good number of downs. But at this time of year, I want to look back at things I liked, so here we go. Now I wasn’t able to get to the cinema too often this year, but I did manage to get a list of 5 films, so it couldn’t have been so bad, so here is this year’s 5.


My first new movie of 2019 was one that I went with my father and with SuperSam and it was very close to being the best film of this year. Now the central character of Miles Morales is one that I found boring in the comics that he was introduced in. With the tremendous need for better and more inclusive representation isn’t helped by a character who is as boring and as too connected to the previous version of that character. This film however has none of those problems. This Miles was interesting and had his own arc that wasn’t so directly connected to the previous Spider-Man. It also had an interesting multiple realities versions of Spider-Man, including a middle aged slacker Spidey, a teenaged Anime Spider-Girl, the currently popular Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man: Noir and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham all facing an army of villains and a threat to all realities. This was action-packed with high stakes that didn’t leave out any real emotion or humour. The narrative device of the character origins was brilliantly done and this felt very comic book, without that harming the story. I have yet to see Spider-Man: Far from Home, but that is the only reason that I haven’t declared this film to be the best Spider-Man film ever made. It may be the 9th one, but something this good is waiting for.

Captain Marvel


This is the first MCU film to be female led and it is one of the strongest of the origin films. An alien called Vers crash-lands on Earth in the 90’s only to learn that she has already been there before and there’s so much more to her story than she has ever thought. It’s space-opera, it’s super-heroics and it’s a woman’s search for her own past and using that to forge her own future. It isn’t perfect, but there was a lot about this film that I really enjoyed and it was very family friendly. It was positioned to get this character ready for inclusion in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame but we did get a decent film and one of the last cameos by Stan the Man Lee.

Avengers: Endgame

From 2008’s Iron Man to now, we had had more than 20 films over the last 11 years. We’ve had highs and lows and that entire saga came down to this over 3 hour long film which acts as a direct sequel to last years Avengers: Infinity War as well as a capstone to the entire MCU so far. It had heartbreak, it had stakes, emotion and several punch the air moments. At least three characters got happy endings or at least satisfying ones and at the worst moments of last year, I got to share this film with my dad. I am of the opinion that the MCU should have ended here and if it had, it would have ended on a high.


I will get this out of the way now, I do not like Geoff Johns’ take on Shazam. From losing the Captain Marvel name (understandable really) to his having Billy Batson being a surly teen rather a hopeful 10 year old. I was not overly keen to see this film and skipped it’s cinema release. But I kept hearing good word of mouth, so I watched it on Blu-Ray. This proved to be wise.

This was a lot of fun. Remember fun? Remember when films brought a smile to your face? This does that and proves that it was execution that was the problem. It was how the story was told that matter, because told well like this, it works. Zachary Levi mails playing a teenager in a 30 year old man’s body. He was naive, but also cynical. He was searching for family, but didn’t trust it and wasn’t a hero, until he really needed to be. One of the few films that came out over the last couple of years that made me go “I hope they make another” rather than “I expect they’ll be making more of them.” DC haven’t always known what to do with the Shazam properties, but Warner Bros’ film division has no such problem. I will watch this film again before too long.

Ghostbusters: With Live Orchestra

Again, this is a cheat, since this was a 35th anniversary of the film with all of the incidental music being performed by a full orchestra. I watched this with my father as his Christmas present, but this was a shared gift. The music was better and that enhanced what is essentially a fantastic bit of 80’s cinema. The effects haven’t aged particularly well, but none of that detracts from a film with  a great cast, all at their peak delivering one of the best films of that era.

This year started with Into the Spider-Verse and it ended with Ghostbusters, no matter what lay between those films, this was a good year in cinema. Most of which, I got to share with my favourite people in the world. There are more good films coming and it looks like another good year on the silver screen.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, D-Cember, Miscellaneous

D-Cember 13th – Unlucky for Some

30 Day Challenge Question 13 – Least Favourite Character

There will be haters here, but it’s Batman

Now bear with me. This is not because I haven’t read good Batman stories (because I have) nor is it because I haven’t enjoyed other media with him in (because once again, I have) and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the character. But here’s the problem…….. he’s everywhere.

We are oversaturated with Batman, from multiple ongoing series and his omnipresence in anything DC to his near omnipotent portrayal some stories. When used more sparingly, Batman is a cracking character that enhances my stories he is in, but lets be honest, there’s too much.


Super Sam’s answer

Lex Luthor.

He thinks he’s so great, but he isn’t.

That’s as succinct a description of that character as I have ever heard.

Other Stuff

It’s Christmas jumper day here, prizes and discomfort abound, but it does make a tough day feel a little more christmassy.

Whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, hope you’re doing okay during this time of year. It can be a bit of a double edged sword for some people.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, D-Cember, Miscellaneous

D-Cember 11th – Secret Santa!

30 Day Challenge – Question 11: Favourite Super Power

This is the power that really sort of eclipses all others with it’s scope and versatility.

In the DCU, Superspeed covers running fast, running up walls, across water, through distance, through time, through solid objects many more things that openly laugh in the face of physics and common sense. The Flash could be considered the most powerful character in the DCU and has often been the linchpin in the Justice League saving the day.


Super Sam’s answer –

It’s superspeed, duh?


Other Stuff

It was secret santa day today at work. I handed over a calendar and christmas themed Rubik’s cube to a colleague and a different colleague got me this treasure trove.

Not a bad gift among them, have no idea who picked them, but it’s put a giggle in my morning if nothing else.

Hope you are all okay internet people, see you soon


Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

Thinking about Thought Bubble

I never know what to get for my birthday. I accept that it’s a very much a first world problem, but it is what it is. Purchases fall very much into 2 categories for me, necessities (which I should pay for myself) or usual things I buy (also best to be got by me rather than someone else) which puts most people in the ‘what hell do I get that person’ camp. Which I accept is quite frustrating for the people who know me. So no one knows what to get me and I don’t know what I want. I occasionally buy blu-rays, I frequently buy comics, but beyond that, what do I spend money on that isn’t a necessity of some description.

This year though, I didn’t do any of that. As part of a whole happiness thing, which has had mixed success to be perfectly honest, I have been trying to do things that I hadn’t done before or things I had been scared of doing. One of which was Halloween’s trip to an indoor sky-diving centre. But for my birthday, I went to Thought Bubble. 

Thought Bubble is the Yorkshire festival celebrating the comic arts. Writers, pencillers and colourists from established comic companies, together with up and comers and those trying to make their name are there to ply their trade, there are panels on several subjects, cosplay competitions and signings. I have never done comic-cons, one of the reasons is that the ones local to me don’t have anything to offer me, being not a gamer or cosplayer and so have often decided not to bother. Thought Bubble however, is a proper comic con. The other problem is my anxiety. Crowds, strangers and other worries (both real and imagined) have kept me from doing this, but I went for it, with the help and support of the MIGHTY Rosie.

At first, it was supposed to be the three of us going, but as the time grew closer, we realised several issues might make this difficult for all three of us to go. Then I became anxious about going on my own. Then I started planning the trip (a task most often taken on by the MIGHTY Rosie) and the more control over things I took, the better I felt about it and was only really anxious about it on Friday. But I went, getting the train from my home of Liverpool to Harrogate, the new home of Thought Bubble, after several years in Leeds. As expected there were many cosplayers (many of which were characters I didn’t recognise) and even more queues.

So you got past your anxiety and went, well done, but did you enjoy it? I arrogantly assume you ask. Yes I did and that comes in three waves.

1st: These are my people. Everybody there was either working in or into comics and judging by the many stalls and panels, quite a few fell into both categories. There were families, couples, friends and like me people on their own milling about buying and talking comics. There wasn’t movies related stuff, but people who enjoy the art-form that has been a constant in my life for too many years. It was relaxing to be in my element a bit.

2nd: The comics themselves. I bought many trades, a few comics an excellent teeshirt and a poster of Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham for my son SuperSam. There wasn’t loads of stuff there, but I did spend into 3 figures.

3rd: This is the big one, the people. As well as meeting two of my favourite UK podcasters Steven Lacey who co-hosts the excellent Fantasticast. I also met Al Kennedy co-host of House to Astonish one of the first podcasts I got into and is still excellent. He was part of the panel SILENCE to Astonish with Gary Lactus and the Beast Must Die, which remains one of my favourite memories of that weekend. I also met several writers and artists. I met Zenith artist Steve Yewoll, Terry Dodson, Mahmud Asrar and Declan Shelvay. I also have conversations with Sean Phillips who lent me £1 and signed my copy of Sleeper Vol 1. I also got a copy of Watchmen signed by Dave Gibbons, who I got to thank for drawing a series that stands up as a work of art 35 years after it was written and 25 years after I first read it, he referred to it as a gift that keeps on giving.


In terms of writers, I got stuff signed by Al Ewing and Si Spurrier, who was at the SILENCE panel and we talked about his writing of the character Legion and the TV series it inspired and I also picked up his creator-owned series Angelic, which was a fantastic read about a flying monkey who struggles against the fundamentalist restrictions of her tribe before teaming up with a manatee in a flying chair. If I haven’t sold you on that series, I don’t know what to tell you. I was also lucky enough to meet the team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the people behind the good run of Young Avengers and the team behind The Wicked and the Devine, the 3rd and 4th trade of which I bought to be signed as well. Both of them were lovely people who had plenty of time for the huge queue that formed to meet them.

I got to meet creators, podcasters and took pictures of some epic cosplayers.


Even on the when in and out

There were negative things, I didn’t like being so far away from the people I love. I recognise that this wasn’t for them and it’s always nice to have experiences for yourself that are nothing to do with everyone else, but I was grateful to get home on Sunday evening, ready for my birthday the next day. I may do Thought Bubble again next year, depending on who they get, but my best time away are still shared with Super Sam and the MIGHTY Rosie.


Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous, Morevember

More-Vember 27th – Hungry

Marvel 30 Day Challenge Question 27 – Favourite non-human race

There’s a lot to choose from here, Marvel have no shortage of non-human characters, from Atlanteans, to Mutants, to Cat People, Eternals, Deviants and even Moloids. But I went with one of the early creations. The Inhumans.

First appearing during the epoch making Fantastic Four run by Lee/Kirby these human adjacent people who all possessed a gift that seperated them from the rest of humanity, the Inhumans are very much their own thing, with their own city which ended up on the Moon. They are as different from one another as from humanity and can be used to tell all kinds of stories. The only misstep has been Marvel’s attempts to replace mutants with inhumans, which made both less interesting and less special. I was on the fence as whether or not to choose them, but then I remembered they have Lockjaw, the best dog in comics.

SuperSam’s answer

After watching Captain Marvel and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Sam would only pick one.

Responsible for 4 of the Captain Marvels, the Inhumans and several other stories and ideas, the Kree are a fantastic sci-fi race full of their own culture, ideals and flaws and are always fun to see showing up. That was a good choice.

Other Stuff

A shout out to my Dad, who turns 65 today. A lovely big hearted man who would give anyone who needed it, anything he had. A good man and a grandad who is going from strength to strength.

Love you


Back up to date. Bye for now Internet People