Thought Bubble! It's Brit-nerd new year! Or something! Look, it's a big old mess of just all the comics and the comics people, and the fun and the dancing, and probably too much beer, and the podcasting, and the new things, and the cosplay and the shiny, and yeah. It's pretty great.
It's also a cracking time to stumble on new stuff. But we try to go prepared. We're like the boy scouts of spending far too much money on comics, with a throbbing hangover.
Last year, we had a few bits of advice on how to get the best out of comics shows, and this year we've picked out some things we might just consider buying.
So here's a few titles and publishers you should check out at T'Bubz
Improper books are back
Of course they are. We love those folks. Porcelain is the proverbial's peripherals - a crisp, slightly gothic tale of an orphan girl taken in by the Porcelain Maker, a crafter of pristine, eerie automata. Naturally, there are twists and intrigues, as the nature of the porcelain becomes more clear.
They also now publish Mulp, a noir-inflected archaeological rodent mystery.
Together, Mulp and Porcelain were some of our favourite books at the festival last year, and this year Improper are back with the second volume of each. No more intro - just go and buy them, ok?
Shiny new things
We also had a quick flip through the frankly mammoth list of books making their debut at TBF15, and picked ten or so titles that look just totes wizard.
- Kingpin Books Portuguese publisher Kingpin was one of our interviews last year, and we loved their anthology Crumbs - their first book in English. This year they've got 4 new English translations, and they look super promising. These include: The Fossils of Beautiful Souls: a twisted 15th century historical; The Waltz: a coastal village folk horror; and Solomon, a splash of urban mysticism with a wonderful sense of light and dark.
- I Love This Part The childhood friendship of two young girls, told across imagined landscapes and snaps of pop culture. It has this amazing economy of line, and restrained expressions of painted colour. Wow.
- Diner Devotional A twelve page fold-out of linocut sketches of American diners. No, really. What? We like design, and chiaroscuro fifties consumer kitsch is fucking catnip.
- Drugs and Wires Cyberpunk, but not shit. Drugs and Wires is all misery and things and people that don't quite work. Now you can pick it up on a special legacy-tech portable data store: gunked-up tree bits.
- Frogman Trilogy He's a frog. He's a superhero. He's an absolute idiot. It's three stories about a foul-mouthed frog, making just the worst job of being a hero.
- Golden Cannibal Girl Douglas noble does these itchy, allusive webcomics, intense vignettes, and Strip For Me, a series of shorts. This is the latest.
- How We Grow Old It's hard to tell if Richard Amos' set of short stories on ageing will be sweet or crushingly sad, but the style is quiet and gorgeous. We'll be surprised if he has to carry many of these home.
- Bao and Pom There's a girl and a maybe-anthropomorphic red panda? It's possibly cute? Look, we're new to charming, but this might be it.
- Klaxon A trio of deadbeats face off against their evil landlord, and it looks great. Not strictly new, but recent and interesting. Nice use of colour, too.
- Shadow Constabulary A nutter with a cricket bat tries to fix Britain by beating the crap out of suburbia. This could be horribly on the nose, or feel like Chubz via Marshal Law, or be just the best loud daft thing. Maybe all three.
- The Adventures of Dragon Mouse Something sweet to finish - a mouse who dreams of being a dragon, and tries to solve this problem using ingenuity and household craft materials. It looks just a bit lovely.
Now, the Thought Bubble website isn't exactly the most usable information experience you can have on that thar interwub, so we've like as not missed some fine publications.
But what? What have we missed? WHAT EXCITES YOU?