Event Review: Thought Bubble 2023

Jason Aaron, Michael W. Conrad, and Andy Diggle talk about new DC Projects... and The 77 rock our world

by Steve J Ray
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As the nights get longer and the days get colder, it’s events like Thought Bubble 2023 that help keep fans warm and happy. This year’s show, as always, was an absolute hit and the Dark Knight News/DC Comics News/Fantastic Universes team was there to cover it.

While many other conventions tend to include comics creators as an afterthought, this is a show that puts comics front and center… ALL comics. Even if you’re not interested in superheroes, if you’re not a fan of DC or Marvel, if Manga’s what you’re into, or horror, romance, and sci-fi, Thought Bubble is the place to be. This is the show where everyone feels and is treated like family.

This show draws huge talent from all over the world and I was fortunate enough to talk to some of them.

Andy Diggle is back! After the big DC Comics senior management shake-up a couple of years ago the wonderful writer behind such hits as Green Arrow: Year One and Batman Confidential has returned to DC. What will Mr. Diggle be working on?

Last month it was announced that the legendary Elseworlds imprint will be making a comeback. The story that started that whole ball rolling was the classic, Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. Fans of that vintage tale may be happy to learn that Andy will be handling a follow-up maxi-series! That’s right folks, not a special or a one-shot, but an actual multi-chapter story!

Michael W. Conrad, fresh off stellar runs on both Wonder Woman and Batgirls, with co-writer, Becky Cloonan, has his final Nightwing backup strip seeing print in issue #108. The great news is that this won’t be his last story featuring Dick Grayson.

Michael has a project coming up that will delve into the character like none before it. I’m sworn to secrecy right now, but watch this space for more news as and when the embargo lifts for Nightwing #111 (out in February 2024).

Jason Aaron has started his first Batman story for DC Comics! The first issue of Batman: Off-World is imminent, but we here at DKN were fortunate enough to read the book a few weeks back.

If you’ve always wondered how Batman handles superpowered alien threats so calmly, this story, which is set during the “Year One” period of the character’s history, will answer many questions. It’s certainly a baptism of fire and will give readers an insight into how the Dark Knight can face seemingly insurmountable odds and defeat foes far more powerful than himself.

Check out my Thought Bubble 2023 exclusive one-on-one interview with Jason, where he talks about his lifelong love of DC Comics, his co-creator, Dough Mahnke, and what he’ll be working on for DC in January 2024!

I must also give a huge shoutout to the entire crew at The 77! These talented creators are quietly igniting a comics revolution. Fans of vintage UK comics like Tornado, Eagle, Battle Action, and the legendary 2000AD will simply love what these guys are producing.

Watch out for more news from this stellar independent publisher over on Fantastic Universes, very soon!

Huge respect to the amazing Tula Lotay, Ram V, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips, Al Ewing, Becky Cloonan, Richard Starkings, and all the other amazing creators we chatted with.

To Jeff Lemire, thanks for all your work but especially for Robin & Batman, where you gave us a great new take on the Dynamic Duo, showed us why they’re awesome, yet clearly demonstrate that the Dark Knight is – quite necessarily – a paranoid a-hole.

Hugest hugs and gratitude to Harry Ridgway and Jasmine Sidhu from Hanglands PR and all at Thought Bubble for, once again, giving fans the best comic show in the UK.

Huge thanks to my partners in crime at this year’s event, Adam Ray, and Roy Sinclair. You kept me safe, sane, and out of trouble… ish.

To anyone who’s never been to Thought Bubble… make 2024 your year.

Jason Aaron interview recorded by Adam Ray, and edited by Adam Ray and Josh Raynor.
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