BLOG Thoughtbubble: A Comic Convention For All The Family

Can you keep two children happy for two days at convention? Sure you can, reckons Stacey Whittle

There was all the usual fabulousness that Thoughtbubble offers, and loads more beside: interesting and informative panels; dealer rooms that are like comicky caverns filled with a delicious mixture of small/indie and mainstream press selling their wares; signing tables with everyone from Gail Simone and Jeff Lemire to Mick McMahon and Roger Langridge; and the more unusual things like Planet Replicas where I picked up a brilliant Dredd badge keying. There were also roller derby girls as security, an absolute legion of amicable cosplayers, lots of staff around to help and – best for me – tons to occupy my children.

One of the highlights of the day for my girls was Sarah McIntyre’s Crazy Pirate Drop-In Art Workshop, run with Gillian Rogerson, the author of the excellent You Can't Eat A Princess . Sarah is an amazing artist and my kids absolutely loved colouring in and sticking bits to their pirates and I loved having a nice chat with Gillian and Sarah. And sitting down for a bit - that was lovely. The workshop was held in the Armouries part of the convention, which is new this year, it provided a lot of space and light and airiness that was definitely missing in the big hall the year before.

Sunday for mini Geordie geeks on tour was just as busy. Alice – the eldest – attended Jack and Daniel’s very last Comic Book Workshop, where she designed and made her own superhero and made a comic about him. I can’t tell you how proud this made me! Tala – the younger – helped man Jack’s table while he was hosting the workshop, and gave unsuspecting comic fans the hard sell! Tala also went and had her photo taken with Spider-Man at The Heroes Alliance Table who were raising money for charity.

There was something to occupy the children all through both days and we didn't even manage to do all of the activities that were on offer. I always had big reservations taking children to a weekend long comic convention but this was a really great place to start, many thanks to Lisa Wood and her amazing team for putting together this great weekend. Thanks to all of my friends old and new for being so wonderful and accommodating to the children. And special thanks to Alison Sampson for the amazing portrait of Tala; to Gary Northfield, creator of Derek The Sheep, for making Alice's day; and my new hero Eddie Deighton of Com X who introduced me to Mick McMahon and made a giant-sized 2000AD fangirl very happy indeed.

The girls and I will see you all next year!