Friday, 29 November 2013

Thought Bubble Week, Day 5: Comics Creators... FROM THE FUTURE

Okay, one last post about Thought Bubble, I promise. This one's a bit special.

So. We had a bit of extra space going spare between the Playful Leeds and the Phoenix areas at Thought Bubble last weekend, so we gave it to a couple of Comics Superstars of Tomorrow who'd been hanging out at the table - Jordan Vigay and Ace Rockman! Ace proceeded to produce about 1 billion genuinely amazing pictures of robots, as previously noted, and Jordan used the space to sell copies of his own comic, The Red Crow. (Which is awesome, and which you can buy from his website at

Jordan Vigay (12) and his brilliant comic The Red Crow! Did you know Jordan has HIS OWN PAGE in Issue 100 of the Phoenix? Which is out today? Because he does!

The aptly-named Ace Rockman! Photo via The Zoom Comic

 Anyway. It was a lot of fun to hang out with both Jordan and Ace as they are both very smart, funny, and incredibly talented kids. At one point I got back to the table from wandering around the convention and Jordan came over, seeming slightly confused, and said to me, "a kid just came up to my table and said he'd heard about The Red Crow already, that someone went to their school and told them about it last week."

"...Was that you?"

Yep, that was probably me.

Some more of Jordan's comics, photographed at the Oxford Children's Comics Festival

I've been doing a lot of workshops in schools lately, and an increasing number of talks to grown-ups, too; to other writers, to teachers and librarians and parents. I talk about how I think one of the most powerful things about comics for children is how much they encourage engagement and participation; about how unlike other media like video games and animation and even prose books, even the youngest kids are able to finish reading a comic and IMMEDIATELY have a go at making their own. About how brilliant it is that this doesn't require any special training or equipment or even, necessarily, the ability to read or write yet. How anyone, from even the youngest age, can start making their own comics, and all the benefits this confers in terms of literacy, creativity and sheer fun.

So that's one of the things I talk about when I visit schools. And to further make the point, these days I often show kids some examples of comics made by children, to show some of the amazing things being made by people their own age or slightly older. I talk about Jordan's comic, The Red Crow. I talk about the phenomenon that is Zoom Rockman and his comic The Zoom, and about this kid Lewis I met at a festival once who, at the age of 12, has already created OVER 150 ISSUES OF HIS OWN WEEKLY COMIC. I try to get across this incredibly exciting thing about comics; that you don't need to wait for permission or to be a grown-up before you can dive in and start creating your own stuff. That you can just GO.

The B-Weekly, by Lewis. (Wilkinson? I think? Sorry if I got that wrong, Lewis!) But the main point is: 150 ISSUES!?!

So it was great to see Jordan and Ace diving right in and having their own tables at Thought Bubble. And to see Jack Land again - the very same young man who won our Phoenix design-a-character strip at last year's event, and this year has his very own page in the Thought Bubble anthology! Published by Image Comics! I'VE never been published by Image Comics! Dammit, Jack!

'Darren's Dentist' by Jack Land, in the Thought bubble anthology 2013!

And to see Holly the robot-drawing prodigy again, and the kid whose name I'm terribly sorry to have forgotten who brought over a copy of his own comic 'PUPKINS!', and all the other kids who hung out and created characters with Art Heroes UK, or who spun the Phoenix's Wheel of Awesomeness, or who designed Robots with Playful Leeds. Getting to see that level of enthusiasm and engagement is the kind of thing that really does make me remember why comics are so very, very cool, and so important, and makes me incredibly optimistic about their future.


1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed the copy of Jordan's comic that I picked up from your and his table. Some great pebble based drama in there