UK Comics Collective Create The Walking Dead Interactive Event at Thought Bubble

UK Comics Collective is a new group of comic creators and comic fans debuting – and running a series of events – at this year’s Thought Bubble Comic Con in Harrogate. I am currently at Wakefield Westgate train station on my way there too.

Funded by Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England and Biochemical Society, the ambition is to exchange ideas and design experiences that engage people in novel ways; improve health and wellbeing, but also empower audiences. In 2019 their focus is on ‘Fear, Hope and Survival’.

The events include two discussion panels, three workshops and one ambitious immersive experience based on The Walking Dead comic book. This is an experimental piece of promenade theatre with gaming elements and interactions with scientists, artists and historians. The experience features plenty of artwork from The Walking Dead’s artist Charlie Adlard and writer and co-creator Robert Kirkman.

All events are free to those attending Thought Bubble Comic Con and are held in the Queen’s Suite, Harrogate Conference Centre.

Zombies Will Never Die (Saturday 16:10-17:00) Room B, Queen’s Suite
Florence Okoye chats the past, present and future of zombie stories with former Comics Laureate Charlie Adlard and current Comics Laureate, Hannah Berry.

Zombies reflect a deep-rooted human fear of contagion and death. But the zombie story has its roots in slave history and is racial / class based. Through the storyworlds of zombie narratives, we explore what makes the walking dead endure. To add your voice to the conversation, we will have a couple of open seats on the panel that members of the audience can join us on stage.

Hip Hop Comics Connection (Sunday 14:10-15:00)

Ever wondered why your favourite MCs tend to have an alias? Juice Aleem (MC, writer, performer, Director of Afroflux, comics fan and co-director of BSide Hip Hop Festival) explores how the origin stories of many young Hip Hop artists mirror those of comic book heroes.

Juice will then be joined by comic creators Charlotte Bailey, Hannah Berry, Ram V & Khary Randolf to talk music, inspiration and comics. All this as well as a few interactive elements to expand our personal Infinity Gauntlets.

Hip Hop Comic Covers (Saturday 12:00-13:00 & 13:00-14:00)

Come and explore Marvel’s extraordinary comic covers inspired by Hip Hop album covers. Bring your favourite album (any genre) and design your own comic cover with Juice Aleem (MC, writer, performer, Director of Afroflux, comics fan and co-director of BSide Hip Hop Festival) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Kingsman, Rogue Trooper). Get inspired to design a cover reflecting your own ‘(super)power’.

Figure Drawing (wheels included) (Saturday 15:00-17:00 drop in)

The dominant physiology of characters in comics has been of taller, thinner more athletic superheroes. Join Zara Slattery (Coma Comic (WIP) and Two Birds) and another Comics Laureate Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Kingsman) in this figure-drawing workshop where you’ll draw diverse body types, create stories and have a chat with our models (clothes on).

Models are actor David Proud (the first lead regular disabled cast member of BBC’s Eastenders) and Amy Proud (Burlesque Dancer and Model). David and Amy will also chat to the audience about a new documentary they are making about eugenics and disability.

Zombies Vs Thought Bubble (Sunday 13:00-14:00 & 14:00-15:00)
Join comic creator Karrie Fransman (The House That Groaned, Death of The Artist), for ‘Zombies vs Thought Bubble’. A real-time, narrative comic jam where you must defend yourself from the living dead, using only pen and paper. Arm yourself with your art, a splattering of zombie science and prepare for the onslaught!

The Walking Dead: Immersive Experience Saturday 9th November (11:00-18:00 last entry@17:00) and Sunday 10th November (10:00-17:00 last entry@16:00).

Literally step into the storyworld of The Walking Dead comic in this real-world installation of scenes inspired by the comic. We’ll take you on a journey through ‘Camp Bubble’ where characters from the comic, have friends they’d like you to meet. The camp is at risk of invasion and needs your help to explore the question ‘What is fear for?’.

With thanks to artist Charlie Adlard, Writer and co-creator Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment for allowing us to use their art.

Wowbagger Productions (story and science) & Oubliette Entertainments (game design).

Slots can be booked here, but most slots will go to walk-ins.

The collaboration evolved from last year’s creative team who designed an immersive experienced based on The Wicked + The Divine comic (Wowbagger & Oubliette). The group was brought together by Sara Kenney, who is a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow with a focus on comics. Her ambition is to continue securing funding for the ‘UK Comics Collective’ to create comics, run panels, workshops and immersive experiences, which allow creatives and audiences to explore ideas around art, health, science and the human condition.

UK Comics Collective members:

  • Juice Aleem (B-Side Hip Hop Festival and Comic Con/ Musician & DJ/ Comics fan)
  • Hannah Berry (Writer/ Artist/ Comics Laureate: Adamtine, Livestock)
  • Mink Ette (Games & Escape Room Designer/ Oubliette Entertainments/ Comics fan)
  • Karrie Fransman (Writer/ Artist: The House That Groaned, Death of the Artist)
  • Dr Suzi Gage (Creator/ Presenter of top rated podcast Say Why to Drugs. Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, Psychologist, University of Liverpool)
  • Dave Gibbons (Writer/ Artist/ previous Comics Laureate: Watchmen, Kingsman, Rogue Troopers)
  • Sara Kenney (Writer/Producer/Director TV, Film & Comics. Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow with a focus on comics)
  • Florence Okoye (UX designer at Natural History Museum, London/ writes about Afrofuturism/ Artist)
  • David Proud (Actor, Producer and Disability Advisor. Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow)
  • Anita Shervington (Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow/ Community Organiser specialising in STEM for BAME audiences)

The Walking Dead immersive experience experts:

  • Lucy Eckersley, Biologist, Royal Veterinary College
    Will be talking about the evolution of fear as a character who is friends with Rick Grimes.
  • Dr Katerina Johnson, Microbiologist, University of Oxford
    Exploring microbiome gut-brain interaction and how food can impact fear/ anxiety as a character who is friends with Juanita Sanchez.
  • Florence Okoye, UX Designer, Natural History Museum
    Talking Artificial Intelligence and fear as a character who is friends with Eugene Porter.
  • Dr Emma Sutton, Historian of Medicine, Queen Mary University
    Will explore the fear of not being normal, as a character who is friends with Michonne Hawthorne.
  • Dr Suzi Gage, Psychologist, University of Liverpool (Saturday only)
    Talks Psychology of fear as a character who is friends with Carl Grimes.

Funding:

  • Arts Council England – champion, develop & invest in great art & culture, all over England:
  • Wellcome Trust – is a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive:
  • Biochemical Society – supporting the advancement of biochemistry and molecular biology:

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.