Thought Bubble: Frank Miller excluded from the famous British event

Thought Bubble: Frank Miller excluded from the famous British event

Thought Bubble

The UK's popular comic book event, Thought Bubble, recently announced that Frank Miller will no longer be a part of the upcoming convention following a large amount of criticism on social media regarding the decision to have Miller as a prominent guest. Criticism escalated when ShortBox publisher Zainab Akhtar (you can buy one of her most famous works on Amazon) announced that she would be stepping away from the event due to Miller's presence.

The Islamophobic Controversy Reported by Zainab Akhtar

Akhtar's motivations were that the organizers of the event had not paid attention to his concerns about what he found to be Islamophobic rhetoric in Miller's work, in particular the controversial graphic novel of the 2011 Holy Terror, a 9/11 reaction that most critics find highly Islamophobic. The pressure introduced following Akhtar's decision not to attend the show ultimately led to the announcement that Miller would no longer be a guest.

Miller's involvement was first announced at the beginning of June, with an exclusive poster advertising the convention to be held in November:

Akhtar immediately expressed his concerns about the inclusion of Miller, and presumably other exhibitors have done the same, but nothing has changed until to July 27, when Akhtar announced on social media that she would be withdrawing from the show due to Miller's involvement, stating:

“Hi everyone,

I'm sorry to inform you that ShortBox and I will no longer be attending the Thought Bubble Festival this November. I was invited as a guest in 2020, but then it was moved to this year. I was immediately excited to participate, represent my authors and share our books with readers after almost 2 years of absence of events. However, as a proud Muslim woman, I cannot in good conscience attend a festival that sees fit to invite and promote Frank Miller, a person responsible for spreading the hateful anti-Muslim hatred, particularly through his works. Anti-Muslim bigotry is repugnant and condemnable, but it has become so deeply ingrained, so widely accepted in society that it is not even considered, as demonstrated once again in this situation. I can't understand how from time to time, festivals and communities within comics marry values ​​of inclusion, diversity, "comics is for everyone", zero tolerance of hate, but all of that vanishes when they are asked to put into practice those same values ​​exposed in words. "

The day after receiving this message, Thought Bubble announced that Miller would not be a guest at the convention:

A statement from us.

You can read the full statement online here:

- Thought Bubble Festival (@ThoughtBubbleUK) July 28, 2021

After Ben Stokes, who is next to step out of the bio bubble?

Ben Stokes arrived in India ahead of the England squad and will train along with Jofra Archer and Rory Burns on SaturdayBen Stokes, the superman of cricket, has chosen to prioritise his 'mental well being' for the moment. Image Credit: Twitter/Ben Stokes

Kolkata: Ever since international cricket resumed last year in July after nearly a five-month break due to the pandemic, the sport had been largely ignoring the warning signals. Now, Ben Stokes has turned out to be the biggest casualty of Bio Bubble fatigue on Friday and who knows, more may follow suit.

It’s a no-brainer that England will miss their matchwinner dearly in the high profile five-Test match series against India, while his franchise Rajasthan Royals are also resigned over his availability for the remaining part of the IPL 2021 in the UAE which follows thereafter. The Ashes Down Under in November-December could be the earliest when the star allrounder could be expected to end his indefinite break - but one has to wait and watch on the issue.

The cricket fraternity has spoken out in favour of Stokes, a larger-than-life performer, who had been fighting on the personal front over the past year - having lost his father Ged Stokes after a battle with brain cancer. Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan great and now Director of Cricket of Stokes’ IPL team Royals, said players could “only deal with so much” - but the issue is has the cricket establishment been concerned enough to take any pre-emptive action against the stress and strain of living in a bubble for months together?

Stokes’ decision will find a greater resonance in today’s sporting world - coming as it is after American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles’ pullout of a number of events at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. Her struggles followed those of Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, another face of the Games who lost in the third round on her return from a mental health break, having withdrawn from the French Open and skipped Wimbledon - saying she had been battling depression and anxiety.

The trigger for each performer is certainly different - but Stokes’ decision will certainly rattle the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) - who had been following a controversial rotation policy this year so that their key players can have a reprieve from the bubble life and recharge their batteries. This is where an off-the-cuff remark from one of the top bosses of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) during the IPL this year was somewhat jarring when he said the Indian cricketers were mentally tougher and could handle the rigours of a bubble life better than their peers from some other countries (read: England and Australia).

The question is while the Indian cricketers have chosen to grin and bear it, it’s possibly time to spare a thought about them. The elite group in England team could spend some quality time with their families during a three-week break after the World Test Championship (WTC) final, but a long haul on the road awaits them now. A tightly scheduled Test series in England will be followed by a sojourn to the UAE in a completely different climate, where a one-month duration of IPL will be followed by T20 World Cup, where the pressure of expectations to win a major ICC tournament after 2013 will be huge.

Meanwhile, the group under Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan had been finding the going tough in Sri Lanka. Three players - Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and Krishnappa Gowtham tested positive for Covid-19 and would be staying back in Colombo as the rest of the team flew back after a somewhat chequered tour. In all, they were holed up for over 45 days - first a 14-day quarantine in Mumbai before flying to the islands - for playing just six white ball matches.

It’s possibly time for the cricket establishment, in general, to take up the mental health issue more seriously - before it implodes further.

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