Meet the acclaimed artist behind a fantasy comic book journey taking over Leeds this summer

Working as Tula Lotay, Lisa Wood has credits in Batman and Wonder Woman for DC Comics
Working as Tula Lotay, Lisa Wood has credits in Batman and Wonder Woman for DC Comics

Created by one of England’s most famous comic book artists, Lisa Wood, the Trail For Hope will encourage people to explore the city center and discover some hidden gems along the way.

Working as Tula Lotay, Lisa has credits in Batman and Wonder Woman for DC Comics, Scarlet Witch for Marvel and has worked on posters for blockbuster movies and TV shows.

Now Lisa has created the eight-panel comedy trail in partnership with her Thought Bubble comic festival and Leeds BID, telling a story of hope after the pandemic.

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Lisa’s illustrations – Batman for DC Comics (left) and The Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers and Mondo

The trail will launch July 20 and run for six weeks.

“It’s been such a difficult year for people,” Lisa told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Everyone has suffered, but businesses in downtown areas and communities have suffered the most.

“It’s important to rebuild that community and we wanted to create something that’s fun and brings people back downtown.”

Lisa has painted her story on eight panels that will be displayed at venues downtown, starting with The Majestic.

It will also be part of Leeds BID’s Leeds Jurassic Trail 2 project, which features 13 animatronic dinosaurs across the city.

The comic book story features a “viking lady warrior” and a dinosaur, Lisa teased, but families are encouraged to follow the hour-long trail to find out the message.

Indie businesses, including art shop Fred Aldous and comic book stores OK Comics and Traveling Man, will be an important part of the route.

Lisa added: “I wanted to create something that feels like prose, it’s about people feeling lost but then finding hope.

“I put this in a fantastical setting and paired it with the amazing dinosaur trail that runs around Leeds.

“We temporarily lost the people closest to us, there was an intense period when we couldn’t see anyone. I wanted to explore that in a story, but show that we can get through that.

Lisa, who suffers from dyslexia, fell in love with comics as a young child when she bought five comics for 20p at the market in her home town of Batley.

She founded Thought Bubble 15 years ago to celebrate comics and illustration and the role they can play in helping children and adults with literacy challenges.

“They blew my mind when I was a kid and I was obsessed with them from then on,” Lisa said.

“It’s another form of storytelling; it’s amazing stories that are quite adult and complex, but it was always seen as something that was for kids.

“Over the past 20 years we have seen the birth of the adult graphic novel and British writers and artists explode onto the American scene for DC Comics and Vertigo.

“Comics are about everything – religion, politics, love, action and adventure.

“Any story you want can be found in comic book form and for kids and adults with literacy issues, like dyslexia, comic books are a great starting point for that. That’s why I got involved with them at such a young age.”

Lisa is now gearing up for the 2021 Thought Bubble Festival, which will take place across Yorkshire from November 8-14, culminating in a two-day convention in Harrogate.

The festival is one of the biggest comedy events of its kind in Europe and will feature guest speakers, activities and a quiet room for those who might struggle with the crowds.

“It will be bigger and better than ever,” Lisa added.

“We have the biggest guest list and the biggest space we’ve ever had. It’s the thought bubble that people know, but completely accelerated in terms of the quality and program that we have.”

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Daniel K. Denny