Pfew! This has been a manic and hectic couple of months, but here we are again getting set for another wild and wonderful Dublin Comic Con! I’m blasting pop music, running on like… no sleep and haven’t had time to do the process blog I wanted to do, so what the hell, let’s do a rundown of the show!
First up, if you don’t know where the con is, it’s in Convention Centre Dublin (no idea why it’s no called the Dublin Convention Centre, I guess reasons?), and guess what folks? There’s ANOTHER RACE happening right outside the show, making it REALLY difficult to gain access to the Centre from the South Side of the city. At this point I’m fairly certain the council is taking the piss out of us nerds.
Moving on, IF you manage to make it in to the show, I’ll be participating in a couple of panels on Saturday! At 1PM, I’ll be taking part in the Small Press Panel, hosted by the podcaster extraordinaire Wayne Talbot where I’ll be sitting with some of the most prolific voices in Irish Small Press and talking about all of the comics we make and the sleep we lose! Then at 4PM, we have the Writing Comics Panel, hosted by writer-turned-host Seamus Kavanagh, where a group of Irish Comic Writers of varying levels of experience will be sharing their methods and secrets!
Back to the floor! I’ll be on the Liffey Level (the first floor) at Table L48 with goth-tacular Tara Ferguson! We’ll be exhibiting our new book Clone, which you can see reviewed by ICN and ComixIreland! Suffice it to say that if you like locked room psychological dramas, dealing with panic and the apocalypse, then this is the book for you. Don’t believe me? Have a preview!
And sitting right beside us at L47 is my long time friend and collaborator, John Quigley! John will be selling limited numbers of last year’s award winning collaboration MALEVOLENCE and our newest collaboration, WILL SINISTER! Come along, say hi and buy some good horror, yeah?
Right, I think that about wraps it up… OH! I almost forgot to show you the table!
Just a quick update for anyone in Dublin this weekend: Saturday (the 8th of July) is Small Press Day!
I’ll be exhibiting some of my comics along with Kerrie Smith from 11AM until 6PM, in the Fumbally Exchange (5 Dame Lane, Dublin 2) and because this is a celebration of Small Press Comics, we’ve decided to put out a couple of unmissable Small Press Day Deals! (Have I said Small Press Day enough? Do I sound like a TV salesman yet?)
At our table we’ll be exhibiting the award-winning Girls Like You, the not-award-winning Black White and Grey, and the excellent Alterna Comics IF Anthology from 2016! And for the day that’s in it, we’re going to be selling each of these collections for just €10, any two book for €15, or, if like me you just can’t walk away from a ridiculous bargain, we’ll sell you all three book for just €20!
It was around this time last year that Eoin Marron and I began to put together an outline for what was to become the Hero. I’ve spoken about the Hero already, so I’ll keep this short so you can get right to the comic. At the time all we really knew was that we wanted to do a short action piece with a twist ending. We’re both readers of 2000AD and both fans of the Future Shock so it seemed like a perfect fit.
Somewhere between our deciding to work together and my starting the script, Eoin got a pretty cool internship, and darnit all if that didn’t push the man to overhaul the layouts and designs and put together a excellent comic! See that last panel, that very last panel right there at the end? All Eoin.
We were lucky enough to have approached Triona Farrell at the exact right time, with a reasonable enough deadline that she was able to take on the project, and really turn her colours to the storytelling. I believe her first comment on the inks was “this is going to be pinker than you’d expect”, before proceeding to explain a whack of colour theory that pretty much resolved any issues I could have with her pallet choice and storytelling. I think she did a brilliant job, and it broke my heart that this short first saw publication in greyscale.
I’d be remiss to not mention Kerrie Smith who not only lettered the comic and designed the logo but also prepared the final files for both print and digital distribution. I work with Kerrie on quite a few projects and I’m always impressed at how she changes up her lettering from project to project to suit the line-work and colours.
WOW this year tore in at breakneck speed and here we are already staring down the barrel of another Thought Bubble… I am exhausted!
To provide just a pinch of context here, Thought Bubble is one of the big ones for anyone making comics in the UK and Ireland. It’s a huge show with incredible guests, great exhibitors and some of the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun fans around! It’s the convention that I use to bookend my year and I always like to try and do something a little special for it!
If you’re on the fence about attending Thought Bubble, jump off that fence, book a hotel in Leeds and fly, drive, bus, train, sail, ferry or swim over! It’ll be well worth your time. It’s brilliant!
This year I’ll be returning to the TB Marquee with my long time partner in crime Kerrie Smith! You should come over and say hi, and maybe even buy some comics… please buy some comics.
My New Banner! (Please excuse the blurry photo!)
Kerrie’s New Banner! (It’s so cool, I’m mad with jealousy!)
I’ve already spoken about BLACK, WHITE AND GREY, and you can see a full preview of it here, but that’s not all that’s coming to the big tepee this year! MALEVOLENCE has been receiving some exciting critical buzz since we launched it back in August, and we figured for our second printing, we’d make a few small changes. Mostly on the writing and lettering end, but we have made one exciting addition that I think you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP!
This excellent variant cover by Cian Tormey, with colours by Dearbhla Kelly will be available for the first time at Thought Bubble from Table 101 in the Marquee! Be sure to get there early if you fancy a copy, as we’re only bringing a limited stock to the show!
If you miss your chance to pick up the Tormey/Kelly variant cover, we’re also going to be bringing copies of the first printing with the original cover, so don’t worry, you’ll still have your chance to get your hands on this horrific short crime story!
Making their return to the Marquee this year are limited copies of SUPERHERO HELP DESK SEASON 1: BIJILICKERS! and Kerrie’s award winning GIRLS LIKE YOU! Again, we’re bringing a limited stock, so if you’re dying to have a little more Super Office Action or Feminist Short Stories in your life, be sure to get to us early and we’ll hook you up!
Finally, if you’re at Thought Bubble and feel like picking up some more Irish comic books, I should recommend PROJECT CROSSROADS by Seán Hogan. I could go on and on about PROJECT CROSSROADS, and the short I wrote for it “Ducksworth’s Last Stand” but for now what I’ll say is, you can find Seán in the Royal Armouries Hall at Table 37, and you should most definitely pick up a copy!
You can find Seán at Table 37 in the Royal Armouries Hall!
I’m delighted to announce that Rapha Lobosco and I will be collecting our short comics in one shiny collection at Thought Bubble! With letters and book design by Kerrie Smith, BLACK, WHITE AND GREY promises to deliver some strange and thoughtful stories!
BLACK, WHITE AND GREY collects the critically acclaimed MURPHY’S DAY, the award-winning HEAVY BLACK, the action packed DAY JOB, a brand new short story DREAMWEAVER and as a bonus a preview for a new Graphic Novel BLACK NEPTUNE.
Black Neptune, Cover – Rapha Lobosco
One final thank you has to go out to Comic Printing UK for their outstanding customer service, this book may not have come together without them!
With art by the excellent Eoin Marron, colours from the always exciting Triona Farrell and letters by the tireless Kerrie Smith, the Hero is a 4 page comic that asks the question, what makes a hero.
When we sat down to discuss our first collaboration Eoin and I had the very loose idea to make a short comic with a twist. Beyond that, Eoin knew he wanted to see the comic in colour and his first choice for colourist was Tree. Somewhere between agreeing to work together and approaching Tree to lend us her pallet, I started obsessing over the role of the “hero” versus the “protagonist” and got an image stuck in my head of a classic superhero being held captive/interrogated by a paramilitary group.
After bouncing ideas around for a little while, we settled on fast paced action piece that would allow us to examine the idea of the hero while building to a twist we could both really enjoy. I won’t go in to too much detail right now, but you should check out the comic to find out more!
In a strange twist all its own, the Hero was fully illustrated, coloured and lettered before we were made aware that the IF Anthology was looking for submissions for superhero stories. This presented us with a very real problem; the IF Anthology is printed in black and white, while the Hero was always intended to be presented in full colour. This was more than a little heartbreaking. Tree’s colours are excellent and deserve to be highlighted, but the IF Anthology seemed like the perfect home for the Hero. Although we agonised over the decision to pitch to Alterna and risk losing a key part of our story in the end we agreed to use Tree’s grey scale shading to bring the inks to life, and trust me they really do come to life! Still, one day soon we’ll get the full colour edition out there!
Tree’s Grey Scale
The IF Anthology features the work of 96 creators over 40 unique and challenging stories and includes the Irish made stories,”Gravity” by writer and letterer Kerrie Smith and artist Hannah Deacon, “We Can Be Heroes” by writer Darrin O’Toole, artist Barry Keegan and letterer Dee Cunniffe, and of course, “the Hero” which you’ve been reading all about.
First Published in Lightning Strike Presents Issue 7, Murphy’s Day tells the story of the day everything went wrong for the titular Murphy.
Murphy’s Day was an exercise in storytelling and using a comic book format in an interesting way. To this day I believe it remains one of my better scripts and it doesn’t hurt that Rapha’s art and storytelling is just really lovely!