In celebration of the indie comics of Ireland, Forbidden Planet Dublin hosted an official Small Press Day event at Filmbase in Temple Bar, on July 9th. Featuring a host of artists and writers, and with panel support from The Irish Pubcast and Irish Comic News, the event was a testament to the enthusiasm of comics creators and the variety of work available in Ireland.
Lined up in the room were the works of well over a dozen artists. With work published in four languages – English, Irish, Spanish and Polish – and addressing an astonishing variety of genre and theme, the diversity of comics was unlike anything at Irish conventions gone by. Let’s address a few of the comics from what was on offer.
Clare Foley (left) brought to the table her 1850s mystery, La Grande Breteche. Each page was pencilled and water-coloured to bring Honoré de Balzac’s short story by the same name to life. Kinga Korska (middle), sharing a table with Clare, brought her graphic novel Brain Fetish. The book tells the story of a mother and daughter pair, with a focus on human relationships throughout. (Kinga was also accompanied by Angie on the right, to help talk to people about the book during panel talks.)
Popular web-comic artist John Cullen (left) brought along a selection of prints of his comics, and one pun-filled comic to show off his sense of humour. Sharing the table was Seán Hogan, writer and artist of Rabit and Paul, a graphic novel about a young boy named Paul who gets lost in the small Irish town of Bally’O’Jhaysus.
Aidan Courtney represented Coimicí Gael, an Irish language comic publisher, with Ruaille Buaille in-stock for the event. Beside him, Sarah Bowie – one of the founding members of the Dublin Comic Labs and Stray Lines – brought her comics dealing with introspection and Dublin in fresh and unexpected ways.
Anthea West sat solo with Fate issues #1 and #2, and The Earthbound God, her graphic novel. She also brought her prints and bubbly personality to the event.
Jason Browne (left) is the artist and publisher of Buttonpress Publications, an all-ages comic book publisher in Dublin. With three titles and nearly 20 issues to their name, they’re covering superheroes and the paranormal, and are soon to launch a new title, Stoat, written by Ciaran Marcantonio. (Check that out at Dublin Comic Con.) Beside Jason are Atomic Diner Comics, with a range of Rob Curley comics on sale. Curley’s work covers alternate history and vigilantism, with some paranormal activity thrown in in the former of the ghost of Oscar Wilde in Jennifer Wilde.
Philip Barrett (above, left) brought with him a wide collection of contemporary fiction comics, and an enthusiasm for getting away from his table to mingle with the crowds. Olly Cunningham (above, right; solo) had the first issue of Black Lines, Dodgy Pills. Trippy and risque, it stands out for dealing with a more controversial topic than most artists address with their first issues.
Leeann Hamilton had Finn and Fish, as well as her comic Kiteenies, a collection of adorable kitten stories. On the day, she also produced some astounding illustrations.
Paul Bolger brought with him the first book of Hound. Retelling the story of Cú Chulainn, Hound is unique take on Irish folklore. Book two is set for launch at DCC.
Ciaran Marcantonio represented Lightning Strike Comic Books, and, with his colleagues in the Irish Pubcast, and Irish Comic news, hosted the panel talks during the event. Lightning Strike is an anthology comic, with several stand-alone comics in accompaniment. Launching at DCC in August are The Phantom and A Clockwork Universe.
Not all of the artists are pictured, unfortunately, but the works of Paddy Lynch, Debbie Jenkinson, Elida Maiques and more were to be found throughout the room.
It was a busy day, with the event constantly filled with chatter and laughter; a massive thanks have to go out to Forbidden Planet Dublin for their work in putting it together. In particular, kudos to Scott and Dan for all their work on the day.
Plans and ideas are already in place for similar events in the future, based on the success of the day. In the meantime, keep an eye out for interviews with some of the amazing artists from the day, and reviews of the comics they brought to the table(s).