Over the past few years, there’s been an explosion of Irish comics. Last year, the most Irish comic ever was published by Offaly-native Seán Hogan: Rabbit and Paul.
Set in the small town of Bally’O’Jhaysus (+2 Irish-ism Points), the book follows the tale of Paul and his anthropomorphic rabbit-friend, Rabbit. Rabbit is acquired in a Tat Shop (+1 Point), despite warnings from Paul’s parents about not bringing any more tat into the house. (+1 Point) Through a bizarre series of events involving a strange, illegal candy (+1 Point for vague drug dealer reference), a fascination with a particularly large Chinese restaurant (+1 Point), and a range of hilarious Irish phrases (1+ per use… I think you get the idea: extremely Irish book), the journey of the titular duo is mapped out in bizarre fashion.
This is a unique celebration of the peculiarity of Irishness, capturing Irish humour in its purest (and most PC) form in its smallest details. Anybody with a notion of experience with Ireland will immediately understand the references made throughout the book, though it should be said that the Irish audience will benefit most from the tiniest jokes hidden in the pages.
Rabbit and Paul is a charming, witty book, enough to keep readers laughing long after the last page. Barely after finishing it did I feel an obligation to get my hands on a second copy as a gift for a friend. Anyone who can get past the anthropomorphic line in the blurb is sure to love the story, told with a great capacity for what it means to be Irish.
Hogan has produced an impressive debut, both in its writing and its illustrations. The comic will leave readers wanting more. For the moment, a conversation with the book’s creator will have to suffice. You can catch him, and Rabbit and Paul, at Dublin Comic Con.