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: For St Patrick's Day - Irish comics!
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Mar 17th 2011
As it's the day when everybody claims to be Irish, thought you might like to know about comics by some of us who actually are. I've plugged my own Iron Age Irish webcomic,
The Cattle Raid of Cooley
, plenty of times, so let's give yez all a sense of what else is out there. The
Irish Comics Wiki
is the ultimate resource, up to 1042 pages on Irish comics, cartoons and the people who make them.
The Image of Irelande
, a 1581 book by an English customs agent based in Drogheda, which includes twelve double-page woodcuts telling the story of Sir Henry Sidney's defeat of the Irish "woodkarne" rebels in sequential images. It's pretty crude propaganda, but it won't be the last time comics have been used for that purpose. I've recently discovered that in 1950, the Christian Brothers published a comic-book history of Ireland (in Irish), which concentrated on the early Christian golden age and the dastardly deeds of the English, rather glossed over the civil war in the 1920s, before predicting a future Ireland, prosperous and united, led by heroic priests and full of packed out churches. I'll add an article to the wiki as soon as I find out what the thing was called.
The wiki takes in the little-known boom in political cartooning in Dublin the late 19th century, led by
John Fergus O'Hea
and his protegé
(left, grandfather of the contemporary Irish fantasy artist Jim Fitzpatrick) and their full-page, full colour chomolithographs in the Weekly Freeman, and painter
Jack Butler Yeats
' early efforts in British Comics in the 1900s and 1910s. We've got Dubliner
drawing adventure strips in the Beano and the Dandy in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and Ballymena man
drawing for Eagle, Girl and the Boy's Own Paper in the 50s and 60s.
Then there's the beginning of the small press in Belfast in the 1970s, with a scene based around now-internationally-renowned fine artist
. Out of that crowd,
went on to draw for Oink in the UK and Fantagraphics in the US, and is still cartooning. The small press is stronger than ever, with artists like
(right) producing some of the strongest work. Some of the small press has decamped to the web, including Alan Ryan's
Faraday the Blob
, Eoin Ryan (no relation as far as I know)'s
, Bob Byrne's
and Maeve Clancy's
. Even internet meme
Garfield Minus Garfield
is made by an Irishman, Dubliner Dan Walsh. And there are plenty of Irish creators working professionally in British and American comics,
being the best known - but there's also Declan Shalvey breaking through at Marvel,
doing TV adaptations at IDW, and writer
on Judge Dredd in 2000AD.
This has been a public service announcement on behalf of Irish comics, so it has.
Mar 22nd 2011
As a fellow Irish-man (Belfast) I've been keen to see what we're putting out there!
Mar 23rd 2011
In that case, come along to the Black Market at the
on Hill Street on Sunday week - myself and Andy Luke have a stall selling Irish small press comics.
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