Thursday, 30 December 2010

January's pub meet - NEW VENUE!

The 6th of January is the first first Thursday of the month of the year, which means its time for comic creating people to gather for drinks and craic. We've outgrown the Garrick, and requests for suggestions have not produced much response, so I've decided to unilaterally move us to the Cloth Ear, attached to the Merchant Hotel on Waring Street, which is bigger and spacier. And they have a cabinet full of Star Wars figures in the gents, so they're not averse to geek custom. Hope to see as many of you as possible there. Why not visit the Event page on Facebook and invite your friends?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas Comics is running a series of Christmas Comics with a creepy twist from local creators. Kevin 'Gio' Logue and Stephen Downey have contributed comics, with Andrew Croskery's 'You'd Better Watch Out' just published on the site this week.

Next Sunday, the 26th December also promises a final collaborative tale from Mal Coney and local horror writer Wayne Simmons.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

NVTV are producing a documentary on the Belfast comics scene

shooting late January to early February. While it's mostly written I'm open to featuring creators and other readers I've not borne in mind. If you'd like to be involved, tell me why: go on get in contact with myself,

Thursday, 16 December 2010

New PJ Holden series in the Megazine

Belfast's own PJ Holden announces on his blog that he's got a new series, Numbercruncher, co-created with writer Simon Spurrier, starting in the Judge Dredd Megazine issue 306 in the new year. It's about a dead mathematician trying to game the process of reincarnation to be reunited with the woman he loves, and a bailiff sent by the Karmic Accountancy to stop him. Here's a preview at Si's blog, and some promotional art from the Megazine:

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Steve Bell at the Out To Lunch Arts Festival

At lunchtime on Friday 7 January, as part of the Out To Lunch Arts Festival, the Guardian's political cartoonist Steve Bell will appearing be at the Black Box. It's £5.50, lunch included, and you can book online. He's the guy who drew John Major with his underpants outside his trousers, George Bush as a chimp, reduced Tony Blair to a man staring eye and a grin, and he's about the only decent thing in the Guardian these days. Here's an absolute gem from back when Bush's first election was still being sorted out...

Monday, 22 November 2010

End-of-year events roundup

There's a slew of events coming up til the end of the year.

  • On Wednesday 24 November Felix M. Larkin will be giving a lecture on "No Uncertain Voice – the Shemus Cartoons in the Civil War period in Ireland" at St Malachy's Old Boys Association, 442 Antrim Road, from 8.30pm. £5 in, in aid of Glenveagh Special School. Shemus, alias Ernest Forbes, was political cartoonist for the Dublin paper the Freeman's Journal in the early 1920s. Here's one of his cartoons of Carson:

  • Next Monday, 29 November, the Coffee House Art Club meet at the Taphouse Bar on Botanic Avenue. Ann describes it as "a social evening, just time that can be spent in the same location as others working on our own personal projects, catch up on chat and exchange tips or techniques." Open to "writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and any others interested", from 7.30pm.
  • Thursday 2 December, being the first Thursday of the month, is the latest Comics Creators Pub Meet. We've been meeting in the Garrick Bar on Chichester Street since the dawn of time, but in recent months concerns have been expressed about the space available, so we're considering other venues. Will keep you posted. Join the Belfast Comics Creators Facebook Group or send me your email address to be kept up to date.
  • The following Sunday, 5 December, is the Christmas Black Market at the Black Box on Hill Street from 12 to 5pm. The Black Panel will be there, selling the finest selection of independent comics from all over Ireland, north and south, among stalls selling paintings, records, home made soft toys, jewellery and many other creative ventures. Oh, and buns.
  • Monday 6 December is the Coffee House Art Club Drink and Draw at The Grand Central (formerly Castro's, even formerly Roast) coffee shop at the corner of Royal Avenue and North Street from 7.30pm. Clothed life models.
  • Finally (for now at least), Black Books returns for Christmas at the Black Box on Sunday 19 December, 12-5pm. Described as "a cacophony of stalls manned by book-sellers, zine writers and literary enthusiasts and an afternoon of word-based entertainment, Black Books is a revival and a celebration of the multiplicities of language and printed word. Stalls will include new and secondhand books, zines, rare books & antiquities, comicbooks, magazines, papers and children’s literature." The Black Panel will be there.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fionnuala's Irish History on Tales of the...

For those of you who missed Fionnuala Doran's very funny 24 Hour Comic Ireland: A History (Condensed) when she ran it on her own site, here it is again on Tales of the... Watch out for the Van Morrison cameo.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Glenn and Ann's 24 Hour Comic - Shmoo

Slightly belatedly ('pologies - haven't been well), here's the latest 24 Hour Comic from last month's event to go online - Shmoo, written by Glenn Davidson and drawn by Ann Harrison!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Coffee House Drink and Draw

The Coffee House Art Club's Drink and Draw is back, on Monday 15 November, from 7.30pm, at Castro's Coffee House on the corner of Royal Avenue and North Street. Only £3 entry. Jude and James will be our models - here's some examples of the drawings done last month. Google map below.

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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Manga Night at Forbidden Planet

The Belfast Branch of Forbidden Planet International are holding a Manga Night, with quizzes, a cosplay competition, and money-off offers, at 6pm on Monday 22 November.

The Cattle Raid of Cooley makes 100 episodes!

This morning The Cattle Raid of Cooley, my serialised webcomic adaptation of the ancient Irish epic, reached a significant milestone - 100 episodes!

For those of you who don't know the story, the kingdom of Connacht, led by king Ailill and queen Medb, stages an invasion of Ulster, and all that stands in their way is a teenage rookie border guard called Cú Chulainn. He's a prodigy, and despite his small stature, in skill he has always been head and shoulders above his contemporaries in Ulster's youth corps - but he's never been tested against men. Among them, men he loves, including Fergus, former king of Ulster in exile in Connacht, and Cú Chulainn's former foster-father. He's issued a challenge of single combat, hoping to hold up the army's progress until his king can gather his army.

It's a story of war, coming of age and divided loyalties set in the pre-Christian Iron Age. The story is the centrepiece of a group of tales known as the Ulster Cycle, the oldest Irish legendary tradition and probably the oldest European legendary tradition outside Greece and Rome, which has been referred to as a "window on the Iron Age". The hero, Cú Chulainn, was the inspiration for 2000AD's Sláine.

Monday, 1 November 2010

November events roundup

White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits. Events of interest in November that I'm aware of:

  • All through this month and next, as Andy alerted us on Friday, The Unkindest Cut, an exhibition of political cartoons at the Linenhall Library.
  • The Coffee House Art Club meets tomorrow, Tuesday 2 November, in the Kitchen Bar, Victoria Square, from 7.30pm.
  • Thursday 4 November: the monthly Belfast comics creators pub meet at the Garrick Bar, Chichester Street, from 9pm.
  • Sunday 7 November: Black Market at the Black Box, Hill Street, 12-5pm. The Black Panel small press comics stall will have a scaled down presence this month, because
  • I'll be at Independents Day, a DIY zine/record/comic fair at the Dublin Food Co-Op at Newmarket Square, Dublin, 12-5pm.
  • Monday 15 November: the Coffee House Art Club's second Drink & Draw at Castro's Coffee House on the junction of Royal Avenue and North Street. Live models, byob. Here's some sample drawings from the first one.
If you know of any others, drop me a line.

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Unkindest Cut: Ulster Cartoonists Retrospective at Linenhall Library

A cartoon history of 20th century Ulster as chosen by Historian and Librarian John Killen (author of the book by the same name) It's a return of a popular exhibition from May 2005 with bits by big spoke inkers like Cormac, Ian Knox and others. Website says,

"Ulster 's twentieth century was, to say the least, eventful. The home rule crisis, partition from the south of Ireland, two world wars, depressions, recessions and recurring outbreaks of civil conflict culminating in the Troubles which dominated the last three decades of the century. Through it all, the political cartoonists kept up a running commentary on events and personalities ? Carson, Devlin, O'Neill, Hume, Adams and Trimble. Their cartoons reveal, as words alone never can, the prejudices, suspicions and sheer absurdities that the situation has engendered over the years.

This lively exhibition presents historian and librarian John Killen's selection of 170 of the best of these cartoons, together with his pithy captions and text. Demonstrating the characteristic dark humour common to all sides in the north, the selection also suggests some interesting, if quirky, scenarios for a better future."

The Linenhall Library entrance is off Fountain Street. The exhibition is on the 3rd floor, in the Political Collection Room. Staff told me it remains there until year end.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Monday, 18 October 2010

24 Hour Comic: Rise at Sundown by Patrick Brown

My own 24 Hour Comic, Rise at Sundown, is now online. I've challenged myself by writing for kids, and working in colour, and I'm very pleased with how it came out.

24 Hour Comic: Don't Get Lost by Andy Luke

The latest comic created on 24 Hour Comics day to go online is Andy Luke's Don't Get Lost. It's a very personal, autobiographical piece, and, as Andy warns, "deals with themes of sexual abuse and may contain triggers that could be upsetting".

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Young Cartoonist of the Year Award

The Cartoon Museum in London are running the Young Cartoonists of the Year award, to be awarded at the Cartoon Art Trust Awards on 2 December. Closing date 15 November. Some illustrious names on the judges list there. If you're a political or topical humour cartoonist, and are either under 18 or under 30, why not go for it?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

24 Hour Comics Day - the aftermath

24 Hour Comics Day is over for another year, and by Wednesday I still barely have enough of a brain to blog about it, so here's a link to Andy Luke's report on the event - go and read that. Many thanks go to Catalyst Arts for hosting the event - Mark, Charlie and Nathan who made their own comics, and especially Kat who didn't but helped out above and beyond, indefatigably providing us with food and caffeinated drinks.

Stephen Downey (Cancertown, Torchwood) has already managed to get his comic online, and it's really cool.

More to come as they go online. I'll link to the results of the Dublin event too as they come in. Meanwhile, the Forgotten Pelmet have given us a bit of coverage.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

John McCrea in Strip Magazine

You may remember back in the summer we announced that Strip Magazine, a new newsstand comic anthology that's planned for next year, would feature a strip by Belfast artist PJ Holden. Today, Bleeding Cool break the news that John McCrea's doing a strip for them too - it's called Warpaint, it's written by Phil Hester, and as far as I can tell it's about a homeless girl and a trickster god taking on monstrous elemental forces, with the fate of the world at stake.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Coffee House Art Club at Cafe Renoir tomorrow

Tomorrow night at Café Renoir on Botanic Avenue meets a new social and networking group for creative people in the Belfast area: the Coffee House Art Club. Check it out.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

More Cattle Raid of Cooley

More from the Cattle Raid of Cooley - the darkest page I've drawn for a while...

Saturday, 4 September 2010

24 Hour Comics returns to Belfast!

24 Hour Comics Day, the international creative marathon where you make a complete 24-hour comic in 24 hours, or collapse in the attempt, is nearly upon us, and there will be a Belfast event again this year. Many thanks go to Catalyst Arts for agreeing to host it. Starts 11am, Saturday 9 October, continues through the night and finishes 11am Sunday 10 October. Places are limited, so please register by email.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Update: Dave McElfatrick gets his Visa

You'll remember we posted last month that there was a petition to get Dave McElfatrick a Visa to the states to work on animations with his Cyanide and Happiness co-creators. I'm sure you'll be glad to know he's got it!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Monday, 30 August 2010

Belfast comics creators pub meet this Thursday

This Thursday is the first Thursday of September, which means it's time for the monthly comics creators pub meet in the Garrick on Chichester Street. If you've never come before, we normally start arriving about 9. If the back bar's free, we'll be in there, because they've got nice big square tables we can put our art out on, but if it's not free will be in the front bar trying to perch our drinks and drawings on the wee round ones. Here's what it looks like:

And here's the Google map:

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Thursday, 26 August 2010

PJ in 2000AD

Pick up this week's 2000AD (prog 1699), because the Judge Dredd strip is drawn by Belfast's PJ Holden!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Steve Graham mails me about a comic he flyered around the city, no doubt a valiant attempt in combatting the dreadful pop art litterbuster pieces that have gone up.

400 Facts: A Short Vignette About A Big Love is a really lovely one so go and read it.

This week, Andy Luke (that's me!) posted some out-of-print material. Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Cantina (2003), The Party (1999-2008), The 2004 Guitar Festival 80s TV Special and the short George W Bush story.

New Malachy Coney strip on Tales of The...

There's a new comic strip by Malachy Coney, "The Coney Express", on Tales of The... today. Malachy's been making comics in Belfast since the late 80s, most of that time as a writer (many of the comics in Seán Doran's Necrocomicon are written by him, and he also wrote for Crisis in the UK and Fantagraphics and Image in the US), and in more recent years as a writer-artist - a regular strip called "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" in Fortnight magazine, and his own Good Craic Comics, the second issue of which is apparently on the way. He doesn't have much of a web presence as far as I know, so here's his bio on the Irish Comics Wiki.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

New on the Irish Comics Wiki: Belfast artist John Campbell (1883-1962)

There's a new article of Belfast interest on the Irish Comics Wiki, on John Campbell (1883-1962), an illustrator and theatre designer of the Irish Revival who also drew political cartoons and caricatures for magazines like Nomad's Weekly and newspapers like Bulmer Hobson's The Republic. Here's one of his illustrations from a book of Irish folktales.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The return of Seán Doran

Back in the early 1990s, when I first started thinking of doing my own comics, the Belfast comics scene was basically Malachy Coney and Seán Doran, who created the outrageous gay superhero strip Major Power and Spunky, starting out as a locally-published photocopied small press booklet and going on to be published by Fantagraphics' Eros imprint in America in about 1994. Mal's still about, and working on the long-awaited second issue of Good Craic Comics, but Seán's been living in London and working in illustration and computer animation in recent years. But he's back, at least for a while, and has added an archive of his old comics to his website.

So far he's posted his 1991 Star Wars parody Bug Wars, and the Major Power spin-off Quiteaguy, whose main character will be oddly familiar to anyone who shops at the Belfast Forbidden Planet, which features possibly the most outrageous device to break your fall from a high building in comics history, and which might not be entirely safe for work. There are empty pages for other comics, including Major Power, Catholic Lad, Nick Elephant and Misfits, which hopefully he'll be uploading before too long.

All we need now is for him to draw some new comics...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Pledge money for anthology by former Insomnia creators

Insomnia Publications, a Scottish comics publisher, has, over the last couple of years, signed contracts with loads of writers and artists to create new graphic novels, and said writers and artists set to work. Unfortunately, Insomnia are going out of business, and the Comic Book Alliance are helping the writers and artists get our of their contracts so they can publish their work elsewhere. In return, a bunch of them have put together an 192-page anthology of short comics called Sleepless Phoenix Survival Stories, proceeds of which will go to the Comic Book Alliance.

They're doing this through Kickstarter, the online platform for funding creative projects. To cover the up-front costs of publication they need $3,600. There's a sliding scale for pledges - $5 you get an ebook of the anthology, $15 you get a printed copy of the book, and various points above that you get the book plus bonuses like a signed art print or an original page of artwork. You'll also get the knowledge that you helped free up Andrew Croskery's Kronos City, Bryan Coyle's Babble, Rich Clements' Corvus, Barry McGowan's Oz: Fall of the Scarecrow King, and many other exciting graphic novels, to be completed and published. Worthy cause I think.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Exhibition by Belfast artists

Local artists Dale Mawhinney (Drawn Out) and Andy Brown (The Dead) have an exhibition opening on 24 August at La Boca restaurant on Fountain Street, at 7pm, before the open mic music night. There's a Facebook group.

Here's an example of what Dale does:

And one by Andy:

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Dave McElfatrick denied a Visa to the USA

Dave McElfatrick, late of Coleraine and I believe based in Belfast these days, is one of four cartoonists, and the only non-American one, who produce the cynical stickman webcomic Cyanide and Happiness. He wants to go to America to work on some animated shorts with his co-creators - but they won't give him a Visa, apparently because they don't think he's an important enough artist. There's a petition set up, so if you want Dave to go to America, go and sign it!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Lingua Comica

Fionnuala Doran announces that Lingua Comica: Graphic Novels from Asia and Europe is now available to buy. It's a big book, the result of a project by the Asia-Europe Foundation which puts together pairs of artists, one from Asia and one from Europe, to create a comic between them, and it includes Fionnuala's collaboration with Malasian artist Sarah-Joan Mokhtar, among others.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Belfast Comics in ImagineFX Mag

ImagineFX article
The Belfast comic creators made an appearance in last month's ImagineFX magazine with a few sketches and photo's from one of the Garrick meetups making the 'Sketch Jam' sidebar. 

There were plenty of photo's and doodles from that night, and here are a few that of the extras that weren't in the magazine:

Electro by Mal Coney
Frog Thor by Andrew Croskery
Paddy Brown, PJ Holden. Mal Coney
Daredevil by Stephen Downey
Clockwise from 12. Ann Harrison, Stephen Downey, Andrew Croskery, Paddy Brown, PJ Holden, Mal Coney
Andrew Croskery, Sean Boyle, Paddy Brown

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Black Market and Pub Meet

Black Market this Sunday, 1 August, and The Black Panel will be there as usual, with its selection of comics by creators from all over Ireland, north and south. That's at the Black Box, Hill Street, from 12 noon to 5pm.

Then next Thursday, 5 August, it's the regular monthly comics creators pub meet at the Garrick Bar on Chichester Street from 9pm.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

News from the neighbours - Summer Edition in Dublin

Summer Edition, a zine, comic and artists's book fair, is on at Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin this Saturday (24 July). Belfast will be represented at this year's not only by myself, but also by Fiona Chambers, one of the artists who make up Scissors Cuts Paper, alongside the finest cartoonists, book artists and zinesters from all over Ireland and beyond. It's free in, and a day return from Belfast on the train is only a tenner if you book online.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

New comic on Tales of the...

The online multimedia anthology Tales of the... has a new comic, a horror western called "Welcome to Absolution". It's a collaborative piece, written by Andrew Croskery, drawn by Stephen Downey, inked and grey-toned by Andy Brown and lettered by David Withers.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Black Books, 18 July 2010

It's Black Books, the monthly book fair at the Black Box on Hill Street, this Sunday, and The Black Panel will be there with our usual selection of the finest comics created in Ireland, north and south - plus two new ones!

One thing that comes up a lot is we don't have many comics for younger readers. Hopefully we can remedy that, as we now have the first three issues of The Wren, a teen superhero book by Jason Connor, Mark Kirwan and Phil Roe.

As well as that, we have the brand new third issue of my own iron age epic serial, The Cattle Raid of Cooley!

Hope to see yez all there!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

New Sunnyside podcast

PJ, Scott and Ron are back with a new Sunnyside Comics podcast! They're discussing the resurgence of the UK monthly comic (the forthcoming Strip Magazine UK, to which PJ is contributing, and Mark Millar's equally forthcoming CLiNT), PJ's complete lack of professional jealousy over Irish artist Declan Shalvey's new assignment at Marvel (not 100% safe for work), what Ron does for a living, beards, PJ's iPad (surprise!) and the price of comics apps for it, Brian K. Vaughan's Pride of Baghdad, and an amount of gratuitous personal abuse between the presenters.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Cattle Raid of Cooley - new page

The latest installment, page 86, of my Iron Age Irish webcomic, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, is posted today!

Guest artists on Japandex

Martin Eden, creator of gay superhero comic Spandex, is running a special Japandex month on his blog, where guest artists offer Japanese interpretations of his characters. Local artists who've had a go include Stephen Downey, Andrew Croskery, David Withers, Jay Faulkner and Bridgeen Gillespie. Here's Stephen's and Bridgeen's.

(Via Stephen Downey)