Sunday 8 May 2011

Cormac (1946-2011)

Just found out that Brian Moore, aka Cormac, passed away on 12 March after a short illness. I met him  in January at the Steve Bell talk at the Black Box, and he was booked in for a round table discussion on the Belfast People's Comic for a documentary Andy Luke is making with NVTV, but he couldn't make it, probably due to his illness.

He's best known for drawing the "Notes" cartoon for the Sinn Féin paper An Phoblacht for more than a quarter of a century. I have to admit the subject matter of much of his work makes me profoundly uncomfortable. He was part of the faction of the Belfast republican movement led by Gerry Adams that ultimately led to the IRA ceasefire, but prior to that was quite comfortable with "armed struggle". However, when I met him he was a very funny and personable chap, and, most importantly, he made a significant and influential contribution to our medium in our city.

He started out self-publishing in the small press - ten issues of Resistance Comics between 1975 and 1978 (CAIN have a pdf of issue 4 to dowload), which featured his self-caricature Paddy O'Looney of the Irish section of the sixth intergalactic revolutionary movement, and Red Biddy, who sounds like an Irish Millie Tant. He also drew for the Belfast People's Comic. In 1976 he was hired by Danny Morrison to draw for Republican News, which merged into An Phoblacht a few years later, and he carried on until early 2004. Here's a link to an archive of his later strips for the paper, and here's one from 2000 that shouldn't discomfit anyone (okay, me) politically:

He also drew for British socialist magazines, and scripted "Dog Collars", a regular strip lampooning the clergy drawn by Ian Knox, for Fortnight magazine in the 1980s, played, sang and wrote songs for a republican band called The Men of No Property, and wrote plays. RIP Brian.

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