One great thing about conventions is that its an opportunity to meet the people behind the comics you’ve read and enjoyed – but for me, it’s also about finding new comics to enjoy. At this year’s Malta Comic Con, this included Jenika Ioffreda‘s Vampire Free Style, and some amazing manga-influenced black and white work by Greek artist Christos Stampoulis (along with his NFSW F-Word Trooper). It’s also the chance to get early the heads up on exciting new projects by the likes of Pye Parr… but more on that in the New Year.
One thoroughly-enjoyable title on sale from the Irish contingent at the convention was Big Bastard, an award winning independent comic book series written by Danny McColgan and drawn by Neil O’Driscoll. I has a great chat with Danny about the comic and creating comics in general and he’s determined, rightfully, to get the series more exposure. I’m more than happy to oblige!
Big Bastard is an epic adventure series full of myth, monsters and mayhem – and it’s pretty funny, too. I’m still reading the first four issues, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d definitely echo praise elsewhere for the series, including well-deserved kind words from 2000AD‘s Alan Grant who’s praised its “strong characters” and “unique and intriguing plot line and beautiful artwork” that make for “a brilliant read”.
In Big Bastard, what you have known as myth and legend was real, just not in the way you think. The year is 1899. The place, Ireland. A mystical and destructive shockwave has torn through the country. Strange and dangerous creatures have appeared in its wake. It is up to four unlikely human beings and one mysterious, big ol’ bastard to try and save the world. Let’s see if they can manage.
Rooted in Irish mythology and folklore but with its own unique twist, Big Bastard is a delightfully fun series with beautiful artwork that will have you eagerly flipping pages and will leave you wanting more. The comic has been nominated for a host of awards, and won “Overall Best Irish Comic 2014” in the ICN Awards and the “Best Irish Publication 2013” in the Arcade Awards.
Danny McColgan is a writer and actor from Dublin, Ireland who has has written, lettered and self published the comic book series. He is currently gearing up to release the fifth issue, which will be available in early 2016, along with the 160 page collection of issues 1-5. He has also written the once off sci-fi short Space Banditas for Lightning Strike Comics.
Neil O’Driscoll is an illustrator and filmmaker from Ireland. After (a bit of) animation training in Ballyfermot, Dublin, he went on to study crafts in Co. Kilkenny, then film in Edinburgh College of Art. These days he does things such as illustrating Big Bastard, creating visuals for stage shows and making films over very long periods of time.
He launched Issue One his own comic, Gate, at the 2015 Malta Comic Con.
Issues #1-#4 of Big Bastard are available for purchase in most Dublin comic book shops. The team also post them to anywhere in the world if you contact them by their email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or message them on their Facebook page. Big Bastard is sold at numerous comic conventions year round.
Addendum 21st December: I read all four issues of Big Bastard over the weekend in one engaging sitting. This is very much a book you can’t make a judgement call on the basis of just one issue, as the story unfolds across a much wider arc. The story, drawing on a wide range of mythology, offers an Intriguing plot and characters, some likeable, some not, to the good of the book.
The art develops from issue to issue as confidence grows, with some fantastic work, but the fight in Issue Four is stand out for me.
I would say that for Issue Five, purely in terms of editorial enhancement, the team should perhaps consider a “What Has Gone Before” precis on the inside front cover, and perhaps a page of thumbnail character profiles somewhere in the issue for new readers.
Do check this out.