James Bacon reports on the recent Dublin Comic Con Summer Edition, which turned the spotlight on Irish comics creatives in style…
With a fabulous line up of comic book guests, incredible small press publishers, and brilliant Irish artists working their way up in the industry, Dublin Comic Con exceeded my expectations, and really had a lot on offer for the comic book fan. It was wonderful to be back in the CCD on the Liffey in Dublin. The event which had nationwide coverage had sold out, and the enthusiasm and interest was huge.
I was on a dual mission, first, I was with my five and eight-year-old nieces, and as ever I was hoping to see comic creatives and get some signatures and find new comics, somehow, I managed to succeed at this, but it gave me a wonderful perspective.
Excitement for the young ladies included holding and stroking Owls, watching and enjoying some incredibly kinetic and fast wrestling from Over The Top Wrestling, meeting a huge eight foot tall Chewbacca, having much fun on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, courtesy of the U.S.S. Cuchulain, and getting well looked after by comic artist Sean Izaakse and enjoying all the cosplayers, such as Loki, Jane Foster and Thor. The nieces loved it, and afterward we went to Captain America’s n Grafton Street, to enjoy burgers and Jim Fitzpatrick art in this iconic diner.
This year’s guest line up was incredible for the comic book fan. Some of the biggest names in Irish Comics were at the convention, which was great to see on many levels. In the room with Dominique McElligott who plays Meave in The Boys and actor Felicia Day were comic artist WIll Sliney, comic writers Scott Snyder and Brian Azarello.
Will Sliney developed and presented “We Will Draw”, a programme that was part of the national broadcaster RTÉ Television’s Home School Hub during the pandemic, thus making him a household name, and it was great to hear about Will’s next project, Hell to Pay, with Charles Soule and Rachelle Rosenberg for Image Comics, which has been described as Indiana Jones meets Hellboy.
Declan Shalvey was busy signing X-Men Unlimited, Latitude #1, sporting a very nice Wolverine cover, amongst many other comics, but there was a lot of interest in Old Dog, the new series about a spy that is being released by Image in Autumn, and with the preview in the Image! #1 30th Anniversary Anthology, a print and artwork on hand to consider, it was creating its own excitement amongst fans. I hope that this continues to show just how strong a writer Declan is, between Bog Bodies and the excellent Time before Time with Rory McConville from Image, now on issue 15, I am looking forward to this new series from a writer who delivers with words as much as he does with art.
Katie O’Kane‘s art was on display, and her stunning array of work is both striking and attractive, and when one is faced with a wall of such well drawn work, it can be quite breathtaking. I especially like how dynamic and action packed her imagery can be, while there is a great variety to her painterly style, an ability to stamp her own interpretation, but brilliantly.
Ruairí Coleman was also on hand, and his Iron Man Hellcat Annual and Star Wars comics were proving popular and there was much exciting news.
Ruairi is the artist on the upcoming Edge of Spider-Verse #2, which will see the debut of Spider-UK, on sale this week in comic shops. This new character, designed by Zoe Thorogood will appear in a story written by Ramzee and is eagerly anticipated, but it was lovely to hear from Ruairí himself, hear the work he has put into it and how he is looking forward as well to fans’ reactions.
Claire Costelloe, who has trained animation at the legendary animation school in Dublin’s Ballyfermot, had a really nice selection of fan work on display, She ra, Rwby, My Hero Academia were all captured in a very neat yet striking style, colourful and well drawn and while working mostly in digital, it was lovely to hear that watercolour is also used.
I then got to meet Paul Bolger, and chat to him about the epic comic Hound, a wonderfully beautiful yet realistic and gritty comic version of the Celtic myth of Cú Chulainn and the Ulster cycle. Following a successful Kickstarter, Dark Horse have now picked up the story and it has been published as a single 504 page volume, a fabulous way to enjoy an Irish legend.
I was very taken by Leeann Hamilton‘s stand, and was immediately impressed with TRNAD_53 – A Final Fantasy VII remake fanzine, presented by Peannlui. I have rarely seen a fanzine or comic book work to this calibre and was very impressed, finding myself picking up beautiful work which ordinarily, I would say was a subject I am not inclined to, but the black and white art is incredible, capturing the characters really well, and the cover so beautifully presented. I was delighted to be able to be allowed to buy some Robotech sketch work by Leeann, her coloured pencils are so subtle and to a breathtaking standard.
I was quite stunned by the celtic artwork of Amy Louise O’Callaghan, who had produced an Irish Mythology Tarot, while not a product I would normally be interested in, the colourful and vibrant comic and manga style art as well as the connection made to celtic legends made them very attractive. I also picked up Amy’s really neat Feathers comic, about the Children of Lir, a really nice and thoughtful reimagining of the legendary celtic tale. I could not walk away without either of these delightful products.
Kevin Keane was at the Rogue Comics stand, and happy to sign Spawn, Gunslinger Spawn and Scorched, which he has been working on, in what must be a very exciting twelve months, his work continues to improve it feels, no end to his ability, and I think now that the cover of King Spawn #8 is one of my favourites.
Delightfully, Rogue Comics continue to produce really quality work, and I was pleased to be able to pick up Unretired #1. This story is about Victor Andrews, decorated soldier, mercenary and no nonsense type of man, but his white collar son MIchael commits suicide, and there may be more to that,, and we see the Andrews family Jane and Jason coping with the death as Victor starts to bond with his grandson. It’s a lovely narrative, neat and enjoyable, the cover is absolutely amazing and the interior work, top notch.
Cat Murray had some amazing pieces for sale, and I was quite taken with her sense of fun, and also the amazing skull logo that she uses, and ended up buying some nice enamel badges and stickers, but I also thought her pin up art was really neat while the colours and movement in her superhero art, really striking.
Paul Carroll, Gary Moloney and Gareth Luby were on hand at the Limit Break Comics stand. I was well chuffed to pick up a superb fanzine by Gary, The Daredevil’s Advocate, taking a look at the legal case that Matt Murdock took, in the five issue arc Daredevil:Supreme from volume 5 of the comic written by Charles Soule. With a lovely cover by Gareth and neatly designed by Paul, it is just a nice publication, really geeking out in a particular way over a comic story, and I loved it. I also picked up How to Thrive and Survive in a horror movie according to Scream by Paul Carroll and was very pleased to pick up some art by Gareth.
There was a lot of local involvement, Pulse College, with Eoin McAuley were hosting a series of panels and talks, it was great to see local conventions not only present, but the likes of Octocon were also hosting a panel on ‘All the Multiverses, a panel pondering multiplicities’ which went down very well, while connecting with fans and friends. To see the clubs, cons and societies that make up the community strongly represented was really nice, and added to that, so many cosplayers getting into the fun of it.
The strength of Dublin Comic Con is that while it is offering a wide variety of entertainment to fans, there is also such a strong home grown element, showcasing Irish brilliance, with a really strong comic book presence, while bringing internationally recognised stars to the show and this made for a fabulous weekend.
Dublin Comic Con have already announced their Spring edition, 11th and 12th of March 2023 – book at www.dublincomiccon.com.
Report and photographs by James Bacon
James Bacon (he/him) is an Irish fan, a train driver living in London. A Hugo Award-winning editor of the fanzine “Journey Planet”, he is a comic fan and enjoys comic art, war Comics, Star Wars, Irish aspects to comics and railways in comics or otherwise. He has been writing about comics for over thirty years.