Paul J Bolger’s “Hound” graphic novel in the spotlight at Waterford’s Imagine Arts Festival

Hound - Graphic Novel Cover by Paul J Bolger

The Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford, Ireland, opens next week, running Tuesday 25th – Sunday 30th October, and events include an exhibition of art from Hound, Paul J Bolger‘s graphic novel project, published by Dark Horse Comics.

Hound opens in 50 BCE, when Morrigan, the goddess of war, has become restless as a long-lasting peace settles over Ireland. Deciding the time of peace must end, she chooses Setanta, the nephew of the king of the north, to become her ward. After a young Setanta slays the demon-hound of Cullan, he becomes known as Cú Cullan – The Hound of Cullan. As Cú Cullan grows older, it is apparent that an extraordinary power lies within him… and a great darkness.

When he chooses the quiet life of a farmer over the sword, Morrigan, angry at the betrayal, instigates an invasion of his homeland and Cú Cullan must challenge fate itself to keep the goddess at bay.

Hound Unleashed - The Art of Paul Bolger

HOUND – UNLEASHED” is a multimedia exhibition detailing the development of writer-artist Paul J Bolger’s retelling of the life and times of Ireland’s greatest hero, a project that began life in 1990 when Paul could not find a satisfactory answer to the question, “why are there no Irish legends or myths being made into movies or comics?”

Time has of course caught up and long answered this question, as more and more movies, games and comics mine our past for future forms of entertainment, but Paul was at the forefront of creating such fiction, the strip co-written with Barry Devlin (of Horslips), lettered by Dee Cunniffe, project logo and branding by fellow WIT graduate, Fran Walsh.

The life cycle of the project has come full circle again having seen it begin as an animated feature film before being adapted into a proposal for a live action film and then into the current iteration: a 500 page graphic novel. A film and spin off TV series are in development.

A Design (Communications) graduate from WIT and  musician, Paul is a passionate creative who entered the entertainment industry in the late 1980s and has provided his drawing, design and directing skills to films, books and graphic novels; along with writing, recording and performing his songs since then. 

His animation films credits include The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven, The Thief & The Cobbler, Cool World, Shaun The Sheep and the upcoming Wallace & Gromit film, The Grand Getaway, planned for 2024 releaseHe released the eponymous first of two recent music albums on the Canadian label Wolfe Island records in 2020, with the follow up, Hard Truth, arriving to great reviews in Spring 2022. Work is underway for his third record. 

The exhibition, which had a hugely successful six week run this summer at The Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, examines different aspects of the project, offering an overview of early design, art and other development works, a look at some of the development work behind the graphic novel, and offering an introduction to some of the production design and props involved

Along with many samples of original art, design and other materials made to further the completion of the project there are also sketches, drawings, prints and paintings for sale.

Cú Chulainn has inspired artists and writers for over two millennia, and it’s hoped this celebration and reimagining of one of Ireland’s oldest and greatest sagas will inspire more to create their own adaptations of Irish legends and original projects.

The Imagine Arts Festival is celebrating 21 years of infusing creative flair into Waterford City. The programme of events runs from Tuesday 25th – Sunday 30th October, the multi-disciplinary arts festival incorporating The Waterford Writers Weekend.

• Hound Unleashed – The Art of Paul Bolger Tuesday 25th – Sun 30th October 2022 Port of Waterford Building, Georges Street, Waterford, Ireland | Free | Details here on the Imagine Art Festival site

Hound is available from all good book shops and comic shop (AmazonUK Affiliate Link) | ISBN 978-1-50672-749-3

With thanks to Mark Hetherington for the tip

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



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