QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Dirk van Dom
Who are you and what is your connection to comics?
I’m an international man of mystery and my main connection to comics is
that I read a lot of them! They’ve been a huge part of my life since I
was a wee lad when my dad – who worked in a newsagent – would bring me
home issues of 2000ad and Eagle etc every Saturday. I’ve been a massive
comics fan ever since, mainly of the British ‘anthology’ format. I
suppose it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at writing
some myself, and when I got involved with the 2000ad forum about two
years ago, and discovered the British small-press scene, I decided to
have a crack at submitting a few scripts. Started out sending stuff to
online digital comics such as Temple APA and Hallowscream, before
branching out towards actual ink and paper comics such as Futurequake
and Paragon. I’m only a newbie to all of this, but I’m enjoying every
minute of it.
What comic are you working on right now?
I have an ongoing series running in a cool UK small-press comic called
“Icarus Dangerous” and it tells the continuing adventures of the
famous Greek legend – picking up the tale from AFTER he falls out of
the sky to his ‘death’. Except, in my story, he doesn’t die at all,
and that’s just the beginning of his journey, which takes him further
afield than ever before.
I’m also working on my own self-published anthology “VANGUARD”, which
features a number of my own characters and series, stories I’ve been
working for years. A lot of them started life as short stories or
would-be novels, which I later realised would work much better as
comics. It wasn’t until my discovery of the small-press scene that I
realised there was a way of actually turning them into comics and
getting them out there. Issue 1 of Vanguard is available now, with the
2nd issue in production, with an aim of having it ready by the end of
What’s the best part of making comics?
It’s just great fun. Fantastic to see your ideas and stories come to
life and appear as wonderful images on the printed page. Great fun
meeting lots of other writers and artists as well, forging friendships
and relationships with people who share the same passion for comics.
It’s also very rewarding when you get to share your ideas with people –
and people like them! I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
What’s the worst part about making comics?
I’m new to this so I haven’t really discovered any ‘worsts’ yet. For me,
it’s just a hobby, something I do for fun, so you can’t really go wrong.
Obviously, I’m not getting paid for any of my work but that’s not why
I’m doing it anyway. Still, I wouldn’t complain if one day I got good
enough to sell some of this stuff! That would be the icing on the cake.
Who is the biggest influence on your work?
Hard to say. Alan Moore would be right up there, also Grant
Morrison. More recently Al Ewing and Dan Abnett have become massive
influence, I love the way they can both seamlessly blend comedy and
slapstick with high adventure and epic tales. Definately two of my
current faves. And you can’t
answer a question like this without mentioning John Wagner or Pat Mills,
the godfather’s of comic-dom. I’ve been reading their work since I was 6
years old and it’s as good today as it was then! That’s got to have an
influence on you!
What tools of the trade do you use?
My imagination, my laptop, and McDonalds. I have a busy family life and
a busy work life, which offer me little free time for writing. I travel
to work by train and so every morning before I trudge to the office, I
have an hour or so after getting off the train to ‘chill’. I make my way
to McDonalds, order a nice hot latte, switch on the laptop, and get to
work. It’s only an hour, but I get an awful lot done. It’s like a
routine and its become so that I can’t really write anywhere else. If I
do get a few hours free during a weekend or some time, I simply have to
make my way to a McDonalds in order to ‘get in the zone’ and get some
What is the single work of which you are most proud?
I haven’t had that many yet to say – but definitely seeing the first
issue of my comic come together was pretty awesome. When I got the
first printed copy in my
hands it was a great feeling. It was a personal project, something I
set out to achieve at the start of the year, I managed the project
entirely by myself, with brilliant assistance and work from the guys
who teamed up with me for it, and the finished product is – if I do
say so myself – something to be proud of. And issue 2 will be even
What is the best advice you have received?
Not so much advice, just something I read somewhere, though I can’t for
the life of me remember where or who said it. Can’t even remember the
exact wording but it was something along the lines of “once you’ve
written something, no matter what it is or how happy you are with it,
accept that it’s probably shit and try to do better next time!” Words I
live by. Another one was about editing your work – how, once you have
your first draft done, you should go through it, take two panels at a
time and edit them down into one. Finish a second draft like this–and
then repeat the process, as many times as you can until you simply can’t
make 2 panels into 1 anymore. This is a good rule I try to keep in mind
all the time.
What would you like to see happen in Irish comics in the near future?
Well, it would be cool if a big-name publisher came along and decided
to publish a mainstream Irish anthology comic, on a weekly,
fortnightly or monthly basis, something in the format of “Clint”,
though obviously with much different content. This would be a great
development for us comics fans, but I can’t really see it happening! I
don’t think much of anything new will happe in the Irish comics scene
really, apart from more and more of us small-pressers taking the bull
by the horns and striving to get our work out there. Maybe a bunch of
us could team up at some point and combine our resources to make a
bigger splash with something. Who knows? I’d certainly be game for it
in any case!
Anything further to add?
Nopes,not right now! Thanks for reading!
Dirk van Dom is a comics writer from Newbridge, Co. Kildare. He’s been a
fan of comics all his life, beginning with the British anthology style
mags (2000ad, Eagle, Action, Scream etc) of the 80s before dabbling with
Marvel and DC in the 90s and 00’s. Jaded by all that, he recently
turned his attention to the small-press scene, in search of something
‘fresher’. This led to him
trying his hand at writing himself. His work has appeared
online in publications such as Temple APA and Hallowscream, and in print
in “Tales from the Emerald Isle”, “Paragon” and (in the near
future) “Futurequake”. He has also started publishing his own
comic, “Vanguard!”, an anthology inspired by 2000ad and those British
classics of yesteryear, which features stories and characters that
have been living in his head for the best part of fifteen years! You
can learn more at: http://www.bountyquest.