NEWS: Talking Cú Chulainn With Will Sliney

Last Friday’s Nationwide programme on RTE One featured Cork’s Will Sliney and the announcement of his new creator owned project, a book based on the legendary Irish character Cú Chulainn. This is the second time in a little over a year that Nationwide has featured Irish comic creators and their work following a previous segment  on Ennis man John Cullen.

Launching a new project via national TV is certainly a new way to get the word out there. Speaking exclusively to ICN today, Sliney explained how RTE got involved. “I was contacted by RTE many months ago about doing the piece. The editor for Nationwide became aware of the project and asked one of his reporters to do an interview. Initially the idea was to do it in Dublin as a smaller segment, but once they found out about the studio in Monaghan, the pieces fell into place.”

With Sliney writing and drawing the book, producing a script is something of a departure for the man who is more known for his artwork on Farscape and Star Wars as he explained; “I’m surprised about how much I am enjoying it, and how natural its proving. I think I may be different from most other writers. I sit and play out each issue like a movie in my head many times before I write anything. Once I have it settled in my mind the script itself starts flowing.” Sliney then teased; “I have a couple of projects that I’m developing with a writer that I couldn’t say no to. Once they are done I think I will be going a lot further into writing my own books for a while. I have tons of ideas.”

Of all the historical Irish characters that are there to choose from, I asked Sliney why Cú Chulainn and what other characters from Irish lore will show up; “I’ve wanted to do this for years. I’ve always been a huge fan of these stories and I think now is the right time for it.” Sliney plans on bringing to the story characters like Queen Medb (Meave), Morrigan, Conchobar Mac Nessa and Fergus Mac Roth “to name but a few.”

While taking a legendary Irish character like Cú Chulainn with many versions of his tale told down the centuries, Sliney plans on putting his spin on the story that he still plans on being  faithful to the original myth as he elaborated. “Everything in the book will be based on events that happen, stories that were taken straight from the earliest versions of the myth. However, there will be a lot of material in it that you will not have seen before. For example, the whole second issue is based on a single line taken from an ancient Irish manuscript.”

Although Sliney will be the sole creator on the book, the blog he regularly contributes to, The Eclectic Micks has this week been having a Cú Chulainn themed art week. I asked Sliney would these pieces make it into a pin-up section of the book; “That is definitely the plan. I’m not sure if they will make it into the first release as we are figuring out the page count right now but that is definitely my intent.”

Publishing a creator owned book is at the best of times a difficult prospect so when I put it to Sliney had he company backing, he was coy; “I do have a company backing me. I can’t say yet as we are in the final stages of the contract talks.” Company backing or no it won’t deter him from getting his book into comic shops and book stores nationwide.

Now that the announcement has been made, Sliney is working full-time on getting this book finished  but you may not see the book in the immediate future as he explained; “Initially I was hoping for a release in the coming few months. However, we may be going the straight to the Graphic Novel route first. I’m working on it fulltime now and hope to have the book finished within the next six months.”

Sliney is already looking forward past Cú Chulainn should the book prove to be a success at possible further projects; “I definitely have more in mind. If the book is successful, which I really hope it is, I’ll be delving more into the very rich story of Celtic Mythology. A certain magical land of the youth springs to mind.”

Now the cat is out of the bag and the books release is now awaited, Sliney moves forward into the realm of creator owned material knowing that like his protagonist, he has a long meandering road in fron of him to success and victory.