IMO: ICBM lecture last Thursday in Trinity!
By BARRY KEEGAN.
I feel that I wanted to Acknowledge Irish Comic Book Month and all the efforts put in across the community. This is a written report from my point of view and impressions on last Thursday’s Lecture in Trinity College. When I first seen Irish Comic book Month mentioned on Irish Comic News which I think was Rob Curley’s brainchild I didn’t know what to expect but was keen to contribute. So far it has been better than I hoped. I was really looking forward to the Lecture and I think what helped was a combination of factors.
1 – Irish Comics are at their strongest thanks to a host of publishers and creators.
2 – Eoin McAuley of Lightning Strikes had done a great job in organising the lecture, if he had help from others then my thanks go to those people also.
3 – Support from the whole Irish Comics scene, I wasn’t sure of the makeup in the room but from Creators/Readers/Podcasters and so on everyone made the effort on this one no doubt.
4 – The Comic Book Shops. We have the most ever in Ireland which is like the corner stone to the whole scene.
5 – I’m only learning about a Comics Appreciation Society which I believe were present and helped in some way so thanks to them also.
6 – A host of Podcasts devoted to Irish Comics and Comics in general, spreading the word for the love of it.
7 – Noodlers are a sketch group who I don’t know much about but heard them mentioned, so another presence adding to the richness of the Irish Scene.
7 – Stephen Mooney’s Half Past Danger is about to launch and he was there to create a buzz. I think this is the first creator owned project from an Irish creator on such a scale so for me at least this was very VERY impressive.
8 – Declan Shalvey is tearing it up for Marvel and Dark Horse, so him being in attendance added a lot of weight to the event, and “that association” with such big publishers added some validity to the whole proceeding.
9 – Jordie Bellaire Another high profile name, although not on the panel but there to add more weight.
10 – All of the rest of people in the community I didn’t mention only as I am not aware of them.
I came in late to the lecture after being convinced to go for a pint beforehand by one of my friends, so I was delighted to see a packed lecture hall when I walked in where I managed to squeeze in at the back. The panel looked fairly squashed down in front, and with the Ireland Flag draped across the table it made it look like some kind or Republican Uprising. The location was great for the event and I could hear and see everything perfectly so well done there. The panel seemed relaxed and everyone was just saying whatever they wanted to which was regularly followed by a good few laughs. I’ve listened to so many Podcast interviews like a lot of people and at times it sounded like usual fare but I personally never tire of this and in truth only so much can be covered.
There was a questions section which worked really well and some tough ones thrown at the panel. Afterwards there was a presentation on some kind of computer game mixed with comics, I hadn’t heard anything about this prior to the lecture and as I had just bumped into Rob Curley where we chatted I missed the bulk of that talk. What it did say to me was that there is so much going on that things like Irish Comic News and Irish Comic Book Month are bringing us all closer and making us aware of more.
The open mic session was a great facility, and it gave me a chance to just say hi to everyone. I’ve worked on three issues of The League of Volunteers and still felt like an outsider through nobodies fault but my own. So for me it was good to throw my head up on stage and introduce myself and quickly chat about what I am working on.
At the end of the lecture I got to finally meet Darrin O’Toole who I’m doing a four page collaboration along with an inker and colourist for Irish Comic Book Month. Even though I’m focusing on my own project I couldn’t pass up a small project with Darrin, he is definitely doing all the right things and I really think he has a talent for pushing his name and brand. Something Declan Shalvey touched on during the Panel was that a lot of us Irish need to learn these skills and I think Darrin has definitely gotten to grips with it, so well done to him.
After everyone headed off to the Grand Social I stopped over and picked up an Issue of Celtic Clan. I had promised Nigel Flood I would pick up a copy which I haven’t read yet but look forward to it. I also grabbed Earth Ruler which I had seen in digital format a few months back in exchange for a sketch, thanks Darrin for putting the sketch in the back of the issue. The book was so much more impressive in the physical form.
After the lecture there was a lot of people buzzing about, for a short time I spoke with Shabbir of Comic Buzz who I’ve never met before and our conversation was cut short as I bumped into my friend Stephen who had come with me. He was talking to Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire and a guy named Aidan he knows from Bolder Media. My friend Stephen who had come with me works for Brown Bag Films so that was two guys working in Animation that were attending the lecture which is a positive thing. Declan and Jordie were extremely nice and complimentary to my work which I appreciated a lot. I really admire them for one thing above even the art they produce which I will try and explain. At one point I attempted to do the full time comic thing when I worked on The League of Volunteers and I couldn’t hack it. Simply put it’s one of the hardest jobs i’ve ever had to do, the hours put in, the physical restrictions of sitting at a desk all day. The HeadAches, the isolation from fresh air and the world. It’s extremely tough and I envy their ability to do it. It’s a shame riches aren’t heaped on these guys, I work in I.T to pay my bills and it is a lot easier than what they have do.
Over at The Grand Social there was a lot of people there from the lecture and I hung out with Rob Curley and Darrin O’Toole mostly. While there though I got to chat to a host of the Lightning Strike guys, and it gave me an opportunity to congratulate them on what they are doing and have achieved. Eoin McAuley is a very gracious fella and I got to thank him again for all his hard work, Ciaran Marcantonio(Clock Work Orange) is a unique guy who really loves his comics. Rob Carey(Reality Watch) is a funny guy who had ran out of charge in the pub, I heard he was still recovering from pneumonia. I had a good chat with Stephen Carey(Reality Watch) about his writing, his Reality Watch stuff is off the wall with some great concepts in there so I’m looking forward to seeing how that story pans out. Daryl Cox(Monkey of Oz) I chatted to briefly who also seems to be loving what he is doing and talked about the difficulty in doing an anthology. While the photos of the amazing cake was happening I bumped into Wayne Talbot from The Pubcast which was nice as I love listening to the show but have never met the man, didn’t chat much as he was busy doing the Podcast with Stephen Mooney.
Another great help to the whole scene is something I’d heard of before and have learned more about after last night. I got chatting to the owner of Dublin City Comics, I can’t remember his name but he filled me in on The Geek Easy which is a place for a lot of creators to hang out, work on ideas, sketch, write and what not. Something like that can really light a fire under creators as they can get together and fuel each other to work harder. During the panel Stephen Mooney had said that the new wave of Irish creators seemed to have their shit together at an early age and I definitely think The Geek Easy has contributed to this.
Before I left I chatted with Declan again and he had a few nuggets from his experiences working in comics. Finally on the way out I grabbed Stephen Mooney to wish him my best and congratulate him on his hard work and brave decision to go creator owned, I will be buying every issue so hopefully the rest of you out there can support him too!
On the way home I realised a lot of other prominent people working on Independent Irish comics or Irish Creators working on Mainstream comics were either not there or I hadn’t spoke to them. This thought corrected my perception that everyone from our scene was at the lecture. There is a lot of people from creators, to podcasters, and fans that weren’t there but it reminded me of the vast pool that is out there on our little island and Hopefully ICBM will grow and grow year in year out which will bring the community even closer. And eventually the regular folk in Ireland outside of comic fans take note of what is being created.