Working at ICN, I feel it my job to shine a light on the Irish independent scene so as far as reviews go I tend to ignore Marvel, DC, Image, IDW and Dynamite. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the work put out by Irish creators for those companies so I thought I’d mention a few I have enjoyed in the last while. What they all have in common, for me, is that all the creators are working on things they really love. So pick them up. I highly recommend them.

When I heard the announcement that Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire were going to be working on a MOON KNIGHT series with writer Warren Ellis, I got very excited. So much so that I had to e-mail Declan to get him to do an interview about it (my first full interview for ICN). The series really lived up to hype with each issue doing a superb done in one style story. Each issue did its own thing with my favourites being “THE RAID” issue but I also loved Declan’s superhero costume design. I was really disappointed when the creative team departed after six issues but this was more than offset by the announcement of a creator owned series, INJECTION, which will feature the same creative team. You can pick up the tpb at DICE and get it signed by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire.

This is an interesting book as I followed it from its first announcement, through the various updates and sneak peaks and all the way to the hardcover release. This book really taps into my psyche as a child of the 80s. With a mixture of dinosaurs and Nazis, this book is just plain fun. I really like love book from start to finish but my favourite scene being the bar fight in issue one (see the page above). The series got me to buy the blu-ray boxset of INDIANA JONES which I watched (not THE CRYSTAL SKULL) in preparation for the release of the hardcover. It isn’t necessary but it helps you appreciate some of the things that influenced creator Stephen Mooney. The hardcover has some great extras as Stephen Mooney delves into some of the influences and some titbits about various panels and the creation of the book. You can also get this signed at DICE.

I became a fan of Maura McHugh on books like JENNIFER WILDE and RÓISÍN DUBH. When it was announced that she was working on a Victorian detective horror series set in the Mignolaverse, I was very happy. I knew Maura could write a great period piece from her work on JENNIFER WILDE (which happens to be my favourite Irish independent book). I knew she was a huge horror fan and she has written horror before including a superb anthology TWISTED FAIRY TALES. She has a great co-writer in Kim Newman and a superb art team in artist Tyler Crook, cover artist Julián Totino Tedesco and colourist Dave Stewart. This has translated to a series that has more than lived up to my expectations. I also helps that I love a good detective story and that’s what this is. The story sits perfectly in the world of HELLBOY and B.P.R.D. and the stories of Sir Edward Grey. Maura will also be a guest at DICE.

Will Sliney is another creator that I have followed since the very beginning so I knew going into this series the he is a HUGE Spider-man fan. I really enjoyed his work on Marvel’s FEARLESS DEFENDERS but you can tell he’s been practising for this book his entire life. Working with the writer of the original series, Peter David, he has created a great Spider-man book full of dynamic art, interesting plot twists and great character moments. He has also had to chance to redesign a Spider-man villain and have a story in the new AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issue one. Some more comics that you can get signed at DICE 2014.

This book was basically labelled as “Punisher in high heels” which really didn’t interest me as a reader. It wasn’t until I attended Michael Carroll’s talk at LAYDEEZ DO COMICS, where he discussed his run, that I thought about giving the book (well his issues) a chance. You can easily pick up the book from his first issue without being lost. He took the lead character and gave her more depth and created a story that made me interested. Yes there were guns and bad guys but you were given a reason to care. My favourite issue was the one where he shows Jennifer’s influence on other women including some Irish ones. A great run. Michael Carroll is also a DICE guest so you should pick his trades and get them signed.