Will Eisner Week: Some Irish Graphic Novels
It was pointed out to me on Facebook that it is Will Eisner week so I thought what better way to celebrate than to read some graphic novels. I decided to pick a selection of Irish books that I think everyone should have on their shelf. You should be able to pick up most of the books in your LCS but I have provided links if the creator has the book available to sell themselves.
If we’re taking Irish graphic novels, we have got to discuss Bob Byrne’s opus. 160 or so pages all using the same 16 panel grid with no dialogue. Sherman Amperduke is a retiree whose hobby is creating and tending to the miniature world he has created and keeps in his basement. The inhabitants of the town resemble Lego mini-figures due to the plastic casing that is applied to them, yet they are living, sentient creatures. The graphic novel deals with Mr Amperduke begrudgingly taking care of his young grandson, Scampi, one summer. After an argument, Scampi throws a garden vermin into the town as revenge. The creature causes havoc among the mini utopia. It deals with various issues such as playing God. You can buy the new extended edition here.
THE EARTHBOUND GOD
Anthea West’s first outing in the comics and you’d be amazed at the level of story-telling. It tells the story of two wandering hunters, Yaeya and Eusha, who are on quest to the mountain lands in search of the earthbound god Mij; a terrifying deer-like creature, in order to take its heart and present it to a rich dying duke. What grabs me about this book is the world building involved. It feels so authentic. It is a real world with its own language and culture that you are visiting. You can buy the book here.
ALEISTER CROWLEY: WANDERING THE WASTE
To be released soon in hardcover, Wandering The Waste tells you about the life and times of Aleister Crowley. Occultist, artist, poet, prophet, record-setting mountaineer, drug and free-love pioneer, spy, scholar, and legendary bad egg. Labelled “The Wickedest Man in the World.” Martin Hayes uses a fictitious meeting to tell the facts about his life. What sells me on this book is the obvious level of research involved in putting it together. It opens up the reader to a strange often unbelievable world but backs it up with facts.
Debbie Jenkinson’s 190 page comic is “the story of a young Dubliner who takes turn down the wrong corridor and gets stuck in a call centre job, for ten long years.” If you have ever worked in an office or have perhaps experienced depression or anxiety, you will find that this book captures that world and mood expertly. Having experienced both, this book grabbed me emotionally in a way that few books have. It is a bit of cathartic experience. You can buy the book here.
RABBIT AND PAUL
Another impressive debut outing, Seán Hogan’s book tells the tale of young boy lost in the midland town of Bally’O’Jaysus and his surreal journey to get home (aided by a 6 foot anthropomorphic rabbit). There are many things that I enjoyed about this book: the Irish feel to the humour, the surreal edge of some of the jokes and the impressive art and design work of Seán Hogan. Fun for people of all ages. You can buy the book here.