ICN Feed September

Welcome to the latest edition of the ICN Feed where we look at all the happenings in the Irish Comics scene in the month of September.

RIP Stephen Coffey

Sadly, we have to start this month on a somber note with the passing of writer Stephen Coffey, who also wrote under the name Garth Cremona. I’ve never had to write something like this for ICN so all I can say is that he was always a lovely guy to talk to on the few occasions I got the chance to meet him. I think I’ll remember him mostly for the unique voice that he brought to the scene. He always had ideas that were out there but in the main he managed to pull them off. The one I always go to is The Society for the Remarkable Suicide which had a far out concept, a group that helps people go out in a unique way that will make them memorable. I like an interesting hook but what made the book for me were the real life stories of the main characters that really spoke to me as a depression sufferer. I had a chance to talk about the book with Stephen about the series a number of years ago which was fun because I’m a big fan of the book. You can actually read a colourised version of the book that he mentioned in the interview here. I’m sad that we will never get to read the conclusion as I am told it is quite brilliant.

September We’ll Remember

I’ve had a piece in my head for a long time about “5 Irish Books I’d Like To See Return”. I always like compiling the 5 books pieces and people seem to get a kick out of them. The piece came back to mind as Atomic Diner joined Twitter and began posting about one of my picks Freak Show with some interesting details behind some of the covers. Freakshow was the first book I discovered that was created by someone from Ireland (that I recall).

It is set in the 1950s and centred around detective Jack Nixon, actress Susan White, Elizabeth Grange and blue blood Miles Weishaupt. In the first issue, Jack investigates the murder of a famous film director. Suspicion is cast on Susan as there are photographs of someone who looks like her with him. Susan and Jack have a history and she is none too pleased to have him back in her life especially since she’s under investigation. The killer is eventually revealed to be a lover of Jack’s who is obsessed with Susan. They manage to stop him but Jack being outed leads to his leaving the police. The next story introduces us to Elizabeth and Miles. Miles gives Elizabeth a lift to an acting audition where she ends up getting used in the machinations of the villain known as the Director. He attacks the Oscars using her image which causes them to cross paths with Jack and Susan, who have decided to investigate the events after they read about them in the newspaper. Together they foil his plans and end up as a sort of Supernatural Detective Agency. Each issue they run into a strange villain in a series that is a mixture of Ed Wood and LA Confidential. I followed the adventures of Jack, Susan and co for the rest of the books run.

Reading the first few issues, I noticed the name Robert Curley on the credits. I finally knew someone who actually creates these things! Along the way, I was also introduced to artists who would go on to make names for themselves in the US: Stephen Thompson, Stephen Mooney, Declan Shalvey and Bob Byrne and discovered that more Irish people were making comics. This led me to discover books by people like Bob Byrne (Mister Amperduke), Alan Nolan (Sancho) and Gerry Hunt (In Dublin City), who had been making them for many years. Of all the Irish books that I’ve read, this is the one of the few that I’ve always wanted a crack at. I’m still holding out for a return. If you’d like to read the series, Atomic Diner have recently reprinted 15 issues.

Recent and Upcoming Events

The Irish comics crew once again raved about the Though Bubble Festival which I last visited in.. 2008? This one is on my agenda for next year for sure as I am sure I can convince the husband that a visit to Leeds has some merit.

I have been given the go ahead by Octocon to release the names of the panels that I am on. This includes: “Worth A Thousand Words“, a panel I suggested and will moderate which covers the difference between creating comics and other media, “The Emerging Comics Scene In Ireland“, an Irish comics panel, and “The TARDIS is full of..“, which covers the new female Doctor and the overall change of direction of the new series. Times and details of panelists should be released this week. There’s an interesting group of panelists for each.

Here are some upcoming events:

J Con (October 6th – 7th)
Octocon (October 19th to 21st)
Premier Comic Con (October 21st)
Comic City Festival (October 27th)
SuirCon (November 25th)

As mentioned, I will be at Octocon. I will also be attending Comic City Festival. October also means Inktober (more on that at the end).

@ me on Twitter if I am missing some. Thanks to Leeann Hamilton for pointing out J Con to me last week.

Now Reading Pile

Just recently hitting my review pile is Leeann Hamilton’s US debut, Panacean. I’m hoping to get to that really soon.  I did fit in a review of The Guards II in September. Stephen Ward reviewed: Roomies, Dr 0 and issue two of the River Lee Stories. September also saw the return of Seán Donnelly to Webcomic Wednesday where he reviewed Ship Wrecked Volume 3.  As always, @ us with your review suggestions.

On my radar:

Analog Volume One by David O’Sullivan and Gerry Duggan
Dead Rabbit by John McCrea, Gerry Duggan and Mike Spicer
The Dead Hand Volume One by Stephen Mooney, Jordie Bellaire and Kyle Higgins
Death Sworn issue 2 by Karl Rowe
Neon Skies by Kevin Keane, Ciarán Marcantonio and Cristian Sabarre
Panacean by Leeann Hamilton, Jesse Samper and Justin Richards.

Any other business

We are still working on some website issues but we’ll hopefully solve those soon.

I am looking forward to another Inktober (it will have actually started as I post this). If you want to follow Stephen Ward’s list you can go to the Inktober Collective Twitter account. Artists will be following their own lists of course which makes it all the more interesting. For example, I happen to know that Brian Burke will have a Final Fantasy theme this year which makes me happy.