ICN Feed February: Editor’s Picks

We’ve gotten to March so I thought it was time for another edition of ICN Feed where I upload my thoughts on Irish comics to the interwebs for your consumption.

Editor’s Picks

This has become an annual piece where I go through the awards and give my opinion on the winners and who I would go for. I think all the winners are deserving and this is in no way meant to undermine their wins. Just some insights on the process. This year we tried to reduce the number of nominations to streamline the process and to make it more of a nod to get the nomination. This meant some very good writers and artists could be seen as being overlooked. On the shops and events, we tried to go with nominees that did something for the independent creators and comics in general which meant the exclusion of some big name events.

BEST ARTIST (SMALL PRESS) This was a pretty competitive field and I thought any of a number of them could have taken it. If I had to pick, I would probably go with the winner, Kevin Keane, who not only brought us Neon Skies but also The Guards II demonstrating his versatility in the process. Speaking of process, you should check out his podcast on that very subject.

BEST WRITER (SMALL PRESS) Another competitive field. Barry Keegan is a deserving winner as The Bog Road was a very well written comic that I danced through. Truly a joy to read. However, I think I need to give the nod to Luke Healy. His book, Permanent Press, had so many layers and was so innovative in its use of the medium, that I was in awe when reading.

BEST IRISH ARTIST (MAJOR PUBLISHER) It’s a joy to see so many Irish artists doing well outside Ireland. I particularly want to call out Leeann Hamilton stepping on to bigger stage and recommend that everybody goes download her book, Panacean. Our worthy winner, John McCrea, gets the nod for me. Criminally underrated in my opinion and he is doing some of his best work with Dead Rabbit.

BEST IRISH WRITER (MAJOR PUBLISHER) It has often been called out that we need a writer to make it big outside Ireland. Ignoring the fact that Garth Ennis already has, I do think we need a fresh name to gets eyes in the US. When it comes to outside Ireland, 2000AD leads the way in the hiring Irish writers including three of the nominees, one of them being the winner Michael Carroll. Maura McHugh wrote an excellent Judge Anderson story and I hope to see more of that, Rory McConville has written some excellent Devlin Waugh and is moving more into Judge Dredd and, last but not least, Michael Carroll continues to put his unique stamp on Mega City One. I’m gonna go with Mike.

BEST COLOURIST (SMALL PRESS) Both the colourist categories were tough calls this year. I really enjoyed Chris O’Halloran’s work on The Bog Road but I am going to go with Cristian Sabbare on Neon Skies as his colours really gave the book a unique look.

BEST COLOURIST (MAJOR PUBLISHER) A lot of deserving creators here but I am going have to go with the winner Chris O’Halloran as he is really making a name for himself by producing some quality work.

BEST LETTERER Tough choice again as I liked all three. I’m going to have to side with the public vote as I think Kevin Keane’s lettering really added to the storytelling in Neon Skies.

BEST WEBCOMIC Always a competitive field even with the absence of one of the more popular series (we miss you Superhero Helpdesk!). I can already see a couple that could be added for next year (for example Paradiso). For 2018, I am siding with the public vote. Twisted Doodles always gets a laugh from me and I am looking forward to picking up the creator’s new book, The Newborn Identity. I don’t even have kids.

BEST IRISH CREATOR COMIC (SMALL PRESS) Man the categories were tough this year but the stand-out book for me was Permanent Press. It just showed, in so many ways, how to use the tools that comics have in order to tell a story. Also, I was really able to empathise with some of the character.

BEST IRISH CREATOR COMIC (MAJOR PUBLISHER) I really enjoyed both the Dead Hand and Dead Rabbit as both really showed the skills of the artist involved (Stephen Mooney and John MCrea). Also, I was really excited for Leeann Hamilton’s US debut in Panacean and I thought Zero Jumper was a breakout for Patrick Mulholland. Plus, I though The Prisoner (Colin Lorimer) was excellent. However, I think 2000AD continues to show the work of some great Irish creators (both in writing and art) so I am going to go with the public vote.

BEST NEWCOMER / BREAKTHROUGH It was great to see Elle Power adding her name to the list of great colourists making a name for themselves. I thought David O’Sullivan really showed his skills with Analog (especially with the covers). Colm Griffin continues to show his talent with each issue of Ocean City. However, I really enjoyed Zero Jumper so I am going to go with Patrick Mulholland.

BEST IRISH COMIC RELATED EVENT I tried to highlight the events that put the comic in comic relate event this year so you might have seen some notable omissions. All the events nominated put some (or all) of the spotlight on local creators. This one is so tough that I just can’t pick a winner here.

BEST IRISH COMIC SHOP I don’t show a preference for stores. We are lucky in Ireland that we have a number of excellent stores and I nominated those I saw doing the most when it comes to promoting Irish book and Irish creators. I will sadly note that we have lost Celtic Comics recently. I wish the guys look in their futures.

BEST IRISH ANTHOLOGY I am going to have to go with Clare Foley’s art on this one so it has to be Blood Runs Cold.

OVERALL BEST IRISH COMIC In case you are wondering what the difference category is between this and BEST IRISH CREATOR COMIC (SMALL PRESS) is, this category can include anthologies and webcomics if we so choose. I am going to go with my best comic pick, Permanent Press.

BEST IRISH COMIC COVER No offence to the other nominees but this was a two way contest for me between Stephen Mooney (with Jordie Bellaire) and Philip Murphy. For childhood nostalgia alone, I need to go with Philip Murphy who knocks it out of the park with so many of his covers. I feel like he might be the most underrated artist working for one of the bigger companies. I tried to get him for an interview but he doesn’t think he has an audience in Ireland. I hope that’s not true.

BEST PUBLISHER Given the level of quality output by them, I think Rogue Comics Ireland really deserves the nod here. It is nice to see some competition springing up so maybe some people will catch up in 2019.

BEST COMIC RELATED/FEATURED IRISH PODCAST I am a ComicCity Cast Guy. I have been really enjoying the Sunnyside Podcast lately. More on podcasts in a bit.

The Read Pile

On the current pile is:

  • Masque (available at DCC)
  • Meowth (available at DCC)
  • Judge Dredd: Cold Wars (out last week in all good comic shops)
  • Injection Deluxe Edition Volume One (has been available in shops for a while)

Podding along

A couple of podcasts to check out:

Ok. That’s all for February’s session. We will talk again soon.