ICN Feed November: The Comics Pile

Howdy folks. It has been some time since I have done one of these so with that, and the fact that I haven’t gotten to a lot of reviews lately, I am going to do a post about what I’ve been reading lately. This will be about regular comics. For webcomics, check out the return of Webcomic Wednesday and Seán Donnelly. If any Irish creators want a critical eye turned turned to webcomics, you can contact us and I’ll let Seán know. Well on with the show.

RETURNING CONTENDERS

One of the big winners of last year’s ICN Awards was Barry Keegan and The Bog Road. Well Barry is back with more mythological creatures and, believe or not, an even better story with The Dark Pool. Barry is creating his own mythos and I am looking forward to where he is going with it.

Always popular in the ICN voting, Rogue Comics are having a pretty good year of publishing but their stand-out for me, so far*, is Tales From Eternal Worlds. This is a very different book with Oisin Roche bringing a unique style art to a number of different stories from the likes of Edgar Alan Poe to our very own Wayne Talbot. This book is a must for horror fans especially those students of vintage horror which Oisin’s art reeks of.

*I say so far because of their upcoming Thought Bubble release but more on that later.

My favourite book of 2018 was Luke Healy’s Permanent Press. Luke returns with a story about his personal trek along the Pacific Coast. The book captures the experience and the author’s struggle to keep going. The strength of Luke’s writing, for me, is his ability to pull you into his personal story and capture your imagination. This one does that as well as giving you a slice of Americana.

The book to beat in our Major Publisher category is always 2000AD and I never question that. Its popularity in Ireland is unquestioned and has led to a comic con for fans of it and other British comics in Enniskillen Comic Fest (last year’s event award winner) and a Belfast based fanzine, Sector 13. The likes of PJ Holden and Michael Carroll continue to bring the thrills we come to expect from them (The Fall of Barbarbara Grimm being one of my recent favourites from Michael). Joining the creative cast of the Megazine this year, Maura McHugh, who had a story in last year’s sci-fi special, returned to Judge Anderson in a multi-part story, The Dead Run. This tale effortlessly utilises Mega-City lore and brings the kind of horror that I think best suits the Psi-Judge.

THE BIG TWO AND MORE

One of the things that makes life for us at ICN harder and harder are the number of creators making a name for themselves in the US. Stephen Ward tries to keep track of releases with his weekly list and leaves no creative type overlooked be it artist, writer, colourist or letterer. I was jokingly thinking of creating a Best Irish Comic Cover By Declan Shalvey for this years awards. Hell you could have a category for his House Of X / Power Of X variants. He is killing on those in my opinion. I don’t go for a lot of Big Two books but this week alone had Yondu with art by John McCrea and issue three of Web Of Black Widow featuring the art of Stephen Mooney. Both artists are uniquely suited to the stories being told in those books and make them something special.

I mentioned that we like to feature all areas of creativity and that comes to mind with Ice Cream Man, a book I picked up solely because Chris O’Halloran was colouring it. This book really allows him to show his stuff and is another must for horror fans and is probably my favourite mainstream series. I liken it to X-Files in that it has a “Monster of the Week” but there is an overriding mythology to it. You also may seen Chris’ work in the recent Immortal Hulk 25 which was a big deal and I am happy he got to be a part of that.

Another superb independent book is Killer Groove. To use the music analogy, it has an interesting hook, a talented ensemble and leads to be beautiful album. Eoin Marron ups his game with this one and I think Ollie Master’s story helps bring out the best in him. The last issue has already hit stands and I am looking forward to the trade / album.

I am not going to get to everything with this piece (as I said, there is SOOOO much to get to). However, while I’m on independent books, I have to mention the return of the renamed Dead Eyes (with art by John McCrea) and Analog (with art by Dave O’Sullivan). I have not gotten to these yet but really liked the previous issues so expect big things.

THOUGHT BUBBLE AND BEYOND

You can catch some images of books I’m reading on ICN’s Instagram. You may have noticed I’m on a bit of a Stuart McCune kick at the moment. I’m saving those books for another piece. Maybe I’ll see you at Thought Bubble. I’ll hopefully do a piece on that event next week. I’ll leave you with some images of books I’m looking forward to seeing, most of which are debuting at Thought Bubble.