IMAGE @ 30: Five Books Featuring Irish Creators That You Should Read

IMAGE Comics recently celebrated it’s 30th birthday and it got me thinking about the books I’ve enjoyed from the company (so many!). I’ve picked my favourite five featuring Irish. Hold on till the end and I’ll give you some current books to take a looks at too.

THE DEAD HAND

The blurb: Carter Carlson was a highly decorated operative during the Cold War. But in the fall of 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, Carter discovered a secret that not only changed his life…but also altered the course of history. Now, as the mysterious “Dead Hand” threatens to end the world once again, the only thing standing in its way is the relationship between an old spy and a little boy.

My take: Stephen Mooney recently described this book as “spy-fi” and I couldn’t think of a better label. He and Kyle Higgins craft a Cold War spy story and add an intriguing science fiction layer. Stephen Mooney is in his element when working in the spy genre and this series features some of his best work especially the covers.

THE HUNT

The blurb: Dream or reality? For a long time, teenager Orla Roche couldn’t tell them apart, and now THE HUNT is coming with its nightmare world of the restless dead. An intense story of survival, THE HUNT is a supernatural horror tale that will give Irish mythology a distinctly modern twist.

My Take: Colin Lorimer has a wonderful skill of mixing the ordinary with the supernatural (more on that below). It probably helps that he is equally skilled as a writer and artist. It was the Irish setting that initially overcame my “not a horror guy” instincts.

ICE CREAM MAN

The blurb: Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, musical fantasy…there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery.

ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series featuring disparate “one-shot” tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man—a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who, with a snap of his fingers—lickety split!—can change the course of your life forever.

My Take: I’m generally not a horror guy, as I noted, so it is probably odd that I have two horror books on the list. It’s for different reasons. With Ice Cream Man…. it is just different. The creative team, which includes Chris O’Halloran on colours, stretch what they can do with both the story (with multiple genres) and art, with Chris’ colours being a part of that. It reminds me of Sandman in the way it uses the central character to tell human stories.

CROSSOVER

The blurb: The creative powerhouses behind the bestselling, critically acclaimed GOD COUNTRY, Thanos Wins, and REDNECK returns for the biggest launch of the year.Imagine everything you thought was fantasy…was real. And now join us, in a world where reality is dead…and anything is possible…

My Take: …. how do I say what there is to love about this book without spoilers? What I can say is that the story blew me away in a way that hasn’t happened in a while. Dee Cunniffe’s colours are a big part of it too and the reason why I gave the book a go in the first place.

TIME BEFORE TIME

The blurb: The year is 2140, and to escape a world with no future, many turn to the Syndicate, a criminal organization who, for the right price, will smuggle you back in time to a better life. After working for the Syndicate for years, Tatsuo and Oscar decide to steal one of their boss’s time machines—but soon find that the one thing you can’t run from is your past.

My Take: Science fiction is my preferred genre so I was delighted when this was announced. I’ve followed Rory McConville’s work with 2000AD, both on Dredd and Devlin Waugh, and I’m glad he is getting a bigger stage (more on that later). He is joined by Declan Shalvey and they craft a time travel story where everything is fixed point so there’s no “get out of jail free” cards. Declan provides covers and has done the interiors (with colours) for a one-shot story in issue 6. Chris O’Halloran is the regular colourist. If that isn’t Irish enough for you, PJ Holden will provide art in an upcoming issue.

As promised, here’s some other books to look at right now. They haven’t really had a chance to get counted on the list as they are so new or pending.

  • Daisy – Colin Lorimer’s new book is just a couple of issues in. Again it mixes the ordinary with extaordinary. Blurb: A desperate mother’s five-year search for her missing son leads her to the small town of Brimount and to the mysterious Phillips family. Daisy Phillips, like many teenagers, has a hard time fitting in, but not for the usual reasons.
  • Spawn – Rory McConville has landed a high profile gig and given me a reason to give Spawn another chance. It’s a book I’ve always wanted to like but haven’t due to the writing style. Rory is a few issues in so I’ll need more time to evaluate. On the art side, Kevin Keane has been popping up in the Spawn books starting with a story in the first issue of Gunslinger Spawn.
  • Old Dog – Declan Shalvey’s new spy-fi book. It hasn’t debuted yet but Declan doing interiors is a selling point and the blurb is intriguing: Old Dog follows Jack Lynch, a once-promising CIA operative. On the eve of retirement, looking back at a failed career he is tasked with one final mission …that goes horribly wrong.He wakes years later to a changed world with even deeper changes within him. When a shadowy group offers Lynch a second chance for a life of adventure, he finds himself paired with the last person he could ever imagine. This was Project Black Circle for those of you who subscribe to Declan’s newsletter