Submitted by Patrick Brown on October 26, 2008 - 08:58
Well, hello ComixTalk. I expect I'll be using this blog mainly to discuss comics in and from Ireland, but I'll start by introducing myself and my work.
That's me over there on the right. I was born just over 39 years ago in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and lived there most of the intervening years. And I write and draw The Ulster Cycle, a series of serial webcomics set in Iron Age Ireland, based on ancient Irish legends. The original Ulster Cycle, a set of about 80s prose stories and poems, the earliest of which dates to about 600 AD, is one of the finest bodies of heroic legend in the world, and deserves to be better known. I hope I can do it justice.
My first serial, Ness, ran from Spring 2007 to Summer 2008. It followed Ness, daughter of the king of Ulster, as she turned outlaw to pursue and illegal mission of vengeance which came to a conclusion she didn't expect. Featuring political intrigue, cross-dressing, and people getting their heads chopped off with big heavy sharp bits of metal, it's complete at 72 pages. Malachy Coney (The Darkness, The Moon Looked Down and Laughed) calls it "a thoroughly modern form of Irish storytelling that makes the past very much the present." A collected edition is on its way - I hope to be able to launch it at the Dublin City Comic Con at the end of November.
The current serial, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, was launched in August and updates weekly, every Wednesday. It's currently up to page 12. This is the big one. It's based on the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the nearest thing ancient Ireland produced to an epic. Its hero, Cú Chulainn, is Ness's sixteen-year-old grandson, newly graduated from Ulster's youth corps and on border guard duty when Medb, queen of Connacht, decides to invade. Her army includes a contingent of Ulster exiles, including Fergus, Cú Chulainn's foster-father.
Both serials are created the same way - improvised in ink, no pencils, no script (although for The Cattle Raid of Cooley, a longer and more involved story than Ness, I have made one concession to preparation and written an outline). My primary took is a red ballpoint. I have no memory of why I started with a red pen, but on Ness I was converting it to black and white when I scanned it, until certain friends and fellow artists who saw the originals told me I was mad. The Cattle Raid of Cooley is therefore running on the web as it was drawn.