Colm Wood – Countdown to Dublin Zine Fair (3)

The Dublin Zine Fair takes place at the Scooby-Doo SupaFast building this weekend in Great Strand Street (just off Capel Street)
It’s a weird looking place going by the exterior photo. I imagine it as being in an alcho alley, painted with wet smoked tobacco. Inside though, bright open spaces, the essential scenesters, an accumulation of entrepreneurial energies in their crossings, trailing in distantly observed alien cultures to create a patchwork planet. With complimentary olives.This week I’m talking to those comic creators attending the Fair, and today I sat down with London visual artist, Colm Wood.

Hi Colm,  You’re an English  comixer crossing the Irish Sea to Dublin for The 2012 Zine Fair. That sounds like a big deal.  How would you introduce yourself and your work to someone at next weekend’s event in the Smithfield area, who has never heard of you before?
Im not sure, actually. My comics dont tend to be long stories, just short, often rude bursts of nothing, which often make no sense to others, so I try to make them look nice. I find I enjoy illustrating, and comics is one way of doing that, so I try and vary what I draw on or what I make. I would tell people to expect a mess that they will hopefully like.
What sort of relationship do you have with your punters and fans?
Not really anything to be honest! Im very bad at keeping up with people, I tend to involve myself alot with work, most of which never sees the light of day. Im hoping to improve on that.
What are you looking forward to most about the event?
Well, I’ve been working on other projects not relating to comic work, so I’m just looking forward to being at an event again! Also its meant I’ve forced myself to spend more time working on illustrations, and that’s always nice.
Anything you’re dreading?


Honestly, it’s hard to dread an event filled with great artists and attended by great people!
And finally – any message for the people out there, reading this, wishing that they too were a smooth, relevant and attractive comics creator?
Kind of you to say, I’m probably not the one to ask! But most people I know that illustrate or produce work tend to illustrate or produce work for its own sake. There’s a chance they don’t realise that they too are smooth, relevant and attractive.
Colm Wood – The Scientist

Colm Wood – The Scientist

 You can view more of Colm’s shapes at and check out his comics and illustrations at

Click through for website.

The questions in this interview were built from models
supplied by London’s bounciest superhero, David Baillie.

Anto Dillon – Countdown to Dublin Zine Fair (4)

In preparation for the great self-publishing fair this weekend (11th-12th August), I’m running a series of interviews counting down to the event. I’ll be talking to comics creatives and publishers who don’t grab the headlines, but continue to produce quality regularly.


Two (reformed) pages from Cycling in Dublin, drawn by Anto McFly.

Hi Anto, hope you’re well!
I don’t really know you. Everyone I know, knows you.  ”Loserdom,” some say, “it’s been running for twenty years and it’s brill. And you Andy, you still spend too much time masturbating over your Zoids collection.” Bearing in mind there are others out there who masturbate while thinking about Zoids, Brevilles and Sinclair C5s….ah no wait. I’ll start that sentence again. How would you introduce yourself and your work to someone at the SupaFast Building next weekend, someone who has never heard of you before? Does it has comix?

My name is Anto I produce Loserdom zine with my brother Eugene. We produced the first issue in June 1996. The production schedule is fairly sporadic, we’ve produced 22 issues of Loserdom altogether. We’re working on the next issue at the moment. Loserdom is a punk zine espousing the do-it-yourself philosophy, it features stories, articles, interviews with bands or different people who we like, find inspiring or might have something interesting to say.

I do most of the writing, while Eugene does the artwork and comics. There are comics in Loserdom they mostly feature the adventures of the Loser Bros (Anto and Eugene), either true life experiences or skits of various films. The last issue #22 featured a 28 page comic called The Punk Connection.



What can you tell us about your experience with these fairs and your relationship with the punters?

Anto:I’ve had stalls at various fairs over the last few years: the last Dublin Zine Fair, the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair, the Independents’ Day fair (which I’m involved in organising), Summer Edition, London Zine Symposium and a fair in Belfast. Doing stalls at fairs like these is a very enjoyable way to meet fellow zine and comic producers as well as people who might be interested in reading and buying Loserdom.

The Effects of Planet Of The Apes, by brother Eugene Dillon.

The Effects of Planet Of The Apes, by brother Eugene Dillon.

What are you looking forward to most about the event?


I’m looking forward to picking up new issues by other zine and comic producers, discovering new zines hopefully as well as meeting up with friends who I’ve known over the years of producing Loserdom, fellow producers themselves or perhaps enthusiasts/ supporters of D.I.Y./independent press.


Losercore Anarchy by Euguene

Losercore Anarchy by Euguene


Anything you’re dreading?

Nothing about the fair itself that I’m dreading, but I’m gonna miss my fifteen month old son Seán who I’m usually with every weekend and who won’t be in Dublin this weekend.

And finally – any message for the people out there, reading this, wishing that they too were a young, cool and sexy zinester?

Just do it! If you’re interested in producing comics or writing a zine, go ahead and do it. Don’t wait to perfect the first issue, spending months, years on it. The best thing is to get it out there, learn from it and get working on the next one.

You can read some of the Dillon Bros’ articles, comics and funny odds n ends at and keep a look out for them this weekend.


Click through for website

The questions in this interview were built from models supplied by London’s bounciest superhero, David Baillie.


Elida Maiques – Countdown to Dublin Zine Fair (5)

The first this week with a series of brief interviews with five or six, perhaps, lesser known Irish comixers attending the Dublin Zine Fair on 11-12th August. Hope for a  countdown illustrating just how rich the zine scene is in supplying new and different comix.

Godot Waiting – Elida Maiques on the web folks!

Godot Waiting – Elida Maiques on the web folks!

Hi Elida, hope you’re well! I have to confess I’ve only seen your work over the last year or so, out of the corner of my eye. You seem to be in with all the hip kids and their trends. How would you introduce yourself and your work to someone pondering the mysterio SupaFast Building, location of the Dublin Zine Fair this weekend?

Although born in Spain, on the Mediterranean, my roots are growing deep in Ireland. First infected by the comic virus as a child, I started publishing my own in 1999, with my brothers.

My comics range from plain silly to poetic. I cannot sustain the poetic too long, it all becomes stoopid by page 2.

You’ve been to sell a few comics at festivals now. How’s your relationship with the customers been?

Fantastic, people in these fairs and festivals tend to be curious and more informed than myself, so you always learn something. It is also very cool to catch up with your fellow comic book creators.

Avalanche by Elida Maiques

Avalanche by Elida Maiques

Next weekend, what are you looking forward to most?


Meeting the gang of Irish comic book creators, selling a pile of SLOW 4, my new comic; hopefully buying Stray Lines if it is out yet, and taking home a small heap of brand new comics to read.


Godzilla is so sexy – Elida Maiques

Godzilla is so sexy – Elida Maiques

How do I pronounce your surname?

Maiques [My-Kes].

Anything you’re dreading?

Losing my teeth, that would be dreadful.

Having done it before, with a hill and a bike, now I’m trying to quit that habit.

And finally – any message for the people out there, reading this, wishing that they too were a young, cool and sexy comics creator?

Hahaha. You just made my day.

I can only tell you what seems to work for me:
Don’t sit on your ideas; they grow better out there.
Just write and draw, sign your work and publish it proudly. Then do the the next one.

Cheers, Andy. [Update – Oh wait, I’m Andy. G o l d f i s h.]

Thanks to you, Andy, looking forward to seeing you in the Dublin Zine Fair!

Elida is a contributor to Romantic Mayhem, and the forthcoming  Gods and Monsters of Tomorrow multi-media project with a bunch of other Irish comixers. You can see more of her pretty pics at


The image above is hyperlinked to the Zine Fair website. The questions in this interview were built from models supplied by London’s bounciest superhero, David Baillie.

Interview with Gar Shanley About New Book ‘Romantic Mayhem’

With the release of a new anthology of Irish comics along the theme of romance, I pulled up a candlelight and soup for a date with editor and publisher, Gar “Uncle Fugger” Shanley.

Andy Luke: You’ve assembled sixteen Irish artists to pull together 52 pages of love comics. From my view, it seems they’re drawing on the heritage of the genre. Is this fair, and was the subject matter a nod to the musicality or populist appeal of the theme, perhaps lesser tapped among today’s zombie market?

Gar Shanley: The genre of the romance comic seems deader than a zombie which I think is a pity because they were popular and, had they survived, they would have played a part in keeping comics from being as purely associated with sci-fi as they are today. Romance comics might have advanced and matured (as sci-fi comics have done …um …maybe) and who knows what could have come of it. What really interested me about these comics was the way they pandered to the (supposed) concerns of young girls. Such sensitive stories, often involving a heroine who worries about how she is perceived by others or what some boy thinks of her. It’s very different to the gung ho of boy’s fare of the time. Interestingly, there is a notable difference between U.S. romance comics and British ones from the late 50s to 60s and early 70s. The British heroines are often quite confident and, despite their better judgement, have fallen for some hapless twit who needs sorting out. I recommend Valentine Picture Library for anyone interested. Some of the stories found there are actually very funny in a ‘laughing with’ as opposed to a ‘laughing at’ way.

Anyway, I thought the genre would be a good jumping off point for an anthology but contributors were free to take things in any direction no matter how tangential. Most stuck to the familiar conventions though. The collection is eclectic but coherent. Everyone gave it their best.

Collectively, we are known as National Tragedy. That’s the imprint name dreamt up by Hilary and Ian over coffee. We might do another anthology or two or fifty or none. We’ll see. If we do the theme/jumping off point will change each time.

AL: It’s a more-ish, representing collection of Irish comics artists; trusted names known by ICN readers. Elida Maiques was one I didn’t know and her weblog has some very pretty pictures giving a fashion item element to the package. Knowing Phil Barrett and Deirdre deBarra are in there, I think this would appeal well to readers of Solipstic Pop or Phonogram. How surprised were you (knowing the artists), by what they added to the dreams in your head? What were the group’s influences?

Elida Maiques

GS: With my own collaborations and Tommie’s great cover I wanted to stick to a recognisable send up of the genre’s conventions and provide a few pegs from which to hang the overall collection. I thought that way the others would veer off in all sorts of directions – although I did not prompt anyone to do so. However, everyone had a good look at the Digital Comics Museum and Cover Browser and we all ended up coming from roughly the same place, which surprised me. Contributors brought their own thing to their tales though – John gave things a modern realist twist and Cathal added a large dose of Douglas Sirk. Mindpuss brought the very bizarre body horror (he’s an odd un and no mistake) and Elida did a Fellini on it. (I don’t really see her work as “fashion item” myself. I think it’s very surreal, imaginative and just plain good. You should try and pick up her own mini-comics at Independence Day). Deirdre and Paddy took the look of the original fare and stuck authentically and perfectly to it, not overselling the gag element. Archie brilliantly combines the old romance style with the old EC style – proper narrative art storytelling from him too. Luke F. is probably the guy who thematically ran furthest with the ball, as in right off the pitch and down the road. I like his two pages a lot. He’s unique. Hilary and Ian provide a splash of vibrant spacious ker-powness/lushness amongst the denser content. Al and Davy bring an old school IPC touch which really adds to the eclecticism and Philip did a great job illustrating and very cleverly designing John’s text story. Last but not least, for me the biggest laugh comes in a promo for cigarette filters courtesy of National Tragedy ad man Papa Hotel.


AL: If I’m at launch party at 18 Candem Street Lower in Dublin on  Saturday April 14th from around 7pm I can get a copy. Or at the Independents’ Day Zine Fair on Sunday April 22nd. Or 2d in June. How else may I get hold of the book?  There a few different editions?

GS: There’s no online shop yet but contributor Paddy Brown (you should see his on the nail take of the 60s/70s Brit girl’s comic in RM) will be selling it in Belfast and we’ll get it in as many comic shops as possible. The first run is 300 only and also there is Archie’s excellent deluxe Blurb format. The regular edition is a cheap and cheerful affair. Nothing fancy production value wise. I’m thinking of future editions that will be a bit more fancy pants but a few quid dearer. Part of the reason I proposed this anthology was that I heard of a means by which we could get something involving a lot of colour put together for half the usual price. It’s an experiment of sorts.

AL: How much of the style of your weblog Fugtheworld has worked it’s way into the scripts, and can we expect to see the beloved Uncle Fugger blog in book form some time? It would sit very nice next to a Charlie Brooker collection.

GS: There’s a bit of Fugger in my four RM collaborations but I was trying to keep to the more conventional side of my creative self. That doesn’t mean I was compromising, I was just working that way because it suited the project and I love the results (I’m very fuckin lucky to work with artists like Deirdre, Paddy and Archie). I am likely to do anything on the blog. was actually originally a comic called Fugger but there wasn’t that much of a response to it in comparison to the others I’ve done. The blog has a regular following, nothing massive. I’m thinking of putting something together for regular readers of the blog to send off for. I was recently inspired by a small exhibition of the work of Howard Finster. I’d like to do some comics in that style and also rope in some old friends of mine who used draw amazing comics many many moons ago. We’ve discussed it. I think the next comic I do (anthologies aside) will be Fugger. Not sure if I’ll collect the blog together as a book soon. It’s there if you want it for free. Fugger in print would be original and mainly illustrated material.

Thanks Gar. To see a preview of Romantic Mayhem, check out the accompanying weblog.


TitanCon links Fandom, Indy Comics and The NI Economy

Last night I attended the press launch for TitanCon which “promises to be the biggest SF and Fantasy literaty, media and gaming convention in Northern Ireland”.

Initially run as a non-profit event for fans by fans, it has benefitted from part-funding by Arts Council NI. The move came wth the Council’s interest in HBO’s Game of Thrones which has given the city a strong economic and tourism boost.



A three day series of events, the third day, a Game of Thrones Coach Tour has already been sold out. Friday festivities overlap with Belfast’s free Culture Night and including walking tours of the city and in McHughs Bar, readings from Ian McDonald, Guest of Honour and winner of the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for The Djinn’s Wife (2006)

The event on Saturday costs £10 admission and is held at The Europa Hotel. It includes tabletop gaming and RPGs, as well as a fighting workshop, and the launch of Boyd and Bradshaw’s “Guards! Guards!”, the Discworld boardgame with the blessing of Terry Pratchett. Local authors T.A. Moore and Peadar O Guilin will also be in attendance, along with film-maker George Clarke, of Battle of The Bone.

Miltos Yerolemou and Kristian Nairn, who play Syriio and Hodor respectively on Game of Thrones will also be in attendance. In contrast to some other conventions, photos with guests are not charged for, and attendees are asked to make a donation of their own choice to Action Cancer. Will Simpson (Batman, Dredd, Hellblazer) was one of the storyboard artists on Game of Thrones. His appearance gives perspectives on local involvement and behind the scenes representation.


Simpson, began working in comics with his contribution to the Belfast indy Ximoc in 1980, with the strip Cuchulainn the Hound. TitanCon looks to reward that with the recognition of two other independent cartoonists as guests. Paddy Brown, a fellow author of the Cuchulainn tales in the form of The Cattle Raid of Cooley, has been active in comics arts and media since 1994′s A Virtual Circle. His cartooning and comics research has been internationally recognised by the respected Lambiek encyclopedia, and closer to home, by academic Paul Gravett and industry magazine Caption. There are unconfirmed rumours one of Brown’s illustrations are to feature on the front page of the official programme. I began creating comics several years after Brown, with contributions to a number of journalistic bodies, the acclaimed Caption and Barcamp un-conferences, and winning the UnLtd Millenium Award for my work on Absence. (See my CV at the footer for a fuller picture)

There’s also a fourth link to the world of comics. TitanCon has scheduled an evening with The Wireless Mystery Theatre. The Theatre “transports the audience back to the Golden Age of radio… as they present radio plays live on stage” The group has received some critical acclaim and includes Reggie Chamberlain-King, an occassional contributor to the online comics and mixed media site, When announced at the press conference Ian McDonald reached to the person sat next to them and whispered, “they’re very good”.



McDonald told the assembled reporters and representatives from the Arts Council and NI Screen to “There are a lot of fantastic science fiction roots in NI Culture: CS Lewis, James Shaw.. I ask that you support today’s local writers, be it in cinema, novels or comics.”

With the direct market and the growth of self-publishing having shattered the UK and Irish comics industry, TitanCon‘s adoption of the form at this crucial time is noteworthy.

The event is run by Brotherhood without Banners (a George RR Martin fangroup), Studio NI (Northern Ireland’s largest arts and culture group), and The Other Ones (a Belfast science fiction and fantasy society). Studio NI celebrates it’s 7th anniversary as part of the weekend’s festivities.

Barcamp – Text, Image, Sound

Participation gets an individual the following; the opportunity to share knowledge built upon a user-generated pedagogy; conversation with talented individuals across every medium; the opportunity to raise and address obstacles with fellow project managers facilitating; a nurturing progressive environment; a commitment to sustainability in distribution; a stake in a co-operative venture; the meta-objective of commercial accessible creative publishing; an open platform to find and discuss the nuts and bolts growth of aspirational creative direction together; it is a knowledge pool, an associated broadcast, a local, cross-border, transatlantic initiative. It is a first of a kind event for professionals and fringe comics media creatives and the outcomes may surprise all of us.
(With thanks to Will Simpson for pushing my think)

1:30 plug for Barcamp taken from last week’s Panel Borders show by Alex Fitch and snipped and pic-matched by me. Produced in the early hours of the morning, with neither Alex nor I at our most lucid.


A 13 minute interview between Andy Luke and Marc Savage (stream/save target as) recorded on 18th August. on Banbridge Sunshine FM’s Following the Nerd show.

Don’t come with your two arms the one length.

UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that Marc and perhaps other Nerdfollowers will be journeying from Banbridge and recording during the event.

Ben_Bland just reminded me this needs to be here,
When: Saturday 3rd September, 9am-6pm
Where: Blick Studios, 51 Malone Road, Belfast

Business unConference into High Gear in Final Week

Debbie McCormack (Don’t Panic!) and Sean Duffield (Paper Tiger) have volunteered money and services to the Belfast event.


There’s also been a distribution of promotional materials around yesterday’s Dublin Zine Fair by Gar Shanley and others.

Debbie McCormack contributes with Gareth McKnight to the comedy anthology, lavishing upon readers strips like Gender Confused Bear and The Further Adventures of Nick Cave. The comic has the lo-fi rendering values associated with David Shrigley and Ralph Kidson, and like the latter’s work, is priced at £1.00 – affordable, as were comics of yore.

In addition to pledging a decent amount of cash, Debbie has also paid for and distributed colour advertising around Belfast city centre. Her coverage spreads around the artsy coffee shop zones of Botanic and Stranmillis. In addition, she’s also undertaken some social media duties.

Tidy Barcamp logo rectangle - higher dpi needed for site posters

There has also been a small donation from Brighton based Sean Duffield. The lead man behind Paper Tiger Comics, is fresh from his appearance at the ‘Comix & Conflict’ event at COMICA last weekend alongside Garth Ennis and Pat Mills. Sean is perhaps best known for his sterling work as editor on War – The Human Cost, a 260 page featuring 67 artists from around the world. Copies of the 750-print limited edition can be ordered here.
The work is a non-profit project with £1 from each copy sold going to CAAT and Brighton’s Community Arts Projects.

Publishers wishing to re-print the work should get in touch with Sean. Sean, like co-sponsors Roger Sabin, Gar and Debbie, has been pro-active in assisting administration and networking towards the camp. Their contributions may allow some catering for pre-registering participants, although talks are underway to decide where the funds should be best spent.

Pre-registration for the free event allows for better planning among unConference attendees, and clearer lines of communication with potential sponsors. For best practice, you can do this via the Google spreadsheet.

BC b&w

Above: Deirde deBarra’s black and white barcamp logo, uploaded to the wiki on July 31st


Above: One of the inspirational posters from Barcamp Oxford 2008

Update: Belfast Community Comics Media Business unConference



Vital needs Funding has been secured for the event which will take place at Blick Studios on Saturday 3rd September.

Earlier this week Gar Shanley reported that, the internet’s first download comic shop, had helped to sponsor the event via Publisher Relations Manager Matt McElroy.

McElroy has since been joined by noted comics media champion, journalist and academic Dr. Roger Sabin whose contribution has allowed for the remaining venue costs to be paid, and for purchase for stationery and some snacks for attendees.

Roger’s previous books and journals have also included writing on fanzines, punk rock and alternative culture. More recently he has about game-changing tv series The Wire in relation to the crisis in journalism and the cop-show genre, and spoken on surrealism in comics and science-fiction. Roger, along with The Thought Bubble’s Ian Hague has also been helpful in matching contacts with an interest in sponsorship and speaking.


Gar Shanley, one of the central support body will be facilitating a discussion at the Bar Camp unConference, on establishing a regular sales outlet for independent comics within the Dublin market as part of the general struggle with getting the media re-integrated into mainstream retail areas. He will be attending the Ranleigh Arts Centre Zine Fair tomorrow. He also welcomes any co-operation on the ICN forum priming and developing this objective.

Hilary Lawler, workshop leader at Catalyst Arts’ ¿@#!*$ festival earlier in the year said the Bar camp initiative is “contributing to the flagging cultural landscape of Ireland in a very positive way.” Hilary also is interested in Gar’s chosen subject, given her involvement in The Point Village market event last year.

Pre-registration for the free event allows for better planning among unConference attendees, and clearer lines of communication with potential sponsors. For best practice, you can do this via the Google spreadsheet.

Previous articles on this topic



Jeopardy Day 2: What Comics Barcamp Looks Like

A lackluster response to Barcamp seems to have come from an odd place: an internet full of knowledge, perhaps a comics convention circuit used to waiting for instruction. This piece has been spurred by debate with Paddy Brown, questions from Tommie Kelly, empathy from Gar Shanley and inspiration from Hilary Lawler, here’s your latest visual guide.

Please make a point of reading the accompanying visual article “The Bottom Line” as well. Readers of this may enjoy “Fantasy Football League.”

What Barcamp Might Look Like whatbarcampmightlooklike2 Barcamp Images