Hello again.

My new Christmas card selection is on sale through those luvvies at the Arts and Disability Forum in Royal Avenue, Belfast. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11-3pm, but if you see the lights on knock the door as they’re often busy working away behind the scenes.

There’s also a festive poster of Strictly Celebrity Apprentice on Ice With Bobbins And A Twitter Hashtag. And it’s rather good. If you’re not in Belfast, I’ve updated this site to include a Shop.

And here’s my newest one,

It won’t be in stock for a few days but you can advance order with other cards using the code APOC.

Elsewhere, I’ve been busy setting up Black Panel Distribution for a December re-launch. The Black Panel started by myself and Paddy Brown back in 2010 is now home to over sixty Irish comics. Check out the website for more information. If you have a shop where you’d like to stock Northern Irish comics I’m keen for you to get in touch, and I’m happy to take personal customers too.

Speaking of Paddy, here’s the results of his contribution to The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory back in September. And PJ Holden also threw in a piece in under an hour while tutoring.

Norma Thierfelder came all the way from Germany for TitanCon and drew this,

And an entry from Dawn Lennox (my new partner as of TitanCon)

You can read my report on the TitanCon goings-on here.

The Magnificent Factory is due to be repeated at the ComicsWest Festival, held at the University of Galway on 8-10th February. It was a great event last year and totally worth making the trip. Here’s their website.

Before that, Avalon Arts are launching the first Belfast Comics Fayre at the Haymarket Arcade on Sunday December 9th. I’ve been asked to be their “comics connect” so more news shortly. Meantime, the Facebook event page is here.

ComicsWest con report

Photos by Paul O’Mahony from this place on Fissbook

A fairly new comics convention is NUI (University) Galway’s ComicsWest. Organised by one of the biggest societies on campus, the event had a trial run last year and a visit from Warren Ellis in Spring. The best way to get there is to let Paddy Brown drive you, through the natural monument range of Sligo. The stuff, as he said, you can’t do justice to on film. The train journey can be quite pretty, but I’ve no info on planes. Warren Ellis cursed, but he does. Galway is a long oul run.

I’m going back, I say, surely as Roj Blake meant it. The event itself comprised a day of comics and zine makers selling, with some neat stuff like art zine For Flip’s Sake, Kearney and Browne’s relationship book, The Man With No Libido,. Derry’s producers of Zombies Hi  made maybe it’s con debut,  and they give me some good chat on distribution. There was also the obligatory appearance of work by master infilitrator, The Phil Barrett Machine. (He’s in your room; now.)

Nice to see David McDonald there too, who I owe £3 for the Doomlord collection.



Colm McElligott (Committee Host), Conor Keville and John Smith at ComicsWest. Next, Some people are engrossed by our comics, some reckon it is the best cake anywhere in Galway. My long-suffering giant, Paddy Brown, mans the fort. And that might be Hibernia Comics’ David McDonald to the right.

Paddy Brown at ComicsWest

Tea and coffee was on tap, and more provided biscuits than mankind was meant to have. The Society’s reading library was laid out on five tables surrounded by plenty of comfy chairs and lent a nice atmosphere to the occasion. Out back an animation suite had a few animations playing, and a live screening of The Invisible Artist, the film I wrote with Carl Boyle about forty years of Belfast comics creators. (It’s not online until next year, but if you wish you can buy a copy now for £10-£15 from Northern Visions’ website.)  The video room had been the locale of the pre-event gathering, and the reminder that the 1960s Batman movie was actually….bloody awesome. Jim Carrey’s Riddler written by Janet Scott Batchler? No. What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree and is very dangerous?  A sparrow with a machine gun! Yes, of course. Frank Gorshin, Lorenzo Semple Jr., Bob Kane.

NUIG Reading Room Writing for Comics

I hosted a piece on Writing for Comics in the art room upstairs. Followed with organiser  David Burdon  presenting a joyous piece on Science and the Superhero with some scrutiny on propaganda for good measure. Organisers confessed the event could have been better promoted, foot-fall was decent. Few hours dinner break didn’t harm pm panel attendance noticeably. So Mike Carroll, Maura McHugh, Paddy Brown and I sat taking questions from Eoin Butler Thornton and possibly Leigh Ashmore. Very relaxed, very interesting, one of the better panels I’ve sat on. Sure, they all read 2000AD for girls while I preferred adult comics like Transformers, but we had the flow of a symphonic jazz quartet. Someone made cookies.

ComicsWest is set to be one of Ireland’s great cons of the future. It’ll quickly gain the reputation that 2d, Hi-Ex and Caption have for prog innovation and I’d posit the reason for this: the event is well laid out, the people are very pretty and the organisers work well as a team. Very well. The university supports them, the social chemistry is gold, and the attendees are involved. There is of course a post-script to this, but for all intents and purposes, my con report is done. We must go next year.

The social connect was evidenced by me the night before in the bar. I educated the kids on the greatest superhero fight ever: Batman Vs Green “One Punch” Lantern. Eoin and I bonded over shared love of The Wire, and as a guest they were in awe of, I got some free reign to slag off Battlestar Galactica. I’d elected to spend the night in Colm’s free cot. An option that was curiously unavailable the following night after he disappeared from the pub and there might have been some girl involved I’m not sure for no verification documentary evidence is available but at least he got shome. Item A, the empty bottle of Southern Comfort, has now been removed. It was drank by myself, Leigh, Eoin and a third committee member as we spun yarns and shared declarations of mutual awesomeness in a house in the hills. Paddy managed to find me the next morning, and drive me to the emergency Breakfast Shop and all the way home.

So, plan out your trips to festivals be a lesson. Because they might just be too fantastic.

Photos by Paul O’Mahony from this place on Fissbook


Comics Pub Meets: Ireland

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

In the second of a four part article on creative and social networking and fandom across the UK, we’re going to turn our attention towards Ireland.

After hearing about the success of pub meets in Birmingham in 1997 I fly-postered around local comic shops in Belfast for a monthly meet. Numbers were small, four to six creatives amid ramshackle crowd noise. It did serve as an opportunity to compare reading tastes and art tips and nurtured a few good friendships. Busy workloads meant the group drifted apart as many do. When I returned in 2009, I was welcomed into a new group, which was larger and better organised. The Belfast Comics Pub Meet takes place on the First Thursday of the month at the Garrick Cloth Ear from around 9pm or so. For further details, drop myself or Paddy Brown a wee line.

belfast comics pub meet


“That’s not Ron!” screamed his missus in block caps.

Dr. Sketchys has been replaced by Real Sketchys, which runs at The Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast on the first Thursday of every month from 9pm. The Drink n Draw also offers artists the chance to sell their work. Contact point might be Adam Turkington (@AdamTurks)and Seedhead Arts, here on 

belfast sf


Eugene Doherty runs the Belfast SF Group at the Errigle Inn, Ormeau Rd, Belfast on alternate Thursdays. There’s an emphasis on hard science word has it, but also a bit of craic. Contact Eugene for more details.

“The Other Ones” is a younger (20s-30s) SF,  Fantasy and gaming group meeting alternate Wednesdays at the Metro Bar, Botanic. Their emphasis is largely on the social, those misfits, and their Facebook group is here.

The Dublin Comics Jam is well attended by a colourful bunch, and held around the 3rd Thursday of the month at Lord Edward (opposite Christchurch), Dame Street. This has Drink and Draw aspects although I’d wager a lot of networking and friendship goes on too.  I’m told Kyle Rogers is a good contact, though they have a mailing list which you can join at dublincomicjam (at) gmail(dot)com for updates.

Out on the remote coastline of Galway, Donal Fallon sends me news of the Galway Pub Scrawl,

“The Pub Scrawl started in response to the Drink & Draw in Cork. We get about 10 people or so every week, with more some weeks. We’ve been hanging out in McSwiggans, which is kind of small and dark, so I guess if I got the numbers up we could get some bigger, brighter pub to make provisions for us. It’s fairly informal, we just chat & draw and mess around. Some of the guys (including myself) are into comic book work, but we haven’t discussed it much here. The NUIG Art Society do a comic class of some kind at the moment. I’d have to search around to get you more details, but some of those guys come to the Pub Scrawl. If you see Ruth Campion’s name in the Pub Scrawl group, she’d be in the loop about that kind of thing.”

UPDATE: Since writing this I’ve been invited twice to ComicsWest, a great comics festival run by the Comic Book Society at the University of Galway. They’re dedicated and it’s likely they run a pub meet or two. Here’s the link to ComicsWest facebook page.

“You can certainly list me as the contact, but there’s no formality or leadership. It’s more an exercise in getting people to draw who might not, or getting those who do to share their skills/approaches in a comfortable setting. I’m hoping to get it up to 30 or 40 people over the next few months. Considering we have an Art School and a Comic Shop here in Galway, there should be the audience!”

Galway Pub Scrawl happens weekly in McSwiggans between 8:30-11:30. You can contact Donal or others and get more information through the Facebook group.

The Cork Drink n Draw Cork Donal mentions are indeed on Facebook

Drink safe!

Omitted from the original article: Dr. Sketchys, which no longer runs at the Menagerie. Here’s the original graphic for posterity.