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Archive for the 'skip week' Category

01st Jan 2014

It’s 2014!

And as it turns out, this Wednesday is New Year’s Day. Whose idea was that? If Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory the whateverth who made the calendar had thought it through, they would have realised that meant me missing two weeks in a row of The Cattle Raid of Cooley. So, normal service will be resumed next week when I’m back at my day job and can remember what day of the week it is.

So, 2013, eh? What was all that about?

An interesting year in a number of ways. My house needed extensive renovation – one of those annoying things where you get someone in to deal with a minor problem, and they find a bigger problem underlying it, so you get someone in to deal with that and they find an even bigger problem underlying that, and so on until you practically have to rebuild the house from the foundations up. So that was a bit stressful, and it meant I spent probably half the year at my mum’s. Which explains why my posting schedule was a bit erratic, but I couldn’t tell you that at the time, because what kind of idiot advertises the fact that their house is unoccupied on the internet?

But I still managed to do some interesting things. For example:

  • In April I was invited to the Dundalk Book Festival, to appear on a panel about Irish comics with Tommie Kelly, Rob Curley, Hilary Lawler and Alan Nolan, and that was fun.
  • At the end of May/beginning of June I was a guest at the 2D Comics Festival in its new venue, the Millennium Dome Falcon Forum in Derry, which was superb as usual.
  • At the end of June the singing class I go to (Singing for Adults with Róisín Magee at the Crescent Arts Centre) held a cabaret concert which raised over £1000 for the MS Society, in which I sang the Temptations’ “My Girl”, duetted with Gary Fullerton on “Me and My Shadow”, and did backing vocals on other people’s solos. It was brilliant. We were stars.
  • In October, as part of the Belly Laughs Comedy Festival, I organised Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums, a retrospective of Davy’s 40 years as a cartoonist. Davy was brilliant, a natural raconteur, and we also had fantastic contributions from Ian Knox, political cartoonist of the Irish News, Alan Ryan of Faraday the Blob and The Beano, Ann Harrison of Bunsen Bunnies, Brian John Spencer, cartoonist from Northern Ireland political website Slugger O’Toole, live caricaturist Colm Campbell and documentary cartoonist Patrick Sanders. Not a huge turnout, and there were some organisational hitches, but everyone who came seemed to enjoy it.

Plans for 2014 include ploughing on with the Cattle Raid, which has started its penultimate chapter; keeping up the singing, and hopefully doing a few open mic nights; and getting the new Belfast Drawers’ Club, or whatever it turns out being called, to include political cartoonists, caricaturists, illustrators and storyboard artists as well as comics artists, up and running. No doubt there will be a few surprises along the way. Hopefully they’ll be nice ones.

So, in conclusion, a very happy new year to all my readers. See yez next Wednesday for the conclusion of Medb’s flashback.

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24th Dec 2013

A happy Cattle Raid of Cooley Christmas!

Normally I (try to) post new episodes of The Cattle Raid of Cooley every Wednesday. But this Wednesday is Christmas day, which is a day off where I come from (and, frankly, I would worry about anyone who logs onto the internet on Christmas day looking for a new episode of The Cattle Raid of Cooley) so it’s not going to happen. Instead, here’s a seasonal sketch to tide you over.

The Cattle Raid of Cooley Christmas Truce

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06th Nov 2013

Duh…

No page this week, for probably the most ridiculous reason yet. I’m just back from a long weekend in Edinburgh visiting my wee brother Simon. Flew home on Monday evening, went back to work on Tuesday morning – and forgot what day it was. Thought it was still Monday until I went to bed last night.

Facepalm

Next week I will not be quite such an idiot.

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02nd Oct 2013

Why there’s no new comic this week

Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums

It’s still just about Wednesday, but I’m not going to make my deadline. I know my rate of production has slowed dramatically this year, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. This week, though, there’s a good reason.

On Sunday, as part of Belfast’s Belly Laughs Comedy Festival, I’m involved in organising Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums, a celebration of comics and cartooning featuring one of Belfast’s not-sung-enough heroes, who sold his first cartoon 40 years ago this year (he was eleven, it was to the East Antrim Times, and he was paid 50p). Since then his loopy dip-pen line has graced titles as varied as the Belfast People’s Comic, “Screw the Bap and Head the Ball” in the Shankill Bulletin, Ximoc, Cicerman, Monster Fun, Oink!, Holy Cross, Seven Deadly Sins, Jim the Elephant, Sancho and Thunderbags. Last week he and I drew caricatures at a charity event, and it’s always a pleasure to watch him draw.

So, to get back to the point, a retrospective of Davy’s career will be the centrepiece of an afternoon event on Sunday 6 October, in the Black Box on Hill Street, from 2pm to 6pm. We’ll also be creating a giant improvised comic strip and holding a workshop for kids, and I’ll be speaking about some early comic strips from the Belfast Telegraph in the 1920s, and introducing you to a forgotten Belfast cartoonist. Other illustrious guests include cartoonists Ian Knox (Whizzer and Chips, Irish News, BBC NI’s Hearts and Minds), Alan Ryan (Faraday the Blob, The Beano), Ann Harrison (Bunsen Bunnies), Brian John Spencer (Slugger O’Toole, Huffington Post) and Patrick Sanders (SCEPTrE, Replay Theatre Company), and standup comics Peter E Davidson and Lorcan McGrane.

Promises to be a fantastic occasion and I hope to see lots of you there. But does mean I’ve had less mental energy to devote to other things, like this week’s Cattle Raid of Cooley.

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11th Sep 2013

More apologies, and TitanCon

No page again this week I’m afraid. I have a job interview today, so I’ve been preparing for that rather than drawing.

The weekend just past I was at TitanCon, a fantasy and science fiction convention in Belfast. Here I am appearing on a panel about Irish myths and history in comics (stolen from Nerdgeist’s review of the con). Left to right, Peadar Ó Guilín, science fiction novelist and panel chairman; William Simpson, comic artist and Game of Thrones storyboard artist; Richmond Clements, writer of the Brian Boru strip in Lightning Strike Presents among many other things; Paul Bolger, filmmaker and writer-artist of Hound, a forthcoming graphic novel about Cú Chulainn; a jug of water; and me.

Comics panel at TitanCon

Rich’s face is slightly obscured by the microphone stand, so here’s a pic I did a while back to show that (a) he’s an even more talented writer than I thought he was, and (b) he’s a time traveller.

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04th Sep 2013

Apologies

Tried to get the page done this evening, so at least if it was late it’d still be within deadline, but it’s just not happening. I know what I want to draw, it just won’t go down right. So it’s time to give up and say it’ll next week.

So, something else. For the last year and a bit I’ve been going to singing classes at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, and the last couple of weekends we’ve done an intensive workshop in the Accidental Theatre Company‘s rehearsal space, culminating in a recording session on Sunday at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. We all had a bit of solo and a lot of harmony, and I played a bit of guitar. Here’s some of us recuperating in the Spaniard afterwards.

Left to right: Kathleen, who we’re losing to her native Canada now she’s finished her studies at Queen’s, soprano; Julie, soprano; Róisín, our teacher, musical director and inspiration; me, tenor; Piotr, tenor; Brian, whose son is in top local band Cashier No. 9, bass; and Anne, alto. Roll on the return of the regular class!

Singing class

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07th Aug 2013

Skip week – moving back in

I’m afraid there’ll be no page this week, for a reason I haven’t blogged about until now, which has been in large part behind all the missed weeks this year. Today I move back into my own house. It’s one of those things that started out as a small repair, but something more serious was discovered underlying it, and something more serious was discovered underlying that, and so on. Eventually the floor in the kitchen and bathroom had to be dug up and relaid with a new membrane and the outside walls tanked, then lots of plastering, and then it all needed decorating. But it’s all done now, apart from all the stuff that’s piled up in my study that needs redistributed to the other rooms in the house, which can be done gradually. I’m just glad to be able to sleep in my own bed, shower in my own bathroom and cook in my own kitchen again. But it means I haven’t had time to draw. Hope you’ll indulge me again.

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15th May 2013

Still on holiday, new Ness cover

The Cattle Raid of Cooley is still on holiday, but the prequel, Ness, is going back to print as my stock is down to single figures. I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a new cover, as the old one isn’t very dramatic. Here it is. Hopefully the new print run will be ready for the 2D comics festival in Derry at the end of the month.

Ness - new cover

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08th May 2013

No page again this week

This is shaping up to being a very busy month for me, so I may as well just write it off for any productive drawing and promise I’ll get back to it in a few weeks.

In the meantime, why not watch Judge Minty, a 27-minute Judge Dredd fan film that’s now available on Youtube?

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01st May 2013

The Cattle Raid of Cooley skips a week

No page this week – my mind has been unavoidably elsewhere. There is light appearing at the end of the tunnel, finally – my kitchen no longer looks like an episode of Time Team, and soon I will no longer have to use other people’s bathrooms, but will be able to return to my own.

In other news, the panel at the Dundalk Book Festival went well – here’s a cutting from the local press with our photy in:

This Saturday coming sees the launch of Courageous Mayhem – the follow-up to last year’s Romantic Mayhem, this time parodying old boys’ comics. I have a strip in it called “Heroes from Bible Days”, and it’s full of great work from a lot of the same creators, and a few more. Gar Shanley is once again overseeing proceedings, so it’s guaranteed to be funny, and perhaps a bit sick. Anyway, the launch is at The Little Green café bar, 13 High Street, Dublin 8. Here’s the Facebook Event Page – invite your friends!

Courageous Mayhem cover art by Archie Templar

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