Comic convention should prove a big draw for Cork

Award-winning illustrator Will Sliney is hoping to draw thousands of people to the first comic book expo of its kind in Cork.

Will, who draws for Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man 2099 series, for its Avengers, X-Men and Defenders comics, and for Premier League side Everton’s match-day programmes, has lined up some of Ireland’s top comic book artists and writers, as well as industry experts, to attend the event in Mahon Point on April 25.

“It’s the first event of its kind that I’ve organised, and I’m really excited about it,” said Will, who works from his purpose-built studio in Ballycotton.

“I hope it will show young people how the industry works and how they can apply themselves to getting a job in the industry.”

Will was approached by the team behind the Big Bang Comics store in Dublin, which organises DICE, the Dublin International Comic Expo.

That event features workshops by some of the world’s top comic book artists, and it attracts talent scouts from some of the industry’s biggest publishers, such as Marvel and DC Comics, to check out portfolios.

Will said Big Bang Comics wanted to diversify this year, and approached him to stage a spin-off event in Cork.

“I decided to get involved because I think back to when I was in my teens and wondered what kind of event would I like — and this is it,” he said.

The Cork Comic Expo will feature workshops, demonstrations and art competitions, tips and insights from some of Ireland’s emerging young comic book artists and writers, those who are breaking in to the US market, and those who are self publishing.

“What I’d like to show is that this kind of work can and is being done from Ireland,” Will said.

“We now have Irish people working in some of the world’s top publishers.”

Among those already confirmed for the Cork event are writer and artist, Stephen Mooney, best-known for his work on Batman, Grayson, Half Past Danger, and Angel; Wexford-born Nick Roche, who works on Transformers, New Warriors, and Monster Motors; Belfast artist, PJ Holden, best known for his work on Judge Dredd and the Dept of Monsterology; and the award-winning writer Maura McHugh, who co-writes Witchfinder.

Meanwhile, Will hopes to unveil what is set to be a controversial new image for sports gear giant Umbro within days.

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