Gangs and feral creatures roam St Patrick St and the Grand Parade, causing havoc wherever they go. Law enforcement officers are noteable by their absence.
No, it’s not 3am on a typical Saturday in Cork City, but a post-apocalyptic scene brought to life by a group of comic book creators. The Last Rebel, launched today by independent publisher Turncoat Press, is set in a Cork city of the future, where the population is depleted and gangs and mutant animals cause mayhem for the locals that remain.
“Our hero, Jenny, is the Last Rebel and strives to protect the honest city residents with her barbed wire-bound hurley,” says Chris O’Halloran, who came up with the concept.
“She is also the guardian of her troubled teenage sister, Grace, and the book is about their relationship. You’ll also see a group of mutant cheetahs, escaped from Fota, and a giant mutant swan.”
Chris runs the Cork-based Turncoat Press with Colin O’Mahoney and Emmet O’Brien and The Last Rebel is its third release following sci-fi comic Life Signs and anthology comic book I’m Awake, I’m Alive.
The Last Rebel is a collaborative effort by the Turncoat Press group, with art work and colouring by Fiona Boniwell, Stefanie Reville, Cian Tormey, Damien Duncan, and Joseph Griffin. Eva Widermann, a Cork-based illustrator, drew the cover, which Chris then coloured.
Chris says he has had the idea for the book for more than two years.
“When we did our first book, I’m Awake, I’m Alive, I wrote and drew a 15-page story that was spread throughout the book,” he says.
“I wanted to do something set in Cork with recognisable elements. Once I had the image of the character in my head I couldn’t shake it. Since then, I’ve been thinking where the story could go from there. I had a very rough idea what I wanted to do and luckily enough I knew two writers far better than I, that brought something more to the stories then I could manage and fixed some of the problems.
“I wanted to focus on the colouring side of things for this book so I got in touch with four artists I either knew or knew from their work online. Luckily enough they all wanted to be a part of the book and each of them brings something very distinct to their stories.”
Leeside readers will see a dystopian take on familiar places such as St Patrick St, Grand Parade, Shandon, and the bus station. Stories also take place in a misty Lough and near an abandoned Fota.
“I would like to have included locations a bit further out than the city, some surrounding towns maybe, but hopefully this does well and we can do another comic where more areas can be included,” says Chris.
The comic book scene has grown from ‘non-existent’ two years ago to the vibrant community that exists today, O’Halloran said. A Cork comic creators meet-up draws dozens of attendees to its monthly meetings.
He cites the Irish artists who have had international success — such as Corkman Will Sliney who illustrates Spider-Man 2099 for industry giants Marvel — as examples of local success stories that have inspired.
“You can map the success of Will, Declan Shalvey, Stephen Mooney, Nick Roche, and others with the rise in interest in the area. From a personal point of view, I wouldn’t have known it was possible to be from Ireland and make comics or work in comics without those guys,” he said.
The Last Revel launches in Waterstones today from 2.30pm and is also available in Vibes & Scribes, Other Realms, Cathal O’Donovan’s Bookshop in Skibbereen, and Big Bang Comics and Forbidden Planet in Dublin. It is also available from www.turncoatpress.com.
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