New comic illustrates Cork talent

WHEN illustrator Alan Corbett published the children’s comic book, The Ghost of Shandon, in 2012, he felt he was a lone voice in Cork. Since then, there have been milestones: Marvel artist Will Sliney’s Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn on O’Brien Press, and the recent anthology I’m Awake, I’m Alive by local independent publisher, Turncoat Press.

Earlier this year, a monthly comic-creator meeting began in the city and it was here that Corbett saw the potential for more.

“At those early meetings, I started to think to myself, ‘There’s tremendous potential to produce loads of work here’. There’s so many talented writers and artists that hadn’t had the opportunity before, or the drive to do it,” he says.

It was here that the seeds were sown for the creation of a horror anthology to coincide with the annual Dragon of Shandon festival, a street parade for Halloween.

As someone involved in both camps, this was the chance for Corbett to combine his love of comics with his love of community art movements.

Assuming the mantle of art editor, Corbett, who has an MA in children’s book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art, teamed up with Turncoat Press co-founder, Colin O’Mahoney, who became story editor.

At the start of the summer, they launched an open submission call to unearth people from outside the comics-creators group.

Corbett’s passion for nurturing local talent proved justified, as dozens of budding writers and illustrators, with no background in the industry, submitted idea outlines and art-work.

O’Mahoney taught the selected writers how to craft a comic script for an artist to illustrate, while Corbett guided the artists.

“The one thing I found with teaching the illustration is that it’s one thing to teach someone to do something, but actually getting someone to do something with a finished goal, where you’re published at the end of it, that’s so much more rewarding,” Corbett says.

“Not just for you as the teacher, but for the student, or the person learning, that they know that if they push themselves they’re going to have something at the end of it that’s concrete, that’s published.” The open submission also threw up Charlie Aabo, a Norwegian artist who is married to a local woman.

“His stuff is just fantastic, just really polished,” says Corbett. “It’s like professional-standard work. But the Cork guys in the book who might not have had something published, they’re able to stand there next to it and be proud of their work.”

Featuring five four-page stories illustrated in black and white, The Cork Horror Comic is to be sold at €3 and is intended to be enjoyed by all ages, with Corbett pitching it at the level of ‘The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror tales’.

“We want as many people to have it as possible,” says Corbett.

The Cork Horror Comic will be available at the Dragon of Shandon big-top circus tent at St Anne’s park, Shandon, from October 29 to 31.


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